Visual artist Penny Hetherington has been painting and drawing for as long as she can remember. It is a passion that has, and will always remain with her. She completed her Advanced Certificate in Art and Design at Box Hill College of TAFE and her Bachelor of Arts (fine art) at RMIT in the 1990s. Penny chiefly works in acrylic, but she enjoys experimenting with other mediums and using various different techniques over the top of a painted surface. An example of this involves gluing paper collage, dripping PVA glue or crosshatching in pen to add layers, texture and depth to the work. Sometimes she may add sequins or glitter to a painting to demonstrate an individual’s classy personality in the characters she creates. Besides painting on canvas, Penny loves to upcycle old magazines and turn them into artist’s journals, which are a work of art on there own. To add thickness and texture to each of the old magazine’s pages she will papier-mâché each individual page with newspaper or textured paper towel. Once the pages have fully dried, she will paint it and decorate it with glitter or sequins. Sometimes she may rebind pages with ribbon or baker’s twine.
Penny has used her skills to create a number of art books for “The Sketchbook Project” based in Brooklyn, New York City. These books have been on tour, travelling around various states and cities of the United States and Canada and in 2011, the last leg of the tour included London as part of its international expedition. At the end of the tour the books then returned to Brooklyn and remain as a artefact for the Brooklyn Art Library to inspire other artists.
Penny is passionate about street art having been involved with Urban Smart Projects in the painting of 4 traffic signal boxes in the Ballarat CBD. She is looking forward to painting more street art like this in the future.
The human spirit and figure is often depicted in Penny’s paintings and in recent times she has become fascinated by history (particularly Australian History). She has recently completed a series of paintings and drawings about Australian bushrangers or individuals from the Ballarat goldfields, such as Ned Kelly, Captain Moonlite, Anastasia Withers and Peter Lalor. It is their stories that defines the country of Australia, which inspires her to develop artworks around their life.
Penny is an artist who prefers to draw and paint in a naive style which gives her the freedom ‘to go with the flow’ and sketch whatever comes to mind. She principally illustrate figures from her imagination and she seldomly draws from real life objects or photos. Penny’s figurative style is generally colourful and unrealistic which adds to the whimsical feel that regularly appears in her artworks. She loves using her art as a tool to educate people about characters from Australian history, even if they are not well known as there are many fascinating stories to tell through her art.
In 2016 Penny held a solo art exhibition at Backspace Gallery in Ballarat entitled ‘Terra Australis’, which showcased the work that she produced around the Australian history theme.