Beaufort News

Another Conroy book evokes the Lowcountry, with a colorful twist

Artist Melissa Conroy’s “The Lowcountry Coloring Book” was released Monday. It includes familiar Beaufort scenes like “The Castle” in the Point.
Artist Melissa Conroy’s “The Lowcountry Coloring Book” was released Monday. It includes familiar Beaufort scenes like “The Castle” in the Point.

For decades, Pat Conroy painted Lowcountry scenes with his writing.

A new Conroy book brings those images to life in a different way. But this one is from Conroy’s daughter.

Artist Melissa Conroy’s “The Lowcountry Coloring Book: Charleston, Savannah, the Sea Islands, and Beyond,” was released Monday. The adult coloring book includes scenes from Hunting Island, St. Helena Island and downtown Beaufort, among other notable Lowcountry places.

The 44 pictures can be removed and arranged into larger pieces of art.

That’s not to say Conroy doesn’t lean on the descriptive prose her father used to put Beaufort on the map. Pat Conroy, the bestselling Beaufort author of titles including “Prince of Tides” and “Beach Music,” died of pancreatic cancer in March.

Melissa Conroy was born in Beaufort, “a place I consider to be the epicenter of the Lowcountry,” she writes in the introduction to the new book available in a preview on Amazon.

“On Hancock Street, I combed my fingers through curly Spanish moss and made mud pies from the rich soil,” she writes. “On the waterfront, I squished my toes in silky marsh mud and cut my feet on oyster shells.”

Conroy moved from Beaufort to Atlanta when she was preschool-age after her father’s relationship with the county school district soured. She grew up in Atlanta, attended the Rhode Island School of Design to study painting and earned master’s degrees in painting and textile design.

She has written children’s books and penned stories for the scenes in her coloring book but has always gravitated to visual work, she said.

“You would think being Pat Conroy’s daughter, I would put more pressure on myself as a writer,” she said by phone Thursday from Philadelphia, where she now lives.

Conroy’s coloring book started from sketches she made while visiting her father on Fripp Island, she wrote on her website. She pedaled a beach cruiser over the bridge and drew Hunting Island’s forest and beaches.

Some of the scenes should be instantly familiar to Beaufortonians, including “The Castle” in the historic Point neighborhood — the book’s cover image — and Penn Center and Gay Fish Company on St. Helena Island.

Conroy has published two other children’s books: “Grandma is an Author” and “Poppy’s Pants.”

She will be in Beaufort for the Pat Conroy Literary Festival and introduction to the Pat Conroy Literary Center in October. She recently passed out copies of her new book at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance show in Savannah and has talked to Penn Center about a possible appearance there.

Conroy had first talked to her agent about an adult coloring book about a year ago — the genre has been popular recently. She knew which scenes she wanted to fill the pages.

“The setting of the Lowcountry was kind of my comfort zone,” she said. “My first go-to place.”

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