Tara O’Neill promised creativity at her 5th annual one-woman art exhibition – and she delivered.
Decked out in a rose trimmed umbrella hat and sunglasses, O’Neill greeted guests Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Little Bar restaurant in Goodland. Known for her love of whimsy, she didn’t disappoint as she unveiled her new collection of oil paintings.
This year’s theme, The Mystical Beach Umbrellas, was inspired last Fourth of July at Residents’ Beach, she said. Her first glimpse of the horizon that day with colorful umbrellas stretching to the edges of her vision sparked her imagination for the first painting in the series.
As she worked, O’Neill noticed she’d painted the beach umbrellas free floating at the edge of the water.
“It was my first hallucination of all the umbrellas,” she said, so in order to preserve that mystical image, she resisted the urge to go back and add poles.
O’Neill, who grew up on Marco Island, has been painting her entire life, although the last 20 years, she said, she became serious about it. She’s inspired by her surroundings, mostly cottages, boats, birds and the lush scenery in and around Goodland and Marco Island.
“There’s life here,” she said. “If I lived somewhere else, I’d probably be painting something different.”
Each year on the first weekend in April, Little Bar in Goodland hosts a reception and art show for their favorite artist. This is the fifth year the restaurant’s owners have offered space to display her work.
“One of the hardest challenges an artist faces is how to get your work ‘out there’ where folks can see it. How fortunate I am,” said Tara, “to have Ray and Niki let me use their restaurant as a venue all these years.”
O’Neill’s artwork can be seen decorating the walls at Little Bar in Goodland through April 12. For more information visit Tara’s Web site at www.taraogallery.com.