Wild landscapes at Vail’s McRae Litt Fine Art | VailDaily.com

Wild landscapes at Vail’s McRae Litt Fine Art

Shauna Farnell
“December Cold,” by Peter Sculthorpe, watercolor on rag paper, 20 ½” by 40”





The new McRae Litt Fine Art gallery has doubled the size of its Vail Village Solaris location this summer, displaying curated works from a select group of artists from around the globe. The gallery specializes in fine, high quality paintings and sculpture ranging from representational to abstract.

One of the gallery’s highly talented landscape artists is Peter Sculthorpe. Sculthorpe studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and has since traveled from coast to coast seeking rare, pristine panoramas to document via vibrant oils and watercolor.

“I’ve painted landscapes from the Oregon coast to the coast of Newfoundland. Some of these scenes are intimate, others are vast,” Sculthorpe says. “I particularly enjoy the open spaces of Maine and Canada, which offer large vistas and windswept, rocky coastlines. They’re untamed, unblemished and often inhospitable.”

However untamed the landscape — for example, the whitewater crashing onto the rocks of a grassy hillside scattered with broken trees in Monhegan Headland — Sculthorpe manages to contain the wildness within his composition, which is part of what makes his work so fascinating. Whatever the subject, his depiction captures a sense of raw serenity.

“In contrast to the seascapes, I am drawn to rural farm scenes, which inspire intimate paintings that include early domestic architecture, barnyard animals and on occasion, the human dimension,” he says. “Many of the farm scenes are painted in the moonlight, particularly in winter. The moonlit landscape takes on many different effects; in the stillness of a winter’s snowy night, it becomes crystalline and serene.”

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Sculthorpe is drawn to places and subjects that represent a simpler time, a time untouched by technical advancements and complex artifices.

Whether it’s a snowy farmyard or a tree-lined shore, Sculthorpe’s landscapes instill a yearning to escape. They represent tangible portals providing safety rather than isolation.

“I’m capturing a moment in time that feels magical to me.”

Contributing largely to the beckoning quality of his landscapes is the fact that the scenes provide a sense of solace to the painter himself.

“After decades of painting, it remains for me a wonderful refuge,” Sculthorpe says. “I want the viewer to experience that, too.”

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