Portraiture walks a fine line in that it attempts to satisfy our own impression of ourselves. We may not be the artists, but it is often a commission, and so the demand is to be flattering in order to satisfy the client, yet the artist also must satisfy their own need for capturing the truth of the subject.
In her artist’s statement, Page Penna describes it this way: “Portraiture is an interpretive art which serves to capture the essence of the human spirit, a moment in time and a genuine likeness, to be enjoyed by family and friends for years to come.”
“Portraiture is a way of holding onto a place in time - a way to document a moment, an element or the persona of a subject. The art of creating portraits requires the ability to relate to and capture the subject in a way that conveys the features of their character.”
Penna doesn’t only paint portraits, but it is clearly a passion, and one can see past the gloss of a flattering image to find sensitivity in the observation of details and facility for rendering emotion in a more understated fashion than might be expected. That there are so many children depicted in her commissioned work doesn’t detract from this quality. They are captured in a informal posture drawn from natural behavior (“Veith Children”) or in a deliberate fashion that harkens to an older, more traditional attitude once reserved for the privileged (“Kate Wittpenn”).
“From the age of five, I was directly influenced by my great-grandfather’s stained glass studio. Louisville Art Glass Studio created a variety of figurative glass works portraying significant stories for religious organizations. From those experiences, I learned that art conveys a rich portrayal of life, of moments to hold on to, or stories that can be shared with all.”
“After living and painting in Naples, Florida for eighteen years, I have recently relocated to my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. I have opened a studio in a pre-Civil War building in Old Louisville, which provides a large space with natural light — an ideal place to paint my subjects. I continue to work with clients in Florida, especially when families visit grandparents during the spring — capturing children on the beach. In Florida, the sunsets, light, and beaches are infinitely more conducive to painterly expression, yet I tend to thrive in this beautiful part of the world, Kentucky, and love to have a change of seasons.”
Page Penna is participating in the 2018 Open Studio Weekend, sponsored by Louisville Visual Art and University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute. His studio, located in the Germantown neighborhood, will be open the weekend of November 3 and 4. Tickets for Open Studio Weekend will go on sale October 16. Click here for more information.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: Ringling School of Art, Florida
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Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2018 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved. In addition to his work at the LVA, Keith is also the Managing Editor of a website, Arts-Louisville.com, which covers local visual arts, theatre, and music in Louisville.