By BONNIE OWEN
R.J. Penner is the featured artist for September for the Foothills Art Association.
Penner believes the best artwork tells a story, so he likes to include some narrative in his work. He prefers to give a painting a sense of place and space, a context, a meaning. In painting he experiences the joy of creating, the excitement of discovery, the satisfaction of completion, and the sense of connection with art history.
Penner says his inspiration comes from a lifetime of travel, visiting museums, concern for the environment and life experiences. He often finds that travel introduces new experiences, subjects and insights for art. He has painted many landscapes and also portraits of people and animals with an eye for the location.
Penner said his favorite artist is Winslow Homer. He especially likes Homer’s many narrative scenes. He also likes the colorful expressionists.
Penner began his artistic career by learning watercolor. He also enjoys painting in acrylics, which gives a more permanent feel but requires much more blending and paint mixing.
“I am a retired social worker and I took up watercolor painting during my lunch hours at the office,” he said. “Since then I have expanded my skills and repertoire by attending adult art classes and professional workshops. As a social worker the conditions of injustice and inequality are especially resonant in my art. I grew up in California and have lived in Hawaii, Colorado, Germany and Italy. I began my association with the Foothills Art Association in 2011 and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow artists.”
— Bonnie Owen is editor of Footprints, the monthly newsletter of the Foothills Art Association.