John O'Keefe Jr. is featured artist at
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Lyme Art Gallery's 17th Annual
Associate Artist Exhibition
(Press Release by Susan Cornell)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Publicity Contact: Susan Cornell
Image Attached: John O'Keefe, Big Cork Tree, Oil, 8" x 10"
LAA's Feature Artist
Landscape oil painting specialist John O'Keefe is Lyme Art Association's feature artist. O'Keefe is showing at LAA's current exhibition, the 17th Annual Associate Artist Exhibition, on view through February 28.
O'Keefe has loved viewing and creating art since as far back as he can remember. "Growing up I was always drawing with pencils, colored pencils, watercolors, and I tried just about everything I could get my hands on," he said. He received formal art training during his primary school years and placed within the top five at a state level student art competition. He studied watercolor painting privately with Connecticut artist Cathy Singer and received training at the Paier College of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, all before graduating high school.
It was O'Keefe's love for art that led him to seek a career in mechanical drafting. As new technologies emerged he advanced from manual drafting to more sophisticated 3D CAD modeling systems, project management, and new product development. Even though the work was very technical in nature, there was an artistic element involved in the designing and documentation processes.
He pursued the musical arts in his personal time and ran a small recording studio out of his home while also playing guitar in a few bands.
Currently, O'Keefe is leading a video game project to develop a sophisticated DC-9-41 cockpit add-on package for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This project is focused on the Scandinavian Airline Service (SAS) DC-9 airplane OY-KGR.
More recently his wife Jennifer rekindled his zeal for drawing and painting. "It was her encouragement and support that motivated me to take up oil painting as a full time artist in 2007 and now we are working together to promote my paintings," he said.
Their daughter's health problems were also a major factor in him becoming a full-time artist. Danielle O'Keefe suffers from a rare genetic disorder known as Epidermolysis Bullosa, which affects the skin and surface areas of the body. Like her father, Danielle has loved painting, drawing and creating art since she was a little child.
O'Keefe specializes in Landscape Oil Painting in a style similar to the famous Hudson River School and Victorian era artists. He sells original works and a variety of high quality pigment print reproductions.
"I love the early American painters from the Hudson River School and Victorian era. Most of my landscape oil paintings are directed toward the styles of those early artists. I hope to one day produce comparable works to such masters of landscape as Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, and John Kennsett," said the artist. "My paintings have displayed at prestigious exhibitions at the Lyme Art Gallery and Mystic Arts Center located in Connecticut. I have won awards and the future only seems brighter as I work to promote my art," he added.
O'Keefe's Big Cork Tree is on view at the Lyme Art Association's current show, the 17th Annual Artist Exhibition. The painting started as a tree study as he has been working to improve his skills in painting trees in preparation for some larger paintings that are in the works. "The sky, as with most of my skies, is painted from photographs that my wife Jennifer takes. We many times go driving to look for beautiful skies and local landscape scenery to photograph. The tree itself was inspired by an old Victorian engraving of a cork tree. The land and distant hills are done in an effort to capture an African landscape," he explains.
"Some other details on the painting are that it's mounted on medium textured canvas and I used Winsor & Newton 'Artist Oil Colors'. Also... as with most of my paintings... they are never really complete until I get the ok from Jennifer. She has a very good eye for spotting something that looks off or is missing," he says adding, "We hang my works that are in process in our living room and sometimes after a few days or weeks we decide a particular painting needs something more added... and so it goes back on the easel for some touch-up work. I like being surrounded with reproductions of my previous works so that I can gauge my progress as a landscape painter. Most original works are for sale."
LAA is located at 90 Lyme Street in Old Lyme. Admission is free with contributions greatly appreciated. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 1 to 5pm. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802.
About Lyme Art Association
The Lyme Art Association was founded in 1914 by the American Impressionists and continues the tradition of exhibiting and selling representational artwork by its members and invited artists, as well as offering art instruction and lectures to the community. The Lyme Art Association is located at 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, in a building designed by Charles Adams Platt and located within an historic district. Admission is free with contributions appreciated. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sunday 1 to 5pm. For more information on exhibitions, purchase of art, art classes, or becoming a member, call 860-434-7802.