PENNY FORREST

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

There is a very important word in Danish, hygge (hoogah), that does not translate directly into English. The closest we can come is “cozy”. Hygge is an important concept in Denmark where the winters are long and dark. Hygge is about creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for friends and family. I try to capture this in my work by creating cozy and inviting spaces for viewers to dive into.

I find I am increasingly inspired by the everyday and ordinary. I seek beauty in the mundane tasks and clutter of daily life—the little things we take for granted can mean the most and I try to share that vision with other like-minded souls.  

There’s beauty to be found everywhere if we just look. Because of this perspective, I like to work with a variety of subject matter from interiors, to landscapes, to figurative pieces. I enjoy capturing figures at work and interiors with collections of mundane objects piled or dropped on the floor. But I also appreciate the chaos of nature and can easily find the beauty there.

My artistic process is somewhat like a complicated crossword puzzle, although it’s even more complex than that. I start out covering the canvas with black paint. This part of the process can be very visceral. I use a variety of tools as well as my hands to do this. After I am satisfied with the texture, paint starts going on from dark to light. I can’t rush this, can’t anticipate the light. My paintings take many, many layers of color with the lightest being last.

In most cases, the concept for my paintings begins with a one-line story. After enjoying a cup of nettle tea at my daughter’s house, I was inspired to paint a piece that I titled “The Turquoise Pillow: At Shangri LaLa we take our tea with nettles from the garden.”  And after finding beauty in an unlikely place, a bathroom, I created a piece I titled “The Blue Room: At Shangri LaLa we always take our probiotics.”  People seem to really relate to the little stories in my titles. The titles invite them to interact and create their own stories, comparing them to their lives.

Beginning with a story and often a touch a humor, I take ordinary and sometimes mundane subject matter and create vibrant and powerful compositions that demonstrate the beauty in our day to day lives. We all work too hard and struggle to find the time to enjoy and appreciate the beauty around us. I want my work to remind people that there is more to life.