Category Archives: My Works and Their meanings

Fertilizing on the Fly

Just off the easel.  This piece is entitled “Fertilizing on the Fly” and is a mixed media collage painting constructed with acrylic paint, acrylic ink, and art papers on 24 x 24 stretched canvas. 

The life of a crop duster is a dangerous one, flying at low altitudes leaving little room for error.  But many of our nation’s farmers depend on them to keep our food sources robust.   Fertilizing on the Fly is a tribute to those dedicated men and women who take on the task.

You can own this original piece for $350, including, of course, a signed Certificate of Title guaranteeing its provenance.

Hundred Dollar Hamburger


Fresh off my easel after a brief break from painting.  I recently went back to try eating dairy foods and sent myself immediately into an asthma flare.  Am I the only one who can’t paint at all when I don’t feel well?  Nothing seems to lay down correctly.   So.  I waited.  🙂

I love this piece, which is funny because I almost trashed it completely two days ago.   Sometimes you have to set a painting aside and sometimes you just have to push through.  The trick is knowing when to do each!  This time I pushed on.  Glad I did.  I love how this piece glows. I love the mixture of the sectional chart and the landscape.  I love the way the diner owner painted the roof to call in her pilots.  I love it all.

Entitled “Hundred Dollar Hamburger” this mixed media piece is built with acrylic ink, acrylic paint, art papers, and light corrugated cardboard on a 30 x 40 stretched canvas.

I don’t know of many pilots who haven’t taken a quick trip to grab a burger or breakfast at a favorite airport diner–sharing a meal amongst friends.  I know in our house, this is a favorite weekend event that has us charting a course every Friday night.  Where’s your favorite diner or cafe?

Perfect for any aviation buff’s home, you can own this original piece for $495, including, of course, a signed Certificate of Title guaranteeing its provenance.

Waiting to Load

Waiting to Load
24 x 36 Mixed Media on Canvas
Holly Connors, 2018

(Click on the photo to enlarge.  There’s some fun stuff tucked into this painting that you can’t see until you zoom in.)

Throughout our first years of marriage, I was a trucker’s wife.  My husband was on the road for weeks at a time while I was home raising babies.   We lived lives at the opposite end of the spectrum.  Me, with three children under the age of 4, a life of noise and chaos that never ended.  Him, with long waits for loads and unloads, one of frequent boredom and loneliness.

It wasn’t until years later that I truly began to appreciate the importance of what he did.   The trucking industry has always been critical for the survival of everyone in this country, and it’s more and more important every year.  So this one goes out to all of you who spend your days and nights on the road for all of us.  Thank you.

Field of Dreams by artist Holly Connors, 2018 24 x 30 Mixed Media on Canvas

(click on the photo to enlarge)  The first of our Revol-YOU-tion series is up!   I asked what you would do if you weren’t afraid, and you have responded.  Here is the first in honor of a man who dreamed his whole life of flying, and now he’s finally doing it.

Do you see all the steps he had to complete?  Do you see the fears that bubble up clouding his vision?  Zoom in to see all the hidden details of this saga.   Nothing is included by chance.  It’s all part of the tale.

Field of Dreams is a mixed media collage piece.  Acrylic paint, acrylic ink, art papers assembled on a 24 x 30 stretched canvas.   This piece sold before posting.

The next 50 years

In December I will be 50.  FIFTY!

Finally!

I know. It’s odd that I would be looking forward to aging, but I’ve looked forward to fifty for a long time.  To me, it’s the age where I get to shift from doing all the things I needed to do for everyone else to doing things that I want to do just for me.

And for me, the biggest of those is to take my art career more seriously.  Remember last week when I asked what you would do if you weren’t afraid?  For me, that would be to step further into the world of fine art.   As in gallery representation.  (The very idea invigorates and terrifies me!)

I’ll always do art classes of one sort or another, simply because I love to do them. And I’m sure I’ll always take commissions.  But this coming year you will see a huge shift of focus to my personal artistic creations and my learning how to, I guess you could say, officially stick my toe into the fine art world.

I’ve never been to school for art.  I really don’t know the ins and outs of how to begin to enter that world, but I’m going to learn and do.  One way or another.

I’ll consider it my birthday gift to myself.   :::::blows party horn::::

If anyone out there has any gallery connections, I’d appreciate an introduction.  Thank you, in advance.   I appreciate you all so very much!

What would you do if you weren’t so afraid?

