Maybe you love the outdoors and long to find yourself staring at a scenic coastline. For some, it has been a while since they've seen a yellow poui in all its glory or the blossoming violet petrea flower at the Botanic Gardens. When last have you passed by magnificent historic structures like Stollmeyer's Castle; or perhaps you haven't yet experienced La Fillette Cove or Balandra Beach. Observing nature is reinvigorating, just like the works currently being exhibited by local artist Lisa O'Connor at 101 Art Gallery. O'Connor has captured these scenes in her latest exhibition, "Recent Oils".
O'Connor's works, which are largely based on the outdoors, are solitary and simple, yet therapeutic. She started painting when she was 18 and hasn't stopped since. At age 47, while her love for painting nature has never changed, some of her priorities have. She now focuses on what gives her life meaning and joy – her family. O'Connor juggles her love for art with running her home with her husband, Gregory O'Young and their four children, Luke (11), Nicholas (7), Monique (3) and 16-month-old Jason.
She is at a stage in her life where timing is everything.
"The children are an inspiration and they give me that joy and energy to continue the creative process. As I am older I paint different yet the same. I used to have the most freedom when I was single; now I tend to take advantage of the time I have to paint. I have to make time and I have t mix things up a bit more; I don't have time for much but I have to take the time when I get it."
She added: ""It's hard for family life sometimes; it gets even harder for me when I stay away from painting for a long while, then I have to get inspired again. I try not to get nervous. I realise that I have to relax and enjoy the process; I don't worry or get too tentative, I just enjoy it. I don't think much will change; painting nature is my passion. If I see a poui tree in full bloom I just have to paint it because I go crazy. I tend to work more in three dimensional which gives the illusion of space and the play on light. I like painting in the Caribbean because in this part of the equator the sun is the brightest in the world it's a more of a vibrant light you get. You get more of a contrast which I enjoy when I paint."
O'Connor, whose last exhibition was two years ago, is best known for her outdoor scenes. She has showcased 38 pieces of her works in oil and canvas. Her paintings en plein air, a French term that means "open air", capture nature through various local scenes. She said she loves the complement of the trees on old architecture and the contrast of the light playing across her subjects. Her main medium is oil on canvas. "I mainly work with oil on canvas. I've done watercolours but I prefer oils; oils are a very rich medium and they give a lot of depth and luminosity; you don't get with other mediums. Oils are convenient. With oils you can make mistakes and retouch; it's a more spontaneous medium," she said.
She said there is growing appreciation for local art. "People are interested in art; more people are into collecting. Individuals and art collectors are realising that art is not just a beautiful painting you can hang and appreciate but they are seeing it as an investment," she said.
While art lovers and art aficionados will appreciate the richness and depth of O'Connor's works, naturists, too, will gravitate towards O'Connor's works. The artist captured various scenes like Boats at Store Bay, Bathers at Store Bay, Evening in the Savannah, La Fillette Cove, Yellow Poui at Country Club, View from Crown Point, Queen of Flowers, Queen's Park West, Croton at Balandra Beach Resort and Sunset Cove. Her works continue to be on exhibition at Studio 101 until September 27.