Abstract expressionist Conn Ryder conveys inner emotions through the use of color, space, line and texture. To view more of her passionate art, please visit her website.
I am a baby boomer, born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but raised in and around the Greater Kansas City area. While I attended both the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and the Kansas City Art Institute, I did not complete a degree in art, so I consider myself largely self-taught.
My subject matter has come full circle as early on I painted abstracts in oils (with classmates nicknaming me “Little deKooning”). But I felt disillusioned by the lack of instruction at art school, and upon leaving, started a self-directed study of painting realism in order to expand my artistic vocabulary.
Around age fifty, I felt overwhelmingly compelled to return to abstract painting and to bring painting back to the forefront of my life, even though it meant working around a full-time job. Painting in a studio that was a converted bedroom in my home prompted me to switch from oil paints to acrylics – a shift that resulted in a substantial learning curve – especially when I wanted to achieve a painterly technique.
My tenacity paid off as I learned to manipulate the acrylics, while also discovering the medium allowed me to work in a more immediate and spontaneous way that advanced my style. The unique artistic voice I had been seeking suddenly began to emerge.
I once had a painting instructor who told me she sensed I was like stock pot stew – that there was no specific recipe; just toss in whatever ingredients you have on hand until the pot is full and let the whole thing simmer for a long time. At some point the components meld together into a perfect blend. I feel that point in time for me is now.
Abstract painting is for me an utterly personal exploration, one of pure emotion. I’m not concerned with using my art to make any proclamations, state my opinions or tell a story. Rather, I’m interested in turning myself inside out, in a sense, to transform my emotional realm into a perceptible domain.
I convey that emotional essence to an observable platform by way of a painter’s lexicon – color, form, space, texture, line, movement – and finesse those elements much like seeking the right piece to complete a puzzle.
I search for that moment of sensing synchronicity between how I feel and what has been revealed on the canvas.
My hope is that if I’ve created a painting that feels authentic and impactful for myself, that someone else may recognize some hint of their own emotional nature in the work and that it may touch them in the same way that a particular song can reach deep or a moment in nature can feel harmonious.