Using an Alla Prima approach to painting, Penny Otwell’s work reflects her direct and immediate response to what she observes in the natural world. Alla Prima is a style of painting where, instead of building colors up with layers or glazing over an underpainting, the painting is completed while the paint is still wet. Strictly defined, an Alla Prima painting would be started and finished in one painting session.
With over 40 years of painting and drawing out of doors, she remains focused on the designs, colors, and textures that she sees in nature and then emphasizes in her work.
“I am a prolific artist and often draw out of doors in ink and pencil in addition to my Plein Air painting. The possibilities are endless, but it is my task to discover a road map through each painting. I allow the painting to guide me, one step at a time, and I respond quickly to my subject trying not to think too much while painting. Afterwards, I take a cold hard look at the work done. I teeter on the balance between expressiveness, boldness, accuracy, detail, and feeling. When playing it safe, I find the work boring. I must totally engage in the act of painting to make the work come alive and always push towards the truth in what I see and feel. I have learned to trust in this process.”
Otwell has had exhibits at the Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite, Canyon Wren Studio, Mariposa, Carnegie Art Center, Turlock, A Sense of Place Gallery, Fresno, and at Mono Lake.
Her work has been published in “Art of The National Parks” and is widely collected. She can be reached at (http://pennyotwell.com).