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Jul 28, 2017







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Upcoming NH shows for O’Donnell

MAA Art in the Park: Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Watson Park, 441 DW Highway, Merrimack, manchesterartists.com
 
2017 Art in the Park: Saturday, Sept. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Ashuelot River Park, West St., Keene, monadnockareaartists.org
 
James O’Donnell
jamesodonnellartist.com





Summer fun
MAA Artist of the Year keeps busy with art shows and antiquing

07/27/17



 When you’re named Manchester Artists Association’s Artist of the Year, you get to display a painting at E.W. Poore for an entire year. But 2017 award-winner James O’Donnell has a busy summer ahead — he likely won’t choose a piece till September. 

During a recent interview at the Carol Rines Center, the Hooksett painter was hanging art for the Manchester Trolley Tour. After that, he’d head to shows in Newburyport, Mass., Portland, Maine, and then MAA’s Art in the Park Aug. 26 in Merrimack. Most free Saturdays and Sundays will be spent scouring antique shops, yard sales and flea markets with his partner for the antiques business they run.
But busy is how he prefers summer. It’s his favorite season, evident in the subjects he paints. He’d much rather keep moving during the warm months, then scoot to his upstairs painting studio in the winter.
“Somebody pointed out to me — and I never really noticed it — that almost all my paintings have some kind of water in there somewhere, or they’re near the water,” O’Donnell said. “I like seeing the way the light hits it.”
His paintings in the one-day Trolley Tour show on July 20 featured a few beach and water scenes, a rickety old boat inspired by a trip to Prince Edward Island, and Red’s Eats, an iconic Maine food shack known for its lobster rolls. 
Though he always considered himself to be creative, O’Donnell didn’t begin painting seriously until retiring in 2006 at age 57, at which time he and his partner flew to Florida for the winter. On a whim, he signed up for a watercolor painting class. He became hooked instantly and has since studied at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, the Kimball Jenkins School of Art and E.W. Poore. In 2014 he joined the MAA, and he currently serves as its secretary.
O’Donnell said he loves piling his minivan with paintings and a 10-foot by 10-foot white tent and meeting other artists at art shows. Considering he only began painting full-time 10 years ago, he’s done very well; it turns out, coastal and water scenes are popular among local art shoppers.
“Sometimes, it’s like, I’ll do two paintings and then I’ll sell three. … It’s almost like I have to run to keep up,” said O’Donnell, whose favorite medium is oil. “It’s very forgiving. It doesn’t dry very fast, and you can just move it around and change it until it’s right.”
He partially credits the MAA for this success, which currently boasts about 100 members, many of whom he admires for their talent and guidance. They’ve been very giving with advice, through the organization’s monthly meetings and otherwise.
“It does sometimes feel like I’m playing catch-up. I’ll never be as good as the people who started [younger],” he said. “It’s got some really talented artists.”





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