The Beaufort Art Association will feature recent paintings and drawings by Pat Connor in an appealing exhibit entitled “Pets, People, and Other Animals.” The show opens on September 7 and runs through October 16. A reception for the artist, to which the public is cordially invited, will be held on Friday, September 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the BAA Gallery in the historic Elliott House, 1001 Bay Street at the corner of Charles Street in Beaufort.
Although Pat took art classes in high school, she later obtained a BA in English and an MA in German. Studies in the history of art in Germany led her to work towards a Ph.D. in that subject, which she taught, for a total of 20 years, at Cornell University, Wells College, SUNY Cortland and Washington State University.
After leaving the academic world, Pat opened an editing and writing service and has worked on and off as a freelance editor ever since. Published works include articles for academic journals, a charming tale for children, and four nonfiction works. She has also served as a reader for new words for the Oxford English Dictionary.
Throughout all these years, Pat has managed, sporadically, to obtain some training in art, most notably a week of painting in acrylic under California Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud and a drawing course in charcoal with Gillian Pederson-Krag of Lansing, NY.
Shortly after moving to Beaufort, Pat discovered that the Beaufort Art Association was offering a once-a-month course of drawing lessons, all free of charge. These classes rekindled her enthusiasm for making art and enabled her to meet local artists. Pat has studied pastel painting with Hilton Head artists Joyce and Don Nagel and has continued work in pastel and charcoal with Beaufort artist Linda Sheppard. Mary Segars got her started painting in oil. She has also attended workshops, sponsored by the BAA, in acrylics and collage.
“What appeals most to me as an artist,” Pat says, “is the magic that occurs in the process of bringing the chaos of a newly started work to the order of a finished piece. It takes more than a good eye or numerous workshops to create a work of art that elicits a little thrill of accomplishment in the artist. Not every attempt earns that response.”
In this exhibit, Pat has returned to her childhood love of dogs, horses, and other animals, quite a few of which are denizens of the Lowcountry. “I’ve only been drawing people for a couple of years. I am only just starting to get into full color. People portraits are really challenging! Animals are a little more forgiving.”
Although Pat will continue to draw and paint pets, people, and other animals, as well as landscapes, her next plan is to let her inventive, imaginative side loose. “Ideas that have been brewing in my head for many years will,” she hopes, “have a chance to escape!”