Penelope Hillam, born in Victoria, is an award and prize winning artist, a founding member, fellow and South Australian vice president of the Australian Society of Marine Artists (ASMA). Penelope has been painting and exhibiting since leaving art school. Throughout her career as an artist, designer and teacher, she has been involved in many aspects of the arts, including community arts. In teaching she has taught primary, secondary, TAFE including running a teaching business. She has taught and mentored other successful artists. Penelope has been an art director and has served on various boards both in Victoria and South Australia.
She works across a variety of media and subject matter but has always been drawn to the area of marine art. Throughout her artistic work is a thread of movement like the ripples on the water. She has continued to be fascinated by reflections and mirror images, often playing on contrasting aspects – physical/metaphysical, outer/internal worlds, realistic/abstract.
In her boat paintings, she is concerned about the contrast between the reality of the boats and the abstract quality of the reflections. She has been particularly interested in night harbours inspired by the harbour in Hobart during the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Contrast between the natural and man-made aspects make an exciting colourful and dramatic affect. She also continues to be influenced by studies into Asian art, particularly Japanese prints.
In recent times, due to new materials, Penelope has returned to explore the technique of printmaking. The expressive qualities of line give a musical and poetic feel to the work, as she explores the elements of line and pattern, different times of day and the varying seasons.