Penny Nichols self portrait

About the Artist.

As the daughter of a well-known artist and gallery owner raised in Waikiki in the territory days of Hawaii, Penny Nichols beautifully captures both the lives and stories of those around her through her life’s work. Her journey has been one of self-discovery, allowing her to embrace her true self and share the lessons she’s learned with people around the world.

She went to college to try something new and majored in English, but years later, art was still calling her name. She began creating again as a therapeutic outlet in the evenings, but soon it started to play an even greater role in her life. In 2000, she accepted a job as an art teacher at Island School, where she’s been teaching for twenty-one years. While teaching hundreds of teenagers is one of Penny’s proudest professional accomplishments, it’s also enriched her life and helped her become a better person.

Her inspirations

The people of Hawaii and their unique stories

The natural world and the beauty it holds

Her students and the people closest in her life

A passion-filled process.

Penny Nichols’s favorite part of the process in developing creative work is coming up with new ideas. The concept behind a piece of artwork is the most important thing. That idea or feeling is beyond words. Much like music, visual art puts us in touch with deeper things that cannot be expressed by other means. There is "nothing new under the sun" and yet there is always a new, personal vision of an eternal subject.

Penny finds inspiration in unusual places and at surprising times. Through her sketches and journaling, she captures that initial spark of creativity. As a concept artist, the seed of her work comes from these sparks of inspiration, which then blossom into stunning original paintings.

Her passions


Written words can have a lasting impact, just like visual art. Literature serves as one of the many creative passions of Penny Nichols.


The one thing that started it all was art. As a child, she loved creating with her mother. To this day, art is still one of her primary passions.


Even as a teacher herself, Penny’s students have taught her much. They are inquisitive, honest and encourage her growth.