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Portraits of Island Life by Penny Prior

An abstracted painting of island birdsUntitled


Penny Prior is an artist based on Galiano Island, off the coast of British Columbia. Working in an expressive, simplified style the artist creates portraits of island life, including landscapes, soft abstractions and portraits of the local wildlife.


A painting of two translucent fish crossingUntitled


I love the shockingly bright colours that Penny selects for many of her works. These bright colours combined with the folk-art influenced style of the figures creates a look that seems to express the artist’s wonder at her surroundings. I find the artist’s Driven to Abstraction gallery particularly interesting – here, Prior showcases works that, while still including figures, offer a view of the island scenery through a distorted, impressionist lens of bright colours and undulating lines.


A screen capture of Penny Prior's art


The artist’s landscapes, in particular her trees, seem influenced by well-known Canadian artists like Tom Thomson and Ted Harrison. The deep greens and browns that she uses for these forms are well-integrated with the bright background hues, while the forms themselves are simple but twist expressively across the canvas. 


A painting of boats parked at a dockDingy Dock

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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