Constance Payne (American, 20th Century-) noted painter, sculptor, teacher and lecturer, primarily known for her canine portraits in oil, sporting/hunt scenes, equine & animal art, landscapes, pastels and bronze sculptures from life. Constance received her MFA & MA from the University of Wisconsin, and also studied at the Angel Academy Classical Art Atelier, Florence, Italy and Toronto, Ontario, the Schuler School of Fine Art, Baltimore, MD, and the American Academy of Equine Art, Lexington, KY. Since retiring from her 28-year position as Associate Professor of Fine Art and Drawing at the State University College at Buffalo in 2013, Constance continues to paint and teach workshops, and currently maintains her home and studio in Grafton, WI along with her two beloved dogs Rosa and Newt. Her artwork can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world.
After teaching 28 years in academia, I have come to the conclusion that no work of consequence is produced in colleges and universities. Meaningful work doesn’t need intellectual discourse to validate it. Painting what one intimately knows and admires and working from direct observation always culminate in the most important connection with the viewer. I paint dogs and sometimes horses. I feel I owe these animals for the centuries that they have provided us with companionship, protection and in many instances given the ultimate sacrifice for our needs. They always thrill my heart with their innocence and physical beauty and that is what motivates me to continually attempt to translate their enigmatic forms and brave hearts into painterly terms.
Constance Payne’s oil paintings, pastels and bronzes are crafted in the tradition of the European 19th century animaliers. Constance’s lifelong studio practices emulate the working methods of leading animal painters such as Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822-1899) and currently, one of England’s finest painters, Sir Alfred James Munnings (English, 1878-1959). As prescribed by the 19th century training of artists, she embraced that curriculum and learned much from copying these artists’ works. Other sources of influence are early 20th century American painters such as, Gustav Muss-Arnoldt (American, 1858-1927), along with a renewed interest in the work of Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883). Adhering to these traditions, Constance believes that the “expression of art evolves from the most exacting visual portrayal of the subject, rather than from the self expression of the artist.”
Though strongly opposed to contemporary academic trends, she earned a Master of Fine Art degree from the University of Wisconsin. Constance maintains that drawing dogs from life, and articulated skeletons of dog and horses, along with intimate knowledge gained by working with the animals, has created an aesthetic focus that remains sincere and without intellectual vanity. Public grants and awards enabled her to work in the gross anatomy labs at the Veterinary College of Medicine at Cornell University. Constance also sought instruction in several ateliers, spending multiple summers at The Academy of Realist Art, Toronto, Ontario. After years devoted to client commissions, a workshop experience with Ned Jacobs in Arizona in 2012, painting horses from direct observation, motivated Constance to return to working from her beloved life models. There she was supported by sincere camaraderie and encouragement from fellow workshop participants, JoAnne Pierce, (Sourcetek, Inc), as well as her patrons.
Constance has been intimately involved with dog training and competing in A.K.C. events since her youth. Born and raised in Detroit Michigan, at a young age, her mother presented her with a book on the work of Rosa Bonheur. At age eleven she was enrolled in children’s art classes at the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts and Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. At twelve, she began drawing and painting the breeds she met at the AKC breed rings and obedience events that she entered with her first cocker spaniel. She later spent time with her uncle’s champion field trial German short-haired pointers, and has bred, trained and titled field trial labradors. These formative experiences and growing up in the hunting fields with sporting breeds, led her to paint what she knows best. Involvement with upland game hunts, combined with her deep attachment to the animals continues to provide her with subject matter and models. Constance was also an accomplished equestrian. Through direct observation and countless hours in stables and barnyards, she created many portraits for clients of their beloved mounts. By visiting logging farms and state fairs to sketch and model in clay, she has developed a particular respect and fondness for draft breeds.
"Constance Payne is a painter and a person of great intensity. Her work grows directly from a close emotional attachment to both subject and the painterly process. It may be that the observed subject and the means to bring it into existence as a painting is inseparable for her. She emerges as a model of the dedicated painter, a person who somehow in a time that makes such things difficult, creates paintings free of cant, show, and false erudition." —Buffalo News, Richard Huntington, Art Critic.
Since 1985, Constance has enjoyed nine national solo exhibitions. Her work achieved international attention with her solo show at the William Secord Gallery in New York City in 2007. Since then, she has chosen to come home to the Meibohm Fine Arts gallery located in East Aurora, NY, the venue that gave Constance her first commercial solo exhibition in 1993. Her commission works hang in hundreds of public and private collections all over the world. An expert on the methods and life of Rosa Bonheur and other 19th century master animal painters, she has been invited to lecture worldwide and has been featured in numerous publications.
