LANDSCAPE OIL PAINTING ~ HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL ~ CLASSICAL REALISM
I believe that an artist's work can be better appreciated when the viewer has a chance to see the personal connection between the artist and their art. What is an artist thinking about while they create a piece? What was happening in the artist's personal life at the time? Knowing these things can give you a better sense of the connection that the artist has for a particular piece of art. Even the artist's personal choice of a frame can help the viewer feel this connection. To help YOU feel the connections that exist between me and my art, I have added some insights into my personal life and feelings that relate to each my paintings.

Landscape Oil Paintings by John O'Keefe Jr.


BIG CORK TREE

Painting #18: This painting started as a study on trees, light and shadow. However, as I painted I found myself constantly sitting under this tree enjoying its shade and looking up at the clear blue sky through its branches and leaves. This image reminds me of times as a child when my brother and I would lie in the grass and look up through the branches and leaves of trees, wondering what it would be like to be a bird flying in there. In this place there is no war, no violence, no bad news... just the shade of the tree, a calm breeze and no worries.

  • Title: "Big Cork Tree"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 8 x 10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

SUMMER IN THE VALLEY

Painting #17: I love paths and enjoy walking into my paintings. This is a place where I could live, and you can see my house in the distance. In this scene I imagined walking home from a trip to the local town market. While modern technology is great to have, it can also make life expensive and complicated, and so in this scene there is none of that. Life here is not governed minute-by-minute by the hands on your wristwatch. Also, the thing about paths is that they can lead to or from anywhere that your imagination wants to go.

  • Title: "Summer in the Valley"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 8 x 10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

JUST PASSING THROUGH

Painting #16: Sometimes I don't want to travel directly to a place that is seen in a painting, so in this painting I just walked myself near a farm, but the path only goes near it and not to it. I could choose to walk across the grass to get there if I wanted to, but I found myself just walking by, heading to some other place not seen in the painting. Woods and forests always had a sense of mystery to me growing up and I like the mystery in this painting... just what is in the woods where this path goes?

  • Title: "Just Passing Through"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 5 x 7 inch (12.7 x 17.8 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

THE ROAD HOME

Painting #15: This miniature study is loved by many and the original sold at an auction sponsored by The Salmagundi Club at their New York City gallery. I met the women who purchased it as a gift for her friend whom she was convinced would fall in love with it the same as she had. It was my first auction and the experience was thrilling. I still get emotional when I think about my paintings hanging in someone's home... I get very attached to them because each one is a reflection of my imagination and my day-dreams. Also, painting calms me from the day to day stresses of life.

  • Title: "The Road Home"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 4 x 5 inch (10.2 x 12.7 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

LILAC POND

Painting #14: This piece also has great sentimental value. I set out to capture a place near my home that my wife and I have visited several times. Its a peaceful place that is sort of hidden away. What makes this painting precious to me is something my late father-in-law once said. Being a very religious man, he said that he would loose himself in the painting... he imagined himself visiting this place, sitting on the rock that is overlooking the pond, and then he would 'talk to God' in prayer. He loved this painting and it made me feel good that it brought happy and peaceful thoughts to him.

  • Title: "Lilac Pond"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 16 x 20 inch (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
  • Claessens: Fine Weave Double Oil Primed Linen
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

PATH OUT OF THE WOODS

Painting #13: My first miniature painting. I did this painting because I was becoming a little frustrated with my larger works, which can take me several weeks to several months to complete. I wanted to finish something... and so I did this little painting. I was very pleased with it and I was able to free style without any composition or concept when I started. I just painted what I was thinking about... a nice country scene, away from the hustle and bustle of the real world.

