August Press Release

Fine Art Masterpieces in Oils by Penny Simmons

Art du Jour Gallery is honored to present in our Salon an exhibit of never-before-seen masterworks in oils by Penny Simmons. Visitors to our gallery during recent years will recall the breathtaking watercolors Penny exhibited as an Art du Jour member. Now, after a year’s hiatus, she has consented to display for the first time the truly awe-inspiring new artwork she has been doing as an oil painter in the tradition of the Old Masters.

“My goal,” Penny explains, “is to produce paintings like I saw in the Louvre – very smooth and without texture; thinly applied layers create the translucency and depth of color that I am trying to achieve in my paintings.” An example of the art that inspires Penny is The Gleaners (1857) by Jean-Francois Millet.

That Penny could take up a new medium and transform herself in a year’s time from a consummate watercolor artist into a fine oil painter, on her own, is a testament to her intense passion, tenacity and intelligence, the compelling drivers that animate her prodigious talent. She has painted in watercolor for nearly 25 years and has studied with luminaries in the world of watercolor art, but as an oil painter, Penny is completely self-taught. She devours books on the Old Masters to study their styles and techniques, visits museums and galleries to view their work first-hand, and then she paints and paints and paints.

Pivotal in Penny’s self-education in oils was Virgil Elliott’s book Traditional Oil Painting: Advanced Techniques and Concepts from the Renaissance to the Present. Lost for hours in its pages, Penny absorbed the secrets of realistic painting and how the Old Masters created convincing illusions of three-dimensional depth on two-dimensional surfaces.

Penny was born in Norwich, New York, and spent most of her young life “avoiding the pragmatics of life so I could draw and paint. As a child, I spent countless hours on the sun-drenched porch of my parents’ house with my watercolor pan paints and brushes.  Dipping the tip of my watercolor brush into the pan of paints and, while barely touching the rim of the glass, I dropped the paint into the water and watched the colors flow together. I was mesmerized and although I didn’t know it at the time, I was practicing what was to become my life’s passion.”

In 1997, Penny and her husband, Charles, moved to Medford from Dallas, Texas, where Penny had worked for years as administrative assistant to Lawrence Marcus of Neiman Marcus. “I was so inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest that I felt compelled to take another watercolor course,” Penny says. “Anne Brooke, Dodie Hamilton, and Judy Morris were among my tutors.” Penny became a member of the Oregon Watercolor Society in 2001 and is also an Associate member of both the American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society.

“In 2007 I attended the 10-day Intensive Studies Seminar in Taos, NM, where I studied with some of America’s most celebrated and respected artists, including Skip Lawrence, Fran Larsen, Katherine Liu, Alex Powers, and Christopher Schink. This life-altering experience took my work to the next level. Without reference material or preparation I painted from my core, pulling joy and pain, sorrow and grief, all of which are evident in the paintings that resulted.”

Today, these same deep emotions emerge from the brooding, translucent beauty of the Old Masters’ style in Penny’s triumphant venture into oil painting. We invite you to visit Art du Jour Gallery during August and September to see these incredible works of art for yourself.

“Hot Stuff” is Feature Wall Theme

Yes, August at Art du Jour is HOT! Our “Hot Stuff” theme wall will be filled with bright colors, wild images and hot topics by several Art du Jour artists. Creative and full of fun, this month’s Feature Wall will delight you and your family, and the gallery’s cool interior will give you a break from the August heat outside. Come on in, get cool, and get a load of our “Hot Stuff!”

Enter Our “People’s Choice” Photography Contest!

A $50 prize and a blue ribbon await the winner of our “People’s Choice” photo-art contest. The winner will be determined by the votes of gallery visitors during September, and all contest entries are due by the end of August. To enter, call, e-mail or drop by the gallery for an entry form. Entry fee is $20 per framed photograph. The winning photograph will be exhibited in the gallery during October.  Contest artwork will be on display during September and we encourage you to drop by the gallery and vote for your favorite photo!

Artists! Join Art du Jour Gallery!

Art du Jour Gallery welcomes artists of any medium to apply for membership in our artists’ cooperative. We have display space for you in our fine art gallery and invite you to visit Art du Jour at 213 E. Main Street in Medford and fill out an application. Bring in three or four gallery-ready examples of your work for jurying. Come join us! (541) 770-3190.

Third Friday

Join us at Art du Jour Gallery, 213 E. Main Street in Medford, on Friday, August 18th, 5 – 8 p.m., to meet special guest artist Penny Simmons and many Art du Jour Gallery artists as well. Our reception will include the soothing guitar, keyboard and flute music of Minstrel Streams. Appetizers and wine will be served. Regular gallery hours are 10 – 4, Tuesday – Saturday. For more information, call (541) 770-3190.

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