Joël Penkman Facts

Joël Penkman is artist and illustrator best known for her paintings of food.

Facts About Joël Penkman

  • Joël Penkman was born in New Zealand in 1979.
  • She currently lives in Liverpool, UK.
  • She studied Graphic Design at the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts in New Zealand.
  • She moved to England and worked as a freelance graphic designer for 6 years.
  • When she is painting food, she begins by taking lots of photographs, and then she uses Photoshop to combine parts of the images to create an image she is happy with.
  • She paints in egg tempura. This is an old painting method, most popular in the 1400s. The paint is made by combining egg yolk and handground paint pigment. The paint dries very fast and it must be applied in layers.
  • Egg tempura paint is not flexible enough to be painted onto standard canvases or paper. As a result, Joël Penkman prepares wooden boards coated with genuine gesso. Each gesso board must be sanded and polished before the egg tempura paint can be applied.
  • Most of her paintings are started with blue brushstrokes.
  • It usually takes her between one and two weeks to complete a large painting.
  • Biscuits in a Line was the first painting she produced in her signiature style.

Look at other artists for inspiration but it’s important to find and develop your own style so you stand out from the crowd.

Joël Penkman
  • Joël Penkman is an admirer of the still life paintings of Wayne Thebaud and Lisa Milroy. She also likes the work of George Shaw. Andrew Wyeth, Grahame Sydney, and Edward Hopper.
  • Joël Penkman has produced artwork for a number of clients, including McDonald’s, Chronicle Books, the Financial Times, Esquire, The Fine Cheese Co, Eat, and Bombay Sapphire.

Food triggers memories and emotion, I like that people can bring something of themselves to the artworks.

Joël Penkman
  • Her art work has been used to illustrate, or has been featured in, several books, including The Taste of America by Colman Andrews, Cool Painting by Carolina Amell, and A Big Important Art Book by Daniella Krysa.

I love food, and I love to paint, so combining the two seemed like a good idea. My compositions are simple still-life studies with clean backgrounds to make easier for individuals to make a connection. Food triggers memories and emotion, I like that people can bring something of themselves to the artworks.

Joël Penkman
  • Although Joël Penkman mostly paints food (cakes, biscuits, sweets, packets of Monster Munch crisps, vegetables, hotdogs, desserts, fruit, and fishfingers), she has also painted a variety of other still-life subjects, including buttons, teapots, teacups, ornaments, wallets, watches, and stacks of books.
  • She is an admirer of art made in the 1920s.
  • When she isn’t painting, Joël Penkman enjoys cooking, gardening, going to car boot sales, and renovating old furniture.
  • She has had a pet tabby cat called Molly.
  • She would like to learn how to make ceramics.
  • Her husband is called James.