Connie Hayes - Artists - Dowling Walsh

Connie Hayes is widely admired and regarded for her color-rich paintings emphasizing light and shadow and the underlying geometry forms within her harmonious compositions. Her subjects range from boats and water to studies of interiors and still lives. For over twenty-five years, she has returned to paint on Vinalhaven Island, the source of her most recent work. "I have had a crush on Vinalhaven since 1996," she says. "Vinalhaven's landmarks, traditions, and landscapes remain reassuringly unchanged." The light, shapes, and colors of the island's environment, its working waterfront, and the village populated with Mansard roof buildings are an endless font of inspiration for her. "Those sights and sensations animate my memory as I paint and draw Vinalhaven back in my mainland studio."

Hayes received her MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia and Rome, her BFA from Maine College of Art in Portland, and her BA from the University of Maine. She received a fellowship to attend the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1989. Born in Gardiner, Maine, she taught and served in administration at Maine College of Art for 15 years, including as interim Dean of Faculty. In 2003, she was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Maine College of Art. Her work is in numerous public and private collections across the United States. It was featured in a major solo exhibition, Painting Maine: Connie Hayes and the Borrowed View, at the Farnsworth Art Museum in 2004 and has been shown at the Ogunquit Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, and the National Academy Museum, New York, among other institutions. She lives and works in Rockland, ME.



Connie Hayes - Artists - Dowling Walsh

“In all respects, Connie Hayes is a fearless, intuitive painter. Her highly colorful, strongly stroked canvases look like the result of an orderly process of sketches, underdrawing and application of paint. In reality, although she sometimes uses such aids before she approaches the easel in her capacious studio, most of the time she starts work on a blank canvas, wielding a 3 to 4-inch wide brush to get going. Then, as she says, she “dives in,” composing the rest of the picture, much of which she may have thought out in her head, balancing images and colors to achieve a satisfactorily aesthetic final result. On some occasions, she says, “the paint speaks to me and I go off in unexpected directions. I like surprises.” This is an extremely intense exercise; Hayes says she gets into a “zone” until the work is finished or set aside for future amendments. Her subjects range from boats and water to communities viewed from ships or roads, to backyards, house interiors and floral still lifes. “I like not being pigeon-holed, Hayes says. Her brightly hued colors, which often have nothing to do with the actual look of the original building or boat, are chosen with deliberation, depending on what role she wants the painted object to play in the overall composition. Her radiant blues, blazing reds, and sunny yellows make ordinary scenes come alive and help draw viewers into the painting. Often of late she has utilized more muted colors to achieve the results she seeks. After a long stint as a teacher and administrator at the Maine College of Art, Hayes has worked at the top of her game since moving from Portland to Rockland in 2005, about half the period covered by this exhibition. Much of her art results from her “Borrowed Views” project, in which she spends up to a week painting in and around the homes of friends all over Maine. Ever trying new approaches to her art, mindful of art historical precedents and armed with a spirit of adventure, Connie Hayes has many interesting paintings ahead of her. Whether borrowing views or moving about on her own, it will be interesting to see what this thoughtful, gifted painter achieves in the years ahead.”

- Stephen May for “A Decade of Views” exhibition, Dowling Walsh Gallery, September 2009

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