Interview: Eileen Halfpenny

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

Interview: Eileen Halfpenny

Luca Curci talks with artist Eileen Halfpenny during Liquid Rooms + Labyrinth exhibition in Venice.

Eileen Halfpenny is a watercolour artist living on the Eastern shores of Lake Superior in the City of Sault Sainte Marie, Canada. She started painting when she lived in the Netherlands in the late 1970’s. The first paintings were oils and were sold mostly to Canadian Military personnel, paintings of their children. When she returned to Canada she enrolled in Art lessons at Sault College and switched from oils to watercolours. Watercolours were better suited to her lifestyle, they dried faster and the depth and luminosity in the paintings she produced gave her the impression of looking into a clear lake and seeing the different layers. Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

However it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that she became serious about her work when she lived in Florida for 16 winters and became involved with the Beach Art Centre on the Gulf side of the State. Her work became more abstract and she liked the idea of minimalizing the subject to afford a more compact, “uncluttered with detail” result. By doing this the work had shades of Art Nouveau, and my style became more surreal. Her paintings are always evolving as new methods of producing art become open to her. Control in her work is something precious to her. She declares: “It is my individual spirit that belongs to me alone; it is the possession of every individual artist’s talent to control their spirit as they feel it is necessary to produce their art.”

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

Luca Curci – Can you talk about your personal experience in Venice with International ArtExpo?

Eileen Halfpenny – My personal experience with International ArtExpo was very positive from the time I was contacted in an e-mail by Luca Curci, to the time Andrea Chinellato received my paintings in Venice, to the end of the exhibition.

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

L. C. – Can you talk about the artwork you presented in Venice? How is it linked with the festival’s theme?

E. H. – The Artwork I presented in Venice consisted of two paintings of Lake Superior. Both paintings were of Old Woman Bay. One in  acrylic on Canvas and one in watercolour and ink on paper. Sault Sainte Marie is where many Italian residents have settled in Canada and it is rich in Italian culture. Lake Superior which borders on the City of Sault Ste Marie is the largest fresh water lake in the world and Venice is the largest City built on water, therefore,  the two were perfect to link together to promote Liquid.

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

L. C. – What are you currently working on?

E. H. – I am currently working on an exhibit called the Chelsea International Art Exhibition in New York City where I have sent three of my paintings for review. I have also sent one of my paintings to be published in “Art is Spectrum” magazine produced by Angela DiBello the Director of Agora Gallery in New York City.

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

L. C. – What is Art for you?

E. H. – Art to me is as important as breathing. It lifts me up and spiritually takes me to creativity, a place that helps me produce my work. Art is for the brain, the senses, the emotions, the joy and the reality of life. Without Art you are a shell with no feelings.

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

L. C. – What do you think about the International ArtExpo organization.

E. H. – The International ArtExpo organization was an opportunity for me to show my work in Europe, far from home and far from the North American Continent. Although many Europeans have bought my artwork and taken it back to Germany, The Netherlands and France, this exhibition gave me the opportunity for a wider distribution of my work in Italy. To have other nationalities experience my work and for other artists to see what work exchanges between artists, broadens everyone’s ability to develop new ideas. At this time I would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council for their help with a grant that enabled me to take part in this exhibition.

Eileen HalfpennyImage courtesy of Eileen Halfpenny

L. C. – Do you think International Art/Expo organization can represent an opportunity for artists?

E. H. – International ArtExpo is a great opportunity for artists to become better known throughout the world. Because of the Internet artists can connect with the world in minutes, but through International Art Expo, the connection becomes more real, more physical, more emotional and a new appreciation for a work of Art is realized. International ArtExpo can inspire artists to develop new ideas and methods of producing their work. I was particularly interested in seeing the possibilities of creating living spaces out of windmills which I never would have imagined. Best Wishes to International Art Expo for your energy and your vision.

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