(Re-)Featured Artist: Conn Ryder!

Look What the Cat Dragged In by Conn Ryder 54×54″ Acrylic

Conn Ryder. I originally featured Conn back in 2015 – a stunning abstract, but different than those I selected today.

My husband and I love, love, love her paintings. Conn’s paintings have such an airy, buoyant feel to them. When I feature an artist, I look through their available paintings and select the one that speaks to me. I know what I love and I go right to it. My husband was looking at Conn’s paintings and he did the same thing. When I told him which painting I was going to feature his disappointment was real. “You’re not going to feature “my” painting?” Ha ha… so here we go. Two paintings. One was my first pick and one was my husband’s. Can you tell whose pick is who’s?

Conn Ryder is SO creative that even her TITLES will make you smile! I look through and laugh, they’re fabulous!

The first painting, Look What the Cat Dragged In! has great movement, light, and fabulous color – Wow!

Pants on Fire by Conn Ryder 60×60″ Acrylic

Pants on Fire is another fabulous (trust me, they’re ALL fabulous!)  painting, with those wild but intentional brush strokes. The orange is get-outta-here stunning, and like the first painting it’s the airiness, the colors, the harmony of it all.

Two stunning paintings, and that’s just a very small sample! When Conn says she paints “from the gut”, she’s not kidding! Love her work!

See more of Conn’s work via these links:

Conn Ryder

Website  |  Instagram  |  About

artist statement

I paint from the gut.

For me, abstract painting is a personal exploration.  Through the painting process, I turn myself inside out, in a sense, to transform my emotional realm into a perceptible domain. My expressive work is the discernible manifestation of my core language – brought forth from internally assimilating, then outwardly fashioning the emotional response to the experiences, observations and backdrop of my life.

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. As I fill a blank canvas with arbitrary paint strokes and mark-making, that essence comes to the fore as the image begins to, in a sense, speak to me – at turns beguiling and confronting me. An exchange of sorts unfolds, as I get immersed in a rhythmic blur of advance and retreat, flow and stagnation, defiance and submission, discord and collaboration. I search for that moment of sensing synchronicity between how I feel and what has been revealed on the canvas.

A visible fusion of the emotive exchange materializes and I realize the canvas was an analyst, a mentor, a gadfly, a cohort – and ultimately a mirror to my emotional nature. My hope is that if I’ve created a painting that feels authentic and impactful for myself, that someone else may recognized 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.


Conn Ryder was drawn to and garnered praise for her art from an early age.  But it was an incident during a high school drawing class that expanded her way of thinking about art.  Assigned to create a pencil drawing of a shoe, Conn sorted through a box of old shoes and, after choosing a clean white Keds sneaker, tied the laces in a neat bow and began sketching. Noticing this, her teacher lunged toward her desk and heaved the sneaker across the room where it hit and bounced off the wall.  He wildly dug through the box of shoes, eventually pulling out an oversized, raggedy, high-topped basketball shoe with the tongue half ripped off and shredded shoelaces.  He slammed the tattered shoe down in front of Conn and said “Draw this! This shoe has character!”  Conn created the best drawing she had done to date and received an A+ for her efforts.  More importantly, she walked away with a lesson in seeing the character, interest and beauty in the least obvious places.

Conn’s formal art education includes fashion illustration at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and painting at the Kansas City Art Institute.  Once during college, Conn’s instructor led a group of art students into the painting studio to show them a large vibrant abstract Conn was working on.  The instructor pulled the painting out of the storage slot, only to discover the previously colorful canvas had been covered with thick, black paint.  Conn later explained that out of frustration, she painted the entire surface black, and in doing so, freed herself from the creative fetters of the previous image.  The next afternoon, she feverishly scraped back into the black surface, reworking areas as she went and uncovered a more complex and texturally varied abstract that suited her sensibilities. The instructor said she knew then that Conn was a true artist.  

Conn later turned to representational painting, attending painting workshops with Daniel E. Greene and Joan Potter.  She sold her representational still lifes and received portrait commissions, but as other aspects of her life began to take over, Conn’s artistic pursuits became sporadic at best or placed on the back burner altogether. Though the course of her artistic evolution zigzagged through fashion illustration, representational art and at times was suspended, by age 50, Conn found her way back to the abstract painting that resonated in her core. Since that time she has painted with dedication to cultivate her own unique artistic voice.

Her abstract paintings have been included in regional, national and international juried exhibits, and are in corporate collections throughout the United States. Conn’s work has been presented in multiple solo and invitational group exhibitions, including the prestigious Colorado Women in Abstraction exhibition at the Center for Visual Art in Denver, Colorado. She was a feature artist in Acrylic Artist Magazine Winter 2016 edition and two of her works appeared in the DIY Network show “Bargain Mansions” in 2017.  In 2019, Conn curated “Kicking Abstracts & Taking Names” – an exhibition of women abstract painters at Moberg Gallery in Des Moines, Iowa.  

Be sure to see more of Conn’s bio via the ABOUT link above! Until next time… ✌️

All images via ConnRyder.com, used with permission…
Images are not for construction or reproduction, they are property of the design firm.




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