Penny Lovelock, painting her way on a lake … with some music, a goose and some ducks.

With a background as an illustrator, Lake Conjola with its resident ducks and geese, inspired Penny Lovelock to finally paint and release her artist within.

Penny Lovelock started her artistic career as an illustrator, not really interested in being an artist at the time. In London the illustration business was hard work, however, after moving to Coogee in 1990 Penny found the Australian market more welcoming and was soon in demand as an illustrator. With around 30 books under her belt, a string of regular editorial commissions, and a few awards, along came motherhood and everything changed.

“With young kids I just couldn’t keep illustration going, especially since the move to Lake Conjola. I did a bit of work for Clemenger and Sydney’s Child, some quite good jobs really. Then I started painting.”

“At first I did struggle a bit. I couldn’t work out how to fit my illustrative style into painting. For a while I did landscapes. Then I thought: why can’t I paint stories? If I can marry the two together it will work.” So it slowly came together.

Basically Penny paints a story. A story inspired by music, the lake, the ducks, a goose, and her dog Flynn.

“I play music, and I sing in a group. I watch people at the same time and I’ve noticed how important music is to people, to their emotional state. And that’s a pretty big part of my work – the underlying purpose of my work, at this point in time anyway.”

Penny describes her style as whimsical and figurative, although in an impressionistic, and fairly realistic way. Influences of Degas, Cezanne and even elements of Chagall are clearly visible amid her own unique style.

At present, Penny is busy preparing for an upcoming exhibition at the Milk Factory Gallery in Bowral, and has over a dozen paintings going, each at various stages of completion. These days she layers her paintings, allowing contemplation time between for her imagination to create the next instalment in the emerging story of each work.

With an underlying theme of music, her current work heavily features Lake Conjola, and its resident wildlife. Penny Lovelock’s work has greatly developed since her illustrator days, and her paintings cry out with expression and feeling, not only in the faces of her subjects, but in their whole being. Penny drapes items of clothing over the easel so she can accurately depict how they hang, and has photos on her iPod of her daughter playing the cello so she can express the arms right. In fact, there are a lot of photos on the iPod, inspiration for future series and themes.

“All my work seems to have some sort of emotional meaning and I think I paint from that perspective. I like painting enchanted things that people can look at and appreciate, and get some sort of joy from.”

For this exhibition, Penny has also completed a series of charcoal drawings that follow the same music and lake inspired theme. Surprisingly, Penny has really enjoyed dropping the colour and being able to focus on tone and the way the light falls. Her charcoal portraits in particular are mesmerising as she cleverly captures depth and expression, movement and stillness – quite seamlessly.

“When I paint I start off on a journey and then it changes. By the time I finish it’s evolved into something different. There’s a more serious side underneath my work, which people may not see. I think quite deeply when I paint, so there’s that side to the work even though it may not be noticed. “

Oh it’s noticed Penny, it’s noticed.

Penny Lovelock An exploration of music and the emotion it brings in everyday life Exhibition 26 September to
26 October at the Milk Factory Gallery, 33 Station Street (rear) Bowral