Boston area painter, Rod Peterson's Malden roots run deep.
I've lived here all my life except for college. My wife and I bought my parents' house when they moved to the Davenport Home, and now, my wife, Cindy, is the nursing supervisor there.
As a child, Peterson loved to draw cowboys, and his summers on the northern Vermont farm of family friends left a lasting impression.
In my high school yearbook, I even wrote that I wanted to be a farmer.
Art took a back seat during school years, but after he completed his graduate studies in social work at Boston University, Peterson took a bike trip through France, Belgium, and England. He didn't sketch on this trip, but was impressed with the museums he checked out along the way. It wasn't until after his first social work job on the 2 to 10 PM shift that things really got started.
I was coming home when everyone else was going to bed. I was all revved up and came across a housemate's watercolor set. That led me to the library and art how-to books. I got the art bug from there and studied with artists in Saturday classes for ten years. Art has been a cumulative or snowballing experience and has become a major passion for me.
Peterson was one of the early members of the Malden Sketch Group when it used to meet at the Cultural Center in the old Pearl Street Fire Station.
There I became more aware of other artists in the community.
He has studied privately with South Shore Artist Ros Farbush, North Shore Arist Eva Cincotta, and at watercolor workshops in Jackson, New Hampshire, with the late artist and author, David Millard.

Another significant part of his art training comes from the ever-expanding collection of art books in local libraries, a constant source of inspiration and direction. Libraries have offered Rod an opportunity to exhibit his own work as well as to view exhibits of other artists. Peterson still enjoys going to Malden Public Library and exploring old and new books on art.

Returning for his second year as a participant in WAM, he said,
I love the concept of Window Arts Malden. It isn't the sales, or the vast turnout, but the connection to other artists and what they are doing. It's a fun celebration.
Peterson is inspired by the older architecture in Malden, especially his Maplewood neighborhood. One series of his paintings focused on the Rowe Quarry when it was functioning.
The structures and stones were a challenge to an artist.
On a recent trip into the neighborhoods to paint, Peterson was carrying an easel, a canvas bag with brushes and paint, and his signature vest of many pockets. He demonstrated,
I am always asked,'Do you have a card?', and over- 40 glasses here, sketching pens, notebook, snacks....
Peterson's watercolors begin outdoors, 'en plein air', and are completed in his home studio.
My paintings are not photographic impressions, but the site is my starting point, then the painting takes a life of its own. I don't think I see any differently than anyone else, but when you are painting, you are forced to see shapes you don't ordinarily see, colors you don't ordinarily see. I think my paintings show that, and I enjoy sharing.

interview by Sharon Santillo