The rhythm and design of the natural world is what motivates me to paint Yosemite where I have lived since 1964. I started filling sketchbooks with drawings and eventually started painting in oils to portray the wonder I felt about the Sierra Nevada. I am grateful for the countless mountain experiences through backpacking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and even working a whole summer at Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. Some of the best times for me are sketching and painting. This mountain life has a profound emphasis on my paintings and I've learned about geology and botany along the way. Living in Yosemite Valley for many years and being part of the Yosemite Community has brought wonderful like-minded friendships.
I am a self-taught painter who has adopted a fresh ala prima style both painting en plein air and in my Mariposa studio. I continue to draw outdoors, sometimes doing very large finished pieces. Working outdoors with paint I often use oil painting knives to give texture and volume to the works. Most importantly, I paint what I feel about a place, not just what I see.
All work begins outside, then some are completed in the studio. But at times works are completely finished in the field. Imagination and exploration flourish in the studio in a quiet contemplative way. I'm always asking "what if?" I interpret nature's rhythm and design with composition, color, and texture and am currently exploring abstraction to reveal the essence of Yosemite.
I have become a keen visual observer over the years and this has served me well. I love being outdoors and being a plein air painter has given me a really great ride! Thank you for looking at my work.
PENNY OTWELL - VITAE
Audio Interview: 2018 - Yosemite Can 'O Peaches Program, Yosemite Valley
Here is a link to an interview with Penny Otwell and John DeGrazio in 2018:
Book -- Invitational Participation in the Publication: ART OF THE NATIONAL PARKS, Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations
Fresco Publications, 2013, Jean Stern, Susan Hallsten McGarry, Terry Lawson Dunn