About Peter Aitkens

Peter Aitkens in 1970


Peter Aitkens by William Hosmer       2015

Peter Aitkens is an artist based in Montreal, Quebec and in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. He has been a professional artist since 1974 and has shown in galleries in Montreal, Toronto, the United States, and Central and South America and has had more than 21 one-man shows.

Acrylic paint on canvas is the main medium and support. Lately he has been investigating Birch bark as a support surface,using the little brown parallel lines (lenticels) as starting marks for ripples in water and the grain of wood. He stretches his own canvases using his own stretchers and frames his finished paintings with frames of his own design.

His subjects are figures such as bathers and canoeists, city scenes, and the country side of the Adirondacks. He is quite taken with White Birch trees, sparkling cool water, and figures enjoying nature. Light is his obsession, how it flows through space, sparkles on water, and defines form. Light creates its own drama and narrative. In his paintings the description and effects of light are achieved by the juxtaposition of colours. But beyond the effects of light in paint his deepest desire is to express the invisible, like wind, emotions, the ecstatic, a sense of wonder… Ultimately the work is a meditation on life through thankfulness towards the source of all being.

I wrote the previous paragraphs in 2012 and while they remain true, I have moved on. Around that time I felt stalled and shut out and didn’t know what to next. I wished I had an older established artist to consult ( I was old). I heard a radio article that stated that if you had an difficult problem,you should imagine an expert advising you on how to solve it, better yet imagine someone advising him. So I went to see William Hosmer, a 19th century artist living in the 21st. I began to illustrate his life. This what I found: First that he has Permission to express whatever he wants. Secondly he can make Art from anything;  wood, birchbark, sticks chewed by beavers, disappointments, jokes, rejections,  creative blocks, mimetic theory, faith, basically anything at hand. Thirdly he is essentially free, free of space and time, of classification and of what others think, free to live in the Creative Spirit. I began to draw his life (see the Life of William Hosmer in Categories on the home page.)  and as I drew I looked over his shoulder and looked at his paintings. I asked myself, should I be making those? So now I say that I illustrate his life and he commissions me to do his paintings. And it turns out that he is a more contemporary artist and that I enjoy not knowing what I am doing or what the painting should look like, that’s his job. ( check out the Works of William Hosmer in Categories on the home page.)

Peter Aitkens is currently seeking gallery representation in the United States.

7 Comments to “About Peter Aitkens”

  1. Hi Peter. Great to meet you and Jeannie! I hope your trip home was uneventful. Did you find something fun to do Sat. morning?

    The 2 pieces you have posted are lovely! Good luck on your site.

    Geri deGruy

  2. Looking really GOOD Peter.. Can’t wait to see the paintings by Hosmer.. CD

  3. Bonjour Peter,

    Voilà que je viens de trouver le temps de visiter ton nouveau site. Bravo!
    Je trouve le premier tableau “Picture perfect blues” particulièrement intéressant et évocateur. les couleurs me touchent beaucoup. J’aime beaucoup la lumière dans Summer reading…La préférée de Claude est Windy…je lui laisse le soin de te faire ses commentaires
    Au plaisir de se retrouver bientôt autour d’une bonne table!

  4. Peter,
    I knew you had a special talent back in gradeschool. Then again I surely wasn’t the only person who recognized this

    Believe it or not I still have an incompleted watercolor you were going to toss. I asked if I could have it….you reluctantly agreed and signed it…from the tmr high art class.

    Racing cars….


  5. Peter: Your work is wonderful…….the new posts are always a treat……….the archives provide a “text” of your many routes to where you are now……well, perhaps a text only for fellow creative folks ………

  6. Bonjour dear Peter, what a joy it was to discover you and your beautiful art. I too am a lover of light! Thank you for sharing. All the best to Jeannie and you! MoX

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