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Biography

Contemporary American artist Peter Adams was born in Los Angeles on August 27, 1950. He received his training at Art Center College of Design, Otis Art Institute, Instituto de Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende, and at the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts in Los Angeles. At the Lukits Academy, Adams spent seven years, from 1970 to 1977, in diligent formal training, including four years as the personal apprentice to the renowned classical painter of murals, landscapes, and portraits, Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992).

From his years with Lukits, studying still life compositions consisting of sculptures and porcelains from various Chinese dynasties that were part of the Lukits personal collection, Adams gained a heightened appreciation for Asian objets d'art and antiques. This interest later led to Adams traveling throughout Asia, and in 1981 he became the first American artist to travel and paint unescorted through the People’s Republic of China. His fascination for Asia gained him great acclaim when, in 1987, he was the only American artist to travel and paint with the Mujahideen rebels in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Today, Adams combines Eastern design concepts with the Western sense of depth through atmosphere.

Since 1993 Adams has served as president of the historic California Art Club, which was established in 1909 and is one of the largest and most active professional arts organizations in the country. Under his leadership, the Club’s roster has grown from 80 members to nearly 3,000 at present. Today, the California Art Club is recognized as a leading proponent of the current national realist art movement.

Selected Collections

Arco Towers, Los Angeles; The Beach Club, Malibu; Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, CA; California Club, Los Angeles; Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard; Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles; Forbes Magazine Collection, New York; Haggin Museum, Stockton, CA; The Irvine Museum, Irvine, CA; Joan Irvine Smith, Irvine, CA; Jonathan Club, Los Angeles; Our Savior Church and Caruso Catholic Center at USC, Los Angeles; Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA; Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, PA; Stephen’s College, Columbia, MO; and Trust Company of the West, Los Angeles.

Professional Memberships

Signature Member, California Art Club; Signature Member, Pastel Society of America; Emeritus Member, Plein Air Painters of America; Master Signature Member, Oil Painters of America; Associate Guild Member, Honorary Emeritus, American Society of Classical Realism

Commitment to the Arts Community

Peter Adams has served on the Boards of California Art Club; Pacific Asia Museum; Pasadena Museum of California Art; Academy of Art University; and the American Society of Portrait Artists

Selected Publications

Newspapers & Magazines: Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star-News, American Artist, American Art Collector, American Art Review, Art of the West, Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, Western Art Collector, and Southwest Art

Books: Painting California: Seascapes and Beach Towns by Jean Stern & Molly Siple, foreword by Elaine Adams, Published by Skira Rizzoli, 2017; California Light: A Century of Landscapes by the California Art Club by Jean Stern & Molly Siple, Published by Rizzoli International, 2011; Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice by Mitchell Albala, Published by Watson-Guptill, 2009; Enchanted Isle: A History of Plein Air Painting in Santa Catalina Island by Jean Stern, Molly Siple & Roy C. Rose, Published by The Society for the Advancement of Plein Air Painting, 2003; From Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America with essays by Jean Stern, John Cosby & Gil Dellinger, Published by Haggin Museum, 2004; Leading the West by Donald J. Haggerty, Published by Northland, 1997

Peter Adams is listed in Wikipedia under “Peter Seitz Adams”

Selected Achievements

2021
Oceanside Museum of Art Plein Air Festival (honorable mention, Reverie at Sunset; St. Malo, Oceanside)

2020 - 2021
15th International Art Renewal Center Salon Awards (honorable mention, The Resurrection; and finalist awards for the following: Aspects of Mary; Paschal Service; Early Fall - Abalone Cove; Morning Mist from Inspiration Point - Yosemite; Perseverance - California Street Break; Sunburst Over St. Malo; and Eucalyptus Overlooking the San Gabriels at Sunset)

2016
PleinAir Magazine Award presented at Autry Museum's “Masters of the American West Exhibition” (winner, Peace in the Midst of Peril, Oil, 36" x 48")

2014
PleinAir Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Peter and Elaine Adams

2010
University of Southern California Commission to paint the Fourteen Stations of the Cross for Our Savior Parrish and Caruso Catholic Center (completed, November 2012)

2009
Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at California Art Club’s “98th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition”

2007
Gold Medal Award, California Art Club's 96th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, held at Pasadena Museum of California Art (winner, Prajnaparamita, Perfection of Wisdom, Oil, 24" x 24")

2007
Autry Museum's John J. Geraghty Award for the Advancement of Traditional Fine Art in the American West

2007
Pasadena Tournament of Roses Commission to create the “Pasadena Rose” (purchased by Citicorp Bank)

1997
Pasadena Gold Crown Award for Visual Art presented by the Pasadena Arts Council

Press and Publications

American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in California Art Club Newsletter, Spring 2022 Issue.

