February 2012: Painting by Fred Peterson
Header image: Painting by Fred Peterson

Featured Artist: Fred Peterson

Last updated: January 31, 2012

Fred Peterson refurbishing Fort Daul mural

Fred Peterson refurbishing mural at
Fort Daul in Ludington, Michigan

It’s impossible to look at a selection of Fred Peterson’s work without being immediately impressed by the range—both in media and subject matter. He displays oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings on canvas, paper, fungi and wood, and murals on whatever. He has drawings in pen and ink and graphite. Three-dimensional work includes carvings and sculptures of wood, stone, antler—if it can be shaped, Fred will shape it. Many of the shapes turn out to be animals, but some are arrowheads, peace pipes, walking sticks—even a rifle. Animals, in any medium, vibrate with life. The horses are in motion, heads tossing, feet flying, muscles rippling, coats shining. Butterflies flit. Tiny birds perch, heads cocked; eagles soar. A wolf pauses, scenting the wind. A cat poses, fat and sassy. Outlined in the sepia tones of dusk, a majestic heron surveys his domain. A young rider urges her horse over a jump. In a line drawing, on a note card, a child dances amid swirling leaves.

Landscapes range from idyllic depictions of earlier times—houses glowing with light and sleighs carrying Christmas trees—to Pendill’s Creek in winter and the Ludington Lighthouse; from the frozen clarity of a winter twilight to the froth of Lake Michigan’s waves, dancing and catching the sun as they rush to the shore.

Fred Peterson, who was born in Hart, Michigan in 1950, began drawing and painting as a child. He painted his first mural, on his bedroom wall, at the age of ten. While still in school he painted backdrops for plays and a fourteen-foot Statue of Liberty for a Fourth of July parade. As an adult, living and working in Ludington, he refurbished seven large murals on Fort Daul, a local landmark, and participated in juried shows in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Pentwater, Hastings, Saugatuck, and Ludington. More recently, he had carvings in the sculpture exhibit in Alberta House in February of 2010.

Fred and his wife, Linda, moved to the EUP in 2001 and now live just south of Brimley on an acreage, complete with pond, that is teeming with wildlife and crisscrossed with trails that he and Linda traverse on a golf cart. The deer, birds, and even the fish that are at home there have figured in his paintings, drawings, and carvings. Local landmarks are not neglected, nor are the family pets, a golden retriever and a sassy cat. He is opportunistic in that he can employ anything that comes to hand and depict anything he sees or imagines, but wildlife figures prominently and his animals are full of life and personality. A viewer will also find a lot of water in his work, from still ponds to bubbling rivers and majestic lakes. His handling of his environment seems so natural that it’s hard to imagine him anywhere but in Michigan, surrounded by animals, trees, and water. His card can currently be found in the Alberta House shop and we are hoping to carry other works as well.

Works by Fred Peterson
Click to see a larger version.

Carved chickadee by Fred Peterson Carved hawk by Fred Peterson
Carved fish by Fred Peterson

Carved fish by Fred Peterson

Lighthouse, painting by Fred Peterson

Wolf, painting by Fred Peterson

Horse jumping, painting by by Fred Peterson Horse, painting by Fred Peterson

Heron, by Fred Peterson Portrait, by Fred Peterson
Swan, by Fred Peterson Winter farm, painting by Fred Peterson
Murals at Fort Daul in Ludington, Michigan, refurbished by Fred Peterson

Murals at Fort Daul in Ludington, Michigan

Article about Fort Daul murals being refurbished by Fred Peterson

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