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Painting a passion for Homewood artist

Larry Conley poses his office front few art pieces he has created.  |  Terrance Peacock~For Sun-Times Media

Larry Conley poses in his office in front of a few art pieces he has created. | Terrance Peacock~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 8, 2014 9:50AM



Art is a form of expression.

That means Larry Conley has been expressing himself since he was doodling in grammar school.

As an adult, not only does Conley still have his passion for drawing, he has turned his passion into profit. His paintings can be seen throughout Homewood.

Conley said he first became fond of drawing when he started doodling in the backs of magazines as a child.

“They used to have those pictures in the back of magazines that said ‘draw me,’ and I would sketch the little pictures,” Conley said. “I just kind of took a liking to drawing.”

While in high school, Conley received a scholarship to play football at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., and there he majored in art. After receiving his art degree from Lincoln University, he then attended Indiana University, where he received his master’s degree in art education.

Conley said he found that when he would paint or draw, he would have friends asking how much he would sell his work for. From there, he noticed that he could get paid to do something he loves.

“Here is something I have a passion for, something that I love doing, and guess what? Now I’m getting paid for it,” Conley said. “There’s nothing more important than that.”

Conley said he considers his work happy art. He said there is nothing negative that he would put into his pieces.

“You don’t see any crying babies, you don’t see anybody feeling bad and feeling down in the dumps. When you look at it, it makes you smile,” Conley said.

Conley said the most he has sold a painting for is $1,500 and he has sold some paintings for $50.

Conley said it’s not always about the money.

“The main thing is I just want to get past having to take care of my expenses,” Conley said.

Conley is a former assistant principal at Shepard High School in Palos Heights and has been retired since 2005.

He has been a volunteer at South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest since 2004. He said he was recently contracted to do two floral paintings to be displayed at the hospital.

“What makes that so unique is that the only paintings at the hospital are my paintings,” Conley said. “That makes me feel real good that they felt enough for me to allow me to do their artwork.”

For anyone interested in becoming an artist, Conley said to keep pressing on.

“If you see yourself having any kind of skills, just keep working at it,” Conley said. “That’s the difference; you cannot give up. If you keep pressing on, chances are you will probably end up being somebody special.”



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