My Visit to an Art Studio/Gallery – an inspiring artist

This has absolutely nothing to do with gardening and food but my love of art. I love to draw and paint however lack of confidence gets in my way, like many people I guess. There are those of us who have always yearned to be artists in some way, a lifelong desire that gets edited out for different reasons – we doubt our ability, too many demands etc.

Last weekend I was invited to go along with a friend to visit a Marlborough artist, Pete Rickerby. Pete has kindly let me do a post about him, I found him very inspiring- but I get the impression he would be the last person to think that about himself! Pete’s a man who appears rather shy but he has a wicked sense of humour. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing his art, his beautiful garden, being shown around his home, meeting his lovely wife, the wine πŸ™‚

Pete had not painted since high school, he had done alot of cartoons though, many published ones. When Pete was diagnosed at 54 with MS he had a hard time with it. He worked in a diving shop, rode motorbikes, lived a full life. When he became depressed he sought counselling. His counsellor asked him what was one thing he had always wanted to do, Pete knew it was to paint. So he started. 3 years later he has opened his studio and is starting to sell his art – this despite his poor hand/eye co-ordination and other issues related to his MS.

I asked him why he left it so long, if his desire to paint had always been there then why didn’t he and he replied “I never thought I could”. He just started and grew. Learning to paint has helped in some ways with his brain and thinking processes, building new neuronic pathways his specialist told him. I wanted to show his art here because it’s good πŸ™‚ and because it shows if you feel you want to paint (write, whatever) then you should just do it because it’s within all along, it just needs us to develop it. I am also posting this because I had a conversation earlier in the week with another blogger who wishes to paint and I told her Pete’s story. She suggested I write a post (thanks Robbie πŸ™‚ )

This is Pete and a little of his work, just click on any image to bring up gallery of larger ones.

Pete is a charming host and would welcome anyone to his studio. He can contacted at The Lunatic’s Retreat, 15 Churchill St, Blenheim, Phone 03 5777145, email


24 thoughts on “My Visit to an Art Studio/Gallery – an inspiring artist

  1. Nothing that we do when we are passionate about it is easily negated. Pete’s work is inspiring and beautiful and it is just sad that he waited so long to immerse himself in it.


  2. I love Pete’s artist beret – must try and get one myself! It is wonderful that he has come to his passion at last – we come when we are ready – and he is so obviously ready! The painting of the naked artist with the wheelchair shadow is both heartbreaking and uplifting…… I find it inspirational.

    Thanks for sharing your visit Wendy. πŸ™‚


      • I’m replying from that post. What tosh you speak girl! Anyone who can paint curtains that look so life like is a painter. It’s that simple really. I’m not sure what you think you have to produce to be ‘an artist’ but you clearly have artist dysmorphia!

        It’s okay if a painting is not finished. Just let it sit and at some stage you will know what to do. That’s providing you have a paintbrush in your hand at least three times a week and preferably more often. I have really only learnt this myself recently and have found it quite liberating.

        For me the important thing is to do it. Not reading about it or talking about it – but actually doing it. And even if it is just half an hour a day – it keeps the impulse going and the learning curve high. There’s a whole movement out there called the 10 minute art journal each day. I had a go at it last year – it drove me bonkers, but I learned heaps from it. The premise is just keep your hand in, keep making art and keep recording….

        I took up mixed media painting three months ago and can see a huge leap in ability in that time. You possibly have more talent in your little finger than I have in my entire hand, so imagine what you can achieve if you give yourself permission to paint on a regular basis.

        Whoo-hoo!! Happy dance – go Wendy!! xoxo


      • Artist dysmorphia ? I have never heard that before lol. I know I can paint I just fear I can’t, it’s a crazy thing…my painting used to be ridiculed by someone close so I gave up, thinking I couldn’t do it. I got stuck there.

        I really appreciate your feedback and advice Pauline, thank you!! I will do as you say, I promise.

        I had no idea you only took up mixed media painting only 3 months ago, wow!! Who would ever guess that?!!!

        Thanks for that πŸ™‚ xx


      • I have a recipe for overcoming those horrors of ridicule – I so wish people wouldn’t do that to each other! I ask myself if that person has been right about other people they have dissed, have other things they have told me been true? Are they a responsible and reliable person themselves? Do they set a good example? Do they have my best interests at heart? Would I like to be like them? Do I respect them?

        I like to get it straight in my head, and then I can choose whether to believe them or not.

