A Painting Machine

Brett Pederson cranks out artwork inspired by the masters he loves.


Brett Pederson's artwork shows the influences of his favorite artists.

Artwork courtesy of Brett Pederson

When Brett Pederson started drawing and painting professionally in 2014 at his Cola Ballena Bay home studio, he thought it was imperative to finish a work of art daily. Since then, he has slowed his whirlwind approach slightly: In 2016 he did 100 paintings, and he’s shooting for 80 or 90 by the end of 2017.

“I had never drawn. I had never taken art classes, not ever, not one,” said the 57-year-old while seated recently at his book-strewn desk atop carpet bearing errant red paint streaks.


Initially, Pederson—who now signs his paintings “Brett.” and identifies as “Brett.artist”—studied art history books and relied on his travel experiences from the world’s most famous art museums and then commenced drawing realistic face portraits. Encouraged by family and friends, he took art classes at Laney College and Berkeley City College and progressed from Conté crayons, oil pastels, charcoal, and colored pencils to acrylic, gouache, water color, and oil paints on everything from paper and cardboard to canvas. He also expanded his vision, moving from faces to bodies in representational scenes.

“I often start painting from something I see, and then do the rest from imagination. I can’t keep up with my painting ideas, so I just paint as much and as fast as I can,” Pederson said.

His bold, bright art, which conveys a youthful naïveté, shows the influences of his favorite artists, Picasso, Matisse, Degas, and Kandinsky, though one may pick up on Cezanne, Van Gogh, Bonnard, and Chagall—most artists whose work he has seen firsthand.


Wearing a striped tan-and-white polo shirt, blue-plaid shorts, and shoes without socks, Pederson, his longish blond hair slightly mussed, excitedly showed off his works, noting how they incorporate imagery from saints, angels, ancient Greece, Rome, goddesses, pop art, and his mind.

A onetime poet and golfer, Pederson grew up in Alameda and globetrotted, thanks to an English mother and a father in the airline industry. Like the artists he loves, Pederson boasts a background rooted in the classics—Latin, Greek, art, architecture, and archaeology, through studies at Merritt College, City College of New York, and Fordham University. He also earned a law degree from USF School of Law and practiced law for 25 years.

To learn more about Pederson’s art, contact him at Brett.artist@yahoo.com or call 510-227-5651.


Published May 11, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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