Born in Germany to Estonian parents, at the age of four Peter moved to Australia with his family where they resided for ten years. Six of those years were spent in a remote outback area where Peter developed a keen interest in drawing his natural surroundings. Moving to Canada in 1960, Peter took art courses throughout high school and at the University of Toronto where he studied Architecture for three years.
However, he credits an early formative experience in defining the direction of his artwork, describing it thus:
"In a grade 11 science class, when I was having my usual difficulty reading the teacher’s writing on the blackboard, a girl half jokingly loaned me her eyeglasses.
My world changed dramatically that day when I realized it was not the fuzzy, blurry place I had been fumbling my way through for who knows how long.
I suddenly realized it was possible to recognize faces from across the street, and actually see individual leaves on trees! I was in awe of the beauty surrounding me, and ignored the optometrist’s suggestion that I not wear my new glasses all the time as it could weaken my eyesight further.
Six months later I had to get a stronger prescription, and then again in another 6 months before my eyesight settled down to its natural level. Being acutely aware of the hazard of losing or breaking my glasses, I have never taken sharp vision for granted, and I derive great joy from seeing every small or grand detail within my line of sight. My realism painting style reflects that joy of being able to see clearly and every painting is my celebration of being able to see and my tribute to the gift of sight."