Constance continues to conduct workshops and presentations and states, "I believe in paying it forward. For those who love painting, animals, and the beauty of nature, I offer my lectures, demonstrations and ability to share what I have learned through my research and studio practices." For more information or workshop schedules, contact her directly through her email at email@example.com.
1983- Exhibited, regional juried group show (First Prize Painting & First Prize Drawing), “Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors”, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI.
1984- Exhibited, solo show, “Horses and Landscape Drawings”, Madison Museum of Art, Madison, WI. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Spring Focus”, Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Wisconsin Pastel”, Rahr West Museum of Art, Manitowoc, WI. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Wisconsin Focus”, Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI.
1985- Exhibited, solo show, “Horse Drawings from Life”, The National Gallery, Milwaukee, WI.
1985-2013- Associate Professor of Fine Art and Drawing department at the State University College at Buffalo (retired), NY.
1986- Exhibited, solo show, “Gill Alley: Paintings of Abandoned Dogs”, Carnegie Museum of Art, Tonawanda, NY. Exhibited, national juried group show, “Current Visions II”, Germanow Gallery, Rochester, NY. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Invitational Exhibition”, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Waterwoks”, painting of retrievers in the field shown, Adams Memorial Art Museum, Dunkirk, NY. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Invitational Opening”, Barbara Schuller Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Four Professors”, Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center, West Seneca, NY.
1987- Exhibited, invitational group show, The Forum Gallery, Jamestown, NY. Exhibited, group show, “Faculty Favorite”, Charles E. Burchfield Nature & Art Center, West Seneca, NY. Exhibited, invitational group show, “The Wayward Muse: A Historical Survey of Painting in Buffalo”, for the painting “Wards of the State”, purchased by museum, catalog book, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, national juried group show, “National Juried Exhibition”, Ariel Gallery, NYC. Exhibited, group show, “Dog Art” international painting competition, Museum of the Dog, St. Louis, MO. Exhibited, group show, “International Painting Competition”, Viridian Gallery, NYC.
1988- Exhibited, juried group show, “Chautuaqua National”, Chautuaqua Institute, Chautauqua, NY.
1989- Exhibited, invitational group show, “Divergent Views: Five Artists from New England Region”, CRS Gallery, Albany, NY.
1990- Exhibited, solo show, “Bloodsport: Paintings of the Hunt”, Joy Horwich Gallery, Inc., Chicago, IL.
1991- Exhibited, invitational group show, “Contemporary Art from the Region”, New Visions Gallery, Ithaca, NY.
1992- Exhibited, invitational group show, Buffalo Seminary Academy, Buffalo, NY.
1993- Exhibited, solo show, “Plein Aire Horses and Landscape: Working from Nature”, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.
1994- Exhibited, solo show, “Horses Plein Aire”, Larkin House Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, invitational group show, “Recent Acquisitions”, Buffalo Seminary Academy, Buffalo, NY.
1997- Exhibited, solo show, “Drawn from Tradition”, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY. Exhibited, group show, “Gallery Artists Exhibition”, Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.
1999- Exhibited, group show, “1900-2000 Drawings: Work in Private Collections”, Fine Line Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
2001- Exhibited, group show (Prize), “Emulation of Masterwoks”, Constance Stalsonstall exhibition, grant awards show, one of five awards for Achievement in Painting, Ithaca, NY.
2004- February 7-May 23, exhibited, group show, “Buffalo Seminary’s Colby Art Program 20th Anniversary Exhibition”, featuring work by over thirty artists from the complete Colby Collection at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY. Exhibited, solo show, “The Four Seasons”, national competition for public mural project, four panels 4’ x 20’ each, derived from plein air studies in the French 19th century in the style of the well known artist Alexis Jean Fournier (American, 1865-1948), commissioned by the Wendt Foundation, with the New York Public Art Project mural unveiling held at the Roycroft Inn on the Roycroft Campus, East Aurora, NY.
2005- Exhibited, group show, “Westminster Exhibition”, public commission and group show, American Kennel Club, NYC. Exhibited, group show, Charles E. Burchfield Center (now the Burchfield-Penney Art Center), Buffalo, NY.
2006- Exhibited, solo show, a public commission for Champion Marienburgers “Sunhawk” & Champion Marienburgers “Mary Hartman”, Doberman Pinchers from Montana, which were unveiled and coincided with the Westminster Dog Show, American Kennel Club, NYC.
2007- Februray 11-March 24, exhibited, solo show, “Constance Payne: Sporting, Purebred, and Pet Portraits”, her first New York City solo show which featured over twenty-five paintings, drawings and bronzes of a wide variety of canine subjects, William Secord Gallery, NYC.
