Lori O'neil

published November 8th, 2020

A mother with a passion for painting the ocean and the things around them.

Can you tell us a little bit about you?

When I was four years old, my Mom and I would visit my grandmother, she would give me a pencil and a very small pad. I would just sit and draw as my Mom and she enjoyed their visit. I became seriously interested in art when my Mom took me to a plein air art show when I was probably 12 years old.

I was so inspired to try this so my Mom bought me a starter set of oil paints and a large oil painting pad. I absolutely loved mixing colours and bringing scenes to life on paper


How did you join the art world?

I'm self-taught, but through art exhibitions I have met some extremely talented artists and we share new ideas.

What inspires you to paint the waves of the sea and the things around it?

Since I grew up near the river and the ocean, I have a natural connection to the sea. I believe the ocean nourishes our emotional health as well as our physical health. The sound and smell of the ocean is relaxing, but at the same time can be exhilarating. I paint the ocean because I like to connect viewers to those emotions of tranquillity and excitement.

As a Mother, what advice would you give to parents who don’t want their children to follow the path of art?

I would tell parents that if their child is creative, they must allow them to create. Granted there are many "starving artists" so it's important to have an occupation to fall back on. My career was as an elementary school teacher, but I have always created art.

Colourful colours are your main palette, have you tried painting in only black and white?

I have never painted in black and white, but I have done black and white photography. I couldn't imagine a scene of the ocean without it being a gorgeous blue green colour that gives it such emotion and expression.

You paint on different surfaces. What are your favourites?

I do paint on different surfaces which allows me to create functional art which is so cool. I love when art can serve many purposes simultaneously not only to provide an uplifting emotion as we view it, but to also be useful. My favourite surface is still a canvas because it allows me the freedom to paint whatever I want as I'm not restricted by anything.

To you, what are the greatest obstacle artists face today?

With the art world being online every artist is up against an enormous amount of competition today. Social media has become a fantastic avenue to show and sell your art, but realize you are up against thousands of talented artists from all over the world, not just your little neighbourhood.

Branding has become a "thing" and some artists feel to be recognized, they must adhere to one medium. I disagree with that as my mind is almost always in a creative mode and I love to work with different mediums like oils, acrylics, and resin.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two very large commissions for a client who has requested a coastal scene for her office incorporating her favourite colours of turquoise, blue, and gold.

If you were to look back at your very first work, how would you rate it?

My first work that I can recall was a painting of Adam and Eve in which I won first place in an art contest. I guess I would rate it good since I did get the blue ribbon!

What is the greatest highlight of your career?

One highlight of my art career was when I was commissioned to create a work for an historic Fire Company located in the Victorian town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey celebrating their 100th Anniversary. However I feel most fulfilled as an artist when I can elicit inspiring, happy emotions in the viewer and have them fully connect with my piece!

Visit Lorioneil's shop to buy her works at Lori O'neil's Art

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