Lennie Mullaney

Lennie Mullaney, a retired school teacher, is now a full-time plein air painter and conceptual artist, located in Portsmouth’s Button Factory Studios.

Mullaney’s first drawing material was the frost on the bedroom windows she shared with her five sisters as a child. As the oldest of eleven, there was not a lot of extra money for art supplies, so she made due with what she had available, like carving designs on the legs of antique dressers with her brother’s pen knife. From there, her love for art began.

I was born with the desire to create both visually and poetically in terms of personal narrative.

Since she was a young woman, Mullaney has also had another passion for helping others. In her free time, she volunteered in children’s homes and juvenile delinquent centers to teach expression through art. This passion grew into a career for teaching, but art was always incorporated in her classroom even though the majority of her teaching career was teaching English and Social Studies to middle school students. Mullaney valued teaching her students “The Arts” to help them understand what it means to be human through art both vertically and horizontally–vertically meaning past, and horizontally meaning currently.

When Mullaney retired from teaching, she became a student herself at the University of New Hampshire to get her Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA). Once she earned her degree, she moved to the Button Factory where she’s been located since. Although she has a studio, Mullaney spends a majority of her time painting around Portsmouth. Painting outside for Mullaney is like “taking a walk outside,” —it’s who she is spiritually. When she paints, Mullaney likes to work in series to capture “a moment and sense of space.” Mullaney also finds her creative space in the seacoast community because it allows her to connect with people. Often times she will be stopped by passersby asking about her work and saying “I wish I could paint,” but Mullaney takes these opportunities to remind the community that everyone is born an artist. She has even offered her brush to children to make their mark, to express themselves. Mullaney sees art as a way of building relationships and showcases this in both her process and in her pieces.

Lennie Mullaney plein air painting in Prescott Park, Portsmouth; painting in her studio at the Button Factory, and interacting with visitors during the opening of A Sense of Space and Place at NH Art Association tonight.

Shot & edited by Dan Freund.

To Reach Lennie







A new architectural icon

Originally built in 1923, the Memorial Bridge has become an iconic part of our city. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2013. The original was designed by  J.A.L. Waddell and the new one echoes the look and configuration of the original, but represents a sleek, modern form that focuses on the realities of bridge design in the 21st century.

Meet another community member…