Artist Peter Sargent works on a drawing in his studio at the Promenade in Bonita Springs Florida.
Artist Peter Sargent works on a drawing in his studio at the Promenade in Bonita Springs Florida.

Walking into the studio of artist Peter Sargent, guests see a wall filled with personality. Detailed graphite drawings of giraffes, zebras, dogs and children stare out from behind framed glass. Each drawing consists of clean shades of black and grey composed on white paper. Each subject is so true to life, that you could almost feel the texture of the alligator’s skin, or hear the giraffe chewing the plants in its mouth.

Sargent sits at a table drawing a portrait of a dog, using a photograph as reference. Looking between the drawing and the photograph, the dog seems to have much more character and personality in the pencil drawing.

“The drawings have more life to them than the photographs,” Sargent says. “You get such expression in the eyes. I’m working very hard to bring out the personality.”

The drawings are incredibly detailed and expressive, with each subject caught in a moment in time.

“My favorite medium is pencil; I like the feel of pencil,” Sargent says. “With ink it is black or white. With pencil you have shades of grey.”

Sargent is no stranger to detailed drawing techniques. He had an architectural practice inLondonfor 20 years and was a specialist in the leisure business. He designed sports centers, theme parks, hotels, extravagant pools and similar projects and had a firm of 60 people working with him.

When he retired and moved toFloridawith his wife Sharon, he began drawing for enjoyment.

“I drew like this before I became an architect, and you don’t forget; it’s like riding a bike,” Sargent says.

When Sargent began drawing for enjoyment, he said he did not think of selling anything. His wife urged him to consider commissioning and selling his work. He began drawing houses and found that many realtors liked to commission him to draw houses they had just sold to give to the new owners as gifts.

Houses led to pets and children and now Sargent does a mix of commission work and also creates his own drawings to sell on his Web site and in his studio at the Center for the Arts Artist Studios at the Promenade.

“I love the dogs and the children, they are all so different,” Sargent says. “You are not drawing the same thing all the time.”

Sargent also works in colored pencil and, in complete contrast, he carves wood. In his studio at the Promenade his abstract, natural, wood carvings are displayed in the window and his drawing line the walls.

“As an architect you draw to express yourself, but you are also working in 3D,” Sargent says. “Wood is a wonderful material to carve in, it is softer and easier to control than stone.”

The artist says when looking for a piece of wood to create a sculpture from, he looks for a nice grain and a nice color.

As he sits in his studio, the sound from the outdoor waterfalls drifts in, creating a calm environment. He has been working in his studio at The Promenade for 18 months.

“I really enjoy being here, it is a terrific environment and a quiet place to work,” Sargent says. “You don’t mind being interrupted because people are coming in to buy your work.”

He says that a lot of his profit comes from commission work, but he enjoys creating his own pieces.

“As an artist you always have to decide if you want to do things to sell them or to express yourself; you do commercial, or you do what is inside of you,” Sargent says. “It is a much more pleasurable thing to do what is inside of you. I enjoy my art.”

Sargent’s work can be seen at his studio at The Promenade at BonitaBay, space 138 or on his Web site at www.peter-sargent-art.com.

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