Sections

Adair Peck, Poppies with Blue Squares, encaustic diptych on wood panels, 30 x 26 inches.

3.20.20

Piece of Work: Adair Peck

Back in the winter of 2018, the brother-in-law of artist Adair Peck was whiling away the time on the ferry when he struck up a conversation with Louisa Gould, longtime owner of a Vineyard Haven gallery. They got to talking about art, and about Peck, and made plans for Gould to check out Peck’s work in person. Gould liked what she saw and signed the artist. 

If it sounds like a serendipitous tale, well…it is. But in many ways, the connection was a long time coming.

Back in the 1980s, Peck paid her first visit to the Island to see her brother, who was living here for the summer with friends. “Then I had the bug and I loved it,” she said of that visit. The brother-sister pair later returned to open a surf shop in Edgartown called Peck’s Bad Boy. After a couple of summers running the business, Peck headed to New York to pursue her master’s degree in painting.

Other moves and shifts in her career followed. While living in Chicago and New York, she painted people. But after moving with her family to Montana in 2006, Peck shifted her attention to nature-based themes and her medium of choice to encaustic, a mixed-media technique using pigment-infused waxes. The first in what became a flower series, the diptych Poppies with Blue Squares, showcases this style.

“I try to keep the options open because the medium I’m working with…is so free,” she said. “The last thing you want to do is control it.” Encaustic painting is a very multi-dimensional art form: Peck must heat the wax before multiple layers are applied and sealed with a blow torch.

Then, using sharp tools, she scrapes the layers of wax away to let various colors shine through.

Peck admits she didn’t set out to create a diptych when she began painting the flowers – one day the elements just fell into place. She sat the painting next to the abstract squares piece and realized they worked together. “I just loved how they sort of complimented each other,” she said.

Peck’s work can be seen at the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven and online at adairpeck.com.