It was a long Sunday afternoon for Todd Connor early this summer as he was filling packing boxes for a move from McAllister to Fort Benton, Montana, just northeast of Great Falls. But the day was filled with pleasant surprises. While cleaning out his studio, he discovered hundreds of small canvases, all plein air paintings. “I don’t get to do plein air much anymore,” he says wistfully.
Don’t think for a minute that Connor sees his sun-swept portraits of pioneers, landscapes, and First Nation warriors as uninspired, 9-to- 5 studio work, however. Art is his challenge, second only to the greatest challenge he ever faced: becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. “I chose the hardest thing in the military, then [I chose] painting,” he says. “I guess the more difficult road is the most satisfying. I want to do something challenging. With both, you have to work hard to achieve; you have to put up with a lot.”
20” by 30”
“After observing this breathtaking sky where I live in Montana, I imaged this Crow Indian camp. It depicts buffalo hide tipis, as were once used before contact with outsiders. The fires invite the viewer to enter the camp, where the evening activities of cooking and resting resume after the passing thunderstorm.”
Siesta on the Brazos
24” by 30”
“I almost titled this painting Family Time. It’s a moment of reprieve on a hot afternoon on the Brazos River, where dangers in 1800’s Texas were everpresent. The father causally stands guard while watching his little girl do what little girls do.”