  • Title: "Path Out of the Woods"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 4 x 6 inch (10.2 x 15.2 cm)
  • Smooth, Acrylic Primed, Artist Board
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

RIVER THROUGH THE ADIRONDACK'S

Painting #12: This is my first large scale painting and a lot of thought and time went into its creation. I love the Hudson River School artists and I wanted to capture their style and feel in this painting. Using some old Victorian engravings as reference material this is what came out. I worked on this painting during what turned out to be the last visit by my wife's mother and father. Sadly they both passed away shortly thereafter to cancer. But, they stayed with us for over a month on that final visit, and I worked on the painting in my living room where we all spent most of our time talking, hanging out, and playing games. Everyone contributed to the development of this piece... we all kept reviewing its progress each day and offering ideas and thoughts about what was happening on this mountain top. So... this painting holds fond memories for me for those reasons.

  • Title: "River Through the Adirondack's"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 16 x 20 inch (40.6 x 50.8 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

OLD OLIVE TREE PATH

Painting #11: This painting was a tree study based on an old Victorian engraving. My wife's mother watched this painting develop from start to finish during a long (over 1 month) family visit. It was her favorite painting... she loved this place. I decided she would have this painting as a gift, but she would have to wait until it dried and I could varnish it. She agreed because she and her husband were going to California to sell some property before moving closer to family. However, while in California tragedy struck. She became very ill and died a few weeks later to cancer. I was not going to sell the piece because in my heart it was her painting. However, my wife convinced me that her mother would want the painting to bring joy to someone and that her mother would be upset if I held it back from sale. After thinking about it for a while I decided to offer it for sale. But, this painting will always be her painting in my heart.

  • Title: "Old Olive Tree Path"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 8 x 10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

THE FIELD'S EDGE

Painting #10: This painting was created during a very stressful time in my life. My daughter, who suffers with a serious genetic defect with her skin, a condition known as Epidermolysis Bullosa, was sick and in the hospital with a life threatening blood infection. She has had dozens of close calls because of her condition, but this one was REAL close. My wife stayed at the hospital, but my son and I had to travel home at night... and this painting is what happened while I was at home. I became obsessed with its completion and hardly slept for the entire week that she was in the hospital. Looking back I see this painting was an escape from everything that was happening at that time and I became lost in the scene. This painting has very special meaning for me, and my daughter did recover.

  • Title: "The Field's Edge"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 12 x 16 inch (30.5 x 40.6 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: SOLD
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

PRAIRIE STORM

Painting #9: This painting was purely a test of my ability to duplicate a photographic scene using oil paint. Being relatively new to oil painting I wanted to test myself out... I was having doubts that I could reproduce a photograph accurately on canvas. I did this reproduction purely by eye... no grid lines. I was very pleased with this study and my confidence using oil paints grew immensely as you can see in my future paintings. A fellow artist once told me that I should see improvements in my skills every ten paintings or so... and when I compare this painting with my next painting (The Field's Edge) it seems he was right. 'Prairie Storm' was a turning point for me and going forward I felt like I could really be a good painter and I was ready to develop my own compositions without doubts or hesitation.

  • Title: "Prairie Storm"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 6 x 12 inch (15.2 x 30.5 cm)
  • Smooth, Acrylic Primed, Artist Board
  • Winsor & Newton: 'Artist' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

THE BRIDGE HOME

Painting #8: This painting is special to me because it is special to my wife. Even though she has developed greater love for many of my later paintings, this was the first one that I remember her falling in love with. When she told me how much she loved the painting and how she pictured us living there together it became special to me. Her expressions about the piece were almost the same as mine. I was thinking of a place where she and I could live and the scene just flowed from me. It literally went like this: I want a bridge here, and a house there, and an old barn next to the house, I want it all surrounded by trees and bushes, WE could raise cows or chickens, and so on. I will keep this painting forever, even though its no longer her favorite, just because of that time when she told me how she loved it and that she pictured herself living there with me.

  • Title: "The Bridge Home"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 8 x 10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
  • Smooth, Acrylic Primed, Artist Board
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: NOT FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

PEACEFUL HILLS

Painting #7: This painting was another landscape study based on a photograph that I found in a public database. However, the clouds represent something new for me: My wife, Jennifer, loves photography and she took some pictures of clouds that she thought where pretty and I used one of those cloud pictures in this painting. In most of my later paintings the clouds were painted from one of Jennifer's many cloud pictures. I created a database of her pictures that is now part of my permanent reference library. Using her clouds makes me feel like I am putting a little bit of her into my art.

