Penny McGrath is an admirer of abstract expressionism and is challenged to relate her work, often precise realism, with the gestural movement and unusual shapes of abstract expressionism. She has become accomplished at undulating the picture plane between two-dimensional and three-dimensional design, a spatial device that allows her to give more information than is possible through strictly realistic rendering. One cannot dismiss her use of vibrant color and strong line when discussing her style, both of which add excitement and strength to the work.

A naturalist at heart, Penny has dealt with a wide range of subject matter to include still life and portraiture as well as landscape. Although the landscape paintings feature prominently in the development of a unique style, she often returns to the figure for variety. Penny taught figure drawing for many years and in her own words, “I will always return to the figure for challenge and stimulation.” 

Penny earned a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, where she also took graduate-level courses. 

Born in Charlotte, Michigan, Penny took to art as a child but didn’t really explore her own possibilities as an artist until the youngest of her three sons started kindergarten. She is now a professional artist. She recently retired after teaching five advanced courses in painting and figure drawing for 23 years for the Fairfax County Adult Education Program. She lives in Burke, Virginia with her husband, Gene, and enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren.

EDUCATION: 1988-1991 Graduate Level Painting Classes, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

1986: Bachelor of Arts degree (Fine Arts major; studio arts emphasis). George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

1961: Bachelor of Arts degree, Secondary School Education (Science and English majors), Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

CAREER RELATED EXPERIENCE: Teaching, Fairfax County Adult Education.

1986-2010 Oil/Acrylic Painting (supervised, advanced workshop).

1987-2010 Advanced Painting (multimedia).

1990-2010 Portrait and Figure Drawing/Painting (multimedia).

1987-1999 Oil/Acrylic Painting (beginners/intermediate).