Pencil Art by Peter Philip Berg
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Artist Statement of Peter Philip Berg

I picked up a pencil and began scribbling something to try to express a joyful memory of a recent boat trip across the Strait of Georgia. At four years old, this would have been a major turning point in my life, long before I knew what "an art" was. I don't really remember what it was like not to draw, and I don't remember choosing art. Perhaps it chose me.

It's been said that art is a selfish pursuit. Personally, I believe that the opposite is true as well. My drawing and sketching is not only about expressing, but about wanting to share with everyone an emotion (or journey through a collection of emotions), or lesson I've learned. I do so in the best way I know how.

I would use anything that would make a permanent mark even a rock or stick if it were convenient. But the simple pencil keeps a sharp point, which is important for fine detail in a good drawing. To ignore detail is to deny detail, an interesting parallel to life itself. (Isn't it funny how, when we're faced with an all-important task like rehearsing Act I Scene I, or writing an artist's statement that we start to think about doing those dishes or vacuuming, or taking that old toothbrush to the bathroom tiles?)

To pursue detail is to pursue the truth. In my pursuit, to that end, the ingredients include tonal values, shadows, reflection, even humor. But the key ingredient is light even though the part with the brightest light means no pencil mark at all. Outlines are avoided at all costs.

pencil art gastown steamclock vancouver
  pencil art glendale cove peter berg

It's one thing to be inspired, and it's another to turn that inspiration into something. My work is about being at peace. What I do is indeed who I am, and scratching pencil marks harmoniously and deliberately on any surface takes me back to the source of that peace. Where, when, and how they go is all part of the creative process, and that is a kind of inquiry into the challenges of the mind and of life itself. Look at any simple scene, then look at what really went into it.

I believe it is the viewer's right to know that many drawings are created entirely from memory although that is not something I boast about. I also believe that the earlier years of almost complete indifference in my home city were a God-given lesson in staying grounded. While I always like to check my ego at the door, I love to tell the admirers and collectors of my art how much I appreciate the appreciation.

When it comes to drawing or sketching, it's usually about movement or detail sort of a trade-off, one or the other. Lately, I am trying for both, simultaneously.

A man once told me about how the mind really is like an umbrella, in that it works best when open. While I'm lucky to still be progressing through life's journey, I realize more and more that art is about learning to see. I am a self-taught artist, and still learning!

And so, it's not about the time it takes to draw one, but about the passion it takes for a life-long pursuit to draw many.

I thank God for any talent at all, and also for the time given to nurture that talent. I love what I do, I love that it sells, and I know that no one on their deathbed ever said "I should have spent more time at the office".

Enjoy the work!

Peter Philip Berg Pencil Artist