No Title (Small Blue), Peter Bruun, 2019, 9″x12″, oil on gesso panel

I had not completed an oil painting since 2005.

To work in oils, I need plenty of time and space, reliable continuity from day to day, and freedom from distraction. I had managed to keep painting since graduate school in the late 1980s, but by 2005, I was reduced to making drawings—a respectable pursuit, but not oil painting.

And so it was for a long time; for years.

From 2005 to 2011, I had been founding director of Art on Purpose; a few years later, it was the New Day Campaign keeping me busy. Along the way I managed to complete two studio projects, Autumn Leaves (2013-2014) and Beyond Beautiful: One Thousand Love Letters (2017-2019), but neither included paintings. With my life fragmented and my energy diluted, working in oils no longer felt possible.

I missed it. Badly.

But by summer 2019 I had finally tamed my relentless work schedule and moved to Maine. I had sought and then found peace. I could finally paint again, and began by making No Title (Small Blue) along with six paintings just like it. This seven-piece series marked a personal inflection point, signifying my return to me. I became a painter again; an artist in full.

And I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.