2010- September, exhibited, group show, “Gala Celebration of the Centennial of the Club: Westie Art”, West Highland White Terrier Club of America, Lancaster, PA.
2011- August 29-November 7, exhibited, group show, “Women Artists in Western New York: Selections from the Gerald Mead Collection”, Nichols School Gallery, The Glenn and Awdry Flickinger Performing Arts Center, sponsored by the Colby Art Fund, Buffalo, NY.
2012- June, Constance was one of four esteemed artist judges chosen to select the winners for the SourceTek "Cover Catalog Competition", from over 300 submissions, Scottsdale, AZ.
2013- June 29, gave free demonstration on drawing & painting dogs, Utrecht Art Supplies, Milwaukee, WI. Exhibited, October 24-December 6, group show, “Colby-Oishei Artists”, from the Gerald Mead collection, Buffalo Seminary, 205 Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo, NY. Museum Lecture (Date to be determined), Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI.
2014- August 4, Constance Payne returned to the Roycroft Campus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 4 Seasons murals she painted in the Roycroft Inn as part of the Little Journey's - Roycroft Lecture Series, East Aurora, NY. August 7-9, Constance held a "Dog Drawing & Painting Workshop", Grafton, WI.
2015- Connie taught a few painting workshops for the 2015 summer to include: HORSE DRAWING & PAINTING WORKSHOP, June 2015 (toward end of month), working from live models in the 19th C. method and Plein Aire painting; and DOG DRAWING & PAINTING WORKSHOP, August 2015 (middle of month), working from live models in the 19th C. method and Plein Aire painting.
2018- September 14 - October 13, Solo exhibition, "Hounds & Horses", Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY.
Prizes/Awards: First Prize Painting & First Prize Drawing, regional juried group show, “Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors”, Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI (1983); Nuala-Drescher Award, Time Release Award for Junior Faculty for Scholarly Achievement, State of New York, Albany, NY (1991); Arts & Humanities Award, Buffalo State College, “Study of Old Master Techniques from 17th-18th Century Europe.”, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Frick Collection, NYC, (1992); Arts & Humanities Award, Buffalo State College, “Time Release: Series of Copies of Rosa Bonheur Etudes, French 19th Century and Lucy Kemp Welsh, British 19th century color palette” (1992); Research Foundation Award, Buffalo State College, Travel Award: “ Yale University Museum, Paul Mellon Collection, British Sporting Art, Yale University, $3000 (1995); Research Foundation Award, Buffalo State College, Travel Award: “Dissection Research at Cornell Veterinary Gross Anatomy Laboratory”, Ithaca, NY, $5000 (1996); Research Foundation Award, Buffalo State College, NY, Study at Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, Rubens, Bayre and Bonheur: Emulations & Cornell (1997); Research Foundations Award, BSC University School of Veterinary Medicine, Gross Anatomy Labs, Dissection Drawings, $7000, Ithaca, NY (1997); PDQLW Award for Research, Funding Clay maquettee studies of Percheron horses from Life for Bronzes for Three Dimensional “Horse Fair”, after Rosa Bonheur, State Award, NY, $7,000 (1998); New York State Arts & Humanities Award, Study of Paul Mellon Collection, Yale University, British Sporting Art Collection, New Haven, CT, (1999); SUNY Research Foundation Award, Dissection Drawings: Cornell Veterinary School, Gross Anatomy Labs, Albany, NY (2000 & 2003); and Constance Salsonstall Foundation, New York State Award for Painting, “Emulation of Master Works”, State grant $5000, Ithaca, NY (2001).
Public Collections/Museums: Painting of “Mary Hartman & Sun Hawk” which hangs in the prestigious permanent art collection of the American Kennel Club Headquarters, NYC; Albright Knox Art Museum, Buffalo, NY; Castellani Art Museum, Niagara Falls, NY; Roycroft Inn (Salon), Roycroft Campus, East Aurora, NY; and Ralph Lauren Home Collections, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood, CA, and Madison Avenue, NYC.
