Lines and Colors art blog

Billyo O’Donnell

Billyo O'Donnell, Missouri plein air painter
Billyo O’Donnell is a Missouri painter whose recent work, in addition to being painterly and color rich, is often highly textural.

I’ve had O’Donnell on my list of artists to cover on Lines and Colors for some time (it’s a long list), and his style has evolved since I first encountered his work. His newer work is thick with textural paint application.

At times it seems more prevalent than others, but it’s always difficult to get an accurate feeling of textural surfaces from photographs. There’s also the element of scale; small paintings presented in the same size photograph as large ones without reference for scale will appear quite different in surface characteristics.

O’Donnell frequently explores the effects of shadows in bright sunlight, with dappled patterns falling over houses, fields and objects. He makes use of bold value statements and high chroma passages of color as a counterpoint to the character of the paint application.

In 2001, O’Donnell took on a project to paint a plein air painting in each of the 114 counties in the state of Missouri. In collaboration with writer Karen Glines, the result was a book called Painting Missouri, that appears to be currently out of print after its third printing. I picked up a copy when O’Donnel was here in the Philadelphia area some years ago acting as a juror for a plein air event.

There is a dedicated website for the book, on which prints of individual paintings appear to be still available. The paintings in the book, which you can see in small previews on the Prints page, are in his older, still painterly but less physically dimensional style.

The images on his website are also somewhat small; you can see larger ones on the sites of galleries in which he is represented (linked below).