The Story Behind the Painting

December 30th, 2015

So my New Year’s resolution is to tell the story behind my paintings more often — since almost every one has one! The Winter Solstice seemed like an auspicious day to start, so here goes…

Embracing the Strange(r) by Rosemary G. Conroy, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36"

Embracing the Strange(r) by Rosemary G. Conroy Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36″ © 2016

This painting is inspired by a real live polar bear I met way up north in Manitoba in 2013. On a windswept tundra, I spent an afternoon observing this majestic, awe-inspiring wild animal.

I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to see him and be able to drink in his beauty, power, and mystery. I’m not ashamed to tell you I cried. It was that awesome.

AND the next day I got up early and there he was again — just on the other side of the fence that protected our lodge. I sat alone with him for almost twenty minutes — it was such a moving, powerful episode in my life. Eye to eye, face to face, heart to heart with an 800-lb wild creature — holy moley. He could have left at any moment, but he stayed. For whatever reason, he stayed. I felt blessed.
I’ve always longed to be able to communicate with animals in a meaningful way. But until that happens, I paint them over and over, trying to immortalize them in my art as one way of knowing them better.

I’ve come to realize that my paintings are like prayers: sincere offerings of thanks for the inspiration and joy these wild creatures give me; my humble invocation of their beauty and power; and perhaps, most of all, an ardent plea that they continue to exist in this world.

(If you look closely, you can see my prayers for the polar bear literally inscribed on the painting.)

Spirit Animals

July 7th, 2015

spiritanimalspromo-smSo I have been working feverishly on my latest show which is now hanging in the Kimball Jenkins Estate in Concord for the summer. The opening is Thursday, July 16th from 5 to 7 pm — if you are nearby, please come. I think this show has some of the best work I have ever done in it! Here’s my artist statement for the show.

Rosemary G. Conroy / Artist Statement for “Spirit Animals” Exhibit

The title of this show, “Spirit Animals” is a play on the concept of inspiration and dedication. It dawned on me recently that my artwork is a form of a prayer for the creatures that I paint: a sincere offering of thanks for the inspiration and joy they give me; a humble invocation of their beauty and wildness; and perhaps, most of all, an ardent plea that they continue to exist in this world.

This sounds vaguely religious, yet I don’t really adhere to any particular faith. This probably disappointed my parents, especially after they sent me to twelve years of Catholic school! But I am a deeply spiritual person. It’s just that my most sacred moments happen in the fields and forests and the birds, insects and mammals I find there are the most divine thing in my life.

Coincidentally (or is it?), I also spent twelve years working in the environmental field before becoming a full-time artist. It was another kind of religious upbringing: There was a strong community — I loved being part of a group of devoted people. We had dogma: ours was dedicated to making the world a better place. It felt righteous — how could it not — we were working to save the planet! And it required a kind of faith to believe that we could. But there were also dark nights of the soul. Often it seemed we were losing more ground than we were gaining (still does, I must admit.) These realizations lead to despair. The antidote? To go out and be in the natural world and get lost in it’s beauty and immersed in its wonder. (Of course.)

Now I am a monk it seems, having retreated to my studio where I devote myself to nature — but in a new way. I’m twelve years into being a professional artist and this is what my work is: A fervent prayer to anyone who might listen to consider, in every sense of the word, the wild ones.

Many of the pieces in this show are literally embedded with my incantations, my prayers, my wishes (which may sometimes look like scrawls but really are words), for these blessed creatures to survive — and thrive — alongside us.

Conversations with myself

May 30th, 2014

What was I thinking? Three back to back shows in 2014??? Am I crazy?

I know, right?! And you wanted to paint all new paintings on top of that! Plus for the biggest show, you decided to “challenge” yourself by painting all white animals… No wonder you’re starting to lose it!

You can do it! One show down, two to go. The first one was a big hit, the other two will be as well. Believe it can be done!

OK — nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Deadlines are motivating, right? No pain, no gain, right?!?!?!

 

Getting All Experimental-ly Like

June 30th, 2010
It's been that kind of year...

Trying out some new ideas is always fun...

I suppose it’s understandable that after a year like this one, my art would see some changes. I have been doing a lot of experimentation and have been a bit shy of showing it to anyone. But what’s the worst that could happen? You hate it? Oh well. I like them all so the heck with you! (Only joking.) But I feel brave enough to put some of them out there.

But I am working on a new series that is really really different and very personal. Not sure when I will share that one.

But please visit my site and click on the experimental section to see what’s new and available…

And let me know what you think!

Sign up for my new painting class

March 25th, 2010

aka Miss Billie Holiday

So the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough NH has invited me to teach an Introduction to Acrylics course this spring. It’s a 6-week course in which I will lead folks through the many wonders of painting with this versatile medium. No experience is required and I’ve designed it so it is appropriate for experienced watercolor or oil painters too. Here’s the course description:

Exploring Acrylics

Rosemary Conroy

MAY 4–JUNE 8

SESSION 1: TUESDAYS, 10AM-1PM (P4A) / SESSION 2: TUESDAYS, 6-9PM (P4B)

Acrylic paints have come such a long way—the harsh colors and plastic-y look is totally a thing of the past. If you’ve always been curious about acrylics but didn’t know where to begin, then this class is for you. We’ll explore their incredible versatility and have a lot of fun doing it, to boot! You’ll get a chance to put the paints through their paces, discover how to achieve a variety of different effects, and see how well acrylics mix with other media. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a whole new kind of painting—or just the inspiration you need to take your art to the next level. All levels welcome. Materials fee payable to instructor: $20. M $145, NM $165.

