Penny Holland - 2012


THE TEACHER:  Penny Holland, a Seattle native, graduated from Queen Anne High School and the University of Washington where she earned a degree in mathematics. After teaching junior high school math for three years in as many states, and then completing her Master's Degree at the University of Cincinnati, she moved back to Seattle and began her second career in museum education. Seattle's Pacific Science Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Science and Industry and Cabrillo Marine Museum in San Pedro, California were her classrooms.  Today Penny still loves teaching, and she spends time helping people with computers and iPads through a local Macintosh Users' Group.

Teaching about Mac Computers

Penny Teaches a Macintosh Essentials Class - 2012


THE AUTHOR: Starting a family put Penny's math teaching on hold. Needing a creative outlet, she began writing. The first story she wrote in 1997 was for her son, Christopher. It explained the adoption process from a child's point of view. When Chris's artist-grandmother, Eleanor Holland, presented her with a set of nine watercolor illustrations for the story, Penny believed this was worth sharing with the world. This started her on the long road to publication. Several years later, Penny combined math and writing to come up with a series of eight easy-to-read computer books published by Franklin Watts. She also wrote and co-authored a number of educational books, textbooks, and articles. The adoption book was never published, and the illustrations were put in storage.

First Books Party

Celebration Cake Matches New Computer Books - 1981



THE ARTIST: Often during her life Penny tried her hand at art, but was usually frustrated. She believed that some people, such as son Chris and his Grandmother Eleanor, were born with the gift to do art. Penny wasn't. It was not until after Christopher's untimely death in 1996 that Penny made a life-changing discovery. Going through Chris's belongings, she came across the book, DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR BRAIN by Betty Edwards. After trying some of the exercises, she finally realized that art is not just talent; it also involves learning to see. Since then, Penny has enjoyed taking art classes on Whidbey Island, taught by Joan Brosnahan, Sharon Hall, and Helen Ryder, and also with San Juan artist Caroline Buchanan. She is currently a member of Whidbey Allied Artists.

City Hall Art Exhibit

Penny's Art Display at Oak Harbor City Hall - 2012


COMBINING WRITING AND ART: When Eleanor Holland passed away in 2003 many examples of Eleanor's art were displayed at her memorial service. The family was in awe of her adoption book paintings they had never before seen, and Penny realized then what she needed to do. Making a dummy of the adoption book, she saw that more illustrations were needed for a complete picture book. Surprising herself, Penny attempted to paint the missing pictures using Eleanor's style, and they seemed to work! Thanks to the recent surge in self-publishing, The Adoption of Boris - 33 years in the making - finally became a reality. A small run of first edition books was produced in July, 2012 as a special gift for the Hollands.




CHRISTOPHER JOHN HOLLAND (1975-1996): Even as a young child, Christopher was a natural artist, just like his grandmother Eleanor. After his death, hundreds of sketches, paintings, sculptures and other art, including his self-portrait, below, were found by family and friends and offered at auction. Profits benefited the Christopher Holland Memorial Scholarship* at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. (www.cornish.edu)

Self Portrait by Chris

ELEANOR HOLLAND (1916-2003): Eleanor studied illustration at California College of the Arts in Oakland. She married and raised four sons in Seattle, Washington, putting aside her art except as a hobby, although her adult family often raided her basement for examples of her beautiful landscapes. She also served as a volunteer artist for the Pacific Science Center in the late 1960s when Penny worked there in the Mathematics Area.

Chris and Eleanor Sketching on Whidbey Island

Chris and Eleanor Sketching Together - 1996


*A portion of the adoption book's profits will be lovingly donated in Chris's name to this and other charities.

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