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Painting Missouri: Paintings Representing 114 Counties in Missouri

Howard CountyVisitors to the new exhibition opening June 12 at The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art on the Central Methodist University campus will be treated to a visual moveable feast of Missouri laid down by one of America's leading plein-air landscape artists.

Titled "Plein Air Paintings Representing 114 Counties in Missouri by Billyo O'Donnell," the exhibition runs through July 21. O'Donnell and writer Karen Glines, with whom he produced the coffee table book "Painting Missouri" that features the oil on canvas paintings, will be present June 12 for an opening day reception at the exhibition. Starting at 2 p.m., they will discuss the book project and the several-year effort that went into producing it. Both O'Donnell and Glines will be available all afternoon to sign copies of their book, which was awarded the Governor's Book Award in 2009.

Billyo O'Donnell grew up on a Missouri farm about 70 miles west of St. Louis. One of nine children, he spent his boyhood roaming the forests and streams, fishing, hunting, and creating art in the vast fields and forests surrounding him. It has proven good fodder for his adult life as an artist.

Today, O'Donnell is recognized as one of America's leading plein-air landscape artists, painting outside, using natural light. In 2001 O'Donnell began a project that would define his life for the next seven years. He painted a scene in each county of Missouri plus St. Louis. The result was 115 paintings that are being showcased during The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art exhibition.

Among his many honors, O'Donnell was included in a traveling exhibit and book, "Sea to Shining Sea," comprised of 50 of America's top landscape painters. He has artwork in galleries across the United States and is a member of the St. Louis Artists' Guild Board of Directors, the California Art Club, the National Oil and Acrylic Association, and the Missouri Citizens for the Arts Board.

O'Donnell also encourages others to go out in plein air to try their hand at painting and to experience the work of other artists. He founded the project "Artists Along the Katy Trail" and organized the Forest Park Paint Out.

Born and raised in St. Louis, Karen Glines attributes her passion for writing about things that make a difference to her strong roots in Missouri. With a background in the communication field, she wrote feature and fashion articles for a regional newspaper, and then taught college communication classes. Now exploring independent projects, one of her most rewarding positions was with America Online writing for Digital City St. Louis as its first Culture and Arts writer.

Beginning June 13, summer hours at the gallery will be Tues.-Thurs., 1:30-4:30 p.m.; it will be closed weekends. The Gallery will be open on Sunday, July 17. For information or to schedule tours, contact Joe Geist at 660-248-6304 (Office) or 248-6324 (Gallery) or by e-mail at jegeist@centralmethodist.edu. The gallery is physically impaired accessible.

 

Can't make it to the Gallery? Visit the show online.

 

 
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