Profile - Carmel O'Connor
1. What part of the process of creating art do you like best?
Whilst I enjoy the whole process of creating my art works which; evolve from the European linage of Portraiture, Still life and Landscape but in an abstracted Carmel O’Connor way, it is when I’m preparing the picture for exhibition that I get an added buzz. In anticipation I hope that my art may resonate with another or several people beyond the studio allowing me to connect with people in a strictly visual sense.
2. What is your working environment like?
My art space is neat, well lit and enjoyable. I am methodical in my practice most of the time, which enables me to have several projects on the go at once. At the moment Landscape is my focus. This involves a lot of ‘out door’ painting time which is confronting and requires a lot of physical effort.
3. What kind of (formal & informal) art training have you had?
In the mid 1990’s I began a very serious enquiry into Fine Art achieving an Honours Degree (Fine Art) with a Painting Major and a Tapestry Sub-Major from Monash University Caulfield campus. During 2001 I also gained a Graduate Diploma in Education from Monash Clayton. I have painted pictures all my life. My first lessons in painting began when I was seventeen. I would travel to Pasco Vale by train on Saturday afternoons. Alf Watson was my first art teacher, he was teaching Art during the week at Niddrie Technical at that time. I now teach Relief Printmaking and Painting.
4. Name some important influences and inspirations in your art career.
I met Shirley Bourne, a Melbourne artist and teacher in the 1980’s she encouraged me to paint, telling me I ‘ could make something of it.’
Meeting Emeritus Professor Bernard Smith in 2002 was a fantastic experience; he wrote the definitive book Australian Painting. We became good friends until his death 2011. I have met so many wonderful people through establishing myself as a Portrait painter. My eldest daughter Georgina has also been a very important influence for me through her encouragement and constructive criticism about my progress and directions.
5. List recent exhibitions of your work?
RECENT SOLO SHOWS:
2017 Tapestry Now: Richmond Library, New Landscapes: Marios Café, Fitzroy.
2016 CAS Group Show:- Art at Burnley Harbour; Say it with Flowers. QVWC Melbourne.
6. Describe some highlight/turning points of your art career?
1994 Receiving an ‘A letter’ to study a B.A. Fine Art at Monash University.
2002 Being hung in the Archibald Prize with my portrait of Emeritus Professor Bernard Smith.
2015 Public Art Commission, twelve linocut designs - Terang Lions Club Walk, Terang Victoria.
2015 – Establishing the Darlington Art Group, Darlington Victoria.
7. Sample artwork images:
Above: Growth. 2017, Oil on linen. 70 cm x 170 cm by Carmel O'Connor
Below: Pavane. 2014, Oil on linen, 90cm 120cm. by Carmel O'Connor