Voices of Experience - Derek Penix
Voices of Experience
The fresh, energetic works of Derek Penix invite us in to explore them—and the more we explore, the more we discover as our eyes travel from corner to corner. The patterns and colors often defy the tradition of a central focal point and instead guide us to spend time discovering treasures across the canvas. Penix has won awards in almost 100 national competitions in the last twelve years. He teaches art workshops around the country and currently lives in Laguna Beach, California. We asked Penix to write us about his inspiration, his ability to combine technical skill with suggestive gestural image-making, and his direction into the abstract. He started by telling us about growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
My mother and grandfather painted. I never had interest in it until after graduating high school though. My parents encouraged me to paint and one day on a trip to Laguna Beach, California (where I live now), I walked into a gallery with my dad and saw the paintings and thought “I could do this!” Shortly after that trip I painted my first painting and my mom took it into a local gallery and they sold it immediately. After that I was hooked. I am still with that gallery today (Royce Myers Art Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma). I am grateful he gave me a chance and believed in me in the beginning and all of these years later.
I really knew nothing until Quang Ho. He helped me with some of the basics, like blocking in a painting and understanding how the eye can flow around a painting. I never went to college or any school to learn art techniques. C.W. Mundy has been a close friend and mentor to me for the last ten or so years. I have enjoyed his friendship and that we call and chat about everything from personal topics to whatever we are currently painting.
Would you tell us something about your process and your materials?
Would it be right to say that many of your paintings have very strong visual pathways throughout them, sometimes without a singular focal point? Can you tell us a little bit about this and how you are able to structure them to be so engaging?
Any words of wisdom you might give to beginning artists?
All artwork copyright Derek Penix
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