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Contemporary Fine Art

Artists > Olwen Tarrant FROI

OLWEN TARRANT won her first prize while still at Art College in London……a painting of the 7.32am commuter train into Liverpool Street station. The judge was Sir Charles Wheeler, former President of the Royal Academy, who prophesied a successful career for Olwen and bought her painting for his own collection.

It was the first of several prizes and awards for Olwen at both painting and sculpture, including the Alan Gourley, Cornelissen and Llewellyn Alexander award and the A & K Wilson award at the ROI Annual Exhibition in 2007. She has been on radio and television, has written many articles for art magazines, and her paintings and drawings have appeared in numerous art text books. Olwen has lectured and demonstrated on painting and sculpture in many parts of the country.  She also has exhibited her paintings regularly in London and top galleries

Asked about her work, Olwen says “Like all artists I am always striving to show how I    perceive the world around me; endeavouring to do this to my own satisfaction and never quite reaching the goals I set for myself.  In my Mediterranean paintings I try to convey the excitement of the sunlight dancing over the landscape. Still life subjects are always a challenge to me. I want to show on my canvas the feeling of pleasure it gives me to catch a glimpse of a group of objects, which shows quite unexpectedly an arrangement of colours, shapes and textures.  I like to do figures from memory in my paintings.” 

Olwen’s studio overlooks the famous Malvern Hills, in Worcestershire, less than a mile from where Elgar lived for much of his life. “I love Elgar’s music and it is wonderful to listen to it at home looking at the scene which inspired him: I think, in a very modest way, that it inspires me, too,” she says

It is perhaps no coincidence that many of her award-winning paintings have had hills and mountains in the background. For much of the summer, she lives in Puerto Pollensa in the north of Mallorca  and here again her studio looks onto a mountain range which reminds her of her native Wales without the rain. She loves the sun, light and colours in the Mallorcan villages and relaxes (a term used loosely, she says) by sailing on the Mediterranean.

I had this dream

The paintings of Olwen Tarrant are instantly recognisable, whether they are landscapes, still life subjects, figures or work from the imagination. She is a painter who loves colour. “Colour expresses mood, colour excites me and makes me want to record my feelings on canvas.  Sound plays a part too.  The wind in the trees, the birds, village voices greeting each other, a busker playing his guitar in the square.  I am lucky to have been trained at a college of art, which equipped me with the knowledge and experience I needed to be able to put all of this on to my canvas. I may be in my studio or in a crowded square, but I am in a world of my own experiencing what I am painting on my canvas; a part of it.”

Olwen exhibits her work in galleries in London and throughout the country, including the Mall Galleries, the home of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (R.O.I.), of which she is now a Fellow.  Olwen was President of the R.O.I. for five years and is the only woman to be elected to the post in its 125-year old history.

A Lady of Beguiling Ways
Olwen Tarrant FROI


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