Monica O’Keefe paints distant vistas and close-up views of the natural world. Her paintings range from realistic to whimsical, and she enjoys using color and detail and organic patterns. Getting outdoors is very important to Monica’s artistic process, and it is while walking and hiking that she comes up with many of her inspirations and concepts for paintings. Her paintings try to convey the feeling of being on a wilderness trail or along a peaceful coastline or looking out from a mountainside, and she hopes they cause the viewer remember some similar scene or imagine being out there in the western landscape.
While Monica does some plein air painting and sketching, mostly she takes digital photos, and then back in the studio she uses several photos as references to put together each painting. She rearranges the composition, shifts the colors, and varies the patterns of light and dark to try to interpret the atmosphere of a place. Her technique involves applying many layers of acrylic paint and mediums, with each layer adding light or shadow, new colors, new textures. She likes that these paints dry quickly and are easy to set up and clean up, although her painting process is often a slow journey. She finds that when a painting isn’t going well, there is always the possibility that the next layer will make it good.
After several decades living in Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, Monica moved to Bellingham, Washington, in 2011. She then bought a camper van and headed out to explore northwest Washington and southwest BC.
Monica’s art education includes workshops taught by nationally known artists including Suzanne Northcott, Stephen Quiller, Mary Todd Beam, and Michael Schlicting, as well as classes taught by Alaskan artists including Kesler Woodward, Betty Atkinson, and Paula Dickey. She has also learned much by painting regularly with other artists over the years. Mostly she has taught herself, through many happy hours of painting and sketching.
January 2013 – Allied Arts Members Show, Bellingham, WA
October 2012 – Allied Arts, Bellingham, WA
November 2011 through December 2012 – Artisans Northwest, Belllingham, WA
March 2012 – Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham, WA
January 2012 – Allied Arts Members Show, Bellingham, WA
July 2011 – Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Juried Show
December 2007 through June 2011 – Juneau Artists Gallery
July 2007 – Silverbow Backroom Gallery, Juneau, AK
July 2006 – Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Gallery
July 2006 – Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Juried Show
2005 through 2009 – Plein Rein group shows at Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Gallery and Canvas Gallery, Juneau, AK
November 2005 – Little City Gallery, Juneau , AK
1985 through 2006 – paintings accepted into many of the Annual Alaska Watercolor Society Statewide Juried Exhibitions, Anchorage, and received several honorable mentions.
Summer 2004 – “Celtic Warrior” juried into Wild Salmon on Parade in Anchorage, Alaska