Artist Lisa O’Connor, known for her paintings of blooming flora, historic architecture and bright beach scenes, died on Monday evening at age 55. She had been ailing for some time.
Jamaican-born O’Connor was a familiar sight around the Queen’s Park Savannah with her canvas and easel doing her paintings en plain.
The daughter of a Trinidadian mother and Jamaican father, she came to T&T as a child when her family moved from Jamaica in the late 70s during Michael Manley’s radical socialist phase.
O’Connor attended St Joseph’s Convent in Port-of-Spain from 1977 to 1981, then went on to study at the Art Institute of Boston in the United States where she earned a Diploma in Fine Arts, graduating with the highest honours and receiving the Marguerite Guilfoile Fund Award.
When she returned to T&T she pursued her career in art and held her first solo exhibition in 1990 under the sponsorship of Scotiabank. Since then she has held many solo exhibitions locally and abroad, including as far away as Japan.
The subjects of O’Connor’s paintings were drawn from the world around her and her style of painting was in the “beaux arts” tradition. Her images of architectural details, landscapes and seascapes were rendered in paint applied very thickly to the canvas so that the images hovered between two-dimensional and sculptural states.
In a 2013 Sunday Guardian interview, O’Connor spoke about being captivated by light since her time as an art student in the US and drawing inspiration from the French impressionists, who painted outdoors, working quickly to capture the fleeting moment.
“I was always struck by Monet’s use of light. I like the way a subject matter can be done again and again at different times of the day. My work is more structured with some impressionism,” she said.
Yesterday many in the local art fraternity paid tribute to the popular artist on social media.
O’Connor is survived by her husband Gregory, their four children, her mother Cecilia and three siblings.