Peter Brook


I was first given a go with oil paints in the 60s and I’ve used them ever since. Interviewed for Art School in the ‘70s, I was assured that as an art graduate I’d probably never touch a brush & oil paint again, so I gave it a miss! Oil painting has always remained “what I do”. I think it was Ruskin who said that mountains were the beginning and the end of landscape. They certainly got me going! The coasts of Britain and Ireland, music and the theatre also get me going, as does the magic and nostalgia of steam railways, a painting genre I’ve tried more recently. When we moved to Cockermouth in West Cumbria around the turn of the century, as a painter I was like a child in a sweetshop, and set about making oil paintings, many of them plein-air sketches, in the lovely Cumbrian landscape. I’ve been able to combine working for a small homelessness charity (based in Whitehaven) with making as many outdoor oil sketches as time and the Cumbrian weather allow! In recent years, I’ve made paintings of subjects as diverse as red squirrels, puffins, angels, a shipwreck, the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and seascapes in Ireland and the Scottish Isles. In 2018, I put on an exhibition in the Circle Gallery, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick. I like to cycle out to paint en plein air whenever possible, ideally producing in about 3 hours, a good, lively-looking painting which can be hung, still wet, as soon as I get it home – an “oil sketch”. I can’t get over the view down Derwentwater to the Jaws of Borrowdale, or the beauties of the Wasdale, Ullswater, Buttermere, Crummock and Loweswater valleys. South Lakeland is a bit further away, but I’m getting to it! Paul Cezanne hit the nail on the head for me when he said: “But you know all pictures painted inside the studio will never be as good as the things done outside.” I like these quotes too - "Art is prayer - not the vulgarised notations handed down to us in the scriptures, but a fresh, vital discovery of one's own special presence in the world. Marc Chagall was once asked if he attended a synagogue; he answered that his work is prayer." Joseph Zinker. "Art isn't paint; it's love." Philip Hicken "Painting is saying "Ta" to God." Stanley Spencer