Penny Otto, artist

About Penelope Otto Dip. F.A. (Hons)

  Penny Otto, Auckland artist

Painter and artist Penny Otto's work offers remarkable diversity through a body of work built up over a life-time, beginning at "Ilam School of Fine Arts" in Canterbury. Here she graduated with Honours in 1962 alongside fellow students Kay Hunter and the late Tony Fomison. For Penny having artists such as Bill Sutton, Russell Clark and Rudolph Gopaz as tutors was highly influential. Later in her own teaching Penny often found herself using her mentors' words.

She has launched successful artists; among them is Joanna Fieldes who has her own unique vision. View her work at

The magnificent hills and mountains of Canterbury had been daunting landscape subjects yet when Penny reached Auckland that she found a new challenge - water. Penny discovered she could best paint water by using pastel. Pastel afforded mobility and she would head for a vantage point to draw what was in front of her using textured paper and soft pastels.

A great deal of stimulation has been received by traveling in Europe and the Pacific Islands and many sketch books fill her cupboards. Penny often refers back these quick line drawings and memory to create her paintings.

In her home town Penny knows first-hand how important the art society 'Auckland East Arts Incorporated' is because for a long time the arts were not represented in the area. So Penny is proud to be part of the society strengthening the visibility of the arts. For her, the culture of the arts brings as much colour to her world as a tube of paint.

Joint exhibitions

2014 "Fusion" NBK Gallery, Auckland
2012 “Methven Heritage Gallery” with Kay Hunter

Solo exhibitions

2003,1999 “Letham Gallery”, Auckland
2002 “Pacific Art”, Zug, Switzerland
1998 “Grove Mill”, Blenheim
1994, 1995 Morgan St Gallery Newmarket
1990, 1965 “Christchurch Society of Arts”
1989, 1988 “Charlotte H. Galleries”, Auckland
1980 Whitecliffe Gallery
1976, 1974 “Settlement Gallery”, Wellington
1972 Osbourne Galleries


“Selwyn Community Education”
“Auckland University of Technology”
“Auckland Society of Art”


“The Family of Zeus” by Betsy Dawson, 1974, 2016
“Gnomes” by Verena Helstein, 2010
Tawharanui poster & flyer, 2010
“New Statesman” (London)
“New Zealand Listener”
“New Zealand Herald”
“Qantas” (Inflight magazine)
“The Lodge Above the Waterfall” by Ronald Lockley
“Parnell Pot Pourri” by Jill Brewis
“NZ Home Journal”


2012 “Sower Triology”private collection Switzerland
2000 Holy Trinity Cathedral, Auckland - design for lecturn fall
1996 “Telstra Clear Communications” – mural


“Air New Zealand”
“New Zealand Futures”
“Canterbury Society of Arts”
“Selwyn Community Education
Helen and Joe Pickering
Verena Helstein
Janet Poulton
Jill Brewis
Toss Woollaston

Group shows

“Eat Your Art Out” Uxbridge Centre 2011
“A Labour of Love” Matakana Art & Design 2010
Chiaroscuo’s Summer Hanging 2000
“Pacific Art” Switzerland 2000
“Women Artists Postcard Project”, Lopdell House, 1996
“Peaceworks 2”, Portfolio Gallery 1995
“Peaceworks 1”, Aotea Centre 1993
Christmas Show, Mobile Art Hire 1994, 1995
“Face to Face” international exhibition Orthodox Academy of Crete 1989
Christmas Show, Charlotte H. 1988
Tutors Exhibiton, Whitecliffe School of Art 1987
VANNA in conjunction with Mercury Theatre 1985
“Visual Diaries” Women Artists, Outreach 1984
“Woman to Woman” Women Artists, Outreach, 1984
‘Team McMillan’ Art Award, 1983
“Festival Exhibition” Auckland Society of Arts 1972
“Graduate Exhbition” C.S.A. Gallery, Ilam School of Fine Arts 1960


2015 & 2016 Estuary Art Award - Finalist
2011, 2010, 2009 "Estuary Art Works" - Finalist
2002 Good Citizen Award
1998 "Iris Fisher" - Winner
1996 "Waitakere Licensing Trust" - Winner
1994 "Nola Holmwood Portrait Prize", A.S.A. - Winner
1959 "Hayes Art Award" – Finalist
1958 "Star" – Sun Secondary Schools -Runner up


1999 “Trends Vol 15".
1992 “Art News”, Auckland
1956, 1998 “Christchurch Press”
1975 “The Post”, Wellington

Life membership

"Auckland East Arts Inc."