Biographical Information in her own Words:
Art has been an important part of my life from my earliest memories. My mother tells that at three years of age I was drawing “milk birds” on every scrap of paper I could find. Living on a farm I had observed how cows fed their babies, but birds were a puzzle to me. I solved the problem by drawing cow udders on my birds. A few years later, with encouragement and help from an eighty-five-year-old lady on a neighboring farm, I began oil painting.
After graduating from high school, I earned a bachelor of science in education degree with a functional major in art from Central Missouri State College, now University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri.
I married, had two children, and continued painting for my own enjoyment as a stay-at-home mom. During those years, frustration with the slow drying time of oils brought a change to acrylics.
My career with a painting knife began on a beautiful fall day in 1975. Mom and I had gone to my sister’s farm to gather black walnuts. I took a newsprint pad and pencils just in case a potential painting was spotted. Sure enough, the black walnut trees were at the edge of the woods near a creek (one of my favorite subjects). It was not long before I made my way down the creek bank. The scene before my eyes was one of brilliant light and color. The trees were a blaze of pure yellow shimmering in the sunlight above my head. Fallen leaves on the shady creek floor created a golden carpet shot with patches of light filtering down through the foliage. I quickly sketched and made notes of the scene for the painting I could hardly wait to begin.
The canvas was stretched and the painting begun the very next day, but it was not long before frustration and disappointment set in. I could not capture the effect of the shimmer and sparkle I had seen. After several days of struggling, I put the unfinished painting in the closet.
Later, on a visit to the library, I was referred to a new book: How to Paint with a Knife by Coulton Waugh. This book changed my life. Waugh wrote of his attempt to capture the look of sunlight sparkling on fall foliage. In frustration and disgust he picked up his old palette knife intending to slash on wild strokes and destroy the painting. To his amazement, the painting started to work. I liked what he said and loved the vibrant color he was able to achieve.
I was excited! I took the unfinished work from the closet and using only my palette knife, finished the painting. I have used the painting knife since that time, with a brush only to sign my name. My aim is to make each stroke a beautiful mosaic of lively colors. I invite you to take a close-up view of my work to see the marbelized strokes of color, then step back to enjoy the overall effect.
I have been earning my living as a self-employed artist since 1981. I am passionate about painting–I love what I do.
Connie has been represented by the Wright Gallery since 1989.