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Nature takes its course

(ran PW PS editions of Pasco Times)

Inspired by a love for camping, hiking and wildlife, Peter Gerbert's works reflect the Florida he has come to love. His creations will be on exhibit at the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative in Brooksville.

Peter Gerbert's brush strokes are a reflection of the nature he sees around him.

"I've been painting all my life," said the Ridge Manor artist who left a forestry career to pursue painting five years ago. "I started in weekend shows, and things have just taken off for me."

Gerbert's wildlife artwork will be on display through the month at the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative in Brooksville.

Inspired by his love for camping, hiking and nature, the Massachusetts native said his paintings reflect the Florida he has come to love.

As a featured artist for the Florida Wildlife Federation, his artwork adorns coffee cups and other promotional materials for the non-profit organization. His images have also been splintered to make jigsaw puzzles.

Gerbert, 40, said he tries to bring the diversity of the state's habitats and wildlife to his canvases, always careful that the details be accurate.

His home near the Withlacoochee River affords him the opportunity to study the wildlife he paints

"You would be surprised how you develop an eye for seeing birds," he said.

Gerbert uses layers of acrylic washes to achieve realistic detail. The slow process includes working and reworking areas to create dimension.

"I try to create paintings that give the viewer something for their imagination," he said. "I want to get away from typical, static wildlife scenes."

Among the dozen pieces in the exhibit is Roseate at Sunset, a depiction of roseate spoonbills.

"The way the colors fade from the birds to the water and the sky, that gives the painting a personal touch, I think," he said.

Gerbert's creations will be on display through August during business hours at the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, 10005 Cortez Blvd., west of Brooksville. The exhibit is free. For information, call 596-4000.

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