Billyo O'Donnell Fine Art

About The Artist

Billyo O’Donnell

“For more than two decades I’ve been intrigued by the way a painting’s surface and subject complement and compete in the viewer’s mind. In working plein air, I am excited by the way my visual experience translates into a surface language expressed through the richness of paint. Using a personal language of abstract marks, I want to share with the viewer a deeper emotional response to the world in which we live.”

Billyo O’Donnell’s childhood was spent west of St. Louis along the Missouri River where the hills rise up out of the valley to meet the plains with eight siblings on a small family farm. Surrounded by two large landowners of more then 14,000 acres of nature influenced his known world. Spending most of the summer barefoot, except for Sundays, he often made elaborate sculptures from pond mud for his brothers to smash. He was always creating. At the age of eighteen he had an epiphany during an accident guiding him to pursue his love of painting. Earning a BFA degree, he met his love Peggy, found work as a staff artist at Maritz Motivation for twelve years while receiving many national and international awards for his paintings. His family grew with three children Megan, Timothy, and Erin. Invited to participate in the 1995 San Juan Capistrano Mission Paint Out as one of 5 guest artist from across American. Billyo has then continue to participated in plein air events for the last 19 years. He has received the highest awards at many of Americas prestigious plein air invitationals that often included many of Americas top landscape painters.

In 2014 he was voted into the prestigious Plein Air Painters of America, by its members. The Saint Louis Symphony had a full dress rehearsal for Billyo to paint from. He has received the highest award an artist can be given in the State of Missouri the “2012 Independent Artist Award” Missouri Arts Council award. Peggy and Billyo live on what was his grandmothers property west of St. Louis in a 200 year old log cabin. But, he takes the greatest pride in having been honored at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City for an unveiling of a selection of his 115 paintings in the book, “Painting Missouri,” authored by Karen Glines – depicting the 114 counties in Missouri and the city of St. Louis which is currently on display at the downtown library in Kansas City.

Selected Awards

2016 Juror, Lecture – 2016 Door County Plein Air Festival

2014 Voted in as a member of PAPA (Plein Air Painters of America)

2014 Juror New Harmony, IN “Brush of Spring”, Annapolis, MD “Paint Annapolis” 160 artists.

2013 Selected for the “Crystal Cove Alliance’s first Master Artist Workshop” Crystal Cove State Park, California

2013 Bronze Award, Art In the Open, Wexford, Ireland, (Largest plein air event in Europe)

2012 Best of Show Award, 14th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational

2012 Guest Artist to paint in Maine with the Plein Air Painters of America

2012 Missouri Arts Councils “Independent Artist Award” presented in the Rotunda of State Capital by First Lady Georganne Nixon.

2012 – 2011 Best of Show and Wine Label Award Big Cedar Lodge Paint Out

2011 Juror, Plein air Festival 2011, Wayne, Pennsylvania

2009 Missouri Humanities Governors Literary Book Award

for “Painting Missouri”

2005 – 20012 Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational

2009 “Artist Choice” Lanai Plein Air Invitational.
2009 “Best of Show” and “Quick Draw Winner” Maui Plein Air Invitational.

2008 One of ten artists curated group show, Stock Farm Club, Hamilton, MT.

2007 Selected to created an ornament for the White House christmas tree.


2006-Best Body of Work 2006– Maui Plein Air Invitational.

2005-06 Painted a series of painting of the Milwaukee Symphony
2006 King of Frames, – Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational.

2005 Curated into a group of 10 artist to paint on Cumberland Island staying in the last Carnegie family owned mansion on the Island.
2003 Arts.

2003 Advocacy Award by the Missouri Citizens for the Arts.

2003 – The Haggin Museum in Stockton California selected 50 of the leading American landscape artists to create paintings for a traveling exhibit “From Sea to Shining Sea” including New York City and the Hudson River Valley, Big Sur in California, and the St. Louis region – where Billyo led the group of artists. American Artist Magazine will dedicate a future issue in entirety to this event.
2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 – American Heart Association Annual Christmas card

2003 Painted Roswell Symphony Orchestra as it rehearsed along with renowned cellist, Julian Lloyd Webber.

2002 Art of the West Magazine article in September / October.

2001 First Artist to paint Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra as it rehearsed with original painting on exhibition and images used for promotional purposes for the symphony.

2000 – 01 Founder of the “Artist Along the Katy Trail” – an innovative project involving the Katy Trail in Missouri the longest rails to trails conversion in the United States (227) where over 200 artists from across the state of Missouri painted along the trail. A curated exhibit traveled throughout Missouri in 2000 and 2001. This event received major regional attention and became the model for project like this across the United States through the National Endowments for the Arts. The event took place for 16 days each year.

1999 National Oil and Acrylic “Best use of Light and Color”

1996 Painters’ Society Exhibition – Design selected for the State of Missouri license plate.

1996 Missouri State Community Colleges Award “Achievement in the Arts Artwork”

1994 Artwork selected for the cover of the Japan’s Creators’ Association Annual, a publication of work from artists from around the world

1989-1991 – Invited member – Society of Illustrators New York, NY,

Mercantile Library St. Louis, MO

 Margaret Harwell Art Museum (2005), Poplar Bluff Missouri
St. Louis University Museum of Art, St. Louis Missouri
Ella Caruthers Dunnegan Gallery of Art, Bolivar Missouri 

Professional Organizations
: Plein Air Painters of America, St. Louis Artists’ Guild- 1997-2004 Board of Directors, California Art Club – out of State Artist Member, National Oil and Acrylic Association – Signature member, 2005 Board Member Missouri Citizens for the Arts

Helena Fox Fine Art, Charleston South Carolina,
Village Gallery, Lahaina, HI

LeGrand Art, Richmond, VA
Mike Carroll Gallery located on the Island of Lanai,
Kodner Gallery, St. Louis Missouri – 9650 Clayton Rd., Ladue, MO 63124