Gallery owner finally has his own space

The recently-opened Penn Gallery in Alnwick.
The recently-opened Penn Gallery in Alnwick.

A new gallery opened last month in Alnwick and the first exhibition is by its owner – figurative painter Gavin Penn.

A Year’s Journey Through Art features nearly 40 original paintings, produced over the last year in preparation for the opening of Penn Gallery, in the town centre.

The recently-opened Penn Gallery in Alnwick.

The recently-opened Penn Gallery in Alnwick.

Greetings cards, prints on canvas and specially-designed scarves and ties support the exhibition.

After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1999, Gavin lived and worked in Hexham before moving to Alnwick in September.

His work has been exhibited in the Royal Scottish Academy and the Mall Galleries, as well as in local commercial galleries. His early career series of dancer paintings were particularly popular.

Gavin has long cherished the hope of running his own studio/gallery and seized the opportunity when this ‘amazing’ space in Alnwick became available.

Penn Gallery opens onto both Narrowgate and Fenkle Street. It is situated on the ground floor of a listed building, with the Fenkle Street entrance being an original late 19th-century shop front.

A Year’s Journey Through Art follows the preparation of new work for the gallery’s opening (constantly revolving) exhibition.

The journey starts with a series of Character paintings, inspired by concept art and the style of the 1920s, continues via the music-inspired Jazz Blues series and some Alnwick Garden-inspired Rose paintings to culminate in the Renaissance Sky series, which are inspired by the beautiful broad beaches and wide skies of the Northumberland coast.

In all these works, Gavin’s style of strong light, clear colours and subtle emphasis is evident in figurative paintings that show depth and feeling with engaging narrative.

Gavin’s choice of painting subjects for this exhibition was influenced by a partly sub-conscious ‘must paint that’ driver, which owes little to logical planning.

In this intense painting style, each work then evolves with subtle variation as it progresses to completion.

As such, Gavin tends to paint one piece at a time from start to finish.

Only on reflection, after a painting is complete, can the multiple influences and reasons for subtle emphases in each piece be uncovered.

The sequential nature of this painting style lends itself to the Year’s Journey theme of the exhibition, which follows the production of nearly 40 new pieces, one by one, over the course of a year.

The exhibition can be best appreciated by following the timeline.

Gavin will be on hand during Penn Gallery opening hours to answer questions and explain the Year’s Journey. At times over the coming weeks, Gavin will also be painting in the gallery.

It is open 10am to 4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10am to 5pm on Saturday. It is closed Wednesday and Sunday.

For more information, contact 07793 983211, visit or find the Penn Gallery on social media: Facebook –; Twitter – @PennGavin; Instagram – penn gallery