Penny Gordon-Chumbley has travelled the world, literally and figuratively. Even as a little girl, she read a range of books on people and events that crossed the globe and spanned the ages. Early on, she developed a love for travel, meeting people, observing and paying attention to the small details of life, such as candy wrappers, door knockers, windows, gardens and footwear! Growing up in New Orleans, she was aware that she lived in a unique place, much unlike the rest of the United States. That city and its culture enhanced her love of things quirky, obscure and odd. She spent her childhood constructing shoebox villages, populating them with little people and big lives. She dreamed of being a naturalist, exploring deep, dark jungles.
When it came time to attend university, she chose psychology, when she really wanted to study art or architecture. Upon graduation, she found work in archival preservation, social work, graphic design, volunteer management, intern program administration and finally in the world of information technology. But her deepest desire was always art. Instead of working on a master's in art, in 1984, she returned to university to study drawing and printmaking, gaining another Bachelor's degree and loving every minute of her time in those pursuits.
In 1984, she followed her husband to New York City, living in Chelsea (in the pre-cool gallery days), working at the New York Public Library and for the City of New York while her husband pursued his master's degree in theology. In 2006 after the graduation of her daughter from high school, Penny enrolled in a painting course with Todd Lowery at Drury University and the planets finally fell into alignment. Vibrant, squishy tubes of paint and buckets of brushes became the keys that unlocked the doors for her. Her influences include: the Fauvists, Georgia O'Keeffe, Emily Carr, Wolf Kahn, David Hockney, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Cezanne, The Group of Seven, Walter Anderson, Josef Frank and Jane Troup.