A. P. “Pete” Bennett was an accomplished, prolific artist and watercolorist in Peoria. He was an early member of the Illinois Art League, joining in 1960.
Pete was self-taught, painting and drawing from an early age. In junior high, he drew pictures and cartoons for the school newspaper. Later, while serving as a twenty-year-old corporal in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he sketched and painted whenever and wherever he had the opportunity.
As a young father of small children and a career in the farm implement business, Pete drew and painted as much as free time would allow. After his children were older and entered college, he could devote more time to painting and began exhibiting his work at local art shows and exhibits.
Watercolors were Pete’s favorite medium. In 1983, he earned a Master of Fine Arts from Illinois State University. His courses there included working in other mediums such as oils, charcoal and pastels, but he always returned to his first love, watercolors.
When Pete retired, he was able to devote more time to his art, participating in watercolor workshops in coastal Maine, and painting while traveling to the Canadian Rockies, England, Scotland and Germany. His favorite subject areas were landscapes, barns and farms, small town scenes, beaches, boats, and urban scenes.
Pete exhibited at many art shows and galleries in the Midwest and nationally. Among his many recognitions were several first-place awards at the Heart of Illinois Fair and the Illinois State Fair. At one point he held the record for consecutive appearances at the Old Capitol Art Fair in Springfield. His work was shown at galleries in, among other places, Peoria, Rockford, Galesburg, Quincy, Macomb, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, Chicago and St. Louis. He participated in shows and exhibits in most Midwestern states – Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Kentucky, as well as national shows like the Art Fiesta in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
In 2000, representing Illinois, Pete’s watercolor “The West Wing and Beyond” was featured in the 2000 White House Calendar published by the White House Historical Association.
For a more complete view of Pete’s artwork please visit www.apbennettwatercolors.com.