For devout Roman Catholic Peter Minchell, creating religious and visionary drawings was much more of a spiritual than physical process: “You have to have a considerable imagination to carry out these ideas on paper. Before I start any painting at all I always lie down. I wake up and I can’t sleep. And I begin to think ‘Well, what shall be the next thing on paper?’ And I form an idea of what it’s going to be, and I work out the details before I even draw a line.”
Inspired in part by visits to museums, Minchell began painting after moving to Florida soon after the end of World War II. After his retirement in the late 1960s, Minchell created this complex, cataclysmic painting [Fall of Jerusalem 70 A.D., SAAM, 1986.65.184] based on his dreams about destruction of religious beliefs and moral standards. He was only able to devote much time to his painting after he moved to Florida. Between his retirement and his death at the age of ninety-two, Minchell created three major series of paintings that depict the trials of mankind after earth has been burned by the passing tail of “Comet X,” life without sin and fault on “Planet Perfection,” and the primitive purity of life in the Amazon jungle.
Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)