© Peter Dorey 2021

Hello and thank you for visiting my website.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed looking though the paintings and my other artworks.
If you’ve jumped straight to the about section, then you’ve have some more to discover!

On many artist websites they talk about themselves in the third person. I’d prefer to just talk to you directly.

Please find more information about me, FAQ’s and artistic process below.

Peter Dorey

Art Studio


Frequently Asked Questions

The Process

What inspires you?

I get influences from a lot of different sources. I try to keep an eye out for many areas as I can, for example; architecture, film, graphic design, fashion and more. I might see something or have an idea after connecting two of these influences together. An example of this could be the Nice Town paintings as these were a result of combining visiting a place with how the place felt through abstract painting.
Sometimes I use my  life experiences as inspiration. This is tends to appear a lot in the surreal work, where I use my subconscious to dictate the imagery.

I think some of my key influencers would be:

Henri Matisse - for his use of shape, flow, colour and philosophy of abstract artworks can be there just for beauty.

Patrick Caulfield - the thick black lines and strong colours. The simple clean designs allowing space for the painting to breathe.

Gary Larsson - a funny cartoonist with a surreal world. I love the ideas and world he creates.

Jackson Pollock/Mark Rothko - key figures for me in seeing abstract art in a different way. That painting can be spontaneous and capture feeling like a camera.

Vincent Van Gogh - his use of colour is very good. A skilled artist who is sometimes overshadowed by his story.

Why painting?

 I think it’s my preferred medium because I find it quick and easy. If I have an idea, I can grab a brush and put it on the canvas. Painting, especially in acrylics, can be quite easy to modify and quick to dry. Its a medium which captures expression, through the brushstrokes and texture. This is especially important in the abstract expressionism works.  

How long does it take to paint a painting?

It is hard to say because it depends on the style, size and if the painting “works” ( that it feels right). I don’t like to finish a painting without feeling that I’ve done my best work and that it feels right.

What is your favourite painting you’ve painted?

Again, its hard to say. Some have been fun to paint and some have been markers as they have opened up other areas of painting to me or I have learned more about the medium.

Do you do commissions?

Not currently, but please check back to see if this changes.

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me at pd@peterdorey.co.uk

My process depends a lot on the style, subject and idea. I don’t use sketchbooks as I find that I never look at them again once I’ve closed them. They also can be difficult when using them for ideas due to the nature of the book format. So, you’ll tend to find me working on a lot of sheets of paper. However, when sketching outdoors, I tend to use sketchbooks, mainly due to the wind. I find this works best for my process as you will discover below.


My passion for art started from a young age. During childhood, I was encouraged to do many creative activities and explore different artistic avenues.
By my teens, I was interested in digital art forms, such as creating computer games, animation and film.

I went to art college to study art and design. Following that, I went onto university to read landscape architecture. During my degree, I learnt more about design and it also started an interest in abstract art. After a spell of using different artistic mediums, I realised that I liked concentrating on painting, especially using acrylics, mainly because they dried quicker and didn’t involve chemicals to clean the brushes.

Today, I have an art studio based in Dorset, England, where I paint regularly. My work has sold throughout the UK and I continue to exhibit when I can.

With the cartoons, the process starts with generating as many ideas as possible. This could be influenced from what I’d done that day to what I’d seen in the news. These are put into an ideas box.

Once I have a good amount of ideas, say around 50, I then take them from the box and sort them into good, maybes and no’s. I would say that only 10% make it into the “good” and 20% into the maybes. The maybes get recycled into the box for the next sorting round. The bad ones are thrown away.

Using the goods, I start by drawing them out with pencil. Thinking of composition and how best to display the joke, especially taking into consideration speech bubble placement and how the viewer will read the cartoon.

This is then penned in and moves on to the painting section.

I use acrylics with a high concentration of water to make them act like watercolours. This gives the wash feel to the cartoons.

The cartoon is checked and re-penned if necessary, over the lines which have lost their colour after the painting. Even at this late stage sometimes the cartoons, after review, aren’t funny . They are then thrown away.

The speech bubbles are stuck on and the cartoon is trimmed for storage.

Once this is done then the cartoon is nearly ready for a photograph. If its being used for something digitally, it is imported into the computer and adjusted using software.

Sketch idea stage for cartoons

Inking cartoons

Painting cartoons

Abstract ideas normally start with an idea or seeing something which makes me want to try it out. I tend to take the ideas and put them onto pieces of paper. These pieces of paper are then put onto my “Ideas Wall”. This is a wall where I can hang the work and see it from a distance. It allows me to leave it on the wall and easily see the idea.

From here, I take the good ideas and destroy the rest. It’s a way of editing my ideas. I decide what to keep by how it best fits what my wanted feeling or aim is - my own self prescribed brief. As my abstract process grows I find myself discovering what works and doesn’t for me. This experience then dictates the next paintings outcome, taking bits I liked from the previous paintings and using them in the new ones.

The good ideas are then turned into full paintings. In the case of the surreal work, it is drawn directly onto the canvas and the editing happens a lot while I’m painting. For some paintings they need to be sketched out many times to get the composition correct and for the piece to be legible (not too many ideas in one painting).

For the expressionist abstract works, the painting sometimes is of the moment. It is needed to be generally produced more quickly and to capture the feeling.

With more editing and consideration of the basics of painting, such as colour, composition, values and line, I work to create the desired idea. This part can take sometime. I spend a lot of time thinking about the artworks. I am surprised how much time is spent thinking about how it should be shown. A lot of thought is put into images to get the correct effect.

Sometimes the paintings get half way and however much you try to correct them, they just don’t work. This can be frustrating in one way as you’ve spent along time working on an idea yet it also can be good as you’ve learnt what doesn’t work. Other times, you can be lucky and mistakes can occur. The mistakes then become the best part of the painting and suddenly the painting changes. During this creative process the painting is always evolving. That starting idea may become something completely different by the end.

Once I am happy with the desired outcome, I then sign, varnish and document the artwork.

Cartoons Paintings Process

Abstract Paintings Process

The “Ideas Wall”

A comparison of an abstract piece from the original idea (top) to the final piece (below)

Realist Style Paintings Process

This generally starts with a photography trip. I visit a place which I find interesting and work from there. Once back in the studio, I search through the photos to find which ones work the best. These are whittled down until I find one that I think would make a good composition and interesting painting.

On many of these paintings the background is put in first. A wash applied with a mix of water and paint. The fade is created by carefully combining the two colours. This can be difficult at times as the colours then mix and you get a secondary unintended colour. If this happens normally the canvas needs to be reprimed and I have to start again.

Next, I pencil in the outline, either using a watercolour pencil (which can be erased) or using paint. Sometimes its easier to just use paint as this creates a stronger outline.

Once the main drawing is in, copying from the photo, I then start to paint in blocks of colour. This is a process which gets more refined as it goes on. The more detail the painting has the more edits and adjustments the painting there are. It’s a process of constantly putting on layers, as acrylics generally are quite opaque which allows for easy covering of mistakes. This is the longest part of the process. I find that I like to add my own twist to the original photos than copying them directly seems pointless and uncreative. I aim in my paintings to add a bit of  personality, which I believe is normally shown through my natural style.

As we get towards the end of the painting, it is normally left for a bit before completion as I find that the eye gets used to the painting. When you come back to it after a couple of weeks, you notice what needs changing and what doesn’t quite work. These are then adjusted.

Finally, the painting is signed, varnished (using a matt varnish) and documented. I keep a log of all the paintings I’ve done.

Inspiration  photo

Blocking in and adding detail

Final result









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