Peter Adams Featured in California Art Club Newsletter, Spring 2022

Afghanistan has exploded into the national consciousness again. Our twenty-year military presence, with short bursts of ferocious action, often lulled Americans into complacency. That national trance momentarily obscured the fact …

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American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams and Jim McVicker in Epoch Times July 12, 2021 Issue.

Peter Adams and Jim McVicker featured in Epoch Times July 13, 2021

It’s a first for Sotheby’s NY. From July 16 through to July 26, the prestigious auction house will host an online sale titled “Contemporary Realism: Important 21st-Century Works.” A total …

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American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in Tehachapi News as "Noted LA Artist to Join Art 2020" , February 2020.

Peter Adams Featured in Tehachapi News as “Noted Artist to Join Art 2020”

Pasadena artist Peter Adams, president of the California Art Club, is one of the many prestigious artists expected to attend Art 2020 in Tehachapi in May when more than 35 …

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American Legacy Fine Arts presents Nikita Budkov in Colorado Boulevard Online, March 2019.

Peter Adams Interviewed by Colorado Boulevard.net, March 3, 2019

Here is one more occasion for art lovers to enjoy the wonderful building formerly hosting the Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art. From March 3 to March 29 the main gallery …

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American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in Fine Art Connoisseur Blog, April 23, 2018.

Peter Adams in Fine Art Connoisseur Blog, April 2018

Focusing on Peter Adams’ process in developing the paintings of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross for Our Savior Church and USC Caruso Catholic Center, this solo exhibition includes studies, …

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Peter Adams Featured in Art of the West, May/June 2017

Peter Adams admits to being somewhat of a rapscallion in his early years. When he was a junior, the military school he was attending instituted an art program. Unimpressed with …

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American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in Larchmont Chronicle April 2016.

Peter Adams in Larchmont Chronicle April 2016

From April 3—24, the California Art Club will present its Annual Gold Medal Exhibition at the Autry Museum of the American West. Included among the more than 200 fine art …

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American Art Collector Cover

American Art Collector Magazine, April 2016 Issue, Notes ALFA Artists Peter Adams, Jennifer Moses, Alicia Ponzio, Mian Situ and Christopher Slatoff

California Art Club’s 105th annual Gold Medal Exhibition pays tribute to its pioneering artists while showcasing art that pushes boundaries. With more than 200 contemporary-traditional paintings and sculpture on display, …

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American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in Glendale News-Press Newspaper

Peter Adams in Glendale New-Press and Burbank Leader March 21, 2016

For decades, Los Angeles and surrounding cities have been a center for art and artists, with major venues like the Getty and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and entire movements …

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Peter Adams & Tim Solliday Continuing a Legacy

Peter Adams and Tim Solliday: Continuing the Legacy at Palos Verdes Art Center featured in American Art Collector Magazine January 2016

Hungarian American artist Theodore N. Lukits (1897-1992) is noted for his California impressionist landscapes and his figurative artwork. He also was a teacher who specialized in a classic approach to …

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Amercian Legacy Fine Arts presents ALFA artists Peter Adams, Tony Peters, Tim Solliday and Alexey Steele in American Art Collector Magazine October 2015 Issue.

ALFA Artists Peter Adams, Tony Peters, Tim Solliday and Alexey Steele featured in American Art Collector Magazine October 2015 Issue

The artists in The External and The Contemplative at American Legacy Fine Arts in Pasadena, California, encourage viewers to enrich their lives through art just as they have done.  

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American Art Collector April 2015, Issue 114

American Art Collector, April 2015, Peter Adams and Tim Solliday

The California Art Club’s 104th annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition displays top-quality works from California and beyond. Before Elaine Adams became executive director of the California Art Club in 1993, …

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Peter Adams Featured in the Burbank Leader January 24, 2014 Issue

Peter Adams Featured in the Burbank Leader January 24, 2014 Issue

Artist Peter Adams likes a challenge. He has passions and procedures that make his paintings significantly more difficult than they might otherwise be. Known for his landscapes, Adams often likes ...

