Peter Dee

Born in: Ireland
Lives in: Dublin, Ireland
Describe your art in three words: Simple, colourful, peaceful
Discipline: Painting
See More Work:

Vintage Enamelware with Lemons - Oil 50 x 50 cm

"Still Life is the main subject matter on which Peter has concentrated. He paints all his subjects from life, using only natural light. This light transforms simple objects in Peter’s still life compositions into visually exciting images full of vibrant colour combinations. He strives to capture the effects of light as it affects various surfaces on objects such as fruit, bottles, earthenware, etc."

What themes does your work involve?
Still Life is the main subject matter on which I have concentrated in my art career. In the tradition of still life painting, I paint all my subjects from life, using only natural light. The theme or concept for my still life paintings can be anything from a simple arrangement of fruit to a more complex setup with various objects that tell a story or convey a mood. I select objects based on the theme and objects are chosen for their shapes, colours, textures, and how they relate to each other. I arrange these objects on a surface, considering composition principles such as balance, contrast, harmony, and focal points. The arrangement is often tested and adjusted until I achieve the desired visual effect.
Describe your creative process.
In planning to create a still life painting, I begin with looking at the composition and how it will work on the canvas. I arrange objects within the canvas frame so that they are visually pleasing and well-balanced and create a harmonious composition. I use of natural light to greatly enhance the mood and atmosphere of my still life set-ups. I try to create interesting shadows, highlights, and reflections that add depth and dimension to the objects. I capture intricate textures in my work, such as the roughness on rusted enamelware, the vibrant colours of various fruits or the smoothness of a ceramic vase. I generally choose a colour palette that complements the objects and creates a visually appealing harmony.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
My work can be influenced by numerous factors including the beauty and complexity of the natural world. This inspires me to create beautiful paintings using contemporary still life objects. I love the vibrant colour of various fruits, brightly red and green apples, coloured green grapes, vibrant oranges, etc. My still life painting include antique objects such as rusted vintage enamelware objects, shiny copper jugs, antique oriental vases and bowls, etc. Other still life artists influence and inspire me and I love the works of contemporary Dutch artists such as Willem de Bont and Henk Helmantel. I continue to make art because I love painting and I am inspired by people who admire or purchase my work. I try to paint for a few hours daily as I find it very peaceful and a very relaxing.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
This is a difficult question to answer because people often have different opinions of what is good art. On a basic level, if someone likes a piece of art, it is a great piece of art in their eyes. Personally, I think what makes art great is how a painting makes you feel emotionally. The greatness of a painting is subjective and can vary from person to person. However, there are certain qualities that are often associated with great paintings such as paintings that demonstrate a high level of technical proficiency, have the power to evoke strong emotions and have the ability to transcend time and remain relevant and impactful across different eras..
What is the role of the artist today?
I am an artist because I love to paint. As a teenager I always loved to draw and paint but it wasn’t until I grew older that I began to take up art seriously. I am drawn to still life because I like the stillness and colour of objects on a table top and the objects don’t move or change under controlled light. I believe the role of the artist today is the ability to express our unique perspectives, emotions, and ideas through our chosen art medium. As artists we play a vital role in preserving and celebrating cultural heritage. We have the ability to captivate and inspire audiences through our creativity.
Stoneware Bottles & Jars - Oil 30 x 30 cm
Box of Eggs - Oil 30 x 30 cm
Bowl of Rainer Cherries - Oil 30 x 30 cm
Vintage Enamelware with Cherries - Oil 60 x 60 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist