Paintings by Wayne Peterson: Beth

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Beth at Work

I first met this artist the day I was born.

Not that I actually remember it, mind you. No, my first memory of this man is mixed up with the memory of my mother taking a pen away from me when I was caught, at a very young age, drawing animals in church. At the time, I was quite chagrined (and maybe a bit mad ‘cause I'd rather kept drawing). Later, as a youth I'd be chagrined to find that he'd kept some of those drawings, tucked away in between the leaves of his Bible.

I remember when we first moved into our new house out in the country how excited Dad was with the wildlife surrounding us, and how frustrated he was at times when it wouldn't stay out of the house.

I remember him converting the old, then unused, corncrib into a studio, running electricity out to it and enclosing it's walls. And I remember trying awfully hard, as a wriggly little eight year old, to stay still while he painted my portrait. I'm not sure how well I succeeded, but that painting, along with the ones of my older siblings, graced the stairwell wall for a very long time. It was kinda special to pass a picture of yourself like that.

I remember being, oh, nine or so, and constantly looking at a large book of prints done of various masterworks. And then arguing one day with my dad over whether someone (Marc Franz) really knew what they were doing when they painted blue horses. (Horses come in a large variety of colors, not but ultramarine, as any horse-crazed girl can tell you.) By the way, thanks, Dad. That was the very first lesson you taught me in understanding that art is about inner essence, not outward form.

I remember when my parents bought the land beside us, including the 140-or-so year old barn. I remember climbing the tall stairs he built to more easily get to the upper level, and the studio he made by enclosing one side of what had been a hay loft and cutting windows into the walls. And the wonderful pot-bellied stove, on which we sometimes cooked hotdogs when I went to visit him in his studio. I can still see it now...the big H-frame easel with the pieces of stained carpet in front of it, the metal palettes on the little table to the right, with windows on either side opening onto bird's eye views of the backyard and raspberry patch.

But those are the memories of childhood. As such, they are treasured, but the memories I treasure the most are the ones I have spent with my father as (more of) an adult.

Dad taught for many years at Edinboro University (earlier known as Edinboro State College). I went to school there, (twice, actually) and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, concentrating in studio ceramics. Even though there were good reasons to have avoided taking my father for classes, I never found one strong enough to out-weigh how very good I found him at teaching. He, poor soul, had to put up with me in 2-D Design and Painting I (during which I was pretty sure I was a disappointment, though he would never have wanted to let me know that in any way). The absolute best, though, were the 3 workshop classes I took with him. Two were in the Chincoteaque, VA area and one in Lincolnville, ME.

‘Though many works in this gallery are acrylics, I really associate my father with watercolors. To watch him standing, feet apart and braced, left hand tucked firmly in the small of his back, absorbing his environment and recording it with such swift deftness on the cold pressed paper before him....well, it's stunning. There is no other privilege as sweet as to watch a master at work in their element.

This website was designed to be a celebration of that mastery. I hope we have, in some small way, succeeded. But in addition, I cannot pass up the opportunity to celebrate the man. His gentleness and strength...his depth of thought (which he, as with most things, is very quiet about), his depth of conviction and ability to uplift others. He is a man respected by the most disparate people.

Yes, celebrate the man as well. He is indeed a rare and precious individual.

To learn more about me, you can visit my websites at and

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