Penny Warden is a unique and truly original contemporary British artist known for her distinctive, expressive style. Her work has appeared in many high-profile locations and galleries across London, the UK and abroad.
The sense of movement and energy, which is Penny’s trademark, is especially evident in her oil paintings of ballet dancers, gymnasts and horses. Her paintings are created in a radical and exciting way, working whenever possible with a maximum of spontaneity, with vibrant colours splashed and thrown in an arbitrary, though deliberate manner. The resulting figures are full of movement, emotion and drama.
Born in 1956, Penny began to paint at a very early age and indeed was highly commended for her work by the Royal Drawing Society when only 12 years old. Despite coming top of her class in art for most of her school years and despite the protests of her art teachers she did not continue in her art studies after leaving school. Persuaded by her conventional parents, she pursued various ‘safer’ careers in the city of London and finally in teaching after graduating in 1984 with a degree in Theology. However, Penny continued to paint whilst teaching and raising two children. Finally, she gave up teaching in the late 1990’s to follow her passion. After beginning a degree in Fine Art, she became a full-time artist in 2001.
Within a few years Penny achieved acclaim for a major project of national significance in the North of England. This extraordinary commission in 2005, consisted of the permanent installation of fifteen 6ft oil paintings in the stunning cathedral of Blackburn Lancashire. This exhibition of modern art is probably the most adventurous of its kind in any English cathedral and the most significant contemporary artistic commission in any church in the land. Thousands of people have now seen these paintings and with accolades from Desmond Tutu – ‘wonderfully creative’, Simon Jenkins ‘they give the cathedral an undeniably aesthetic potency,’ and The Archbishop of Canterbury ‘outstanding and very moving work’, this amazing exhibition will be seen by generations to come.
Other commissions for large chapels, churches and private collectors have quickly followed and Penny has seen her reputation and popularity grow consistently year on year. Her paintings have featured in a number of national and international magazines and publications. She has been interviewed several times on BBC radio and her work appears on the BBC website. She has been a speaker at numerous conferences and has been part of several consultation groups at Windsor Castle on ‘Human Creativity in the Arts’.