Brooke O'Connell


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!

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

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.

Sunday in the Studio

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It's a bit gloomy here today, so instead of being outside I have been organizing my studio space and finishing up a new painting.

I've hung one of my grandmother's paintings above my desk.  I love love love this painting and feel like the heron watches over me as I work.  I also decided to display my horse paintings by stringing them up with clothespins.

This way I can take a look at this series as I go.

Here's what's been on my desk today:

Keeping with my horse and flowers theme, here's one with lilies of the valley.  My idea for this series has been to paint horses with different types of flowers.  I have been having fun playing with the scale and size of the flowers.  I can envision these horses being fairy horses, existing in different gardens among the fairies.  Must be the Irish coming out of me :)

Here's the latest finished piece:

Have a great weekend. B

A few more sketches

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Here are some quick drawings I did of my students. They were hard at work on large scale drawings, and while they focused I stole a couple minutes to do a couple of my own.   I was totally inspired by how they maneuvered their bodies to work on the large paper.  Some students decided to work on the floor and the positions they chose to work in were truly incredible.  Unfortunately my scanner picked up some marks drawn on the other side of these drawings, so I apologize if you can see them.

Hope you like them!

Yay June!!

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Hi there!  Summer is finally here and the warm weather is great!  Been loving the patios and enjoying my newly planted garden.  Yay!  In an effort to push my self artistically, I have taken on the challenge of doing a sketch a day.  Inspired by the many "painting a day" and "sketch a day" blogs, I have gone out and bought myself a small sketchbook.  I am hoping to keep up the "sketch a day" momentum...but it is a commitment!  It is going well so far.....  here are a couple of my first drawings.  I plan on using pen and ink in this new little book, but also hope the paper is of good enough quality so that I can use watercolours too.

Here is a quick sketch of my garden.

This one is just a quick ink sketch.