        Don’t give up your power and your freedom on the basis of one persons negativity!

        I’m really pleased you will pick up your paint brush again!


      • Yes, you are so right there Pauline!

        I have woken up today feeling alot more at ease with myself over this and am on to it πŸ™‚ Thanks for all your comments and I hope they will help others too who might happen upon the page at different times and struggle with their own confidence issues.
        πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Ta xx


  3. What an inspiring post, Wendy! Great picture of Pete and I do agree with everyone that he is talented; I like work that has emotional content and is not just an attempt at a photographic reproduction. His paintings (of the woman and house and of the dancing woman and tree) are very thought-provoking, which is what I like. As Narf7 said, the naked man with the wheelchair shadow is indeed poignant. One of my uncles had MS from an early age; he, too, had a full life in spite of it and lived into his 80s. I don’t think he ever tried his hand at art, though.

    Thanks for this, Wendy. When people work to overcome such challenges, it’s hard for me to find excuses for not pursuing my own dreams.

    I’m glad you are going on with yours, too. I went back and re-read that post of yours and I still like those flowers. A bit more contrast to bring the petals forward a bit, a bit of shadowing on the jug to round it more, and I suspect it will be what you had in mind when you began. I like the curtain detail as is.

    Pauline is right, though; let it sit and you’ll be inspired to finish it when you are ready. She’s right about painting several times a week, too, and I need to pay attention to that, too. Too many irons in the fire jsut now. ~ Linne


    • Hi Linne πŸ™‚
      The woman and the house is quite ethereal isn’t it, I love the subtlety of that and yes, it is thought provoking. The man with the wheelchair I didn’t see at his gallery but was struck with it when I saw it online.
      Yep, no excuses for us lol
      I will do what she says and get down there everyday, I need to just do it, Pete was an inspiration to me, big time. Sooner or later I will know what to do with my painting, it will all come together one day if I leave it sitting there in around me.


  4. We are our own worst critics. We need to be kinder to ourselves and to others. I think everyone can paint, draw, sing, dance, cook etc. the only ones holding us back are ourselves. In saying that, I am not taking up ballet anytime soon πŸ˜‰ My gorgeous sister Fronkiii (narf7) can paint as well. She just hasn’t done it since she was a teenager. Get back on that horse kiddo. Do you remember that lovely ocean picture you painted under grandmas tutelage?


  5. aww…Wendy, I just checked my reader and found your article!!!! GREAT JOB!!!! You were right his artwork is amazing + he is a mentor:-) I am looking forward to seeing your paintings + I have no doubt they will be amazing!!! You Go Girl!!!!:-) The exclamation marks are me jumping up and down for joy that you shared this story + did such an amazing post + I am so excited to see you
    start doing your art.++++ I could go on and on how excited I am for you!!!
    I was reading a book today about watercolor painting + the artist said this, ” Be willing to take risks in your work. Look upon mistakes as steps in your growth as an artist They are a necessary part of the journey. Enjoy the process and don’t take it too seriously”…in otherwords, enjoy creating! Sometimes we just get too hung up on perfection + I never felt art is perfection—some of the best is often from the process and discovery:-) It is an expression of who you are and does not have to be anything but what you want it to be….


    • Thanks Robbie πŸ™‚ and I am glad you enjoyed the post as it was your idea lol.

      I will get there, and what you have written here is very valid, I will stop thinking it has to be perfect and just enjoy it, have fun with it as I learn my own style and way. This makes alot of sense to me …now! lol. Thank you πŸ™‚ and I look forward to seeing your first new blog post – but no pressure πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


      • I will soon, I had a back spasm yesterday + the flu, so I was in my bed all day. Boy do I have sympathy for friends of mine that have back trouble, MS, or my husband that suffers from back touble. Mine lasted 24 hours , but most people have it their entire life. I was reading posts before I went to bed tonight, and your post was just a joy to read + see!!!


      • Well thank you πŸ™‚ Chronic illness is tough to live with, absolutely – flu and back spasms for the time they last are miserable too. I hope you are feeling much better very soon and back on top.


      • I am today feeling better, but not wanting to sit at my computer-lol. I took 9 showers on Friday to ease the pain..It made me think about my friends with MS how they deal with contractions all the time! Flu was over sooner:-)… I only had 2 showers today, I am so lucky my spasms are passing, but my friends with MS are not so lucky they deal with it all the time.
        I will be back to reading and posting soon, so don’t think I disappeared:-) I will be back!


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