  • Title: "Peaceful Hills"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 12 x 16 inch (30.5 x 40.6 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

MOMENT OF REFLECTION

Painting #6: My first sunset painting. I love a beautiful sunset and this is what I wanted to capture in this piece. This is another place that I want to live: a lone house out in the middle of nowhere with just my wife, Jennifer, and I. (The kids are all grown up and living on their own.) These are some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I worked on this painting. Also, the pond, the firewood stacked on the side of the house to fuel the massive fireplace inside the cozy little cabin. Everything is just as it should be. It seems so peaceful and perfect. I put the two of us outside the front door, taking a moment together to enjoy the end of the day. Sometimes when I paint I get so absorbed in the process that I disconnect from the real world. Someone could be standing next to me, talking to me, and I would just be like, 'Huh?' Others have loved this painting for the same reasons I do... your imagination can just run wild picturing yourself there.

  • Title: "Moment of Reflection"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 6 x 12 inch (15.2 x 30.5 cm)
  • Smooth, Acrylic Primed, Artist Board
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

NEW ENGLAND RIVER

Painting #5: Another of my own compositions. I used no reference material other than a photo of clouds that my wife took. As a child my family used to regularly go boating down the Connecticut river. Every now and then we would find a small tributary feeding the river, and with our small boat (and depth finder) we would venture into these less travelled areas. These are the thoughts and memories that ran through my mind as I created this piece.

  • Title: "New England River"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 8 x 10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

PEACEFUL CONNECTICUT VALLEY IN AUTUMN

Painting #4: This painting was my first true solo composition. The painting just sort of formed as I was laying down my paints. Oil paints are my favorite medium because I have a LOT of time to move the paint around and change things before the paint dries. I like the early evening part of the day, the time when we (and others) start winding down from the days activities. In this picture I see my family living in this house. Its fall which is my wife's favorite time of year. The house overlooks a body of water, which was an influence by my wife's dream to own a house on the water. My son has a particular fondness for this piece and I have decided to give him the original painting.

  • Title: "Peaceful Connecticut Valley in Autumn"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 12 x 16 inch (30.5 x 40.6 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: NOT FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: YES

LAKESIDE PATH

Painting #3: This painting is a study of a painting by Eduard Boehm. I started to get more comfortable with building up the scene in layers: Sky first, then the island on the right and the water, then tree-line on the left until finishing with the small hills and details in the foreground. My wife says that she keeps expecting to see Bugs Bunny come out of the woods. That wasn't the feel that was going for with the painting, but... it was only my third oil painting.

  • Title: "Lakeside Path"
  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 11 x 14 inch (28.0 x 35.6 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Stretched Canvas
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: NOT FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

BUFFALO TRAIL REVISITED

Painting #2: This was a study of an Albert Bierstadt painting titled, "The Buffalo Trail". I worked on only a small area from the original painting. My painting actually does not look anything like the original. My colors are different. My lack of skill with water is evident. One person asked why I didn't paint yellow lines on the road! I told them it was not a road, and that it was a lake. They said, "Oh."

  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 8 x 10 inch (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
  • Smooth, Acrylic Primed, Artist Board
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: NOT FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE

AUTUMN ON THE HUDSON REVISITED

Painting #1: My first oil painting. This was a study of a Thomas Doughty painting titled, "Autumn on the Hudson", painted in 1850. It took me weeks to complete this 7" x 5" painting. I really took my time. I had no idea what I was doing but tried to follow some basic rules that I read about in a beginners oil painting book that I had recently purchased. I love the Hudson River School painters and this painting was the beginning of my journey to become an artist like them.

  • Created by: John O'Keefe Jr.
  • 7 x 5 inch (17.8 x 12.7 cm)
  • Medium Textured, Acrylic Primed, Artist Board
  • Winsor & Newton: 'WINTON' Series Oil Paints
  • Winsor & Newton: Damar (final varnish)
  • Original Painting Status: NOT FOR SALE
  • Reproduction Availability: NONE