Penny was born in Newcastle in 1967 and is now a mum to Jack, 18, and Rosie, 17. When struggling to cope as a single mother, art was her saving grace, which she discovered after buying her first canvas and acrylic paints.
‘I have never been any good at drawing, so I just started to paint to see where it took me,’ Penny explains. ‘It began to really relax me and take me to another place, I guess like a meditation.’
Although all of our local landscapes inspire her work, she has a love for the hidden treasure Rievaulx Abbey. ’It’s like going into the Lord of the Rings' Hobbit shire,’ she says. ‘The North East has great beaches, parks and architecture and that's why it's so great for artists.’
When Penny lost her job and the first national lockdown hit, painting became her solace, and that’s true for many others who found art a great coping mechanism. As we head into a third national lockdown in England, art is likely to provide an escape for many people, and Penny is proof that it can work.
‘There are times when I don't feel like doing another painting, then I see something or have an idea and think “yeah let's have a bash at that,”’ she says. ‘Painting is a bit like when you get somewhere driving, and you can't remember how you got there as your autopilot has kicked in. Although I’d definitely say there's an artist in spirit guiding me.’
Penny’s ultimate dream would be to have a place in Whitby with a view of the abbey. ‘I don't want to be just a name on a painting,’ she says. ‘I want people to come and see me talk while I paint and see my painting come to life.’
Discover Penny’s work at pennyjpaintings.co.uk