Karen O’Neil’s oil paintings of glassware, china and fruit have some of the characteristics of watercolor and some of the feeling of pastels.
I’m pretty sure O’Neil is working in opaque impasto, but she somehow achieves a bright, airy quality to her paintings that is often seen in transparent watercolor, in which the surface white is transmitted through the paint.
She uses a lot of white objects and background surfaces in her compositions, and her subtle coloring of those surfaces, and the high chroma and high value of her color choices in general, give a feeling sometimes found in pastel, in which pigments are often mixed with white.
O’Neil seems fascinated by transparency and reflection, though by reflection I don’t so much mean mirror-like surfaces as reflected color. Colors bounce from one object or surface to another and back again.
She seems to utilize triadic color schemes and her paintings have an overall color theme to them, within which she is playful in her balance of color areas.
She is forceful and direct in her application of paint, with broad strokes defining forms with deceptive simplicity.
O’Neil is also a teacher and leads workshops and classes at the WailKill River School, The Woodctock School of Art and the Art Students League of New York Vytlacil Campus.
[Suggestion courtesy of James Gurney]