Chaffee Art Center featured Artist, Arlene O’Connor

Chaffee Art Center featured Artist, Arlene O’Connor

Arlene O’Connor, who was born and raised on a farm in Pennsylvania, became interested in making art at a very early age. She loved crayons, pencils, paper, and whatever she could sketch on. In high school, she was fortunate to have an excellent art teacher. Under her teacher’s guidance, she was awarded a gold key in watercolor in a statewide art competition. After that, she was hooked on making art.

After high school, she went to work as a bookkeeper (no time for art), married a soldier, and had a family. After two stateside posts and two tours in Germany, her husband received his assignment for his new post as an advisor to the Vermont National Guard in Rutland, Vermont. Arlene and her family arrived in Vermont in October 1968. They fell in love with the natural beauty surrounding them. Energized, Arlene settled down, continued raising her family in her new home, and enjoyed getting acquainted with the landscape of Vermont. This was the beginning of her serious pursuit of art with brushes, canvas and paint.

Earlier, while she was living in Germany, she had visited a few art museums and then, in her living room, she first put oils on canvas. After she left her first painting to dry in the living room, her young son ran one of his little toy cars all over it. She calls that event her “first damage control with oils.”

Arlene loves the depth of color in oils; however, she likes doing watercolors as well; “they are so easy and spontaneous,” she says. She also works with acrylics and soft pastels. “If it leaves a mark on paper/canvas,” she’ll try it.

Recently, she finished a winter scene of Vermont and a landscape of the Maine coast. She also has a commission to paint a special area of the Maine coast for a friend in California.