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Peter Adams in Western Art Collector November 2013 Issue

Peter Adams in Western Art Collector Magazine November 2013 Issue

If you live in Southern California, or planning a visit to the “City of Angels,” I highly recommend you visit this uniquely inspirational facility for a truly stimulating artistic and ...

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walking the sacred path

Peter Adams Featured in Western Art Collector Magazine October 2013 Issue

Peter Adams monumental 14 Stations of the Cross commission showcases the power of art and religion at Our Savior Church, adjacent to the University of Southern California. My friend Peter …

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story behind peter adams

Peter Adams Featured in the San Marino Tribune July 11, 2013 Issue

Look closely, and you just might recognize one of the subjects of Peter Adams’ fourteen paintings of the Stations of the Cross located inside Our Savior Church at the new …

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Peter Adams Featured in the Daily News December 10,2012

Peter Adams Featured in the Daily News December 10,2012

Peter Adams Featured in the Daily News December 10, 2012

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Peter Adams Featured in the Pasadena Star - News December 10, 2012

Peter Adams Featured in the Pasadena Star – News December 10, 2012

Peter Adams Featured in the Pasadena Star – News December 10, 2012

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Peter Adams in the Los Angeles Times Sunday December 9, 2012

Peter Adams in the Los Angeles Times Sunday December 9, 2012

Peter Adams in the Los Angeles Times December 9, 2012

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Peter Adams Featured in American Artist Workshop Magazine 2012

Peter Adams Featured in American Artist Workshop Magazine 2012

Peter Adams has just finished erecting a large cross in front of his studio in Pasadena, California.  He begins to explain how it’s rigged to hold a life model in ...

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Peter Adams: "Jerusalem Journey - Walking the Sacred Path" at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles
Daniel W. Pinkham in Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine April 2012 Issue

Peter Adams Serves on Panel for California Art Club Winter Symposium Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine April 2012

Peter Adams Serves on Panel for California Art Club at the Winter Symposium Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine April 2012

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Peter Adams and Christopher Slatoff Featured in USC Catholic Trojan Magazine Spring 2012 Issue

Peter Adams Featured in USC Catholic Trojan Magazine Spring 2012

Peter Adams Featured in USC Catholic Trojan Magazine Spring 2012 Issue

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one on one article

Peter Adams Painting Appears in Art of the West Magazine Winter 2011 Issue

This is a big year for the California Art Club—and a big year for art lovers. The club will be celebrating its 100th anniversary with a series of art exhibitions …

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peter adams stations of the cross

Peter Adams on Front Page of Pasadena Star News for USC Commission to Paint ’14 Stations of the Cross’ August 1, 2011

Spending the night locked in Jerusalem’s ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with a light attached to his head, was just one way artist Peter Adams prepared to compete for …

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Peter Adams and Jeremy Lipking in Southwest Art Magazine's 40 Prominent People in the Western Art World May 2011 Special Edition
Peter Adams Featured in American Art Collector Magazine April 2011 Issue

Peter Adams Featured in American Art Collector Magazine April 2011 Issue

April 2011: Peter Adams talks about his role in the Centennial Celebration for the California Art Club's Gold Medal Juried Exhibition.

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a pivotal role

Peter Adams Featured in Southwest Art Magazine April 2011 Issue

The California Art Club has brought attention and respect to the genre of realist art. The story is now part of California Art Club lore, often repeated and well known …

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peter adams taking a stand

Peter Adams Featured in Shanghai-based “Focus Magazine” June 2010

Contemporary American artist Peter Adams was born in Los Angeles on August 27, 1950 and received his training at Art Center College of Design, Otis Art Institute, and Institute de …

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New design for the USC Catholic Community Center
Peter Adams Teaches painting techniques to a Pasadena area youth from the rose bowl aquatic center summer camp during plein air week at Kidspace Childrens Museum
American Art Collector April 2009
Peter Adams Creates First Rose for Tournament of Roses Public Art Program
Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, Exhibits Pastels by Peter Adams
Peter Adams Receives Gold Medal Award from California Art Club's "96th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition" April 2007
Peter Adams Featured in American Artist Magazine "20 Painters Interpret the Forbes Trinchera Ranch" March 2007 Issue

Peter Adams Featured in American Artist Magazine “20 Painters Interpret the Forbes Trinchera Ranch” March 2007 Issue

"Into the Heart of The Southwest: 20 Painters Interpret the Forbes Trinchera Ranch"
Forbes and American Artist again invited a group of artists to spend a week together interpreting a vast Colorado ranch in their choice of medium, subject, and style.

