Carol Ann O’Connor is a self-taught artist who first started to draw at the age of 3. Born in 1957 in the UK, her art career began in 1979 when one of her wildlife paintings was purchased by Royle Greetings Cards of London, quickly followed by commissions from fine-art printers.
Carol Ann arrived in New South Wales Australia in 1980, where she continued her wildlife work, being commissioned by John Sands Greetings to produce work for their 1985 wildlife calendar. She quickly gained a reputation as one of Australia’s leading wildlife illustrators.
In 1984 Carol Ann moved to the Pilbara region of Western Australia where she spent 3 years before finally settling in Albany on the South Coast. Her time in the Pilbara gave her the opportunity to see and feel the magnificence of her chosen land and this began to reflect in the work she produced.
In 1990, Carol Ann was commissioned by the Department of Conservation and Land Management to paint the Noisy Scub Bird of Two Peoples Bay. The painting was purchased by the West Australian Government as a gift for HRH Prince Philip. The painting was exhibited at Windsor Castle, featured in a television art series, and now hangs in the dining room of the Queens private residence at Sandringham Palace.
In 1999, Carol Ann began working with professional knife-maker David Brodziak, embellishing unique hand-made art knives, which are in collections around the world, mainly America and Saudi Arabia .Around that time, she decided that her wildlife work no longer offered her the challenges she needed and began to explore in more detail, a creative and spiritual connection
Her years of painting wildlife have given Carol Ann the skills to produce highly-detailed work, life experiences give her the subject material for each painting and together with her creative imagination, combine to create the paintings of today.
In undertaking her wildlife work she mastered the skills required for detailed observation and painting. She is now challenging herself to use these skills to explore the environment , interaction between people and the environment and inner physiological states. Her work explores connectivity.
Each painting draws upon on the beauty of the world we live in and the beauty to be found in all of us, and celebrates our gift-of-life. Each painting takes hundreds of hours to complete. These multi-media pieces, worked in detail on illustration board, are embellished with gem-stones, pearls, crystals, antique and vintage jewellery making each painting an individual and truly unique piece of art.
Carol Ann has produced work for Royle Greeting Cards, Solomon & Whitehead Fine Art Printers, John Sands Greetings, Kat Kards Greetings, Women Day and Women’s Weekly magazines. Her work is in many private collections around the world including, H.R.H Prince Philip, H.R.H Abdul-Aziz Abdullah Al Saud, Lady W H Smith.
High quality Giclee prints are now available of Carol Ann’s recent work.
Pen & ink, Acrylic paint, 24ct Gold worked on 100% acid-free Illustrators board.
Amethyst, Turquoise & Garnet Cabochons
Silver earring set with Moonstone, Garnet, Amethyst & Citrine.
Vintage brooch. Lapis Lazure Chips, Swarovski Crystals, Freshwater Pearls.
Each new painting starts with just that inner compulsion to create. As I settle into my controlled style of painting , each piece evolves not from the head but from the heart.
This painting is the first of my “Sisters of Eve” paintings and came after a period, where each painting created, seemed to throw-up issues I needed to deal with within my own life. Because I work intuitively, it is not surprising that that these issues rise to the surface, presenting themselves within my work, what is surprising is that it has taken me many years to recognise this.
Before starting this piece, I asked for a painting which offered healing and a gentle calmness. A painting that was purely for the joy of creation and the celebration of life.
Each new painting begins with just that inner compulsion to create. As I settle into my controlled style of painting, each piece evolves, not from the head but from the heart……
Within this painting the mountains speak of strength, stability and adventure, that desire which lives in most of us to seek-out what lies ahead, it is also the path to our higher selves, the level we need to reach for in the development of our inner-selves, our spirit.
The surrounding hills have no trees, instead their formations are covered with richly-coloured mosses. The piles of granite-rock look bare and un-yielding and yet, life-giving waters stream from their forms.
The gnarled tree has come to the end of its life, but its roots are still deeply buried into the earth and, its branches reach-up into the sky in a gesture of the life it once held. Yet from this trees death comes life. The vines use its solid form to support their young tendrils, fungi feeds on it bark and, hanging from its branches are the pomegranates, a symbol of the womb and fertility.
The rocks at the rivers edge, solid in their mass and strength, contrast with the fast-flowing water, reflecting the stability and security we all need as we flow from day-to-day, birth to death.
In a world where we are constantly encouraged to be dissatisfied with what we have or who we are, all of the above speak of the strengths, qualities and beauty that each and everyone of us bring to this world.
At the centre of this stands the Earth Goddess, a representative of the female energies found in all things. She is gentleness, compassion, nurturing, understanding and commitment. She is all things we wish to find within our own selves. She wears gold and gem-stones , symbols of the Earths great richness, not just in mineral wealth but in all it offers us. Her garland of leaves is just as important to her as her necklace of gold. Her energies inter-mingle with the energies of the Earth. Emphasizing how we are all connected to one another, she shows us how we need to harmonize our earthly-lives to give strength to our spiritual selves………
Carol Ann O’Connor
Painting size….320 x 510cm
Watercolour, Gouache , Coloured Pencil
Dancing pearls of Life was painted in 1995 when I had just started to give a written description with each painting. At that time, although I found it easy to depict my thoughts and feelings in to painted images, I had difficulties in fully expressing those same thoughts and feelings in to the written and spoken word. As I wrote the words for this painting they insisted on being in rhyme, something I had not intended but then, my work has always controlled me…..
From intense earth-brown eyes firstly colours begin controlled, tiny brush-strokes draw-out feelings within.
Deep in my soul something magical grows, to release kaleidoscope images in to watery flows.
This spirit of earth wears a halo of life, that belongs to us all our inherited birth rite.
A rat painted calls upon man, its confronting stare to say.
“Live in your environment so you will not see the day, when this precious inheritance gasps for breath and its life-force slips away.”
Amongst the precious metals, laboured from the ground, a lizards gem-like scales reflect the treasure that’s all around.
For each second of each passing day brings more than bloodied gold, if we could open our closed eyes we would truly see, the energies combine to bring us harmony.
A silver moon swings freely from a chain of gold and reflects an eerie glow, that plays upon our minds and controls the oceans flow.
The suns power of burning energy, unending flames take flight, to stream upon the earth in rays of life-filled light.
Tiny folds of a tight-stitched weave tumble to ocean depths below, squeezing through cracks and crevices where grasses and corals grow.
And upon the moons command, as it guards the deep, dark night, the corals fill the seas with dancing pearls of life.
Carol Ann O’Connor