I love artists who develop unique styles that are compelling. Grant Pecoff is a painter who grew up in Encinitas, California and has a gallery in San Diego’s Little Italy. I have often admired his impressionistic style and in particular his paintings of sailboats and local city scenes around San Diego. Noticing the gallery open this evening, I stepped in and to my surprise found Grant there painting. He has spent most of the last ten years traveling and painting from various destinations so I had never met him.
He explained to me that since he was in town for awhile taking care of family matters, he recently decided to take a road trip to New Mexico to see what inspiration he could find in our own region. What has resulted is a series of works that he is currently painting featuring the strong adobe oranges and vibrant sky blues that he loves. At that moment he was painting a picture of a beautiful home in the Santa Fe area.
Mentioning that I loved his style, I asked Grant how he came across it. “I was taking a class on art history”, he explained, “and began to really admire the works of the impressionists. One of my assignments in this class was to pick a scene and paint it with an impressionistic style. I chose a Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul. As I painted the walls a deep orange and the sky blue, I realized how striking these colors were together. I tried to figure out how I could keep this color scheme because I was about to paint the trees green since green is the color that you paint trees. Then I realized, I don’t have to paint the trees green. And that is how it started. I began to focus less on details and more on the essence of things.”
I found this story quite inspiring. Discoveries are made when we challenge the way we have always seen things and how they “have to be.” Our self-imposed limits are often a mere lack of creativity. We think that we cannot accomplish what we hope, fulfill our dreams, or do what we feel called to do because trees always have to be green. We get caught up in details like the trees that make us miss the forest. We want to see the big picture but usually struggle to do so unless we find some way like travel to free up our minds from cluttering details to allow ourselves to think again.
Grant found a style uniquely his own when he colored outside the lines. We find our own voice and purpose only as we think outside the box of what we are almost sure that we can and cannot accomplish and begin instead to pursue that which we love and what makes us come alive. Grant and I engaged in lively conversation about travel and living on sailboats, something that he and his wife have also done. I’m so glad that I had a chance to meet the artist whose work I so admire.
For those of you in the San Diego area who love art, you need to check out the Grant Pecoff Studio at 1825 India Street in Little Italy. The best time to visit is on the weekends and if you are lucky you might meet Grant and find him working on one of his beautiful works of art.