Herman Pekel was born to Dutch parents in Melbourne, Victoria in 1956.
The art teachers of Herman’s youth, Roger Webber, Ernest Buckmaster and Lance McNeill were all primarily oil painters, but the experience of painting with them on location left a strong impression; giving him the freedom of spontaneity and leaving him an intuitive painter, ultimately working from the light source.
Like many young artists Herman experimented for a time with abstract expressionism, but he is now well known for his oils and watercolours. Herman is an artist of energy and enthusiasm; able to see a painting in almost any subject matter and capable of producing award-winning work in oil, watercolour or gouache.
Environmental issues are a great concern to Herman and his love of the landscape reflects that in almost everything he paints. He produces paintings of strong design and powerful impact – every brushstroke vibrant and visible. The scope of Herman’s work ranges from dynamic industrial scenery to soft, draped interiors and broad Australian landscapes, which indicates the creatively fearless nature of this unique artist.
Herman’s many awards include winning the 1989, 1993, 1995 and 2006 Camberwell Rotary Watercolour Prize, the 2004 Camberwell Rotary Art Show’s Best Oil and the 1989 and 1993 Alice Bale Award. He was also a three-time finalist of the Camberwell Rotary Travel Scholarship.
In 1994, the National Taiwan Art Institute asked Herman to participate in a book and travelling exhibition with selected artists from Australia, USA and Taiwan.
Herman exhibits his work regularly in the USA.
His works are featured in the books:
- Australian Impressionist and Realist Artists compiled by Tom Roberts
- 120 Years of Watercolourists by the Australian Realist Artists
- Artists and Galleries of Australia and New Zealand by Max Germaine, and
- Profile on Contemporary Watercolours
As a feature artist at Plein Air Down Under 2021, Herman will conduct a three-day Watercolour Master Class on 22, 23 and 24 September, recommended for intermediate/advanced artists. Registrations will open on 1 June and artists registered to paint at Plein Air Down Under 2021 will be eligible to register.