Artist Peter Etril Snyder Shares Paintings Inspired by Street View…


I am thrilled to have artist Peter Etril Snyder guest hosting on the blog today.

  Arizona for web


I am sure you have heard me speak of him before… Not only is he a highly recognized Canadian artist, he is also a philanthropist, mentor and most importantly to me… he is a very special uncle!

 Recently I was chatting with him about his new approach to finding inspiration from Google Street View… I thought it was a fantastic concept… so I asked him to share some of the paintings he has done using it.

 If you aren’t familiar here is an intro…

 Google Maps with Street View lets you explore places around the world through 360-degree street-level imagery. You can explore world landmarks, view natural wonders, navigate a trip, go inside restaurants and small businesses all from the comfort of your home… Brilliant! If you would like to check out Street View here is the link


Here is Pete to tell us more…


Travel Paintings inspired by Google Street View


Hurst Road  is a small road in the New Castle on Tyne area of England.

Brick Stable by Peter Etril Snyder 2013

                            Brick stable, near Biddulf  Grange, New Castle on Tyne area.

Without Street view, I doubt that I would ever have gotten to this rural area. Following my nose on Street View has taken me to many places, often to back waters that I would not have visited in the U.K. even though I have vacationed there over 40 times. I should mention as well that the views that Street Views takes with their format are quite different from the angles that I would have chosen had I physically been on the spot. That forces me to look at different possiblilties.


Vezac Aquataine

Here is my story book version of a small holding in Vezac in Aquitaine.

I have selected only a portion from the Street view photo ( below) I made little of the cilff in the background but focused instead on the house and barn in this wine growing region of Fance. Using a scratchy almost dry brush application, my wish was to show a light herated view of this  rather grim photo. 

via Google Street View


I have always been drawn to the funny trees in France with their severe “haircuts” I choose my subjects in a most unscientific way.



I am either attracted to the subject or not. My paintings are personal and my concern is the aesthetic of the way that I handle the theme. I don’t wish to educate people but rather to delight the viewer.

When I look at a view, I try to decide which qualities of the photo speak to me.

Chateau, Aquataine

                                                        Chateau, Aquitaine

Clearly another artist or even this artist may take a different approach, perhaps focusing on the village or the buildings on the hill. I believe that it is this personal view point which makes art. Art is about a personal opinion.

I was attracted to this view from my drive –by shooting on street view.

by Peter Etril Snyder 2013

                                                          Aquitaine Cottage

Located at just the edge of Sos this small bungalow says cozy comfort, especially in the raking afternoon light. I think that I respond to light effects the way many people respond to music. Almost all of my paintings reflect my concern with what light is doing to the subject. Sos is a community in the Lot-et-Garonne department in south-western France

Having spent several U.K. vacations in the Cotswolds, I was drawn to this small cottage which is of type that we often rent while on holiday.

Cotswold cottage by Peter Etril Snyder 2013

                                                            Cotswold Cottage

As I often do, when dealing with snapshots from Street view, I have eliminated the road choosing to focus in on the stone house. I have also greatly reduced the impact of the trees behind the house, rather inferring them rather than describing them in any detail. Just another personal choice that makes this painting mine. This pretty  house is in the village of East Leach Martin, Oxfordshire.

This next painting is a good example of how I extract a bit of information from a Street view shot or really any photo that I take myself. When I photograph a piece if landscape, I try to include as wide an area as possible which allows me in  my studio to focus on some aspect that I might not have even seen when I took the original shot. In this particular photo I have done a riff on the information following my informed intuition developed from 50 years of painting.


Peter Etril Snyder Painting

                                                                          Newcastle Farm.

This country property is in the New Castle on Tyne area in northern England.

 My fanciful treatment of this open gate near Lambourn, U.K. points one the problems of painting from Streetview.

open gate by Peter Etril Snyder 2013

                                                                     Open Gate.

Often the photos from this marvelous device are crooked as the camera sweeps across the landscape.


This could present problems to the new comer who wishes to try this painting from Street View idea. Fortunately the computer can right many, but not all, wrongs. As with all these small paintings in this series I limit myself to one hour of painting time so that I am forced to keep the approach light. Edwards hill is just on the outskirts of Lambourn, Berkshire, U.K. (Great horse racing country)

 In 1998 Marilyn and I lived in a rented 16th century  house nearby. Driving around this area on street view, I relive many of the experiences that I have had in this area which is close to the famous garden at Sissinghurst.

By the Pond by Peter Etril Snyder 2013

                                                                  By the Pond.

Marilyn‘s keen interest in gardens has taken me to many extraordinary spots that I would not have found on my own. Everywhere I go I see things that demand painting.

Thank you for taking this journey with me today… If you are interested in any of the paintings I have shown to add to your own collections or if you just want to see more of my work please link over to my Gallery website.

If you have any inquiries here is my e-mail

Cynthia also has some of my work available through her online shop


I told you he was great…

Thank you Pete! I really enjoyed getting a taste of how you work using Street View… fascinating! 


  1. Beautiful work!

  2. Wow, such talent! I love the Open Gate and the Aquitaine Cottage…but they are all beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing with us. :)

  3. Cynthia, that’s fascinating! I can’t believe the amount of light he creates in each painting, too. What an amazing story and technique!

  4. My Hubs is obsessed with street view! We plan, look at new houses, you name we use it! What your Uncle has done is beyond brilliant!!!! I adore it, and will share this one with Bud! I can see that creativity and talent run in the family! <3

    ~Laurie @ Vin'yet Etc.

  5. You Uncle is amazingly talented!

  6. These are so beautiful. Loved getting to see the artists interpretation. The “Open Gate” was my favorite. It made me want to crane my neck and peer down the lane!!

  7. Dianne Gingrich says:

    What beautiful paintings.I love the cottage one.
    You, do have a very talented uncle, and with that new technology,amazing.

  8. That is so fascinating how travelling on the computer has inspired those beautiful paintings, thank you for sharing this Cynthia!

  9. Spence at Waterloo County says:

    Nice to hear from Pete on your blog Mom! It’s so great to hear him talk about his craft in such detail. Pete has been a huge support to us both, and his work with street view is a great testiment to how advances in our fields yield fresh and creative ideas.

  10. Wow! Talk about finding the beauty. These are really really lovely! Thanks for the new artist lead!

    • Hi Tia,
      Pete does do beautiful work doesn’t he! He is actually from Waterloo so I believe he is very close to you! I hope you go check out his website, you will enjoy it!

  11. These are GORGEOUS!

  12. These are gorgeous! And what a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing this, I might just have to try it in my paintings sometime…although I don’t do landscapes often…and when I do, They’re NEVER this amazing! ~Tammy

    • Hi Tammy,
      You should try street view for your painting! It is such a great idea… travel without travel! I love your work BTW!

  13. This is such a brilliant idea! Wow, I just love it! Thanks for sharing this insight into your uncle’s inspirational process. I particularly loved seeing the original image and how he then transformed it in his mind’s eye.

    • Hi Julie,
      I liked that part too! He is an amazing artist and a wonderful man. Thank you for popping over to see his post today!

  14. Wow, your uncle is very talented! I love his style, his paintings are beautiful! and yes, very clever to use google street view! Little Bit

  15. It’s amazing how technology is changing the way we do things – I never thought of “virtual traveling” through street view! Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.

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