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John Peyton, wilderness artist paintings, prints and arts collection. Hawk Ridge Art, Duluth Minnesota MN.
Lake Superior paintings, Duluth Minnesota art, Lake Superior giclee prints, outdoors prints.


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John Peyton - Duluth MN Artist




Giclee Print - Ordering Info.  
  • Giclee prints may be custom ordered in different sizes
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  • Giclee prints may be produced from an original with minimum print size of 11x14
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John Peyton Paintings by Hawk Ridge Arts  
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5110 Peabody St
Duluth MN 55804
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John L. Peyton Biography  

John L. Peyton, 1988 photo, Duluth Artist, Wilderness PhotographerJohn L. Peyton
Duluth, MN

John L Peyton was an artist and outdoorsman before he was old enough to go to school. He was born in Proctor, Minnesota and lived in the Northland all his life. As he grew up, he traveled the lakes and rivers of the back country on his own or in the company of loggers, trappers or Native Americans. After graduating from Central High School in Duluth, he attended Philips Exeter Academy and went on to Yale where he majored in Latin and History. After graduating from Yale, he attended the Art Students League of New York, where he studied with such masters as Charles Burchfield, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and George Grosz. He later studied painting under Duluth artist David Ericson and Knute Heldner.

John worked in watercolor, oils, pastels and acrylics and in the final years of his life he became very excited about computer-generated art exclaiming, "This is the most free expression of art I have ever done. I can experiment all I want and if I don't like it I just don't save it!" His painting and illustrations reflected his love and respect for the environment and his appreciation of our region's history. In response to the question of where he got his ideas he stated, "I guess it's a fondness for the area and the wildlife and the people as well as the landscapes. Those have been the subjects of my writings and my books."

In 1970, he opened the Lake Superior Art Gallery in Duluth and gave art lessons, held art exhibits, and sold artwork from his studio. He took an active part in efforts to extend National Forest boundaries in the Wild Rivers program against development and pollution and other environmental controversies. He organized the "Stop the Freeway" movement in the 1970s, thereby helping to give Duluth the beautiful lakewalk along I-35, enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.

Peyton has had many stories, articles and illustrations published in Outdoor Life, Country Gentleman, Blue Book, Successful Farming and many juvenile publications. For seven years he edited and published the Magazine of Ducks and Geese from his farm in Hermantown. He wrote and illustrated five books in his eighties. His first book, The Stone Canoe retells legends of the Ojibiwe and won the 1991 Minnesota Book Award for fiction. Voices from the Ice, a childrens' book of an Ojibwe family's trip to the sugarbush was published in 1991 and Faces in the Firelight published in 1992 was his first novel. They were followed by his compelling autobiography Bright Beat the Water in 1992 and The Birch in 1994.

John L. Peyton self portrait.  Duluth Artist and Wilderness Photographer

John Peyton lived to the age of 94 and continued to write up to the end. His final manuscript, Strife With Gods awaits publication. Although he was a banker, his first love was painting and nature. He revered life, family, learning and the environment. His painting and writings are reflections of a rich and full life. "I would like to show in my paintings and books what life was like in the woods in the early part of the century. It's changed entirely since then."

John's daughter, Beryl Peyton is keeping his work alive by producing Giclee Prints of the substantial holdings of original art the family maintains. This work is being promoted through Hawk Ridge Art of Duluth. Originals and giclee prints are available in area galleries.



Celes Definitive Essay  
About the John Peyton’s Original prints show at the Northern Prints Gallery
By Cele Leider
May 9, 2005
John Peyton was primarily a painter and his subject matter was largely of the North Woods, which he was passionately involved with all his life. He knew the woods intimately, traveling extensively with the North Woods’ mapmaker McKensie in his youth, as they explored the terrain that would become a life work for both of them, in differing ways. His paintings of the North Country are filled with an unequalled vigor, immediacy, and authenticity. They accurately capture the beauty of this regional landscape, without sentimentality, and with a vibrant directness culled from his extensive personal experience.
Some time in the early ‘70’s, he decided it would be a good move to have some of his paintings photographically reproduced. Thereby began a creative journey that took him deep into the art of original printmaking, and left his previous plan of process photo-reproduction far behind. He soon became enthusiastically engrossed in the printmaking process, and began to produce original prints instead of replicating his paintings. It is these images that the current exhibit presents.
He made these prints with his son, Hamilton, who operated a small offset printing press in Proctor, above the bank. In John’s own words:
“My son and I print most of the prints in his shop. We use various techniques and combinations of techniques to get the effects we want. Our lithographs are printed, without benefit of camera, from drawings made directly on lithographic plates [either paper or metal]. These are always something of a gamble. They have…variations from one copy to another, and a certain chancy boldness that has been characteristic of this medium ever since Goya and Toulouse-Lautrec. Working carefully and with reasonable luck, we can usually get from sixty to several hundred copies of one drawing. But once the image starts to fade, that’s it. There won’t be any more of that litho. “
In this exhibit, he Northern Prints Gallery has at least one copy of all of John Peyton’s original lithographs, as described above. But with his characteristic bold creativity, John went on from there into further technical experimentation. We also offer a large selection of his contact prints, images made by using light to directly sensitize the printing plate or paper. Such plates are made without the intervention of a photographic negatives and dot-screening, but are impressed directly onto the plate from whatever the source of the image (and John experimented widely with that, from simple drawings to marbling or scratching on acetate, and more). These images are not "reproductions", though they may have been begun with that intent. They have their own distinctive quality - neither drawing nor photo - and have the same feel of liveliness and connection with the artist's direct involvement that is a mark of all original prints. John liked what he saw happening, and enthusiastically manipulated the resulting printed image by pushing the edges of the technology then available to him.
For the kind of hand coloring he was planning, an original litho drawing would not have worked as well, and one notices that he rarely painted on those (and when he did, it was with very delicate washes). Only the boldness of the contact plate image was strong enough to serve as a "bone structure" for his watercolor experimentation.
It appears that he used these prints as a ready-made compositional tool... from which he could quickly and easily make as many watercolor variations as he wanted. One of the most difficult parts in drawing or painting is requires constant thought - while you are working - about placement and overall unity (like playing piano with both hands). The prints were his left hand, as it were...leaving him free to play with the melodies all he wanted. And as such, these images are neither strictly prints nor paintings, but a closely integrated combination of both media.
This is an extremely vibrant and interesting series of prints, obviously motivated by deep excitement about the technical and aesthetic possibilities of printmaking.
The Northern Prints Gallery is delighted and honored to bring them forward into the public eye again.
A note about assembling this collection:

Bringing the collection into a semblance of order has been a challenging and exciting project for granddaughter, Kris Cameron, and her husband Doug, as well as myself. It has been a labor of love for all of us - and full of surprises. Much is unknown about the prints still, but they are printed on archival papers and most are either hand signed or signed in the print. Editions ran from a few dozen to several hundreds, but most of the remaining prints are now in short supply. Some, in fact, are the last few remaining impressions, and of a few we have only one impression. The hand-colored prints vary widely. John’s penchant for experimentation is evident throughout…some done lightly and quickly while in others, the complexity of the painterly involvement almost obscures the print. Samples of the variations are framed or in the exhibit portfolio. There may be other versions, however, so if you are interested in an image, ask about this possibility.

                                                                                 Cecilia Lieder

Original Print Collection held by Hawk Ridge Art
Representing John L. Peyton
Doug and Kris Cameron
5110 Peabody St.
Duluth, MN 55804          218.348.0097

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