Maze Peters is a dog lover first, artist second. Her small studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts is tucked away on the second floor of Whaler’s Wharf, a shopping area which opens out onto the beach on one side and busy Commercial Street on the other. Her dog portraits are beautiful, capturing the essence of each animal with the eye of a keen observer of life, canine and otherwise.
My husband and I wandered up to her studio with two dogs in tow, our small Siberian Husky pup Fiona and my father’s five year old Husky Shelby. They are striking animals, Fiona with silver and white coat and clear blue eyes, Shelby with red and white coat and big brown eyes. We were curious about the portraits and even more curious about Maze herself. We’d seen signs around town about an event she was giving the next day and it piqued our curiosity.
Maze was closed up in her studio, busy cleaning and getting prepared for the next day. She had to stop everything she was doing, however, when she saw us coming up the iron stairs. She came rushing out of the studio and greeted our girls with open arms, dog biscuits, pets and kisses. A truly warm welcome. She invited them to her party the next day, on the floor below. It was a party given by the dogs, she said, who invited their people. Her portraits would be on display and there would be food and raffles, all proceeds to go to the local dog park, The Pilgrim Bark Park. We gladly accepted on their behalf, happy to be invited to this local event.
The dog party was lively when we arrived. It was packed with people and dogs, the chatter of conversation filling the air. People were buying raffle tickets, looking at portraits, eating the food that was laid out in abundance on tables in the round atrium overlooking the sea. Maze was a study in earth tones, marching around happily clad in a long brown duster coat to keep off the autumn chill, her shortly cropped brown hair and small round glasses beautifully framing her sun tanned face. She was queen of the party surrounded by friends and fans and tourists like ourselves. Each dog was given a goodie bag in the form of a Chinese take out container filled with dog biscuits. Shelby and Fiona made short work of these.
When first we had approached the studio, what greeted our eyes was a life size statue of a black lab. Maze laughingly told us that she sometimes drives with this statue in the passenger seat of her small red pick up truck. Tourists on more than one occasion have seen her parked car and called the police on her, thinking she had a live animal locked up in her vehicle in the summer heat. Locals have grown used to her plaster friend.
Maze confided in us that she had been homeless at one point in her life. As she sat or lay on the street, people usually averted their eyes from her, but dogs, she noticed, always met her glance head on. That loving attention and individual recognition was by no means forgotten. She’d seen inside the soul of the canine world and it was a perspective which changed her forever.
Maze Peters possesses the generous spirit of a true artist, knowing that the more you give the more you are open to receiving the gifts of the muse. It’s a passion which comes across in her portraits. Fast forward a few years after Maze’s period of homelessness. She had won a much coveted lottery to stay in a beach shack on the dunes of Provincetown. It’s a minimalist world of sand and sea except for the glorious and varied shades of light, which change by the minute depending on the direction of the wind, color of the sea and the temper of the weather. These shacks are very bare bones – just a small shack with a picture perfect, unobstructed view of the dunes and the ocean. She determined to sketch some landscapes but somehow, despite her pristine surroundings and the vista before her, what revealed itself on the canvas was her friend’s dog, from memory. And she’s been drawing dogs ever since, with consummate skill and enthusiasm.