Artists Peter Pettegrew and Dena Tollefson

“The Traditional Brush and the Contemporary Knife”

Traditional and Contemporary Realism;  side by side in this wonderful two person Art Show featuring Peter Pettegrew, one of Florida’s favorite landscape painters who will be showing his new Impressionist oil paintings and charcoal drawings.

Dena Tollefson is coming from Iowa with her unique, highly textured, brain-teasing contemporary pallet knife oil paintings that are extremely popular.

Nuance Galleries in St Petersburg is kicking off this second show of the year in full gear with a dual show and reception for these two distinguished Painters from very different disciplines and styles.

Nuance Galleries is the official representative for Dena Tollefson and Peter Pettegrew with two locations in Tampa and St Petersburg.

The Art show is open to the public Saturday, February 8th from 5pm to 9pm and will continue through March 1st.

Impressionist Landscape Artist Peter Pettegrew: Peter’s oil painting and drawings express a love for Mother Nature that is unmatched, because there is an organic connection which comes from his decades of painting and sketching on location.

With his Peter’s masterful brushes and charcoals he indulges in his desired subject, working Plein Air in National Parks and Preservation lands while painstakingly capturing nature’s subtle gradation of light and color as shown here in this Youtube video. from the Documentary Film”Heart of a Landscape Painter about art of PeterPettegrew (

Like the places he paints, Pettegrew remains a true purest to the impressionists of the past. Peter has been compared to John Singer Sargent ( who had an early enthusiasm for landscapes, not portraiture, as evidenced by his voluminous sketches full of mountains, seascapes.

Another comparison often mentioned is one Florida’s greatest Landscape painters Beanie Backus. (

In 2011 Pettegrew had a one man show at the Backus Museum, located in Ft. Pierce, Florida. A.E. Backus was one of Florida’s premier painters who’s work later inspired a group of black artists who he mentored, which later became known as the Florida Highwaymen. (

See Pettegrew’s biography for his other Museum shows and complete information.

“Mother Earth shows me her beauty and I continue her expression”……..Peter Pettegrew
“You can’t do sketched enough.Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh”…John Singer Sargent

Contemporary Realist Painter Dena Tollefson: has a no-holds-barred approach to Painting that is immediately realized as soon as you see the paintings. Her very unique mature style stresses contours and vibrant tonal transitions, which often transformed the subject into a powerful fancy with a Realist edge.

Her oil paints are applied with a palette knife isolating cupped shapes of color; she then applies large daubs of paint with a serving spoon, allowing ridges of paint which catch the light.

Executed in Vibrant hues, with an intentional style these pallet Knife paintings have strong painterly impact on the viewer.

Even though their application is completely different Tollefsons bold colors and flower paintings have a Georgia O’ Keefe mood ( but Dena’s painting are like a hallucination with a magical journey built in.

“I simply paint what I see,” ……..from O’Keeffe’s essays published in 1987

“I work from life, creating joyful paintings which explore the flow of light and energy through living things…I am especially interested in abstract patterns and movement.”

Peter Pettegrew

From the beginning Peter did drawing ss a youth, his world was centered in Monterey Bay, California, and it was here that his compelling encounters with the ocean inspired sketches. As early as four years of age, his aunt, who was a painter, recognized his talent and insisted to his mother that he only be given blank paper; no coloring books.

By ten years of age, Peter was already studying with one of the older marine painters in the Bay Area, so his first interest and his first paintings were of the ocean seascapes and then landscape.

His formal art education began when he applied and qualified for admission to Harbor Senior High in Santa Cruz, California, LINK a prestigious and progressive school dedicated to advancing the development of artistic skills and creative freedom.

After moving to Florida, Pettegrew went on to attend the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale LINK, where he studied drawing and painting as well as graphic art techniques that he now employs in his work with hand-pulled serigraphs, stone lithographs, and originals. After his formal education, he furthered went on to study through his detailed research of the Master Impressionists and plein air painters of the early 19th Century and was also heavily influenced by the Hudson River School Painters which was mid-19th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. (

Dena Tollefson

She was born in 1965, graduated from Iowa State University in 1988 and lived in Dallas Texas before returning to Iowa in 1991, where she developed her unique, highly textured oil painting style. Tollefson is a Certified Chartpak / Grumbacher Fine Art Painting Workshop Instructor.

Tollefson graduated from Iowa State University in 1988 and lived in Dallas Texas before returning to Iowa in 1991 where she developed her unique, highly textured oil painting style. She lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her husband and 2 sons.

Her “Daubism” body of work is a unique process she developed, where “daubs” of individually mixed oil paint are applied with a palette knife. The largest daubs allow ridges of paint which catch the light and appear to dance and scintillate as the viewer moves past the painting. Tollefson’s work focuses on botanicals, ponds, skies, and her Corn Series of work and biographies where people are depicted as ears of corn.
Her work is highly tactile. Two of Dena Tollefson’s paintings are in the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Tollefson completed a set of 4 commissioned paintings for the CEO of Starcom Media Vest in downtown Chicago. Her works hang publicly and in private collections throughout the US.
She is represented in galleries nationally in Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida. Two of Dena Tollefson’s paintings are in the permanent collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. Dena Tollefson has participated in juried shows in Texas, New York, California and Georgia and has won awards at the national… [See Tollefson biography for complete information on the artist]

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