Southern Artist Spotlight Series: Windy O’Connor
I am excited to introduce you to a neighbor of mine, Windy O’Connor. She lives right down the street in a beautiful historic carriage house that is DIVINE!!! She is very talented and won the Art with Heart Emerging Artist Competition judged by my favorite gallery girls, Rebecca Brooks and Katharine Hidell Thomas of Hidell Brooks Gallery.
Charlotte, North Carolina
What is your training?
I have my Bachelor’s degree in Design and have taken 5 years of painting classes and workshops. I find that the more I work, the more my work develops and becomes an extension of me. The act of painting is where I learn the biggest lessons. I consider my work Abstract Expressionism. My work most influenced by the works of Willem De Kooning, Cy Twombley, Mary Ann Wakely, Allison Stewart and Brian Rutenburg.
What inspires you and your designs?
Everything under the sun! Growing up in eastern North Carolina, I have always had expansive views of nature. I love painting abstracts so, I am always squinting and trying to look at an object or landscape with a fresh mental lens. I am also a beach bum. I love marshes and wetlands. The north and south Carolina coasts feed my soul.
What is your favorite piece?
This one is so difficult! I have a piece in Atelier gallery in Charleston entitled “Passion” that I think has an energy that I am drawn to and a texture that I strive for in my work.
“Faith, Hope, and Love”
This is the a piece that has the client’s mantra.
I also paint a ” Love Letter” series that says something to the onlooker and the onlooker can write his or her own message. They are mixed media abstracts created with acrylics, paper, string, and oil paint. I painted a very large one for a client that had his personal mantra sculpted in the piece. It was hard to leave that piece behind.
How has the south influenced your work?
My memories and experiences of living in the south have woven a mental tapestry. I have always had a love affair with all things beautiful. I am influenced by southern plants and gardens. Flowers are so inspiring. I also adore fashion! I love clothes and women and men in the south dress beautifully. The combinations of colors and balance in design influence my work. I have always loved homes and interiors and the south is blessed with beautiful dwellings. I paint with a room in mind. I can’t help it! I visualize a space without knowing where that piece will end up living. My design background and love of interiors has shaped my visual process.
What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
I love Barringtons on Fairview Rd. The food is spectacular! I adore french food and the wine list is terrific. They have a green salad that is topped with french fries! It blew my mind!
What is your favorite cocktail?
The Bald Head! I came up with the cocktail on Bald Head Island. It is Hendricks Gin, lime juice, Fresca, and cilantro. Low cal and yummy!
How do you balance personal life and work?
I wish I could say, ” I rock it”. I don’t…I am constantly trying to make the most out of every moment! I love spending time with my husband and children so I am constantly torn. I could paint all day and I try to paint everyday. I am lucky to have a studio a block from my home! That has made my life more manageable.
My dream trip would be to take my family to Italy for a month. I want to experience the culture, the scenery and the food.
All commissions are dreamy to me. I am so grateful when someone wants something for their home and they choose me to paint something for them. It is a gift! However, if Kate and William need something for the baby’s nursery…
Your favorite hostess gift?
Who is your style icon?
I want to be as brave as Iris Apfel. She rocks a statement necklace like no one else. Boy, is she fantastic and so stylish. She is fashionable in spite of trends. I also love Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O… timeless
Your favorite up and coming artist?
I am a big fan of Dru Warmath‘s work. She is also a Charlotte artist and I own one of her paintings. She has an amazing sense of color and I am obsessed with the imagery of her work.
I admire Meredith Pardue‘s work too. I love her expanses of white.
What is your most treasured possession?
My family of course.
If I am choosing an object, I would say my home. I live in a carriage house in the middle of town. It is a special place.
What are you reading?
What are you listening to?
Favorite Design Blogs?
I am crazy about Windy and her abstract work.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know her too!