The Early Years

Dr. Louis A. Peck, Jr. was an Idaho native. He was born in 1922 in Shoshone, Idaho. His innate art abilities were exhibited as early as in his high school yearbooks. He was truly an Idaho born and bred artist, painter and passionate art educator.

Beginning a Career

His Educational Background: Boise Junior College , University of California at Santa Barbara , College of Idaho , Utah State University , University of Idaho.

Developing a Legacy

Although he worked in many painting media, Dr. Peck’s name is synonymous with watercolor. His reputation as a deft watercolorist is exemplified by his use of subtle color variations and his great instincts for landscapes. It has been said that if Idahoans see a watercolor that captures the beauty of the Idaho landscape, they expect to find Peck’s signature on it. His pastoral landscapes have a distinct and unique Idaho ambiance. You will find a great display of his work on our online Gallery page.

Achievements & Accomplishments

  • Bachelor of Arts from College of Idaho, Magna Cum Laude, 1953
    Masters from Utah State University, 1957
    Doctor of Education, University of Idaho, 1970
  • Beginning in 1955, he served as Chair of the Art Department for 35 years: Boise Junior College (BJC), Boise College (BC), Boise State College (BSC), Boise State University (BSU), 1955-1989
  • He completed workshops with: Rex Brandt School of Painting, George Post, Alfred Dunn, and Eric O’Back.
  • His paintings have appeared in dozens of one-man and group shows during his career. Many private collections include his work.
  • He was one of five Idaho artists to exhibit at the first Intermountain Exhibit in 1967.
  • One of eight artists chosen from the United States to have art displayed during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
  • He served as Idaho National Art Week Director and also on the Idaho Art & Humanities Commission.
  • Before coming to the Boise Junior College campus as Art Department Chair in 1955, he taught at North Junior High in Boise, Idaho from 1953-55. It is not at all surprising that his art students at North Junior High received national recognition.
  • Over 30 years, the Idaho Statesman published sketches of prominent residents – 1,700 in all. Featuring portraits by the late Boise artist, John Collias, Dr. Louis Peck was featured on Sunday, November 9, 1969.
  • Dr. Peck did the design on the front of Dr. Eugene Chaffee’s book about Boise State, and is also mentioned in Chaffee’s book.
  • During a local visit as an art judge, film star Vincent Price, an avid art collector, complimented Dr. Peck’s paintings.
  • Over the years, he did many one-man shows and taught at workshops in Canada and Hawaii. He also taught painting workshops at McCall, Idaho, for many years.
  • In the 80s, he lived three months in San Sebastian, Spain, as part of Boise State University’s exchange program with Basque students. He did a series of paintings with spanish themes during that time.
  • He mentored and helped many of his current and former students over the years, in many cases helping them land their first job.

Leaving a Legacy

Dr. Peck built an exceptional and well-respected Art Department through his nearly four decades of leadership at Boise State. Hiring very talented artists such as John Killmaster, John Taye, Dennis Ochi, John Takehara and many others, developing a talented faculty. Always the mentor, Dr. Peck was also known to recruit and hire outstanding former students, such as Bill Benson, Gaye Hoopes, Howard Huff and many others. In doing so, he set a tradition of finding and acquiring outstanding art educators that is still in the DNA of the Boise State University Department of Art, an important part of his legacy. He always had a passion for art and art Instruction.




“My greatest satisfaction is working with students and watching them develop into very capable artists and humanistic people who are making their own contribution…”

“Mastery of methods and technique is not enough–individual sensitivity must overshadow subject and media. However confidence can be developed by knowledge, training and experience–be careful of the cult of the sloppy or casual.”

“A child’s art is simple, honest, orderly and represents life. Increase knowledge and you will increase understanding.”

“You don’t have any excuses anymore… because YOU are an ‘artist,’…and an ‘artist’ can do anything!”

“One of the greatest rewards after 20 years of teaching is to see a one-man art department grow to the largest in the State. We now have 17 full-time faculty members and approximately 400 majors. It is a pleasure to work with these highly motivate, professionally oriented people who make up one of the outstanding departments in the Northwest.” 1974

“If you think about it… nothing is completely functional… unless it is beautiful!”


Generations of Students

Please join with us to be a part of Dr. Peck’s Legacy. Are you a former student or faculty who studied under or worked with him over the years? Send us your story with permission to use it on this site or in the upcoming book. You can contribute anonymously or on the record. In any case we will need permission to use or edit your contribution to help the project in its many forms. Thanks!
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“Dr. Peck was a truly kind and fine man, and a gifted artist who delighted more in passing along the torch of creativity and a passion for the ‘art of painting’ to his students, and enjoying the fact of their success with art in their lives, more than his own legacy. Now is the time to truly acknowledge and honor his legacy, art and life. It is the right thing to do, and we are going to do it.”

James Walker, BJC ‘64, BC ‘68 – Former Student

“I can recall watercolor class vividly with Dr. Peck. At the start of each class having every student gather around him to see how he would approach the landscape slide of the day. I’m pretty sure I can speak for all around me at the time, we were amazed by every stroke of his brush. We all knew we were watching a master painter at work as he captured the lights and shadows of the painting. You never wanted the class to end.

It was truly an inspiration to witness his greatness during my years of studies at BSU. He is truly missed today by all and
especially the mark he left on every student and faculty member.”

Scott L. BSU ‘92, Former Student

“I still remember how obvious it was that he absolutely loved painting and sharing his joy and knowledge about it.

Dr. Peck’s obvious love of watercolor painting and generous sharing of his expertise was inspiring from the very first class and maintained through to the last class. He was one of my very favorite painting instructors.”

Julie E. BSU ‘78, Former Student

“As a BFA art major at Boise State I have had the opportunity to be part of Dr. Peck’s watercolor class. I painted for 3 hours or more every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon beginning in 1975 until 1979. Dr. Peck inspired me to paint as I usually worked 2 hours after class.

We students would arrive with anticipation of the day’s watercolor demonstration. For the first hour of class Dr. Peck painted from one of his slides in his photography collection. He “belted it out” spontaneously wet into wet, with flipping paint, and splattering bright colors. Artistic mediums varied from transparent watercolors, ink, and quash. Louis created beautiful paintings!

As Dr. Peck demonstrated he answered our questions about technique all the while telling stories.
We were treated well by a cool wonderful person, great talented artist, and hard working

It was a wonderful time that inspires me to paint to this day. I will never forget it.

Thank you Dr. Peck!”

Brian S. BSU ‘79 – Former Student


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