Another in an ongoing series of still lifes of a selection of my antique bottle collection in a window of my rural retreat
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 36 solo fine art exhibitions and participated in over 100 group shows in a 49-year career, and has works of art in numerous private and corporate collections.
He presently teaches art for the Pickering Recreation Department, 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 Ajax, Ontario where I presently reside. 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 organized and participated in five different online virtual art shows.
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I found the reference image for this figurative piece on an online forum and requested the photographer's permission to turn it into a painting. What struck me about the image was how much it looked like a pairing of mother and child that the painter Donatello would compose for his works--but in a much more contemporary setting.
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.