As we enter the post–Labor Day season on the East End, this week’s cover “Immersion Into Stillness” evokes what many of us have been waiting for—a moment of peaceful solitude. Painted by Englishman Peregrine Heathcote, the image of a female looking out toward a lighthouse captures the viewer and leaves us with an open-ended narrative. Heathcote discusses his inspiration and life as an artist.
There is a marked element of nostalgia in this cover—is that something that runs through all of your work?
I love many things about the world we live in today, but I also have fond memories of my childhood when I traveled with my parents through exciting foreign airports and train stations, going on holiday adventures to the desert or the mountains before I started boarding school.
How do you make the fabrics seem so real, almost tangible?
I have a garage full of clothes and a props cupboard full of interesting objects and fabrics that I use for my paintings. Before I embark on a new series of work I often put out a casting call via an agency to find the new models. I’ve had 1,304 applicants so far—as they say, many are called, few are chosen! We then work together on poses and ideas and role-play the various scenarios for the paintings. My mother had a real eye for elegance and beauty and worked in the world of fashion, and I suppose she instilled in me the benefits of concentrating on the fabrics in a scene.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
I was about 12 years old at boarding school and had a great art teacher called Jenny Trussel—she totally inspired all her students, and I think from about that age onward, my love of drawing, painting and messing around in the art department blossomed.
Your work has been referred to as having a Cinecolor palette, and certainly here in “Immersion Into Stillness” there is a sense of drama. Are you an avid film viewer? I love watching old films, period mini dramas, discovering new directors and actors. It’s often a shame to see the majority of TV networks schedule content based on projected or past viewing figures and not originality, but that’s the beauty of having so many channels and multi-media streaming, you can just keep looking!
What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a large piece at the moment that will form part of a mini show I am sending to ArtToronto in October. I undertake commissions as well, so between now and then I will be finishing a few of those.
Is there a gallery in the New York/Hamptons area where one might be able to find your work?
I have tended to show my work for the last couple of years at ArtHamptons via Newbury Fine Art, who are actually based in Boston.
This lighthouse is unusual—is it drawn from an actual one?
While we have plenty of lighthouses here on Long Island, I’ve never seen one quite like this. The stretch of water I’ve been inspired by in this piece is Lake Huron, and on the horizon is the Round Island Lighthouse from the Straits of Mackinac near Mackinac Island, Michigan. This lighthouse was also used in several scenes in the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.
For more information about the artist and his exhibition history, and to see more of his work, visit peregrineheathcote.com.