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Watercolorist Taps His Spiritual Side

By Aurelio Sanchez, The Albuquerque Journal (May 03, 2009)

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Santa Fe watercolor artist Peter Krusko is discovering New Mexico’s mysticism, and through his work is renewing its magic for New Mexicans.

“My work is not meant to describe a subject — a piñon tree, a bluebird, or the beautiful mountains — but to evoke and translate the feelings that we all have when we are looking at the landscape,” Krusko said.

Krusko will be a featured artist among more than 100 showing at the New Mexico Watercolor Society Spring Show 2009 at Expo New Mexico.

A resident of Santa Fe for four years, Krusko came here from the Hudson Valley of New York, where he grew up. As a young boy Krusko began drawing and painting, influenced by the 19th-century painters of the famed Hudson River School.

“I was able to paint at some of the same locations the Hudson River painters stood, and that was a thrill,” he said. Later, he painted evocative landscapes of the nearby Palisades, or the Hudson River Valley, or other scenes that inspired him.

When he came to New Mexico, he found beautiful landscapes of a different sort. He learned that beauty can be found anywhere and everywhere.

“I use the same approach to paint landscapes here as I did in New York,” Krusko said. “It’s been a part of my nature.”

While still in New York, Krusko came to vacation in New Mexico every year since the early 1980s.

“For me, it was something I looked forward to every year, not only in New Mexico, but the Southwest became such a draw for me,” he said.

In four years, he acknowledged he has discovered much, but there is much yet to be found.

“This spring, I found two new places to paint at Pajarito Plateau, by White Rock and Los Alamos,” he said. “These are places that are alive with wonderful symbols, petroglyphs and all sorts of evocative subjects painted by artists who have been here previously. It is quite thrilling.”

Meanwhile, watercolors represent the perfect medium for the translucent, flowingly pedestrian landscapes of New Mexico, he said.

“I view the world as being transparent, and full of movement. Water is a moving force,

with the pigments suspended in the water, and the painting becomes a force in itself.”

Krusko taught art for more than 33 years in the public schools in Westchester County, N.Y.

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