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Local painter focuses art on ‘harmony, wholeness and radiance’

A display of local art greets donors, nonprofit partners and community members when they enter the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. After the building was remodeled a few years ago, a wall serves as a rotating art display where local artists are invited to exhibit their work.

The display and its prominence elevate the importance of local art in the community. Featured artists rotate every few months.

Mike O’Connell, a painter from New London, currently has multiple pieces set along Cape Cod, the Gulf Coast or the Sonoran Desert on display at the Community Foundation. His display, which runs through November, features his work from the past decade.

Here’s more from Mike:

“It is an honor to be showing a few of my paintings on this great white expanse. I like the idea of showing similarly sized paintings as a group, and these 12×24 canvases enjoy being in such a long, quiet space.

I’ve worked my entire painting life with oils. The long-term commitment works well for this medium. Drying is slow and curing even slower. This works nicely for me. If the paint is not in any hurry, I do not have to be either. What I’m striving for are the three things Thomas Aquinas required of creative work: that it must have harmony, wholeness and radiance. It has been a good maxim to follow. Maybe we don’t always achieve that in a painting, but that goal is always there. After 40 years of working with this in mind, there should probably be a few resulting good pieces.

The way things have played out, there has been time to paint what was meaningful to me, with a good day job to pay its way. There was no need to pretend to be an artist. What I hoped to do was become a good painter. Thanks to some fine shows and excellent galleries, enough pieces went to new homes to keep the process going.”

Mike studied painting at the Academia Internacional in Guadalajara. “I can’t think of a better place to be a student. I loved Mexico. But then, no matter where I ever was, I thought it was the best place to be,” he said.

Mike estimates he has works in 42 states and five countries. He and his wife have lived in New London for the last 25 years where they have a studio and a by-appointment gallery.

If you are an artist interested in displaying your work at the Community Foundation, learn more here.


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