Paula O’Brien, palette knife painting & iPad drawings

Figurative painting, painting people became my passion after returning to weekly life drawing practice in 2007. My figurative paintings in oils features lots of palette knife, scraping, textures and bold colors.

Working from direct observation of light on the human form was pivotal to my path as an artist and I became bold enough to ask complete strangers to pose for me. The resulting photo sessions evolved into expressive figurative paintings with models, costumes, poses, attitudes of my choice as in the series from the Las Fallas Festival in Valencia, Spain.

I’m a colorist, I paint the LIGHT.

In the last few years, my work has shifted to the West Coast world of abstract landscapes, and digital painting.

I see infinite beauty in the world. I look for the energy and light; the light, shapes and spaces between objects; the shimmering energy that comes from these objects and people into the world. My artistic vision, interesting cropping, composition and color combinations define my expressive abstract signature look.

I mainly work in palette knife oils on canvas but am also enjoying dramatic loose digital painting I can’t squeeze my paint tubes. In oils, I often work very fast in a loose alla prima style. My mark making is very deliberate and individual. My favorite mark making tools are cold wax, silicone tip and wooden skewers to squiggle through lines.

In 2010, I created FigurativeArtist.Org, an exciting showcase website which has grown to over 900 very accomplished international figurative artists in every medium.
Paula O’Brien