Magazine & Book Publications/Press: The Fra, Vol. XV, Pg. 30, January, 2005; American Bungalow, “Roycroft Centennial Murals by Constance Payne”, Vol XV, No. 45, Pages 141-144, Spring, 2005; East Aurora Advertiser, Vol. 131, Issue 31, “Headline: Sign Up, The Four Seasons Murals”, June, 2005; East Aurora and Beyond, “The Visitors Guide”, Pg. 30, 2005; Dog World, “William Secord a Gem”, Jan, 2006; The French Bullytin, “The Best In Show work from Artist Constance Payne”, by Arlie M. Alford, Vol. 24, No. 1, 2006; American Field, magazine, 2007 exhibition at William Secord Gallery, NYC and her painting of “Phantom’s Nemaha Jake” featured, Pg. 13, January 20, 2007; Dogs in Canada, “Constance Payne: Sporting, Purebred & Pet Portraits”, January 2007; Sporting Classics, “Canine Portraits of Constance Payne at William Secord Gallery”, Pgs. 62 & 95, Jan-Feb, 2007; The New York Times, “Arts & Leisure”, February 10, New York City, 2007; Westminster Kennel Club, Dog News Edition, “Dogs in Art & Literature at Crufts, England”, by Nick Waters, interview with Constance Payne, Feb, 2007; Dog World, “Animalier, Constance Payne, Braces for Solo Exhibition”, Page 7, March, 2007; Canine Review, “Dogs In Art”, by William Secord and Dawn Deely, Pgs. 38-44, August 2007; Spaniels in the Field, Pg. 69, Winter 2007; Just Frenchies, “Constance Payne: Sporting, Purebred and Pet Paintings”, Vol. 5, No. 1, Winter 2007; Dog News Annual, “Constance Payne, Sporting, Purebred & Pet Portraits”, by Nick Waters, Pgs. 74 & 184, United States and England, 2007; The French Bulldog, “Art & Objects d’ Art”, by Muriel Lee, Pgs. 177-189, hardcover book, Kennel Club Books, Freehold, NJ, 2007; Dog News, “Constance Payne: Sporting, Purebred and Pet Portraits at William Secord Gallery, NYC”, Pg. 70, 2007; The French Bulldog, “A Visit to La Galerie du French Bulldog”, by Muriel P. Lee, hardcover book, 2007; The French Bulldog, “A Canine Masterpiece”, by Joan H. Walters, Vol. 44, paperback book, 2007; Brochure of Open House of Public Collection, American Kennel Club, NYC, Pg. 8, 2007; Palm Beach Society, “A Conversation With William Secord”, Pg. 10, April-May 2008; Just Frenchies, Vol. 6, Pg. 88, Winter 2008; The Bully Breeds, by Dr. David Harris, hardcover book, 2008; The French Bullytin, Westminster Edition, Vol. 25, No. 4, featured on front & back covers, 2008; Career With Dogs: The Comprehensive Guide to Finding Your Dream Job, by Kim Campbell Thornton, Pg. 229, Publisher, BowTie Press, hard & soft cover, 2010; The American Dog at Home: Dog Portraits of Christine Merrill, by William Secord, ""A Tribute to Stanley", Hardcover, Pg. 145, The Antique Collectors' Club, England, 2010; American Artist, “Cody” (oil on linen), SourceTek, Inc., advertising, Page 17, June 2012; and Utrecht, Milwaukee Press and Radio, “Constance Payne Animal Drawing Demo”, 2013.
Other Publications: Chicago Daily News, Chicago, IL; Chicago Sun Times, Chicago, IL; The Dahesh Muse, (Dahesh Museum, NYC); The Buffalo News: Gusto Section, Buffalo, NY; ArtVoice, Buffalo NY; Buffalo Spree magazine, Buffalo, NY; Canine Images, Lorton, VA; Elf magazine; Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee, WI; Albany Times, Albany NY; Rochester News, Rochester, NY; Eve Fashion Magazine, Chicago, IL; Ithaca News, Ithaca, NY.
Film: “Talking on Talent”, Lockport Cable, Lockport, NY, 1997; and “Rosa Bonheur: Documentary on the Life of Rosa Bonheur”, Director Lina Gagnon, shot on location, Palmoralle, Quebec, Canada, 1998.
Lectures: Utrecht Art Supply, demonstration, Milwaukee, WI; Minot State College, Minot, ND; Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT; Dahesh Museum, NYC; Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Italy & Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Twentieth Century Club (private), Buffalo, NY; New York School of Graduate Figurative Studies, NYC; Charles E. Burchfield Center, Buffalo, NY; Roycroft Association, East Aurora, NY; Fisher-Price Mattel Corporation, East Aurora, NY; Academy of Realist Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Utah Workshop, Canine and Equine Painting from Life, Monroe, Utah; East Aurora New York Workshop, Canine and Equine Paintings from Life; and Future Lecture & Workshop (2010).
Endorsements: Official product endorser as a featured artist for SourceTek, canvaspanels.com, Scottsdale, AZ.
Gallery Representation: Joy Horwich Gallery, Chicago, IL (1989-1991); Meibohm Fine Arts, East Aurora, NY (Currently Exclusive, 1991-Present); and William Secord Gallery, New York, NY (1997-2013).
Artist Website/Email: constancepaynestudio.com, and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For possible additional information or other images from Constance Payne, please visit the AskArt link
(Compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com, sources: Too long to list here and are furnished upon request.)