Lake Winnipesaukee provides endless inspiration for artist Peter Ferber
Lake Winnipesaukee isn’t Peter Ferber’s only local source of inspiration. “Steaming Above Treeline” is a Ferber painting showing a view of the Mount Washington Cog Railway, on display at The Art Place in Wolfeboro. (LARISSA MULKERN)
An early morning boat ride, the view from a dock, a vignette of teatime on a porch ... all are among the images he captures on canvas.
Known for his timeless, serene landscapes and paintings of classic boats, many of which are based on scenes of life on Lake Winnipesaukee, Ferber has been working full-time as an artist since graduating from college in 1976.
“Ideas come at me probably 10 times faster than I can paint. I have ideas that I'll never get to put down on paper,” he said with a smile over coffee at a local diner.
“Every single day I'll see something that inspires me,” he said.
When his annual show opens at The Art Place framing and art gallery on North Main Street in Wolfeboro each summer, collectors line up hours in advance. In a recent interview, Ferber expressed his love and connection to the Lake Winnipesaukee area that he first got to know as a kid. His family summered here at their Sewall Road camp.
“I paint what I love,” said Ferber. “My favorite thing in the world was to spend my summers up here … It's my love, so I paint what I love. That's really what I'm about. Nothing else is as strong for inspiration.”
Ferber expressed artistic talent and a love for architecture when he was a young boy. His artwork as a first grader was so good teachers hung it in the school halls. When he was 12 years old, his family moved from St. Louis to Winchester, Mass., and that's when he “fell in love with New England.”
Ferber and his wife, Jeannie Ferber, a former art director who now runs a nonprofit to encourage the exchange of cultural and educational materials with students and teachers in Russia, moved to a 1700s antique cape in Alton Bay in 1994.
Over his career Ferber has created countless artworks — he can't say exactly how many pieces, perhaps more than 1,000 — in watercolors, oils or acrylics. He creates commissioned work, such as for the Castle in the Clouds series at the Lucknow Estate, and many pieces are then auctioned off to raise funds for nonprofit organizations. Ferber spent the better part of the year at the estate, at different seasons and different times of the day, to capture a variety of images.
“I just meander around and see what there is to see,” he said.
Currently, Ferber is creating works for the Bald Peak Colony Community Fund of Melvin Village. “I enjoy being a part of something that has a purpose beyond just making money on the artwork,” he said.
He is also working on a piece for the 100th anniversary of the Libby Museum in Wolfeboro.
Often, Ferber begins by taking a digital photograph of a scene or image. He then sketches out the piece by hand in his studio at his home in Alton Bay.
Working from photographs is the only practical way to start on a scene, he says: If he waits to capture the scene by hand, the lighting and such would change and be gone. A digital photograph allows him to capture the moment.
“It's a sketching medium, it really is.”
His artwork involves intricate details and the precision of architectural drawings. He said painting with watercolors allows for the most precision, as he can layer colors to show the complexity, richness and intensity of the subject matter.
“For me, its all about the little details, the pattern of shadows on a porch floor, the mist in the atmosphere over the lake,” he said.
“My goal is to make people appreciate the beauty of the environment,” he said.
His fans and collectors include executives who purchase his works for the serenity and calm they inspire in an otherwise hectic world.
“Some have said, 'Whenever I look at your pictures, I feel spiritual — it makes me feel good,'” he said.
Having been painting for nearly 40 years now, Ferber has no plans to slow down.
“This is my life. Retirement is not on the horizon,” he said.
Peter Ferber's annual show at The Art Place will be held on Aug. 4. For more information go to www.theartplace.biz
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