Mediums: Acylic ink and watercolour
Style: loose, impressionistic, illustrative
Favorite Quote: “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
Favorite Book: His Dark materials
Favorite Movie: Schindlers List
Winter Thaw © Sophie Penstone - Early morning across the rolling hills in Cornwall, just as the morning frost was disappearing
After studying for my degree, I moved to Cornwall in the South West of England. The move to this part of the world inspired me to try and paint everyday and recreate the ever-changing beautiful landscape. I am inspired by many things but mostly woodlands, colour and shadows. Over the last ten years I have exhibited successfully throughout Cornwall as well as nationwide in group and solo shows. Painting initially with watercolour onto stretched, primed canvas is an unconventional technique that allows for a greater freedom with image size as well as allowing washes to be layered and disturbed, should I wish. I overlay this background with acrylic ink taking advantage of its fluidity, intensity, vibrancy and transparent qualities.
Can you remember creating art as a child?
I remember vividly as a very young child complaining of being bored and my mum would always respond with 'paint a picture then!' so began a lifetime of painting. At the age of 5 I won my first local art competition and haven't looked back since.
Sheilings Garden © Sophie Penstone - This is the house I grew up in that my Dad built, it holds so many happy memories
Do you have a job other than artist?
I work part time in a large Art Shop in the South West, UK. I am responsible for buying all the products we sell so spend a lot of time trying out new stuff and experimenting.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?
I want my work to convey the passion and energy I feel when I am inspired by a particular subject matter, or how the light is cast across a road at a certain time of day and how the branches of a tree can create intricate, intriguing patterns.
I will spend some time sketching in my sketchbook once I have been inspired by a particular scene or play of light. Or i may do a complete, 'practice' piece in watercolour on paper. I am a messy painter so need plenty of space so more often than not I will also take photographic records away with me to work from in my studio. I do not do any initial drawing onto the canvas, just mentally work out composition. I start with a series of very loose washes in watercolour, letting the paint do its thing; creating patterns, merging, dripping into its preferred settled position on the canvas. I then overlay this with the acrylic ink and make my mark with anything close to hand such as the end of a paint tube, a twig, piece of plastic or the end of a much loved brush. The ink is thrown, flicked and splattered onto the canvas. I enjoy the process of painting as much as the end results.
Hazy Days © Sophie Penstone - I was inspired by the patterns in the trees and the shadows they were casting
I am inspired by many things... subject matter - I love trees!, buildings old and new, derelict sheds, stonework, gateways etc... but the main thing that excites me is the play of light upon the subject; the shadows, dappling light, cast light through layers of foliage or onto a wall. So ultimately I will paint anything if the light inspires me. Colour also inspires me a lot and I don't shy away from it!
I had many solo and group shows in Cornwall as well as London and Gloucestershire prior to my son being born. After a break of 5 years I am currently showing my work for the first time in a solo show in Truro, Cornwall.
Have you been selling your art?
I have sold many works over the years through various gallery outlets, brick and mortar as well as online.
Helford Passage © Sophie Penstone - This is someone’s private gateway, I love the way the shadows of the gate were cast across the cobbled drive and you can peek through to another world
Online art promotion
This is new to me so I have recently opened an Etsy shop and am a member of artgallery.co.uk and Portfolio plus (Artists and Illustrators magazine). I also have a website and am just realizing the potential that Facebook has for exposure, especially pages such as Arts, Artists and Artwork and Seeking Artists.
My family and friends influence me.
I am in awe of Alvaro Castagnet and the way he executes his watercolours with such passion. I would give my last biscuit to be able to paint as well as him. I have also just discovered Lorna Holdcroft who's work in acrylics is masterful and so colourful.
Please tell us something interesting from your life.
I've travelled quite a bit but not nearly enough. Now our son is getting older I want to take him all over the world. I live in hope that he will love art as much as I do but up until now painting 'makes me sick, mummy!'. He is rebelling already!!
St. Hilary, Unmade Lane © Sophie Penstone - this scene is literally around the corner from my house and is a typical scene that I am inspired to paint
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
There are things that I wish for and things that I wish hadn't happened but they are all things out of my control. I stand by all my life decisions so far and am happy with the choices I have made.
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
I plan to look at interior scenes for a while, I have images in my mind already of light streaming in through a Georgian window into a dimly lit cafe. And I hope to promote myself further through as many different avenues as I can. I have been asked countless times, in the last week alone, if I do workshops or demonstrations of my technique. I hope to build up my confidence to explore these possibilities.
Advice for artists
You will take one step forwards and two steps back but if painting/art is your passion then keep going, and going, and going...