Brooke O'Connell


Summer Horse Painting Series

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Hi everyone!  Summer has officially begun and to celebrate I've started a fun little series of mini 6"x6" horse paintings.  I'm looking for horse photos to work from... so if you have any you should submit them! I will be choosing about 10 photos from all the entries.  People who have submitted the chosen photos will have the first opportunity to purchase the paintings in my shop for 30$.

If you head over to my Instagram account you can find out how to enter.


Here is my first #brookesminis that I started today.


I hope you enter!  Have a great week, Brooke

Crunch the pony on TV (and my painting too!)

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Hi!  I got some exciting news yesterday... my painting of Crunch had a brief cameo on Australian TV!  Crunch and his owner Hannah were part of a project called HighScrollers.  The project highlights some of the incredibly creative things happening on-line through the use of social media.  Take a look at this cool segment and keep an eye open for a snapshot of my little painting 😉

Magical Moments of a Horse Painter

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Hi! I thought I'd share some pics of the step by step process of my latest painting. I came across an image of a horse being bathed that immediately pulled at my heart strings.  It made me miss those little moments with my own horse that are part of the everyday, but that are so special. I knew immediately upon seeing the image that I wanted to paint it.  I also knew that attempting to paint water being sprayed would be quite the challenge.

The photo I referenced belongs to @cantering_hooves.  If you are on Instagram I suggest you look her up, she is a talented photographer who takes beautiful pictures!  I really appreciate that she allowed me to work from her photograph.








All in all, I am really happy with the result.  There's something about this moment and this horse that makes me want to reach up and pet him.  There's also something about it that I find a little magical... and that's a pretty great feeling!

Thanks for checking in, B

Artist Interview: Passions, Inpirations, Process

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Hi!  There have been some exciting things happening around here lately... one of which is that last weekend I was interviewed to be part of a video project called Burlington 52.  Each week the project highlights and shares some of the amazing things happening here in Burlington Ontario. My video is about how I got into the arts, my painting process, and my love of horses.

Here's a cool behind the scenes pic from the shoot:


Thanks to Marc from Burlington 52 for including me in this great project.  Be sure to check out to see the first 7 videos, and keep checking in to see what comes up next!

Cheers, B

Travelling pony... from Canada to Australia!

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Hi!  I recently completed a painting of an amazing little pony.  His name is Crunch and he belongs to @1itscrunchtime1 on Instagram.  If you're interested in all things equine, you should definitely take a look at this account.  Crunch and his buddy Lippy are both extremely well trained ponies.  They both pull a little cart, and are incredible little jumpers.  It's a great Instagram account! In case you missed the picture of Crunch on my easel, here he is:


My little Crunch painting is now ready for his long voyage.  In the next day or two he'll be travelling across a couple oceans to arrive in Australia.  This will be the first time one of my paintings finds a home in Australia.  I must say it's pretty exciting and really makes me appreciate the wonders of the internet and social media.  I never would have imagined that one of my paintings would makes it's way to such a far corner of the world.  It's pretty cool!  Hope you have a great weekend. B


Inside the Artist Studio

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Here's a sneak peek into my art studio.  Keeping it organized and tidy can sometimes be a challenge.  I don't know how or when it happened, but somehow I have a ton of stuff: art supplies, materials, paintings, books, etc.  My studio isn't a big space, but I am so happy and thankful to have it.  A studio space is something every artist or creative person hopes for... a magical place where you can just open up and get lost in time. Here's my studio looking tip top: organized, tidy, and clean.  I also use my studio to meditate and do yoga... so if I'm slacking in the tidying/cleaning department - my head space isn't at it's best.


Here it is today:


I'm reorganizing some of my work, and showing some paintings, which means I've got stacks of paintings leaning against furniture and any available wall space.

I've got this little painting on the go, so I'm off to make a little room to get back to it.


If you're an artist and have a work space, please share your Instagram, Facebook, or website with me ~I'd love to see how you work! B

Horses on the Brain and on my Easel

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Here's a glimpse of what I've had on my easel.  This is Bayley...she is so gorgeous I just had to paint her.  As you can see, nearing the end of a painting my palette becomes a bit muddled. To all you painters out there - do you arrange your colours a certain way?  Warms and cools?  Does it work for you?  I've tried all sorts of things, but still tend to just go for it.  Would love some feedback!  Have a great Monday! image

Horse Painting Contest Winner

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Hi!  A couple months ago I held a contest on my Instagram account.  The prize was a custom painting based on a winner's horse photography.  Since I joined Instagram I have been amazed at what a cool community it is, and at how many awesome photographers there are out there.  It's been a great way for me to connect with fellow horse enthusiasts and artists.  I was really pleased about the number of entries that were submitted to my contest.  One picture caught my eye right away.  The photo belongs to Sophie Johnson a.k.a. @billiefilly, a young photographer who has a great eye and amazing skills. Here is her photo:


And here is my finished painting:


I am just about to ship out Sophie's painting and I hope she loves it!  I have decided to hold another custom horse portrait contest... so if you are a horse lover, be sure to check out my Instagram account and submit photos.  Have a great week! B

Art Card Giveaway!

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image Horse Card Giveaway!  Win a set of 4 art cards.  The image is a print of my "Horse and Daisey" painting.  Cards are blank inside and come with envelopes.