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Peter and Elaine Adams Receive John J. Geraghty Award
Alexey Steele Featured in American Art Collector Magazine December 2006 Issue

Peter Adams Featured in American Art Collector Magazine December 2006 Issue

Peter Adams Featured in American Art Collector Magazine December 2006 Issue

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On Location in Malibu 2006 by the California Art Club
Juror of Awards: "15th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils"
Exhibition: 8th Annual Masters of the American West
Exhibition: "Drawn to Yellowstone: Artists in America’s First National Park" Tours the U.S.
A Visit With Peter Adams: Imagination at Work

A Visit With Peter Adams: Imagination at Work

September 2004 - Plein Air Magazine: The long drive leading up to the large estate in Pasadena, California, brings the visitor to an artist’s own private version of paradise. Lush gardens, stone terraced walls and 19th-century European and Asian sculptures are designed to create a memorable experience.

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Exhibition: From Sea to Shining Sea Tours the U.S.
Peter and Elaine Adams: The Art Bridge Builders of California
A Visit to the San Gabriels
Reuniting Humanity with Nature
American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in Art of the West Magazine March/April 2002.

Peter Adams Featured in Art of the West Magazine March/April 2002

Afghanistan is a world away from Peter Adams’ comfortable home and studio in Pasadena, California. Yet the war against terrorism being fought in the Middle East, as a consequence of …

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Peter Adams: The Studio Featured in Art of the West Magazine November-December 1998
American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams and The Aura of Nature: Painting Beyond the View
Peter Adams Carnegie Art Museum 1998

Peter Adams-Carnegie Art Museum 1998

Peter Adams-Carnegie Art Museum 1998

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Peter Adams: Carrying on a Golden Tradition
On Location With Peter Adams
Peter Adams: Eastern Exposure
Peter Adams - "Moods of the Pacific" Pacific Asia Museum 1993
American Legacy Fine Arts presents Peter Adams in Designers West Magazine March 1989

Peter Adams in Design Magazine March 1989 Issue

Scaling peaks of 10,000 feet, secretly crossing a heavily armed-border and traveling incognito through a country immersed in civil strife might make you think of a valiant Hemingway hero. They ...

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art of war peter adams

Los Angeles Times – Peter Adams, Art of War: Pasadena Painter Captures the Essence of Afghanistan, February 23, 1989

Hidden under a sheet and surrounded by Afghan rebel soldiers in an ambulance, Peter S. Adams of Pasadena bumped his way across the legendary Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. In billowy …

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let the boys cook

Herald Express (Women’s World) Peter Adams Sr. and Son: Let the Boys Cook, August 13, 1959

We are delighted to have a very fine father, Peter Adams, well known screen, TV and stage actor, and his attractive, gentle, manly, 8-year-old son, Peter Adams Jr., as our …

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Commissions

Artwork displayed on this page represents unique commission projects. If you are interested in commissioning an enduring and personalized work of art for public or private display, please contact us here for consultation.

Art Reviews

“Among contemporary Impressionists, Californian Peter Adams ranks among the most accomplished. Whether working indoors or out, Adams emphasizes color effects and atmosphere rather than form and mass.”

Catesby Leigh, Art Critic/Writer
The New Traditional Styles
Art & Antiques


Summer 2002

“Peter Adams is one of California’s premier realist artists. He is also a romantic, who proudly continues a nineteenth-century ideal of painting as an expansion of our vision and emotions. Like Delacroix and Degas, masters of pastel, Adams uses the medium with astounding sensitivity. He prefers to work on location, so he is fully immersed in the scene. Typically he begins a pastel using broad sweeps of chalk. This initial lay-in of color is expansive, vibrant, and often resembles an abstract composition. As he continues to work, he defines features, capturing subtle nuances of form and tone. Peter likes to use his fingers in tandem with his chalks. Reserving one finger for each color group—red, green, yellow, blue—he gently rubs and works his pastels to create a dynamic range of effects. By building color and modulating edges, he is able to create the illusion of open air and solid mass, near and far, brilliant light and rich darks. Like the best romantic art, these pastels capture a scene but also transport you to a place that is wondrous and unforgettable.”

