Penelope has an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in oil painting and a minor in Art Education. However, while living in Vermont she set aside large canvas work and pursued more practical endeavors yet always keeping a sketchbook. In 2007, she met the sketchbook art of Ken O’Connell, Professor Emeritus and Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Oregon. With excessive administrative demands on his time as dean, Ken took up in earnest sketchbook art—tiny art in however brief the moment.
Penelope describes seeing his sketchbooks for the first time in a solo exhibit: “I was floored! This is a valid art form! With renewed inspiration, I revitalized my own sketchbook habit and was thrilled to go to LaRomita School of Art in 2012 for Ken’s Sketching in Italy. I have since traveled to Italy three more times for art workshops, most recently as Ken O’Connell’s assistant teacher for his 2019 class Sketching in Italy at La Romita. I am currently creating in sketchbook # 59.”
Penelope has displayed her sketchbook art in several exhibits with fellow Oregon and LaRomita sketchbook artists. Her 2018 solo exhibit Life With a Sketchbook displayed delight in the every-day and reverence for the humble as well as the spectacular. Since 2015 Penelope has been teaching sketchbook classes —her most popular class was always Art for a Travel Journal.