I have spent the last 6 years working on a series of paintings I call "Trees and Roots". The trees in this series are painted with the branches and/or foliage above ground and the roots below or just above ground. I like to depict the roots – the way they hang on to the rocks of the mountains or twist above the soil. These are symbolic of the roots by which we are all connected to our past and to each other. My paintings make reference to the cycle of birth, death and re-birth in life; to the connections between the spiritual and the earthly, the ephemeral quality of our lives and the fragility of our environment. Like our forests, this series is evolving and changing.
I am also developing a series of still life paintings in acrylic paint. These are paintings of objects I find in the studio or in my home. The objects may come from my fruit or flowers I grow in my garden or from underneath the soil. Once I have established the shapes I will be working with, I work intuitively. It is an exploration of shape, contour, line and texture. I enjoy the fluidity, the movement and sensuousness of the paint on canvas. I layer the paints, varnishing transparent colours over opaque ones, adding luminosity and interplay of tones and values. I enjoy playing with the textures and layering the paint.
My passion for art has been a part of me ever since I can remember. As a young girl, I used to draw and paint at home, and one day, my mother registered me for art classes at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
At the time, Arthur Lismer, one of the founding members of the Group of Seven, ran the school. I will never forget the day he walked into our drawing class. As I remember, he was a tall gray haired man who demanded respect with his very presence. At the time, I didn't understand the importance of this artist, but I will never forget his visit. Those art classes started me on a journey that would last a lifetime.
I have painted the streets of Paris, where I studied for 6 months; the glaciers in the Yukon and the landscape of the Rocky Mountains. My work has been exhibited throughout the country and is included in collections around the world. I have been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre, the Arctic Institute in the Yukon, the Leighton Center, and the Columbia Icefields. I have also been invited to exhibit my work at the Art Biennale in Florence, Italy.
British Columbia is now my home, where I paint full-time in my studio and also at the Vertigo Gallery Studios.
Tatianna O’Donnell, S.C.A.