Artful Life

Turtles on the Town!

Tara O’Neill puts finishing 
touches on “Turtle Dreams.” PHOTOS BY TARA O’NEILL

ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill So, how much fun did I have this summer? Loads. Those who read my column in the last issue of Coastal Breeze News will be familiar with my desire for more art in public places. One project that addresses this desire is the upcoming “Turtles on the Town,” and I feel so very fortunate to be ... Read More »

Big Art, Out and About

Part of a series of shade shelters along Tampa’s Riverwalk.

ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill South Tampa is flush with public art. Flush. I’m talking bay-to-shining-bay. There’s oodles that serve physical functions: mosaic-tiled benches shaped like waves whirlpool around a tiny garden park; organic-looking steel and canvas canopies provide shade and shelter along the Riverwalk: large ones over rest areas, tiny ones over directional stations and water fountains; a shiny red ... Read More »

Artful Aging

Artists rocking it at Naples Senior Center. PHOTO BY TARA O’NEILL

ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill Sometimes good fortune finds us despite our best efforts to look the other way. When Janice Paine of the United Arts Council contacted me about teaching a month-long drawing class at a senior center in Naples, I am embarrassed to admit how quick I was to back off. Thank goodness she was persistent. First of all, ... Read More »

Not so secret of success


ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill Several years ago my husband and I were visiting the outer banks of North Carolina. In the lovely town of Duck we found a gift shop that specialized in quaint, erudite, and whimsical hand painted signs on driftwood. It was a bottomless well of humor and pithy insights in all sizes. As charming as it was, ... Read More »



ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill I have always believed, from tiniest totdom, that what one person can do, anyone can do. It’s just a matter of instructions. And I have always been very good at reading instructions. I have read instructions on everything from toy assembly to plumbing and wiring, to death and dying. There’s a wealth of information out there ... Read More »

The American Dream is Alive and Well


ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill In the artful world, there are a lot of talented people who refuse creative careers because they’re afraid they won’t reach The Top. “You’re either Elton John or some hack playing in a Holiday Inn,” a young, exmusician once told me (the “ex” is his description, not mine.) For him, to dedicate his life to music ... Read More »

Don’t Fish for What You Can’t Swallow


ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill We’ve all done it. Maybe in a moment of insecurity, maybe just needing a little attention, but, at one time or another, we’ve all fished for compliments. Does this dress make me look fat? How’s your dinner (that I slaved over)? Do you like my haircut? Pretty harmless stuff, right? No one really expects a negative ... Read More »

Reflections from the Artist of the Year


ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill On May 23, I attended an annual luncheon held by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts (MIFA). Besides fine food from Stonewall’s Kitchen, and grand camaraderie, MIFA used the occasion to present scholarships to four extraordinary students to further their arts education, and to acknowledge MIFA’s designated 2015 Artist of the Year – yours truly. ... Read More »

You Are Stars!


Artful Life Tara O’Neill Today’s column is an open letter to high school art students who submitted to the recent Marco Island Center for the Arts scholarship exhibit. I am one of three jurors whose agonizing task is to select the award winners.   Dear Artists, You came from Barron Collier, the Community School of Naples, Gulf Coast High School, ... Read More »

Bo Really Does Know


Artful Life Tara O’Neill Today’s rain has left the sweet smell of summer in the air and my mind once again turns to the promise of long lazy days ready to fill however I see fit. My calendar is nearly empty and my ideas are many. Mmmm, delicious. For many artists, season is a rapid juggling act of shows and ... Read More »

It’s All Good


By Tara O’Neill   Painting outside can be an unparalleled pleasure for an artist, but it can also present some unexpected challenges. I usually enjoy besting the forces that endanger my mission – though sometimes I’m not so successful. It seems when the troubles are nature-made, I am usually prepared and able to rise above…but when they’re man-made, well, ... Read More »

Somewhere Between Duty and Distraction

Photo by Tara O’neill

Artful Life By Tara O’Neill Here’s one that definitely doesn’t apply to just artists, but certainly requires some artful adjustments: The Home Office. You know, the one that modern technology promised would help us shed the scales of The Work Place and allow us the freedom and flexibility to work from our own nests? May I just say, it ain’t ... Read More »

Pride Through Association

Historically significant fishing cottages at MarGood Harbor Park, Goodland. PHOTO BY TARA O’NEILL

Artful Life Tara O’Neill I’m so proud to be part of the Goodland Arts Alliance, a tiny, yet phenomenally effective, organization that is dedicated to its mission to “preserve, promote, and advance, the cultural presence in the Village of Goodland through art, history, and education.” I am proud and honored – my fellow GAA members are dedicated, focused, and hard-working ... Read More »

The Art of Forgiveness


Artful Life Tara O’Neill I have an artist friend, Sally, who not only is a very supportive friend, but also is one of the most grounded people I know; sure of who she is and confident in her art. During a recent conversation she assured me she had not always been this way. “Let me show you something I keep ... Read More »

The Art of Spontaneity: Wet Paint Live!

Enjoying visitors during Wet Paint Live! 2011 at Goodland's Boat Park. PHOTO BY GEORGE VELLIS

Artful Life Tara O’Neill One of my favorite events, “Wet Paint Live!,” is coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 11. I enjoy all my art events, or I wouldn’t do them, but my particular fondness for this event is owed to the impact “Wet Paint Live!” has had on my artful life. Spontaneity — straight up or on the rocks — ... Read More »

Conversational Drifts


Artful Life Tara O’Neill Some of my favorite conversations — whether I’m actively involved or just eavesdropping — consist of one bright topic setting off a circuit of others. There are times when linear conversations — those that start with one topic and finish with it before moving to another — have their proper place, but it’s exhilarating to listen ... Read More »

Keeping the Faith

happy new year

Artful Life Tara O’Neill I am writing this just a few days before the beginning of another New Year. Of course, by the time you are reading it, the Big Day shall have passed, the confetti cleared, the headaches healed, and the resolutions well underway. It’s now a time for soulful reflections and forward thinking. A time of promise and ... Read More »

I’ve Looked at Clouds From Multiple Sides Now

Cloud 6, oil on canvas by Tara O'Neill

Artful Life Tara O’Neill A dear friend and fellow artist was visiting from Europe last week, and it was delicious to fill so many conversations with artful topics. After visiting my home gallery, she was moved by a collection of cloud paintings of mine and shared her thoughts about the rising popularity of clouds as subject matter in western art. ... Read More »

The Accidental Speaker


Artful Life Tara O’Neill I am an artist. I am not a public speaker. I can talk about my art to any group, but beyond that I’d rather chew glass. I am actively involved in several cultural non-profit organizations. I am not an organizer. If you’re wondering about my organizational skills just ask my husband. (Hint: He does the ... Read More »

No Problems, Just Solutions

Young Artists Acadamy students  drawing in the gallery of Marco Islands Center for teh Arts. photo by Tara O'Neill

Artful Life Tara O’Neill I am so fortunate. Despite the days that close in utter weariness due to facing a multitude of challenges, most mornings dawn with the waking certainty of how fortunate I am. For one thing, I now use the word challenges, where once I would have used the word problems. One recent shine of fortune was ... Read More »