Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Painting Missouri - The Counties En Plein Air

We were fortunate to pass through Kansas City while the exhibit "Painting Missouri - The Counties En Plein Air" was on display at the central library. Painter Billyo (sic) O'Donnell and journalist Karen Glines collaborated to produce 114 paintings and essays, one for each county in Missouri.

The paintings ranged in size from 9"x12" up to 24"x30". The result of a seven-year effort during which the artist faced almost every weather element imaginable from sub-zero temperatures to 100-degree heat, the paintings have been published, accompanied by the essays, by the University of Missouri Press. The book is now in its second printing.

Subjects include historic buildings, small town streetscapes, wildlands and croplands, creeks and rivers, people and animals, the Christopher Wren church in Fulton, a tipi, a cannon, and the fountain at the Plaza in Kansas City in winter. There are nocturnes, twilight scenes, fog and mist, slanted light and high sun. Some of the close-up views and the distant vistas become quite abstract. Many compositions gain drama from large empty foregrounds and/or diagonal elements.

There was also a display case with his (well-used) palette, brushes, sketchbooks, notes, apron and easel.

Here is a link to Billyo O'Donnell's site.

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