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The birth of her son inspired a new wave of creativity for painter Lenny Cornforth

From the Newburytoday gallery

Spiral on Teal
Spiral on Teal

A FRESH graduate in fine art from Newcastle University, five years ago Lenny Cornforth headed back south, juggling half her weeks as an art technician and the other half picture-framing in Newbury, while also “furiously painting”.
Eventually she focused solely on the framing – “my boss was a good teacher and also encouraged me to paint at the workshop, which allowed me to return to the large-scale pieces I had first started on at university – the largest of which stood at just over 3m tall and 3m wide. She had only completed three paintings at university as it took months of work painting thin translucent layers of oil paint to build up their dense areas of vivid colour.

A year or two later her boss moved to Cornwall and Lenny took over the framer’s Boundary Road building and opened Cornforth Studios in 2017, a space for both herself and other local artists.

It was a happy coincidence when later she was searching for a way to increase income to fix the studio roof that Jean Ince, from Artifax picture framers, walked in and asked if any of the artists were interested in taking on their picture framing.

“I was so excited to return to picture framing – it is an incredibly satisfying process and requires an artistic eye.”
While Lenny went into association with Artifax and opened Cornforth Studios Picture Framing, she was also entering a prolific period with her own painting.

As is often the case, being pregnant inspired a new wave of creativity and she began working once again in intense bright colours, but on smaller pieces, featuring softer, undulating curves. “For the first time in my career I heard someone describe my work as feminine. I had always taken a certain pride in the more masculine feel to my abstract work, most likely because so many of the artists I admire were male figures – Rothko, Reinhardt, Callum Innes.”

Once her son Harry was born she returned straight away to framing and painting “with his cheerful, ever- smiling company”. Her work is currently a visual explosion of colour, shape and texture, each piece an experiment into her love of colour theory.
“During this historic lockdown, while we work together to stay home and protect our communities, I look forward to working alongside in spirit at least all the other artists working from home, creating monumental artwork about this strange and difficult time we currently find ourselves in.”

To see more of Lenny's work visit the newburytoday virtual gallery

TAKE a look at the Newburytoday online gallery, which is growing all the time – we are gradually adding artists’ work and featuring selected artists in N2. If you are an artist or maker living in the West Berkshire, North Hampshire and East Wiltshire areas, whose livelihood is wholly or largely dependent on your creative work, and wish to join the gallery, please send us your profile, tell us a little about your work, philosophy and techniques, together with eight examples of your work and we will print as many as we can over the coming weeks in the Newbury Weekly News, as well as adding you to the gallery. Email trish.lee@newburynews.co.uk

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