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‘Art is part of life’: at 96, the artist from Sant’Elena paints with joy | Lifestyles

No clients, no commissions, no deadlines – just the joy of painting.

In this sense, Noelle Peterson, a longtime resident of Upvalley, is living out every painter’s dream of total artistic freedom.

“I believe that art is part of life and my inspiration comes from looking around,” said Peterson, 96, whose paintings are on display until July 29 at the Rianda House.

Peterson’s house north of St. Helena – and her determination to take shelter there during the pandemic due to health problems – offer her an ideal vantage point from which to observe birds and animals interacting with their surroundings.

Those bucolic scenes “create a magnificent palette,” Peterson said.

“The simplicity of the line, the complexity of the color and the personal imagination and creativity take over from there,” he said.

Peterson has no formal artistic background, but retirement gave her time to delve into painting and sculpture, the latter inspired by artist Joe Query, who lived in the White Barn in the 1970s.

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With no commercial element in his work, Peterson likes to “not be responsible to anyone”.

“I found that painting is really a meditation,” Peterson said. “When I work on a painting I can also forget that I am cold.”

The Rianda House is a suitable venue for Peterson’s paintings, since she was a close friend of the late former mayor of Saint Helena Greta Ericson, whose friendship with real estate agent Jean Rianda was instrumental in forming the only Upvalley Senior Center.

You can reach Jesse Duarte at (707) 967-6803 or [email protected]

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