Balance Design– Tell us a bit about you, your background and how you got into art?Penny Treese– I’ve been inspired to create art since age 5, and the passion to devour and craft multiple art forms is simply in my DNA.The decision seemed to be made when I was born. My parents nurtured my love of art and provided me with every type of lesson from local artists throughout my youth. They encouraged art school and supported every move that brought me closer to living my dream of being a working artist. A 10-year career in design and advertising before diving into full-time fine artistry gave me the backbone to withstand the drastic highs and lows of this life-path.I’ve been blessed with the rises and falls of the “artist-life tide”. I truly see the highlights as delicious icing and yet the struggles are where I’ve grown most exponentially. I’m proud to have been one of the six original artists who formed the Fine Arts Workshop Atelier under masters Michael David and Thomas Swanston. The mastery, synergy, and discipline significantly changed me as an artist and human being. I’m grateful to have won awards, been juried into exhibitions and sold many works, however my most glowing moments occur while I’m teaching art and helping others find joy and self-love.
BD-What are some of your primary inspirations for your art?PT– I’m moved by nature and memory. Healing waters of the ocean, sweeping prairies of my home-state of Illinois, vast skies and stillness. I aspire to help others, as I heal myself in terms of feeling true self-acceptance and self-love, embracing imperfections as the unique and beautiful essence that defines us all.Within the past 15 years, I’ve been inspired to study the delicacy of the female form, reflecting on our self-acceptance as we age. I earn to cast aside culture’s definition of beauty and celebrate the eternal essence shining through from within.
BD- I know that you teach encaustic painting, why do you enjoy that?PT- The love of teaching came as a surprise to me. My parents are both retired teachers and worked incredibly hard yet made very little, which left me steering clear of the path of education as a career. However, after my first teaching art-session, I was hooked! It felt like pure magic to see the glowing smiles on beginner’s faces as they melted colorful wax with a blowtorch, and watched it meld into creations that healed their souls. I hope to teach for as long as I’m able, and incorporate meditation and self-healing into classes, allowing guests to discover their “true selves” and embrace the process as more crucial than the final painting. However, most students leave my sessions with “masterpieces” that speak straight to their hearts.
BD- Tell us about that incredible award you recently won?PT-Last month, I was honored to have one of my paintings juried into ADC (Art Design Consultants) annual exhibition in Cincinatti, Ohio. Suddenly, while seated in the audience of a large auditorium, filled with talented artists from around the country, I heard my story being read. I had to pinch myself as ADC owner, Lisa Spanos announced that I’d won their The Emerging Artist of the Year award and received a gallery contract with Buckhead Art & Company. Over 3,000 works of art were entered this year, therefore it didn’t seem possible that I’d been chosen. I was literally shaking as I crossed the stage, as an image of my artwork was projected across a 20-foot screen above me. Gratitude for this honor pulsed through my every cell as I felt incredibly supported by each of the artists that joined me in celebrating that evening.BD-Why do you think people are so attracted to your art?PT-In keeping with the notion that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” I believe that viewers see a beloved aspect of themselves when observing my artwork. Whether they relate to my “Ephemeral Figures” which have been distressed with rainwater, wine, or tea or my abstract paintings that attempt to capture a moment of true enlightenment, I imagine that they are looking into a proverbial mirror. Some are brought to tears by a work, yet struggle to articulate the reasoning behind the emotional connection. I paint what’s in my heart to heal my soul and that seems to resonate with certain art appreciators. I’m happy when it does and so very grateful to be living an authentic life, doing what I love and sharing it with the world.