Connie Hayes is a painter living in Rockland, Maine. She received her M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, and Rome; her B.F.A. from the Maine College of Art in Portland; and her B.A. 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 at the Maine College of Art for 10 years, also participating in arts administration there for 15 years, including serving as their interim Dean of Faculty. In 2003 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the Maine College of Art. From 1992-1998 she lived in New York City. Since 1990 she has been painting on location through her Borrowed Views project and developing figurative work in her Rockland Studio. She serves as a member of the board of trustees for the Farnsworth Art Museum.
Connie’s subjects range from boats and water to studies of interior and still lives. She often uses brightly colored hues, focusing on light and shadow. She depicts the landscape of Maine as well as the landscapes of her travels, most recently in Italy.
“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