Penny has always worked as a professional artist. She trained as a theatre designer and designed scenery and costumes for productions all over Great Britain, varying from Shakespeare and Mozart to The Jungle Book. Simultaneously she painted shop fronts and formal gardens in oil, and her work was sold at the Portal Gallery in Bond Street.
An increasing love of drawing and painting led her to illustration. She started with craft and lifestyle books, working on how-to diagrams, decorative borders and details in pen and ink and watercolour. She then began to write and illustrate design source books – with the most recent ones about Art Nouveau, Celtic Art and Maori Designs.
Penny also worked on books on gardening and natural history, and the latter especially started to fascinate her more and more. In 2009 she enrolled on the Distance Learning Course with the Society of Botanical Artists, which greatly developed her observational and painting skills, and in 2011 she graduated with a distinction and won the Award for Excellence.
Since then she has exhibited annually with the SBA at Westminster Hall, London and at Palmengarten in Frankfurt. She was accepted as a Full Member of the society in March 2013. She belongs to and exhibits widely with the South West Society of Botanical Artists and she regularly opens her studio for Dorset Art Weeks. In 2014 her painting ‘Grape Hyacinth’ was on loan to the Museo Centro de Gaias in Santiago de Compostela for the Auga Doce Exhibition.
Over the years she has worked for a wide range of publishers, including DK, Liberty’s, Reader’s Digest, Lorenz Books, Guild of Master Craftsmen, David and Charles, and Search Press. Her work has, to date, appeared in close to 100 books.
Penny works in watercolour, graphite pencil and most recently in multimedia collage where she enjoys cutting and layering plain papers in a complex and subtle way to achieve an effect that is reminiscent of 1930s silk screen prints. Her book ‘Botanical Drawing – A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing Flowers, Vegetables, Fruit and Other Plant Life’, was published by Search Press in January 2018.
She looks forward to continuing her parallel careers in botanical painting and illustration, and is happy to take commissions.