Focus on flowers and shapes

written by: Donna Rhodes | problem: June 2023

As evidenced by her art, cover artist Cath Connolly’s arrival on the plateau was something of a homecoming.


It was 1968. Cath Connolly, 13 years old, with a short skirt and charming shyness, stepped down the plane stairs and set foot on American soil.

A high-profile job brought her family to the United States. She was a little apprehensive about making her way into this giant new area.

But one thing Cath knew: no matter where she landed, art would always be her companion.

Now, years later, after retiring from the corporate world, Kath ended up as the June cover artist for Laurel Magazine.

How did this happen? basic. She came to the Highlands for a wedding and fell in love with the beauty, tranquility and cool climate reminiscent of England.

In 2019, she moved here, joined the Art League of Highlands-Cashiers, became a member of Mountaintop Rotary, volunteered with hospitals, and served on the Art League board while contributing to fundraising paintings. “I try to use my art for good. I want it to be a useful part of society,” she says. The Laurel welcomes her with the spotlight on her amazing work on its June cover.

Her devotion to the region is echoed in her oil paintings, focusing on flowers and shapes, and using a semi-abstract approach. The themes are recognizable, but highly stylized – a few shades shy of reality. “Everything around me inspires me,” she explains. “I love planting things and painting them. There is something magical about planting a seed or a bulb. I feed it, water it, love it. When it matures, I capture its essence by painting on canvas or wood. It is satisfying for the soul.”

“Peonies and dahlias are my favorites. Everyone here is thinking about dahlias. I think I’ll join them.”

As one of the main organizers of the Mountaintop Rotary Art and Craft shows, she has little time to display her own work. But you can see it at the OEI Acorns Boutique and at the upcoming ALHC Summer Colors Show in Sapphire, July 22-23.

Attend her presentation at the Arts League meeting on June 26 at 4:30 p.m

“I will discuss my approach to landscape abstraction,” she says. “I will explain how mixing cold wax with oils and working on panels complements my process.”

If you would like a personal visit to her home studio, call (919) 259-1027 and schedule an appointment. Or you can visit her at or email

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