To sign up, click here, or call (603) 924-7256. And of course, you can contact me for more information about the course.

Branching out into Western animals

March 4th, 2010

I love being an east coast girl except I wish we had more charismatic mega-fauna like this...

Thanks to the fabulous photographer (and my former neighbor) Brent Doscher, I have finally got more of my latest painting shot and uploaded on my website. And did I mention that my website is all new and improved too? Check it out folks — I’d love to get your feedback.

So I’m pretty happy with the latest 350 paintings — and I’ve even pulled out a few that I am really, really happy with.But I’m not going to show them all at once — what fun would that be?

So it’s been a busy and productive few weeks — yay! And New Hampshire Magazine assigned me to write an article about grass-fed beef and I even did a painting to go along with it! Despite being without power for three days, I managed to pull it off.

So that’s the latest news here — it’s hard to make time to blog, I have to say. It feels so dear diary. Guess I am not as loquacious as I thought I would be… Could be worse, as they say in New Hampshire!

Um, Happy Year of the Metal Tiger?

February 13th, 2010

Tigers? We don't need no stinking tigers in North America...

So, apparently metal tigers aren’t that lucky. But ONLY if your lucky element isn’t metal. Happily, mine is, thank goodness. Whew — I feel like I could use a little luck this year!

So to update: After a bright and determined hit on the re-start button, my enthusiasm for my 350 project came to a crashing halt in the darkest days of January. But after some interior regrouping, I am back at it, albeit with some adjustments. For a variety of reasons, (my sanity being first and foremost amongst them) I am extending my deadline for the project. Originally I picked Earth Day 2010, but quite frankly, that will make me crazy. I didn’t want to admit, but there it is. I’ve done crazy and, despite it’s reputation,  it isn’t that much fun.

And I’m discovering that I want to paint more than just 6 x 6″ portraits of animals.

BUT I still want to complete the project! So I’m making Mondays “350 Day” and the rest of the week are “paint whatever I want” days. So far it’s working really well.

When will it all be done? Who knows?! The journey has to matter as much as the destination…

Back to work (again!)

January 5th, 2010

Yay! it’s finally a new year and 2009 is officially in the past…

So I’ve started my new schedule: four days of focused painting and one day of teaching/networking/adminstrative/blogging/etc. (Not all at once of course.) The way I figure it that will give me 24 hours/week of solid painting time. Is this enough? Not sure.

Especially since I just calculated that I have to average 12 paintings a week to make my slightly adjusted deadline of May 1. Gulp.

But believe it or not I think I can do it! These are mostly 6 x 6″ paintings. And many of them, if I stick to all of North America’s mammals, will be rodents. Portraits of rodents — little pointy faces with black beady eyes. Piece of cake!

Hmm. I may have to reconsider that one. Not sure I can handle that much rodentia, despite the temptation of ease of execution.

I think I will end up doing some birds too…

So I took out twelve canvases and put them on my work table yesterday. It’s not that bad. I can do this!

But I did take out some I already started to help me ease into the new year.

Yeah they’re my rules and I can bend them. As long as they get done right?!?! Right!

I can do it!

I’ll post a picture next week of the best of the twelve…

Open Studio A Big Success!

October 27th, 2009
Rosemary Conroy's 350 project

Here's what the paintings looked like at my open studio last weekend

Whew — Close to 200 people showed up at my open studio on October 24 & 25th! It was the grand unveiling of my 350 project and everyone seemed to be impressed (or thought I was crazy.) It was great to see it up on the wall and I am pretty charged up to move it forward. And thanks to all my wonderful supporters, we raised a nice bit of change for the Piscataquog Land Conservancy.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to really focus doing more of the 350 paintings for a few more weeks… I have a commission and need to get some paintings done for the Sharon Arts Gallery Holiday Show. As much I want to finish this project, the chance to make money now can’t be ignored. Plus, paying for 350 panels and paint and stuff adds up, you know.

Besides, my new goal is Earth Day 2010 — plenty of time!!!

Sneak Preview on Track

October 14th, 2009
This is the cover of the postcard promoting my open studio

This is the cover of the postcard promoting my open studio

So I have been working non-stop getting ready for my open studio. Got the postcards done (see above) and in the mail, got some reproduction prints and yeah I even got the t-shirts all ready! And oh yeah, the original art is coming along, slowly but surely.

I think it should be a fun weekend and I put my order in for some lovely weather. Now if I could just get some sleep — I get wicked bad insomnia when I have a big event coming up. And this one, at this moment, feels kind of big. Not earth-shattering big, but probably the biggest thing I’ve done this year.

If you’re around New Hampshire on October 24 & 25, come on by and see it for yourself. I’ll be open from noon to 4 pm each day. Visit my website for more information and directions. Hope to see you there!

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