PETER POWELL ROBERTS
THE MAN AND HIS ART
Many thanks to Jan Merop for presenting the Peter Powell Roberts story in intimate detail with her book “I Never Paint Alone.” Much of the information about Pete Roberts presented here, in summary, was borrowed from Jan’s book.
Pete Roberts was almost born in Wales. His father died of a lung
disease before he was born so his mother decided to leave her beloved
Wales and move to America to be near her parents who had already
immigrated to the United States settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Twenty
two days after arriving in America Pete was born with all his Welsh
characteristics intact. During his school years, and beyond, he had
the heart of an artist, but his life path would take some twists and
After graduation from high school Pete took a job with the Ringling
Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus, his home was a railroad car. He
enjoyed the adventure but that ended when he was drafted into the Army
during World War II serving in France, Germany, and Austria. When he
returned from the war he pursued his artistic passion by attending the
Cleveland School of Fine Arts graduating with a BA in fine arts and
landed a job with a Cleveland company as Marketing Director. While
visiting relatives in Sarasota, Florida he applied for a teaching
position at the Ringling School of Art where he spent twenty three
years. Along the way he earned his Masters degree in education at Nova
During his time in Sarasota he met his life partner and wife, Doris.
Although teaching at Ringling would always be an important part of his
life, both he and Doris knew the time had come when they needed to
move on in order to fulfill Pete’s dream of becoming a full time
artist. They found the perfect environment in a rural setting behind
Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring and Pete set out to fulfill
his dream. Access to the Park coupled with the serenity of his new
home provided all the inspiration Pete needed to begin this new
Unfortunately fame and fortune never found him
until some astute collectors/investors who had formed a Limited
Partnership, the Florida Masters Collection, for acquiring contemporary
paintings with a Florida theme, became acquainted with his work.
Recognizing his very creative approach to the genre combined with the
technical aspects acquired over many years the Partnership began to
acquire his paintings, twenty some overall, that were later donated
to MOFAC, the Museum of Florida Art and Culture. Others also
recognized his unique concept of presenting Florida’s landscape and
thus the Peter Powell Roberts Museum was formed to educate the public
and display his work. Well over one hundred paintings are exhibited
and stored at the Museum.
When I say “educate the public” I’m not referring to simply exhibiting
the work and promoting Pete’s legacy, it goes beyond that. I call
Pete’s style “abstract naturalism” because it uses both of those art
elements presented in a non threatening way to people who may not be
comfortable with pure abstraction. In doing so, it furthers Pete’s
legacy as both a painter and teacher.
“ The representational artist is convinced that what is seen through
the eyes is the reality, while the abstract naturalist senses that
the reality lies less in the surface appearance than in how nature is
"Painting The Spirit Of Nature"
Peter Powell Roberts Museum will make available to art exhibition venues a traveling exhibit of Peter Powell Roberts work. For more information contact Gaylin Thomas, Museum Director, at HCAPPRM@gmail.com. Call Gaylin at 863 414 1578, or Jim Fitch , Curator, at 863 273 5861. The number of paintings available can be determined according to the size of the exhibit space.