Brooke O'Connell

Weekend Painting

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Hi!  Here's a little 5"x5" painting I did this weekend.  It was kind of fun to work on something so small and to zone in on this horse's nose.  If you're a horse person you probably already appreciate your horse's nose... I felt it worthy of a little painting :). Have a great week and enjoy the weather!  B image

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.

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

Lakeside horse

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Hi everyone, I'm spending the week at my parents' house in the Laurentians.  The weather has been amazing and I have been painting on the porch everyday in between swims. Image

Here is what I've been working on with some more step by step pictures.


I started with a quick sketch.


I began laying in colour.


I painted the background by layering some washes of green colour.  With my mom's help, we decided this horse would go well with daisies.  I began painting petals and stems.


Next I added black outlines with a sharpie to help define my lines and shapes.



Lastly, I added leaves, highlights, and more black lines.  Hope you like this new horse and that you are having a great summer.  Cheers, B

Fox gloves

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It was a beautiful day today and i spent most of the day painting outside on the porch. 20120817-202216.jpg

Here is the horse i painted with step by step photos.




I thought he'd go well with fox gloves, so here's a pic with my drawings of the flowers.


Painted flowers...


And the last step -flowers with black outlines.


Hope you enjoyed seeing the progression and that you had good weather too. B

Mural update #3

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I spent a few hours painting the mural today and things are starting to come together! Here are some pictures. Keep in mind this is a work in progress :)



The image with the fiddler is a work based on a Marc Chagall painting, and the village scene on the right is Van Gogh's Starry Night. Both of these paintings were done by students in grade 8 - pretty amazing!


I've started outlining things in black and am really happy with how the dragon has come to life.



I mentioned in one of my previous posts that the concept for this mural is "the wonder of books". Since this mural is being done for my school, I've tried to capture themes that are familiar to our students. The books represent science, art, history, geography, math, language, and music.

The music book has been one of the last ones to be done. Here is what's been painted so far...


This page will be instruments of the world.

If you are interested in seeing the other books please take a look at my previous posts. Cheers, B

Summer horses

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Here are some pictures of what I've been up to lately.... 20120807-161716.jpg

I've been inspired by watching the riding in the Olympics and thought I'd do a few horse sketches.  For those of you who know my work, you've probably seen my large paintings of horses.  Horses have played an important role in my life and they are one of my favorite things to paint.

The result of my sketching is something I am quite excited about!  I've decided to combine my small horses with flowers (it's a bit of a weird combo but they are two of my fav things -so why not).  I may make a small series of them.

Although they aren't quite done, here are my two first horses:


Here's a close up of his head:



The last time I painted horses was back in 2005 and my canvas size was 5' x 6'.  These little paintings are 6" x 8"...  it's quite a difference in size!  Here is a photo of one of those big paintings next to my new one.


Never thought I'd be working so small but it's been a lot of fun.  I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished work.  Happy summer!

Mural project update

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Hi, here are some pictures of the mural. It's starting to really come along and we are getting to the fun stuff like adding details. :)



This week we started painting the background, which will be a large blue ribbon.





You can see we still have tape on some areas to help us get clean lines. Getting closer to finishing week by week.

Mural painting

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Hi, thought i'd share some pictures of my latest project. For the past couple weeks i have been working on a mural project at my school. With the help of a dedicated group of grade 7 & 8 students, we began drawing the mural last week. I have to admit, i was just as excited to be drawing on the school walls with a sharpie as the students were. We felt quite rebellious! The theme is the wonder and magic of books. Different worlds are opened up to us through reading and learning. I like the idea of things coming to life out of the books.

This week we started painting - yay colour! It's been great hearing the students react every morning as they come into the school and see what what we've done.

Here are some pictures of my initial sketch:




The original mural was supposed to be done on a wall going up stairs. The black rectangles represent windows and a door.

Here are some pictures of the actual mural:





Very exciting! I'll keep you posted as we go.

Blog Awards

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Hi! One of my blog followers has nominated my blog for a Versatile Blogger Award.  Yay!  Thanks to Sketches and Jottings for the nomination.  The idea is  to use the nomination to make others aware of great sites.  Take a look at the list below of the blogs I follow and have nominated.

1.  Little Wolf   -art/design

2.  Inward Facing Girl   -art/design/life/misc.

3.  Como Say What?    -travel/art/misc

4.  Sketches and Jottings   -art/design

5.  Avril Loreti   -art/design

6.  Breathe   -Buddhism

7.  Sprouted Kitchen  -healthy eating/cooking

8.  Design Dreams Japan  -DIY/art

9.  Down Dog Blog  -yoga/health

10.  S.P. Goodman  -art/painting

11.  Zen Habits

12.  Tokyobling's Blog  -travel/art/photography/misc.

13-15  to follow...

7 Random Things About Myself

1.  I love Nutella on toast.

2.  My cousin and i once caught a frog we named Georgio. He spent the day hanging out with us (through his own free will)  as we toured around our lake on a windsurf board.

3.  I can't get enough of Douglas Coupland  or Kurt Vonnegut novels.

4.  Love origami.

5.  Pansies are my favorite flower.

6.  I have random dreams about hanging out with famous musicians.  Ex) picnic with Bono, Eric Clapton bagging my groceries, playing cards with Dave Grohl

7. Love love love swimming.

These are the rules for the Versatile Blog Awards:

  • Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
  • Inform the bloggers of their nomination.
  • Share 7 random things about yourself.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Add the Versatile Blog Award picture on your blog post.

Saturday painting with music, coffee, and memories of Bermuda

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Hi!  I've been away from my paints for a couple weeks now...but am happy to have a few hours to paint this morning.  Coffee, music, a little sunshine, and memories from my last adventure.

I am working on a small landscape based on one of my watercolour paintings from my trip to Bermuda.  As you can see, I've been working with a black ground.  I love how vibrant the colours are against the black.

Here are a couple other shots of the step by step.

It's getting there...but still have more work to do.  Hope you're having a great Saturday. B

20 Best Twenty

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Great news... my artwork is being featured on 20 Best Twenty!  If you haven't come across this website yet -take a look... it's a wonderful site that features a variety of artists and handmade products.

Here's the link: