“For more than two decades I’ve been intrigued by the way a painting’s surface and subject complement and compete in the viewer’s mind. In working plein air, I am excited by the way my visual experience translates into a surface language expressed through the richness of paint. Using a personal language of abstract marks, I want to share with the viewer a deeper emotional response to the world in which we live.”
Billyo O’Donnell’s childhood was spent west of St. Louis along the Missouri River where the hills rise up out of the valley to meet the plains with eight siblings on a small family farm. Surrounded by two large landowners of more then 14,000 acres of nature influenced his known world. Spending most of the summer barefoot, except for Sundays, he often made elaborate sculptures from pond mud for his brothers to smash. He was always creating. At the age of eighteen he had an epiphany during an accident guiding him to pursue his love of painting. Earning a BFA degree, he met his love Peggy, found work as a staff artist at Maritz Motivation for twelve years while receiving many national and international awards for his paintings. His family grew with three children Megan, Timothy, and Erin. Invited to participate in the 1995 San Juan Capistrano Mission Paint Out as one of 5 guest artist from across American. Billyo has then continue to participated in plein air events for the last 19 years. He has received the highest awards at many of Americas prestigious plein air invitationals that often included many of Americas top landscape painters.