The day I hung this painting in my husband’s grandmother’s room at the nursing home and watched her light up with delight, I understood, for the first time, that art can truly have an effect on people’s lives.  And I knew that I didn’t want to just paint scenes.  I wanted to paint scenes that evoke emotions–that mean something.

Sure, there’s a great market out there for pretty pictures that blend well with the sofas in your living rooms, but that’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I want to make a difference for people.

In September I am going to begin a series of paintings that aim to do that.   The series is going to focus on people being authentic.  People living their truth.   I want to encourage people to get in touch with their true selves and to live the very best lives they can live.

It will be called the Revol-YOU-tion series, and I’m asking for your help.   Would you please send the answers to these questions to me in the comments here or on Facebook or by inbox or email, if you want to keep the answers private.

What do you wish you could do, if only you weren’t so afraid?

What makes you feel alive?

What’s your dream?

Don’t censor.  Let me figure out if I can find a way to paint it.  It would mean a great deal to me.   I want to get to the raw truth and help carve pathways, open new ideas for accomplishment, or maybe even just give gentle encouragement wherever I can.   And if it’s your dream, it’s likely someone else’s too.   You helping me might actually help another as well.  Double duty good deed.  🙂

What makes me feel alive?  This.  So thank you.

 

#’s 7 – 11, Getting better as I go.

I’ve been busily working away in my studio, and I did a little more experimenting.   I’m still painting much too tightly, so I did two paintings where I had just 1 – 2 hours to paint.   They were a lesson in painting just what I had to paint to get the message across.

#7 is Newport, RI — what I could see from an internet photo anyway.  (It may or may not be accurate–all the better.  I wasn’t going for accuracy.)

This one was stressful to paint.  Partly because I limited myself to just a few colors, so I was forced to NOT mimic exactly what I could see.  Partly because I was so limited on time.

I used a lot of paper that you can no longer see.   One fun thing I did was print out info on Newport RI and include that as part of the media used.   I did something similar previously in the fishing boats painting from Galilee.   I think it’s a nice touch to give clues about the origin of the scene.

I also used newsprint, acrylic ink, and acrylic paint. It came out okay.  I imagine that if I did it with no time limit I could do something really beautiful with this scene.

 

Next up, #8 was an even bigger challenge.   I looked at a photo of a downtown cafe in CT and then put the photo away and gave myself one hour to recreate the FEEL of what I saw.   This is what I came up with.

Again, I was very limited on colors.   I used a lot of art paper for the umbrellas and trees.  I used newsprint for the building.  Acrylic paint and acrylic ink.

Overall I was very pleased with the result since I was indeed able to capture the feel I was looking for.  I also did ok with most of the dimensional work.   I did miss the mark on the upper windows.  I wasn’t even thinking when I rushed to get those in at the end.  I think they have character though.  Even if I could fix it, I wouldn’t.

On to #9.  This is where I decided to attempt to put together some of the skills I’ve learned so far in July an do one “for real” and not just for learning.   I was nervous!  This painting requires some degree of technical painting, but the goal was to do it as loosely as possible while still maintaining the image.

I am delighted with how it came out.   I love the texture that the art paper background gave at the top.  The newsprint at the bottom tickled me pink.  The train is painted in acrylic as is the steam.  And I kept it loose in comparison to my usual desire to overdo it.

But those trestles.  Ohhhh those trestles.   Those are made by dragging a card dipped in paint and it nearly killed me to leave all the imperfections.  In the end I absolutely LOVED them.   I definitely feel like my July experiment is paying off.  On to #10….

I painted #10 on the 16th anniversary of my father’s passing, so I wanted something I could dedicate to him.   One of my favorite early memories of dad is riding in the back of his pickup truck.  I couldn’t tell you what year, make or model it was, but I think it was green. 🙂

I decided to paint a 1951 Ford F-1 because I loved how low it was to the ground and the rounded edges.  Two things I swear I remember about Dad’s truck.   Of course, by now that truck would be rusty, so that made it into the painting as well.

1950s headlines make up the landscape in the background and the barn walls.   Art paper gives the texture on the ground.  Magazine torn paper strips make up the leaves.   And the license plates came from a mixed media paper pad that I had hanging around.   Fun! Fun! Fun!

Yesterday brought on #11.  This one was for my other guy that I love dearly.    He recently started flight school so I wanted to do something for him to encourage his journey into aviation.

