Allan O’Marra is a graduate of OCAD University where he studied photography, painting and communications and design. He is an award-winning artist, art teacher, fine arts columnist and art exhibition jurist.
He has had 50 solo fine art exhibitions and participated in over 140 group shows in a 51-year career, and has works of art in numerous private and corporate collections.
He presently paints full-time, conducts professional artist workshops and is asked regularly to jury fine art and photography shows.
My paintings and drawings are primarily done in a high realist style using, principally, my own photography as reference. I also shoot photographs and exhibit them on their own fine art merits. Over the four decades of my career, I have put together solo shows on specific themes, i.e.: several suites of paintings of Lake Ontario; an exhibition of Polaroid photos titled, Parallels//Polarities; a show called The Joy of Falling, a set of psychologically-challenging paintings and drawings of leaping and falling child figures; a show of oil paintings based on images from a specific Family Reunion; Moments of Awakening, an exhibition with canvases that explored my spiritual quest as a Buddhist; and a painting series titled My Landscapes, a return to my muse, the countryside around rural Bancroft, Ontario, where I grew up, and images from the environs of Durham Region where I lived for numerous years. In the spring of 2013, I completed a series of 30 acrylic and mixed media on paper abstract paintings inspired by classical music compositions called Classical Abstracts. And then a series of “fusion” paintings in which I combined realistic figures in oils with acrylic and mixed media abstract elements. I produced a series of large format portraits of young females with serious expressions in the time frame 2014-16 I called Lush Gravitas that was exhibited at several venues, including at the Whitby Station Gallery. I exhibited a series of paintings called Magical-Mystical-Mythical at the Art Gallery of Bancroft in March 2017 that celebrated the attributes of magic and mystery and myth that I find in the Maxwell Settlement where I grew up and other locales I personally inhabit and through which I travel. In the summer of 2019, I held a show of florals and landscapes from the Maxwell Settlement locale, titled Endless Summer--in Whitby and at the studio retreat in Bancroft. In summer of 2020 I showed Recent Figurative Works at the Art Gallery of Bancroft (my hometown) that ran from mid-June through to the end of August. While during summer of 2021 I showed Still Life and Landscape Paintings at my Bancroft studio/retreat. And throughout the pandemic, I curated, organized and participated in five different online virtual art shows.
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Every now and then I find a photo image from some years back that triggers a painting. In this case, it was the picture of a handful of raspberries I had set down on my kitchen counter. I love the simplicity of the image and the dense red of the berries.
While preparing salad for dinner, I set a pair of small tomatoes on the vine onto the counter top in dramatic late light and figured the scene might make a nice picture and used what I captured as reference to make this still life.
At a point this past spring when I was preparing to move, a friend brought me this fab going away bouquet of tulips. I took it to my new place and took some pix of it.. And turned this version of a unique from-directly-above vantage point into this painting.
This is a view I have seen innumerable times driving between the Bancroft area and the GTA / Durham Region over the years and captured a picture of this wonderful winter scene with subtle sky colour one late afternoon. And decided to turn it into one of my many landscape paintings.