Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Rene O’Connor studied under various masters of painting and began to draw respect for her distinctive impressionistic style in both watercolour and oil. For several years, Rene was co-owner of Fly-the-Wing Gallery in the Toronto Beaches. Her work garnered a number of awards and was highly sought after in Toronto. The main focus at this time concentrated largely on romantic street scenes of Toronto’s downtown core. Allen Gardens, the Flat Iron Building and the Old City Hall were iconic subjects in Rene’s OLD TORONTO series.
Rene’s move to Peterborough County in 1985 prompted the work to shift in subject from urban to rural reflecting the weighty power of nature in line, shadow, and colour. Her COTTAGE LIVING series informs the viewer of the disappearing heritage of rural Ontario. Images of sun-bathed cottages and cedar-strip canoes amidst water lilies and vast open skies became her trademark.
The FRANCE STREET SCENES SERIES emerged during Rene’s sojournS in the south of France and capture the essence of French Village life with its luminous parade of romantic architecture, colour and flavour.
Rene’s work is inspired by travel, but her heart is in the Kawarthas and this is reflected in her passionate pursuit daily. Fluidity and luminous colour are her trademarks.