Airplanes are hard!!  On the ground they didn’t seem very enticing to paint.   So in the air it went, but how to do mixed media??  Maps!  I have no idea what a flight plan map looks like, but that’s what I was thinking.   These maps are vintage as I think that plane is.  It’s a biplane (Don’t ask me… I just like how they look.)  I pulled up a few dozen photos of biplanes and went to work.

This one has newsprint, art paper, maps, acrylic paint, and acrylic ink.   He loved it, and so do I.

Not sure what #12 will be.  I’ve had some requests for animals.  Maybe an under the sea.  Not sure yet.  But one to go and  5 days to do it.

Stay tuned!

#6 Scallop Boats

#6–Entitled “The Old Wharf”  is finished. (click on the photo to enlarge.)  It’s a mixed media, collage, on canvas.  20 x 30″.    This one contains newsprint, cardboard,  magazine paper, acrylic ink, and acrylic paint.

It’s a 1930 scallop boat wharf located in Rhode Island, inspired by an old postcard.  My favorite part is the seagulls.  Any time I’ve ever gone to a seaport  I’ve always been taken by the flocks of gulls that make such a racket. Can’t you just hear them?

I also love the bits of collage in the water.  And I am humored that the magazine clippings used to make the red boat are actually bits of a lobster photo.   So much fun to create!

Enjoy it.  Watch for #7 coming soon!

SaveSave

#5 brings us to Galilee, RI.   It’s inspired by a photo I saw on the internet, but is obviously not a realistic or even duplicate copy.  I’ve taken a lot of artistic liberties.

It’s mixed media, of course.  This one has newsprint, art paper, acrylic ink and acrylic paint in it.  It’s on a 20 x 30 canvas.  It is entitled Fishing Boats, Galilee.

Click on the photo to enlarge and zoom in to see some of the mixed media bits.  The land in the background is newsprint, for example.  I am in love with this type of painting.  In fact, I foresee many more than 12 of this type of painting coming from my brush.

I love painting people, normally, but this one made me realize that I can enjoy painting land and seascapes too.  I can definitely see how I would enjoy painting cityscapes as well.  Look to see more of this type coming for the rest of the month!  We’ll see what else we can drum up.

Enjoy!

It’s been a busy week, but I’ve still found time to get back into the studio to continue my challenge of completing 12 mixed media collage paintings in July.   This post features #3 and #4.

#3 Went through a series of changes.  I thought I finished it three different times and each time went back to complete some major changes.  I was a little too focused on collage and technique and in the process forgot to be sure that the painting told the story I was trying to tell.  It lacked some major elements, so I had to go back and redo large portions of it.  Here’s the final.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.   There’s some pretty cool collage bits in there that are not visible in small form.  Like the others, it really needs to be viewed in person to get the full effect.  The challenge with this one was to create a street scene without using too much detail.  And any detail I did add needed to be without the use of a brush.  I used a lot of cards dipped in paint for this one, especially all those window lines.

Another challenge was how to get the night lighting to look like night lighting.   I decided to go with brighter, almost neon colors to give the feel of neon lights.  Again, not trying to conform to reality but instead trying to capture the feel I was going for.

It’s called “Busking” and I was trying to recreate that celebratory feeling of downtown Nashville, but this time from the musician’s point of view.   It’s hard work, but it’s work they love to do.  Thank God.  I couldn’t imagine a world without music.

Next up is #4.  This one is completely different than anything I’ve ever done before, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.   I wanted to try to step further into loose painting, and a bit further from realism.   I wanted to experiment with a very textured and abstract background as well as the addition of collage aspects.   I succeeded in doing what I set out to do, but the overall painting is so far from my normal that it leaves me feeling uneasy.

Here it is.  My camera did not pick up all of the subtle color effects so it looks a bit more drab here than in person and the face colors are off.  But you can get an overall idea.

I do love the background effects.  They were fun to create.  I used several layers of thin washes of acrylic ink, added some spatter.  Allowed for drips and imperfections to remain.   The window is a base of white acrylic paint and newsprint for the drapes.  The pillows are art paper.

Now… figurative art is challenging always, but I find it super challenging when I’m working only in black and white.  Add some crazy lighting challenges and it becomes an even bigger challenge.

I got it done, but I’m not super pleased with the result.   Still, I wanted to try it and I’m glad I did.  My favorite part?  That lamp and flower vase. 🙂  Almost missed it, didn’t you?

Enjoy.  I’m off to figure out what to do for #5.  I think I’ll go back to my mid-level realism comfort zone for that one.