Peter is a 1970s graduate of Elam School of Fine Arts. After training college, he was a secondary school art teacher for 3 years before working in graphic design and advertising. A lifelong love of film making and visual effects led him to leave advertising in 1995 to start freelancing; providing matte paintings for the booming TV ad world. Before long he was running a company providing visual effects for TV series, feature films and commercials collecting several industry awards along the way. Painting has been an ongoing passion complementing the artistic vision required for the film work.
Peter’s realist landscapes are based on the same kind of observations of light, atmospheric effects and composition that are needed in his visual effects work. Nature itself is a visual effect and Peter is most interested in the immediacy of light and visual contrasts more than obsessing over detail and technique. During his film career he has drawn inspiration from film industry matte painters such as Albert Whitlock and Peter Ellenshaw, as well as the romantic and impressionist artists and modern realists, especially Gerhard Richter.
“Over the years wherever I’ve been in New Zealand the land, sky and sea have given me endless delight. Wherever I am, I stare - at the play of light on water, the effects light has on clouds, the colour of the atmosphere, the depth of shadows in the bush. I like to see that delight reflected in my work, whether painting or in creating visual effects for film and television. But my paintings are mainly about place. Whether it’s somewhere visited often, lived in, or glimpsed for a few moments from a moving car or aeroplane.” - Peter McCully