I began "making things" when my mother taught me how to sew as a little girl. One of my fondest memories of my mother is going to the fabric store to find material for something she or I wanted to make. She taught me about combining colors and adding that perfect button to finish things off. I guess that was the beginning of my "obsession" with color and pattern. I'm such a freak about color; I could just sit around and look at paint chips all day! My father also had an artistic bent and we enjoyed visiting art museums together in the United States and Europe.
I took my first watercolor painting class from Roger Robinson at SLO High School in 1975 and later went on to take classes from Robert Reynolds, Pierre Rademacher and Robert Densham at Cal Poly while getting my degree in Graphic Communications (that's a fancy name for graphic design and printing.) I was also very involved in dance (jazz and ballet), so naturally I was "drawn" to drawing the figure from life. I remember taking life-drawing classes from Bob Pelfrey at Cuesta College, back then, and it is still one of my favorite things to do. I love "messing" around with charcoal. The forms I see in nature whether they are animal, mineral or vegetable has great appeal to me.
But what really impacted my life was when I took a class from Elizabeth "Libby" Tolley in oil painting. I had visited her studio during a Leadership SLO session and saw one of her workshop flyers on the table. I said, "I'm takin' this class!" and she looked at me and asked if I had ever done oils and I said "No... So?" But she let me in the class anyway. The moment I saw Libby's magical color mixing I knew my life would never be the same. It was then that I decided I wanted to be a professional artist and began calling her "Libber-T."
So many teachers have influenced me, it's no wonder I've had a hard time finding my own way. My early teachers were very detail oriented which appealed to the Virgo in me. Since that time, I have been blessed to study under Marie Ramey, David Prochaska, Marian Galczenski, and Marian Stevens at Cuesta College; and with my best friends John Barnard, Lynn Kishiyama, Frank Armitage and of course, Libby Tolley. I am the consummate student—always preparing to be an artist—and am currently in the phase of learning to listen to my muse. (I hope she's out there.)
I hope you enjoy my artwork and will check back again soon.
Penelope Kimball Lentz