Michael Zakian, Ph.D., Director, Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art,
Pepperdine University, Malibu, California
Exhibition Brochure: Pastels of Malibu, Skidmore Contemporary Art
November 8 – 30, 2003


“In recent years, I have come to believe that the art appreciated by average citizens – not necessarily the avant-garde cognoscenti, but the art-loving public – is not to be discounted or dismissed in favor of whatever is hyped at the moment. Peter Adams… and many, many others, in this show and beyond are tremendously admired by art lovers today. They will be remembered and admired when many of those whose works grace the walls of contemporary museums and galleries have been relegated to footnotes or less in the art historical texts of the future.”

William H. Gerdts, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Art History
Graduate School of the City University of New York
Exhibition Catalogue: The American Society
of Classical Realism Guild of Artists
The Newington-Cropsey Foundation Gallery of Art
February 5 – April 30, 2001


“Much of Peter’s art evinces inspiration of Oriental design: the distinct shapes of his trees reflect his training in bonsai, and his use of large aesthetic shapes to depict fog or cloud reflect similar uses of negative form in Oriental Painting.”

Patricia Trenton, Ph.D., Art Historian
Exhibition Catalogue: Peter Adams and Daniel Pinkham:
The Aura of Nature: Painting Beyond the View
Joan Irvine Smith Fine Arts, Inc.
October 17 – November 15, 1998


“Painting en plein air, California Art Club leaders Dan Pinkham and Peter Adams explore the remaining pristine realms of the western environment, using impressionist techniques to capture these ephemeral spaces.”

Amy Scott, Curator of Visual Arts
Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Los Angeles
Land as Landscape: American Aesthetics and the Western Environment California Art Club Newsletter
February 2003


“Adams’ use of color is excellent, his compositions thoughtful and his brush strokes painterly in nature. He has his own unique approach to painting California mountains and the California coast… The end-results are pure Adams.”

Priscilla Fleming Vayda, Art Correspondent
A Visit to the San Gabriels
Pasadena Star-News
November 29, 2002

Studio Visit

“I am particularly interested in unique lighting effects and how these effects reflect, refract, diffuse and obscure detail.  It is the ethereal quality of light that intrigues me.  In painting natural or inanimate objects, I am constantly trying to discover and interpret interesting design, shapes, and color harmonies to stimulate the eye.  Elevating the human spirit and arousing a sense of discovery is what excites me as an artist.”

—Peter Adams

Peter Adams demonstrates painting waves in pastel en plein air in Dana Point, California for American Artist magazine.

peter

Peter Adams in his studio with works in progress.
Photo Credit: Brandon Kalpin

“Although I generally complete 90% of my plein air landscape paintings on location, it’s the last 10% that I do at my studio easel that I feel is my personal interpretation as an artist. The quiet time that I spend in my studio allows me the opportunity to contemplate the poetic essence of a subject. My object is not to focus on every detail of a scene, but to capture its spirit.”

peterelaine

Peter and Elaine on a plein air painting excursion to Mt. Wilson with their dogs, from left to right, Panda, Jaipur and Smoochie.
Photo Credit: Lisa Cavelier

“The San Gabriel Mountains are just ten minutes from where we live in Pasadena. I feel so fortunate to be able to quickly get out of the city and into wilderness. All throughout these mountains, which peak at 10,000 feet, are countless points of interest, magnificent vistas, and an abundance of natural beauty. Hiking in the San Gabriels, I’ve come across all sorts of evidence of man’s productivity, including abandoned gold mines, neglected bridges, and remnants of what was once a grand funicular that led up to a fashionable lodge, hotel and, even a zoo. In this photo, we are on top of Mt. Wilson where one can find giant radio antennas and the Carnegie Observatories, including solar towers and a 100-inch telescope. Here, my wife Elaine and I are hiking our way up to Echo Rock from where I plan to do some painting of vast canyon vistas. Of course, our dogs are with us for encouragement.”

teaondeck

Elaine and Peter having tea on the studio deck.
© 2004 magnus stark/photography

“With our busy schedules, Elaine and I rarely have a chance to sit quietly alone just to chat. So, we set aside two hours each Wednesday when we can meet in solitude to review our calendar, discuss plans, and share ideas.”