“I LOVE to play dress-up and take photos of myself to inspire the self-portraits,” she says. “My friends think I’m goofy but also, they know me. I like
things that are perfectly imperfect. I try to experiment and see what works, Ironically, one day I was sitting in my bedroom thinking of ideas and
UNCW emailed me to inquire about displaying my self-portraits. Now they’re hanging in the library on campus.”
While her first art love will always be jazz, she’s found a new subject that equally captures her heart — birds. It came to her one day while
sitting outside. Much like the rhythm of jazz, birds possess that same freedom and flow. Using picture references, Peterson seeks to capture the
unique tune of nature.
“A friend of mine likes birds and I just took to them,” she says. “Oddly enough, people like my jazz series but I’ll post the birds on my social media,
and they just fly. I’ve really enjoyed it and I am trying to learn more about the different types of birds as well.”
Peterson often sets the bird on a twig with a watercolor background, sometimes in blue and sometimes in bright yellow. Flowers are added via
sketch, then a blot of rich color outside the lines creates a splash of unchained nature. The birds are not confined to a specific setting and instead
float freely within the painting.
Peterson’s loose style mixed with the flow of watercolor meshes organically. While bird watchers might expect her to create each image to
perfect likeness, she enjoys having an idea that then becomes her own.
Much like the lyrical and introspective nature of Davis’ music, nature sings a similar
tune. There’s a quiet solitude that is then interrupted by a bird’s shrill yet melodic call.
Be it a self-portrait, jazz painting or a pair of birds, Peterson will always find rhythm
and emotion when it comes time to paint, communicating her own unique tune through
a brush and canvas.
You Needn’t, 9 x 11 inches, acrylic on canvas.
Come All, 10 x 8 inches, acrylic on canvas.
Untitled self-portrait, 12 x 9 inches, acrylic on paper. Untitled, 5 ¼ x 7 ½ inches, watercolor on paper.