Joe O’Donnell

joe odonnell display

Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for December 2016

Joe’s passion for art began when he was a young boy living in Iowa. His mother was creative and poetic and she inspired him to draw and paint. Living in the heart of the Midwest influenced his landscapes and he was also inspired by the works of masters La Tour, Pissarro, Millet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. Joe enjoys working with acrylics and deep impastos and says utilizing sharp scrafitto incisions adds dimension to his work.

He has also been a commercial pilot for more than 30 years and says that flying has influenced his artwork from another perspective. His artwork has been juried in several shows and has been awarded a judges citation award at Founder’s Hall in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Below is a recent Q&A with Joe o’Donnell.

Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
My mother encouraged me at a young age to draw … and each day when Jon Gnagy (America’s original television art instructor) came on, she’d call up to me in the morning when he came on TV and I’d come down and draw along with him. I have used oils, but over the course of years I’ve been painting, acrylics seem to be easier to work with, and drying time is significantly shorter.

How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
I’m not sure what you mean by “inform”…but I like using acrylics for its color retention and predictability.

Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
I have been inspired by nature, growing up in the Midwest …and by the masters Vermeer, VanGogh, Rembrandt, Monet, and Camille Pissarro.

Do you have a favorite piece in your portfolio?
Yes I do …I’ve always wanted to paint “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (1665) by Johannes Vermeer — and this year I did. Very happy with it!

What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?
What you think is an awful mistake could just be a happy accident. Don’t fret, and never give up. Go to museums every chance you get … absorb as much as you can about what you like to paint (or want to paint) – books, videos, etc.
Read: Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain by Betty Edwards


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