Q&A with Artist Jane Penfield

“Shadowplay” by Jane Penfield

It may be fall, but at the exhibition of “Land & Sea,” there is a season for everyone. From crashing waves at Reid State Park in Maine that will make you nostalgic for summer to vivid winter sunsets in Connecticut that make polar vortex weather worth it, you can explore the beautiful New England seasons through Penfield’s en plein air style of art. The pieces emphasize texture, light, and movement, through colorful oil pastels that bring peaceful landscapes to life.

Stop by the opening reception at 100 Pearl Street Gallery on Thursday, September 25 between 5PM-7PM, where you can meet Penfield and mingle with fellow arts enthusiasts over wine and light hors d’oeuvres. Read on to learn more about her creative inspiration and favorite piece from the exhibit.

1. The paintings exhibited in Land & Sea depict the intensity of New England seasons. What season most inspires your creativity?

As Mark Twain said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute.” To me that’s one of the great things about living in New England. I love the diversity, the subtle changes from week to week, from hour to hour, and the challenges inherent in capturing the essence of a time and place. Fall and winter offer their own particular sparkle, and early morning and late day light present wonderful atmosphere and mood, when everything isn’t just plain green.

2. What do you hope to convey through your paintings (e.g.: a message or a feeling)?

I want the viewer to feel an emotional jolt. I want them to stop dead in their tracks and say, “I know what it feels like to be there.”

3. What is your favorite piece from the exhibit and why?

It’s hard for me to pick favorites, but I guess I’ll go with “Gold and Silver,” which won an award from the Academic Artists Association in the 2014 national show.

4.  Your work is of the en plein air tradition. Who or what inspired you to work within that style? What artists do you look to for inspiration?

Painting from life is the most direct and honest way to connect with the subject. I am inspired by the Impressionists – Monet, Sorolla, and especially John Singer Sargent. There are also many living artists whose work I admire greatly, especially William Hosner and Sherrie McGraw; and Alain Picard, Sandra Wakeen, and Liz Heywood Sullivan, who have been great mentors to me.