My journey as an artist began with watercolor. I am inspired by the beauty of nature and the play of light and shadow. In watercolor, more than any other medium, the dark shadows against the reserved white of the paper is what brings the painting to life.
My work as a watercolor artist began in a workshop given by Polly Hammett in Houston Texas in 1988 and has taken me from Texas to California, to the Oregon coast and then to Medford, Oregon in 2012. For me, producing art is a discipline which I take very seriously. Unlike some artists whose passion is the process and who find creating art exhilarating, my experience is that every painting is hard work, thrilling and exciting but with the anticipation of scaling Mt. Everest. I joke that with every painting I open a vein. It is the yin and yang of the artist at work. It is not to say that I would rather be doing something else, only that I am committed and driven in a way that confounds me and those who know me. I am dedicated to becoming the best possible artist I can be in the time left to me on this earth. I suppose I could be accused as being a little compulsive about painting but I feel I have a God given gift with an obligation to fulfill, and it’s a huge responsibility.
Penny Simmons’ Biography
I began my art career as a watercolor artist in Houston, Texas where I took my first watercolor workshop from the esteemed Polly Hammett. My beginning paintings were colorless and amateurish. Using student grade materials left me discouraged with the medium however I persevered. I upgraded my materials and continued to take workshops that improved my technique.
Our move to Medford Oregon in 1997 provided an opportunity to further advance my watercolor skills. Workshops with Anne Brooke, Dodie Hamilton and Judy Morris gave me the confidence to apply for membership into the Watercolor Society of Oregon.
My watercolor studies culminated in 2002 while attending the “Intensive Studies Seminar” in Taos, New Mexico, a ten-day workshop studying with some of America’s most celebrated and respected artists; Skip Lawrence, Fran Larsen, Katherine Liu, Alex Powers, and Christopher Schink. This life altering experience took my work to the next level.
In June 2016 I met Sheri Dinardi, an amazing oil painter and guest artist at Art DuJour Gallery in Medford, Oregon. I was so impressed with her beautiful oil paintings that for the first time in over 25 years of painting in watercolor, I felt compelled to learn to paint in oils. I began reading books on oil painting techniques and studying artists whose style I wanted to emulate. My beginning work was disappointing, but again I persevered and continued to learn. I now paint exclusively in oils and feel that the years of training and experience I gained as a watercolor artist has contributed to the oil painter I have become.
I am an Associate member of the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society and Oil Painters of America.
Cropping and color are close approximations of actual artwork.
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