Connie Springer in VoyageOhio
Hi Connie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Aside from having a Kodak Brownie camera as a child and taking snapshots, I got my real start in photography at the age of 19 when I traveled to Israel for the summer to work on a kibbutz. My father gave me a Minolta rangefinder, and I photographed the beautiful country and its people.
After that experience, I used a camera from time to time, but it wasn’t until after college that I took a photography class in Louisville at the now-defunct Louisville School of Art and got excited about being a photographer.
Eventually, I moved to Boston to go to photography school for two years at the Art Institute of Boston, taking a variety of classes from portraiture to photojournalism.
After finishing the school, I worked as a Photographer’s Assistant for a portrait photographer. Later, almost every job I took involved a component of photography. When I moved to Cincinnati in 1985, I did a great deal of freelance photography and eventually produced two self-published books involving photo portraits and narratives.
As a child, I also was always drawing and painting, and my first years of college, I took studio art classes. Over the years, I was a self-taught oil painter. Then about 14 years ago, I took my first watercolor class, and I have continued with it up until this day. I am currently a member of an artist studio in the Essex Studios building in Cincinnati and have been active in exhibits.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The main thing that made the pursuit of art not a straight path was the necessity of earning a living along the way! So, after photography school, I decided to be practical and got a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. For a period of time, I had library jobs at a university and at a public library and did freelance visual archiving. But I always wanted to return to doing art. Now, I do occasional freelance gigs in such areas as photo organizing and writing, but art is my enduring passion.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a watercolor artist with a penchant for storytelling. I am also a photographer, and in both these media, I use my keen visual sense and my abiding interest in people.
My paintings revolve around stories – a flower market bristling with people, dancing figures in Paris, Polish street musicians, a billiard hall in Berlin, a spunky miniature gallery owner in the south of France, Vietnamese street scenes, museumgoers, mural painters, or people waiting for a train. My work has been dubbed “Painted Stories” since I love to focus on people’s lives.
I explore themes of aging, ethnicity, multi-generations, street life – above all, the interactions among people – in a style that has been described as evocative and interpretive.
I paint from photographs, not only my own but also some left me by my German-born parents, who had been part-time photographers in Berlin and Chicago. I like to think that from them, I inherited my love of photography and art. I also feel this painting watercolors of old black and white images, transposing them into color, makes my method unique.
Wherever I travel, I photograph, gathering new perspectives and fresh material for my next watercolor painting.
I study watercolor with the renowned Cincinnati artist Ken Landon Buck and am a member of a watercolor studio, the Art Circle.
I have authored two books featuring my photos and writing ~ POSITIVELY NINETY: Interviews with Lively Nonagenarians and OUR FAMILIES: A Celebration of Adoption.
I have exhibited in solo shows at St. John’s Unitarian Church (Cincinnati, OH) and All People’s Unitarian Church (Louisville, KY). Other venues for my watercolors in group shows in Cincinnati have included the Off Ludlow Gallery, the Barn Gallery, Kurtinitis Gallery, Café de Sales, Art Local, Essex Art Walks, Venue 222, Cincinnati City Hall, Gallery Salveo, the Christ Church Gallery, Kennedy Heights Arts Center, and Mohawk Gallery. Out-of-town shows have been at the Curt Bessette Gallery (KY) and Lesley University (Cambridge, MA).
Any big plans?
I hope to continue traveling, particularly abroad, and photographing all the fascinating human interactions with which I cross paths. My photographs would then be the subject of new watercolor paintings.
Twice in 2020 and 2022, I was selected out of thousands of entrants to participate in the Embracing Our Differences show in Sarasota, Florida. The nonprofit organization uses the power of art and education to expand consciousness and open the heart to celebrate the diversity of the human family. My black and white photos, along with many others chosen, were enlarged to billboard size and exhibited in an outdoor gallery by the Sarasota Bay. It is my hope to again have the privilege of showing in future Embracing Our Differences exhibits.
I would like to have more gallery shows, if possible solo ones, and have my work travel to other parts of the country to far-flung galleries.
Having created a photo book in the past focusing on active nonagenarians, I am considering pursuing another project, interviewing and photographing centenarians who lead a purposeful life.
Website: http://conniespringer.com – http://springerwatercolors.com
Other: Threads: https://www.threads.net/@cspringer12?hl=en
A MOMENT IN TIME: 3 Artists Working in Water Media
July - August 2023 Exhibit at the Off Ludlow Gallery in Clifton, Cincinnati, OH.
Works by Connie Springer, Ellina Chetverikova, and Marcia Shortt.
SPLASHES OF COLOR Group Show of 8 Artists from the Art Circle
May 2023 Group Show at The Barn in Mariemont, OH.
DBL Law Office Group Exhibit, Covington, KY
2022 Group Show - above, Man in the Raincoat
OIL AND WATER DO MIX!
2022 show of two local artists working in oil and watercolor.
IMPRESSIONS OF HYDE PARK SQUARE
2021 Group Exhibit at Gallery 708 in Hyde Park, Cincinnati. Artists display their impressions of a neighborhood gathering spot.
Group Exhibit at Curt Bessette Art Gallery
2020 Group Art Show in the Curt Bessette Art Gallery of the Boone County Public Library, Kentucky.
Zero Hunger, Zero Waste Group Exhibit Atop Cincinnati Kroger's Building
2019 Group Exhibit atop the roof of Kroger's in Downtown Cincinnati.
My painting, Birdman, is on the middle display board on the left.
Northminster Fine Arts Show
2018 annual Northminster Fine Arts Show
FLOWERS EVERYWHERE: 33 Local Artists Portray Flowers
2018 Group Show at Christ Church Cathedral of images portraying flowers.
PAINTED STORIES: Connie Springer Watercolors in Solo Exhibit
June 1-July 31, 2018, solo exhibition of 25 watercolors in a show called PAINTED STORIES at St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church, 320 Resor Ave., Cincinnati OH 45220.
TRAVELING IN WATERCOLOR
2017 Two-Person Watercolor Show at Cafe de Sales in Cincinnati Ohio chronicling the artists' travels.
Published in Creative Voices, OLLI magazine