It’s really a wonder how childhood impressions can compel people to take up what they had seen when they were young. This is what happened with Peter Stewart, who as a child, carried the fond memories of his school excursion in a local game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to become a wildlife artist. Such is his artistic prowess that it’s difficult to distinguish between his paintings and the real animals!
Stewart studied at the School of Graphic Design at Natal Technikon in Durban, South Africa and started painting wildlife in his spare time. However, he didn’t plunge into art right away but started working at the Natal Parks Board in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. It was only after working there for many years that he decided to become a full-time artist.
Spending time in Natal Parks Board gave Stewart an intimate knowledge about wildlife. He also got his inspiration from American realist painters, such as Edward Minoff, Kate Lehman and Michael Klein, among others. This helped him in acquiring intricate techniques and details for creating 3D illusions on a 2D surface. Little wonder all his animals look so lifelike and realistic.
Stewart goes into a detailed preparation before he applies paint to canvas. He spends time in mixing relevant colors and visualizing how he’d tackle his subject. He also considers a lot many things, such as animal species, backgrounds, trees, clouds, light conditions, and the like. For visualizing, he uses his own vast collection of images.
One look at his works will convince the viewers why Stewart has acquired an international reputation for his highly representational wildlife art. It didn’t come as a surprise when he won the prestigious David Shepard Wildlife Artist of the Year animal category. He was also accepted as a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists in the US.