To enter:

1) follow me on Instagram

2) repost this image to your Instagram account

3) tag one of your images with #horsecardgiveaway

The lucky winner will be chosen when I hit 600 followers.  Good luck!

Saturday on the Artist Agenda

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Hello and happy Saturday!  Here's what's on my agenda today: image

I am pretty excited to have the whole day to myself.  I began the morning with a photoshoot of some new prints.  I just picked them up from the print shop last night and they look fantastic!

Next up on the agenda was tea.  Although I have always loved tea, this past spring I gave up coffee.  Let's just say it's been a bit of an adjustment -especially when your full time job is hanging out with 13 year olds all day :) .  Anyways, I have some fabulous green tea ready to go.

A little update to my blog, and all I have to do after that is pop my ipod into the dock and head into the studio.  I have a good chunk of time this afternoon, so I am really looking forward to submerging myself into my painting.

I hope you have some time for yourself today to do what you enjoy.  Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for checking in. If anyone else has recently given up coffee, let me know how you're doing!  B

A Family Portrait Painting of a Different Kind

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Hi! Over the summer I created a painting that is slightly out of my realm.  Yes, horses and the occasional cow can be found in my work...but pigs, chicken, and geese aren't. I created this painting as a bit of a challenge.  I loved the idea of creating some sort of family portrait of barn animals.  Below are a few images of the step by step.

Here is one of my first sketches:


After sketching a couple different compositions and playing with the placement of my animals, I decided I was ready to start.  I transferred my ideas onto a larger canvas and started painting one animal at a time.  I added a blue wash in the background just to start playing with colour.


Bit by bit it started coming together and I eventually got to the point of adding details and highlights.  One of the hardest parts about this painting was creating a nice blue for the background.  For some reason I tend to always leave the backgrounds for the end.  Normally it isn't to hard to paint it in, but because of the amount of creatures that I had to paint around- it became a little tricky.  It was also tricky trying to get a nice smooth and even finish.


Anyways, I hope you like the "Family Portrait" I created :)

For all you painters out there -here's a question:  do you paint your backgrounds in at the beginning or at the end? I'd love to hear!  B

Love Horses?? Enter my Contest!!

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.photo Hi Folks!  I've decided to run a little contest for all those horse lovers out there.  The rules are simple…to enter you must:

a)  Follow my Instagram

b)  Post your photo(s)** to Instagram and use the hashtag #horsepaintingcontest

-each participant may enter up to 5 pictures-

c)  Tag me in the photo or write @brookeoconnell in the caption.

When I hit 200 followers on Instagram I will randomly choose a lucky winner.

The prize will be a beautiful 8"x 10" custom horse portrait based on the winning photo.  Shipping will be included.

Spread the word, tell your friends and family, this would be a great gift for anyone who loves horses!

** Please ensure the photograph belongs to you.  I do not want to infringe on anyone's copyrights.

Good Luck!

Horse Painting Update

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Hi!  I haven't posted in a while but here's an update: As mentioned in my previous blog post, after 10+ years of being out of the saddle... I was thinking of getting back into riding.  Last fall I booked some lessons and it's been amazing.  It's been great to reconnect with "barn life" and be so close to horses again.  The simple things like leading a horse, brushing, and tacking up, really put me right back into that world.

I was very excited (and a bit anxious) for my first lesson.  I expected to just do a bit of trotting and cantering, but I was really happy when my trainer said I should jump a few verticals.  It was sooo fun!

I must say it's been an incredible experience to reconnect with a passion in this way.  If there's something in your life that you've been thinking of getting back into -do it!  You won't regret it.

In my last post I had a step by step of one of my paintings.  I thought it would be good to post the finished work.  I hope you are having a great summer. B

Horse News

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Hi!  Here is an update on one of my latest paintings.  I met this horse a few years ago while traveling in Ireland.  I took quite a few reference shots of him because he was amazing and I knew that someday I would paint him. I am currently in the process of creating layers of washes for the background.

BrookeOConnell_IrishHorse2 #3

BrookeOConnell_IrishHorse2 #2



The painting is still wet so please excuse the glare.  The canvas is 36" (h) x 30" (w).  In the next few days I will adding layers of paint and building up certain areas.  I will post more pictures as I go.

In other news, after 10+ years of not riding- I have decided to get back in the saddle.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was once a full-time rider but distanced myself from the sport after selling my horse.

I am really looking forward to reconnecting with this passion and making new four-legged friends.

I hope you are having a good weekend.  B

Commission Piece: Pony Love

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Hi folks! As you may have noticed I have been on the horse painting bandwagon lately :) . Many of you know that I use to have a horse and for a long time riding was a huge part of my life. As a young girl- horses were always on the brain. Since selling my horse I have been removed from that world, but in the past year I have reconnected with that passion through my painting.

Here is a new piece I have been working on. The subject matter doesn't get much better- a super cute kid and her fantastic pony.

Here are a few step by step pictures to show you how things have been progressing.




Things are starting to come along. I will post more pictures soon. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

Thinking of Spring

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It's been quite cold here and although I do like winter, I can't help myself from thinking of my spring gardening plans. The painting below was done for a friend, and was inspired by the thought of changing seasons. 20130126-153442.jpg

Looking forward to seeing some of these little guys soon. Have a great weekend, B.