olivia o carra

Olivia’s love of art began with a gift from a French pen-pal

Q & A with Olivia O’Carra

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Pallaskenry a small village in Co. Limerick. From an early age I liked to draw and paint but it was a present of of a beautiful book on the impressionists sent by a French pen friend that really fired my interest in art. To this day I always head first to the Impressionists section in any gallery I visit.
When did you first become interested in art?
Although I took Art for my Leaving Cert I did a Science degree in UCG and worked  in Medical Physics and later as a Teacher for many years. Then a number of things came together for me. My family sent me on a painting holiday, I took an oil Painting class with a wonderful local artist Mark Eldred and fell absolutely in love with the medium and an opportunity to take early retirement arose. With my daughters all grown up and leaving the nest I now had the time to indulge my passion for hiking in the National Park and of course for my painting.
Take us through a typical day. Do you paint every day, or only when the inspiration hits you?
My day can vary but typically I paint most days usually for a few hours in the morning. Sometimes also in the afternoon as well if pressure is on. Often however if the weather is right I will pack my kit and head off on a bike in to the National Park here in Killarney. For a number of years I was a member of an artist coop here in Killarney and another one in Tralee which involved several hours a week in attendance at the galleries.
Choose one of your paintings and explain your inspiration behind it.
The painting I am choosing is very different from my usual work.
It is of a special needs child and her dog. I felt very privileged to be given permission to use the photograph. I wanted to emphasize their relationship by making the connecting arm the focus of the painting.
What is your favourite place to paint?
My favourite place to paint is in Derrycunnihy woods beside the stream. It is such a peaceful spot.
Which artists have most inspired you and why?
My favourite artist varies but at the moment I would say Peder Monsted for the wonderful light in his landscapes.
What are you working on at the moment? 
At the moment as the weather is so inclement I am working on smaller animal paintings and on a number of commissions which are at the planning stage.
Where or who would you love the opportunity to paint?
I would absolutely love to paint in Venice. I was there a few years ago and took lots and lots of photos but really wished I had my paints

















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