Penny Foster is a self-taught artist, photographer and musician charmed by Vivid Victoria.
When you first meet artist Penny Foster, you are immediately welcomed by her warm, friendly and inquisitive nature. A genuine soul, who loves the bones of Gozo, due to it not only being her home but a continually rich source of creative fodder. She is fed by the local character, landscapes and places of interest, to the fantastic artist community and like-minded people around her.
Waiting until the age of thirty-six until she finally followed her artistic heart she began a Fine Art Degree in the UK, but halfway through year two became disillusioned with the curriculum content and bravely left to walk her own path like only a true artist would.
I was lucky enough to attend the private view for her solo exhibition ‘Vivid Victoria On Canvas’ at the Banca Giuratale in February. Walking around the walls of this beautiful, baroque building adorned with Pennys’ art lifted my spirit and I could see and feel that it had the same effect on all who were present.
Penny makes art that is congruent and significant. A capsule in time. Her technique is true to character and she manages, in this particular body of work, to express the very essence of Gozo in all its’ glory. Each piece is a host of apt colour and activity, from the vibrant bustle of the islands Festas, and illustrious band clubs to the daily rituals of our café culture.
It’s heart-warming to take in these images now, in the shadows of Corona and how it has temporarily silenced our colourful island.
Penny is currently working on prints for her upcoming collaborative exhibition; ‘Gozo in Two Minds’. The concept being two artists personal responses to their surroundings and where they live. Another fantastic opportunity for us to view Gozo through Pennys’ eyes. The event is due to be held at the Citadel, but she has cleverly adapted to an online gallery viewing of her work, in case of cancellation. We will most certainly keep you updated on her progress.
Creative to the core
Penny adds photographer to her bag of creative ammunition. She has a fine portfolio of portraits and studio work and also shoots weddings. Plus she is a self-confessed music lover and plays in five bands on the island. She is wholly missing that interaction at this time.
“It’s not the same, staying home in isolation, and uploading to a virtual band. I won’t succumb to that trend.” She says.
When she’s not painting, or taking photographs – yes she does that too – she can be found standing at the bar of her favourite band club, having a beer with her fellow musicians after a joyous rehearsal. Something she can’t wait to return to. “It will feel so sweet.” She says with a digital smile. “When they are allowed to go ahead, I think the attendances of the many music concerts planned will double. People need the normality of seeing a band on the streets because that speaks community better than anything else to me.”
I asked Penny for some words of wisdom…
“We are all suffering right now for sure. The mood of the whole island is down, and there is an underlying fear around, especially through the ageing population. I think it is vital we look after our mental health, and give ourselves permission to just do nothing if we are having a bad day. You can still go for a walk, and the simple act of taking a different path one day will, for sure, lead to some beauty that you have always missed. Yesterday, I went on a mission to see how many different George and the Dragon plaques I could find. I found enjoyment in doing that.”
There’s a transparent life-force around Penny Foster and this may be what drives her talent and her enthusiasm for life and all she does. It feels effortless and joyous and immediately apparent when you view her work.
So why is Penny lucky you may ask? She’s certainly fortunate because she loves where she lives, she is fulfilling a life-long soul contract through her music and art and that clearly ripples out to whoever meets her. And if you manage to see or even better, own a Penny Foster original. I believe that would make you lucky too.