Connie Falk began taking drawing and painting classes at NMSU about 10 years prior to retirement. Her initial plan was to improve her color, composition, and design skills to use them in quilt making. But the joy of mixing paints became so great she has not returned to quilting and now pursues oil painting full time, both in the studio and with a plein air group that paints every week together. The treasure trove of quilt block designs she created in the early years of quilt enthusiasm has now brought her full circle in this show.
She retired from her academic career at NMSU in 2013 from the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business. For 25 years she taught classes and conducted research in financial feasibility analysis, sustainable agriculture and new crop development at NMSU. During her last two years at NMSU, she was the first recipient of an endowed chair in the Honors College, and she taught senior honors seminars in climate change and resilient systems in Nicaragua. Upon retirement, she first moved to Farmington, and then most recently to Placitas in fall 2016.
The chaos of this moment in history has created in me a certain need for orderliness and symmetry. The quilt block paintings in this show reflect that desire for balance and equilibrium. I used quilt design software to create the patterns. Some of the colors were selected on the computer and then mixed to match what I wanted to achieve, while many of the colors were more spontaneously mixed. In addition, many of the design and color choices were based on an effort to create a pulsing effect or vibrations, to contrast with the balance of the orderly designs.
The three paintings from Antelope Canyon were based on two visits to the canyon in Paige, AZ, while I was still living in the Four Corners. Despite heavy crowds visiting the famous slot canyon, the place is magical and full of beautiful color and light.
The paintings that look like aerial landscapes were inspired by the drip technique that many painters use, in which paint is allowed to drip across the canvas. I noticed that if I let watered-down paint dribble around the canvas, and keep turning, I will create a nice set of random lines that then outline shapes I can paint. First I painted a cool color version, which then begged for its warm color cousin. This painting approach allowed me to explore new mixes of colors I might not have otherwise tried, and challenged me to find a pleasing balance of values, shape contours and sizes, and color. That task is actually always what the artist grapples with each time she reaches for a blank canvas, regardless of the subject matter.