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What strikes you as beautiful?
“The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you’re an artist.

- David Hockney
JUNE 17 2022, 5 PM - 8 PM

You're invited!  See details below.
Peter Leckett:
The Edge of Abstraction
What is it that makes Peter Leckett's work so extraordinarily appealing?
Spring Meadow
not for sale; gallerists' private collection
10" x 10"
acrylic on cradleboard


In looking at Peter's work, we find ourselves fascinated both with the beauty of the natural scene represented and with the beauty of the artistic interpretation of it. Our attention flickers back and forth between what seems at first a beautifully precise photographic representation of a rustic scene, to beautiful abstract details of colour, contrast, and brushwork. This particular piece is a fine example.

It's tempting to classify Peter's work as "semi-abstract", a space which probably describes most of the art we carry at Electric Street Gallery.  Art theorists use this term to describe works that have easily identifiable themes that are simplified, as inspiration for the artistic decoration of the colour plane.

But this isn't exactly what's happening here! Peter's compositions and palettes are usually rigourously representative of a natural scene. It's in the details that he allows his creativity to flourish. Like a kaleidoscope, his vision pulls together the actual colours of a natural scene into striking patterns and shapes, beautiful in themselves.

One way to appreciate his unique approach is to appreciate what might be called the economy of it; the way he suggests an intricate natural scene with just a few well-executed brushstrokes. We see more than is there! And then we marvel at how much detail is filled in by our mind's eye, how the well chosen small semi-abstractions come together in a larger scale accurate representation. See for yourself in the details below.
New Works by Peter Leckett
through July
We're very pleased to be able to share some new works by Peter at the gallery. A variety of sizes, large and small, are available. Peter has often been drawn to painting the countryside of the Ottawa valley and the Gatineau hills, having lived in the area most of his life. One subject that has engaged Peter's eye of late is rustic barns.

Here, for example, is "Ordinary Day".  We squirmed a bit about the title, since we think it's extraordinary work, but Peter writes, in explanation, "It’s the ordinary everyday viewpoints that I like. Landscape doesn’t have to be sweeping and epic to be interesting."
Ordinary Day
acrylic on cradleboard
10" x 10"

Peter also paints larger, more intricate pieces, in his extraordinary interpretations of ordinary natural scenes.
Winter Pool
acrylic on cradleboard 
30" x 22"
acrylic on cradleboard
20" x 16"
Morning Chill
acrylic on cradleboard
30" x 22"
The Artist's Eye 
A Biographical Sketch
"I almost always begin my work from live models. Usually this starts with a plein air painting. My focus at that point is to record and respond to the subject matter and environment as best I can. I’m not a slave to detail. I am focused on trying to see what is really out there, trying to avoid symbolism entering the process. Drawing skills and a sense of design play important roles.

"Once back in the studio, I begin modifying the work as I see fit. At this point, I reverse my way of looking at the work and begin painting from the “mind's eye." Imagination creeps in and I begin to coax imagery out through a process of trial and error."

- Peter Leckett
Born on the outskirts of Ottawa during the 50's, Peter showed a talent for drawing at an early age. Starting at the age of 11, Peter was a follower of TV art instructor Jon Gnagy. In the age of black and white TV, Gnagy was a pioneer in art instruction, instructing a generation in how to draw with charcoal. 

Although tempted by a career in art, Peter choose instead to attend the University of Waterloo, graduating with a degree in mathematics.

Throughout his career as a software engineer, Peter continued to pursue his interest in art. He describes himself as having been a "Sunday painter", taking classes and workshops during weekends and at night. 

Peter worked in various media, but was always influenced by his beginnings in charcoal. He says he is much more interested in "value" (in the sense of dark/light contrasts, and the shapes they make) than many contemporary artists who are especially interested in "hue" (colour). Peter's work generally is quite faithful to nature in his choice of palette, his creativity directed more toward evoking shape and design. As a young amateur he progressed to pastels, and then for many years worked in watercolours, becoming quite proficient and admired as a watercolourist, attaining election to the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour (CSPWC). Peter displayed at art shows but didn't pursue public sales, and most of his watercolours have gone to friends and family. But some are left! We have a number of his watercolours currently on display (unframed – and modestly priced!)
Earl House - Wakefield
watercolour on paper
13" x 8.5"
Upon retirement, Peter was finally able to turn to painting full time, at first experimenting with oils but soon settling on acrylics. Though you can see the influence of the early charcoals and the watercolours in his painting style, we and many of our clients think he has really come into his own with the acrylic medium. 

Peter contrasts his approach with that of many other contemporary painters as a preference for "pushing" rather than "putting" paint onto the surface. Artists who strive for saturated colours and sharp boundaries are reluctant to mix paints on the canvas. Peter's softer approach, applying paint and then "pushing it around" until it pleases him, allows him to approach the details of his work with a more experimental and interactive process.

The results are uncommonly beautiful, and we think they should be seen in person to fully appreciate them.
Closer to North
acrylic on cradleboard
12" x 12"

“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” 

- Renoir

Meet the Artist!
Friday June 17, 5 PM - 8 PM
You are invited to meet Peter Leckett at the gallery this Friday, June 17, between 5 PM and 8 PM.

Weather permitting,  we will be congregating on the tiny lawn in front of the gallery and, to minimize risk, will ask only one household at a time to enter the gallery to view Peter's exhibition.

Peter looks forward to meeting people interested in his work and discussing his artistic approach and his career with them. 

As always, we encourage you to visit the art in person to obtain the most accurate impression and the maximum enjoyment. 

Ukraine Benefit Wrap-Up

Many, many thanks to artists and customers who participated in our benefit for Ukrainian refugees. In total we contributed $6301 to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Please Stop By!
As always, we try to keep the Gallery windows interesting for the neighbourhood.

We're located just off the Rideau Pathway, so wander by on your urban hike. Stop in if we're open, or just have a peek at our display windows! 

Please support local artists and galleries!

We are open and welcome your visit!  

Thursday 1 PM- 7 PM
Friday 1 PM - 7 PM (this week until 8 PM)
Saturday 1 PM - 7 PM

299 Crichton Street at Electric Street

close to Beechwood Village and the Rideau Pathway

We can arrange curbside pickup or local delivery.
We can ship many of our pieces within North America.

We and our artists greatly appreciate you shopping locally!

Window shop at 299 Crichton Street - or shop online. 24/7/365.

Telephone inquiries welcome at 613 748 - 2008.

Or contact us via email using this form.
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