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 on Herman, giving him the freedom of spontaneity and leaving him an intuitive painter, ultimately working from the light source.
Herman painted spasmodically until 1981 before commencing a Fine Arts degree at RMIT and studying under Dale Hickey and Jeff Makin. 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. He is able to see a painting in almost any subject matter and is 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 has ranged from dynamic industrial scenery to soft, draped interiors and broad Australian landscapes, which indicates the creatively fearless nature of this unique artist.
Herman was the winner of the Camberwell Rotary Watercolour prize in 1993 and was previously three times a finalist in Camberwell’s Travel Scholarship Award, winner of the 1989 Camberwell Watercolour Prize and also the Travel Study Scholarship in 1989. He has also won many other awards, including the Camberwell Rotary Art Show’s Best Oil in 2004, the Camberwell Rotary Watercolour prize in 1989, 1993, 1995 and 2006, the Camberwell Rotary Travel Scholarship in 1989, and in 1989 and 1993 he won the Alice Bale Award.
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” which features Australian Artists and was 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”.