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Artist Profile :: Carol Ann O'Connor

I was born in Warwickshire, England, and grew up in the small village of Mancetter near Atherstone. In 1980 at the age of twenty-two, I left England for a new life in Australia. Art has been in my family for generations, and ever since I can remember it has always been especially important to me. I have received no formal training, but believe my art has grown and developed at each stage of my life. Helping me to be the person I am, giving purpose and core to my true-self. My career spans over 25 years, with a few paintings sold in my early teens to family and friends. At 19 my serious work began, with a wildlife gallery in Dartmoor England taking 7 paintings, and selling all of them within the first week. Royal Greetings Cards London took one of these, this then led to further approaches by other fine-art printers. At first, the main subject of my work was birds and small animals and I continued with these on my arrival to Australia. I sold work through galleries and shared exhibitions, and also produced some illustrations for "Woman's Day" and "Woman's Weekly".
In 1983 I was commissioned by John Sands Greetings, to produce 18 wildlife paintings to be used for greetings cards and their 1985 Wildlife Calendar. In 1984, I moved from the eastern states to Western Australia, and began to paint more of my spiritual and fantasy work. In 1990 the department of Conservation and Land Management commissioned me to paint the Noisy Scrub Bird. This was purchased by the Western Australian Government to be presented to His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, as an official token of thanks for his influence in saving Two Peoples Bay (the natural habitat of the bird) from development. A couple of years later the painting was included in an exhibition at Windsor Castle as part of a special exhibition from the private collection of the Duke of Edinburgh. In 1998 I was commissioned by Kat Kards Greetings, to produce a collection of paintings for greeting cards, and also commissioned by C.A.L.M. to illustrate a children's book about the Noisy Scrub Bird. The book was officially launched in November 1999. Around September 1999, I received a new challenge, when knife maker David Brodziak approached me in regards to applying my artwork to his knives. I must admit, it is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy, and feel the femininity of my paintings harmonizes well with the masculinity of David's knives.

I receive great satisfaction from all of my paintings. The excitement of seeing an idea that develops in your mind, to be transferred onto paper and take-on its own life, always gives me that “thrill”. But it is my fantasy work that gives me the most pleasure. Here there are no restraints upon my imagination, I am only limited by what I am capable of doing. It is in this work, you reveal more of your self. In picture form you depict thoughts, emotions, ideas.....life.

I grew up in a small medieval town in England, but have spent most of my adult years here in Australia. With my “medieval” style paintings, I draw upon those years for inspiration. The paintings are not meant to be historically correct, more a blend of romance and legend. Costume is of no particular period, rather a combination of softness, femininity and pure decoration. Their settings and landscapes exist in my fantasy world, rather than the real one. A piece of “image” held within a frame, where, with just a little imagination, one can briefly live and escape the boundaries of the world we live in.

Each painting is window-mounted before being framed. These mounts are also painted with designs to compliment the painting, maybe leaves and twisting vines or flowers and scrolls. I also incorporate costume and antique jewellery, glass and crystal beads, to make each painting truly unique.

In each painting I create, it is my hope that the love I feel for the work I do will also be felt by the person who eventually owns it.