The first time artist Peter Newton took the plunge below the surface of the Great Barrier Reef, he was transported to a new world of colour and fragility. This moment has served as subject matter for Peter for the past 20 years as he tries to recapture that first magical moment on the reef.
Peter has always taken pleasure in sketching houses and buildings, but his recent works have drawn upon the experience of the ocean, its costal seascapes and underwater worlds. Living in Ocean Grove, Victoria, the artist has plenty of stimuli to inspire. Whether it be walking or driving along the scenic coastline at his doorstep or travelling up to Port Douglas in North Queensland, the colours of the ocean continually act as muse.
Peter’s canvases have become a portal between time and space where a fleeting moment is captured and translated with paint. The results have an abstract and slightly surrealist aesthetic. Colour is a defining feature yet layers of paint create a depth in which fluidity and movement are at once a physical texture and an internal feeling. The artist invites his audience to close their eyes before his paintings so that the colours and swirls of paint translate from the canvas to viewer. Just as he has delved beneath the surface, so too must his audience. His calm underwater worlds are immersive in their presence and unsurprisingly, Peter has his own immersive painting experience in the studio. He begins every work with the music cranked up, curtains drawn, a strong cup of coffee, and of course remembering that single moment beneath the water’s surface.