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Artist  Penny Nolan

Traditional Fine Art Oil Painter


I’ve been drawing since I can remember. The smell of oil paint still reminds me of my first paint by numbers set when I was eight years old. I am blessed with an endless imagination and find painting a perfect outlet for my creativity.  Life is a painting to me. The world around me is like a continuous stream of painting snapshots parading in my head. When I’m not painting in my studio, I’m painting in my mind.


People often ask me why I paint with oils and not acrylics or watercolors.  There’s a certain versatility I find appealing, in addition to the creaminess of the paint. I don’t have to worry about them drying while I “play” with the paint. I can take my time getting the image just the way I want. I can control how slow or fast I want them to dry. The paint can be thinned to translucency or made thick and opaque. Oils allow me to have complete freedom of creative expression. 


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I enjoy a good composition that moves the eye through the painting. I use a glazing technique to achieve depth and richness of color. My “go-to” subject of choice is landscapes. My style is traditional, lending itself to the serene settings that I prefer to paint. I want viewers to imagine themselves in my paintings. The ultimate compliment is when someone looks at one of my landscape paintings and says, “Oh… I want to go there.” Mostly, I want beautiful paintings that inspire and touch the hearts of people. 


I enjoy creating paintings with a little story. In my in painting titled “Escape,” carousel horses come to life and are jumping off the platform into the wild. For those who like the challenge of a hunt, I try to include small items to make the paintings more interesting. In “The Words Out,” I have a dazzling array of hot air balloons heading off on their journey through a beautiful land, but if you look closely, you’ll see a tiny rainbow to indicate that they are going to the Land of Oz. I also enjoy whimsy. “The Foothill Dancers” depicts a row of evergreen trees I pass every day.  A type of tree that always appears to me as if dancing. Be sure to notice that the shadows of the trees are that of children dancing.  I relish painting the dreamy and moody. In “Secret Paradise,” I have created a snowy, nighttime scene with two people kissing under a gazebo with twinkling lights. I want all my subject matter to be meaningful, relatable and beautiful, if not ideal.


I am a Native Californian residing in beautiful Northern California. I am inspired by nature and spend as much time outdoors as I can. I especially enjoy Plein Air painting (outdoor painting) as a way to capture the spirit of the landscape. Fortunately, I have a husband who loves to travel and I love to paint the sites, a perfect combo! 


I have been an art teacher for 28 years. I have a Bachelor’s degree in art from San Jose State University.

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