Jenny O'Donnel

Coastal BC Watercolour Landscape / Still Life

A Candid Interview with Jenny O'Donnel

RR: When did you first become interested in painting? 

Jenny: I began painting when I first came to Canada in 1980 around the time my children were little.


RR: Was watercolour always your first choice? or did this preference develop over time? 

Jenny: Watercolour was my first choice and I studied and attended classes to develop the skills and techniques. I have worked in oils and acrylic also and recently really enjoy working with cold wax and oil paints. 


RR: What do you like about the watercolour medium? 

Jenny: I love the softness of the colours and the techniques which can mimic the light, shadow and shapes around us.


RR: Do you usually have a plan when you first start painting? or do you wing it?

Jenny: I usually have an image in mind or a view. Sometimes a photo with a particular effect I want to recreate. I have an ocean view from my home and love to recreate the ever changing sea and sky.


RR: In the coastal sea-scape work you are doing presently, you've chosen muted blues and grays, with hints and splashes of colour - an effective technique for capturing the moody coast - rather than more colourful, vibrant interpretations, why did you decide to go for this effect? 

Jenny: I began experimenting with a new approach allowing the paints to flow and merge as the sky and sea seem to do and these colours best imitate what I observe. I do intend to introduce colour in the next series.


RR: Who are your present influences? 

Jenny: I was inspired by a technique used by Lena Gemszoe a watercolour artist from Iceland. Love the loose flowing nature of how she allows watercolour to flow over a very wet paper.


RR: Who were your influences in the past? 

Jenny: I have always loved Turner’s work. I Love Art Galleries and Museums and visited many on my travels. Impressed by DaVinci, Monet, Van Gogh, Emily Carr, Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, Also inspired by Chinese Ink and watercolour paintings. 


RR: Are there any other artist/painters in your family? 

Jenny: My father liked to paint later in life though had no formal training. My daughters have both shown an interest and aptitude but are busy with young children and careers right now - maybe later as I did.


RR: In your opinion, what is your best piece?

Jenny: (Either) the one hanging in my dining room (haha!) or the one I have still to paint.


RR: Do you recall the first time you saw a painting that really moved you? if so which? 

Jenny: I was really moved by Turner’s paintings at the National Art Gallery in London . I loved the atmosphere and reflections he created of ships on the ocean, in storms and in the early morning light.


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