“A Day in the Life” with Calgary Visual Artist Tatianna O’Donnell

Tatianna O’Donnell is an award-winning contemporary artist and instructor. Her journey began at an early age with art classes at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where Arthur Lismer, one of the Group of Seven, was director of the school. After university, Tatianna took numerous workshops, classes and attended residencies, continuing to expand her knowledge of the arts, in particular painting.

While living in Enderby, she and her husband Frank started a cooperative art gallery. Courtyard Gallery is in operation 11 years later. She successfully brought together the artists in the community to work together for a common goal.

She has led workshops in both Alberta and British Columbia in acrylic and oil painting. She teaches at the Red Deer Summer Art Series as well as at a program in Calgary during the winter months. Tatianna challenges herself exploring new techniques and finding ways to evoke the spirit of her subject. In her most recent work, she paints without a brush using oil and cold wax medium. Her work explores the vibrant intersection between reality and imagination through the expressive mediums of oil and acrylic, capturing the essence of still life and landscapes.

Tatianna’s artwork is hung salon style and cover the walls of not only her studio but every room in the house, as well as that of her children’s homes. Her work is included in private and public collections internationally.

-Written by Frank O’Donnell, loving husband, and supporter.

Tatianna O’Donnell
Forest Abstract is a favourite of mine. I painted it in oil and cold wax medium on birch panel using brushes. When I completed the landscape painting, I used a brayer and rolled over the whole piece which distorted the landscape and created a Forest Abstract. Despite the distortion, a ghost of a landscape is still there.
Tatianna O’Donnell
Painting the Pysanka: I have painted on a number of different surfaces and painting a Ukrainian Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) on a Styrofoam oval shape was a first. This pysanka was later auctioned off at Southcenter Mall as part of Pysanka for Peace Project.
Studio: This is a Picture of acrylic paints in preparation for a painting session in my studio.
Tatianna with Transition Series. I like to work in a series and in this picture, I am standing with a number of the Transition paintings in the series.
The Run of the River: This is an oil and cold wax on a birch panel. It was painted from a photo I took on a hiking trip. In this painting, as in many others, I was capturing the essence of the fleeting moments in nature’s ever-changing landscape.
Artist-in-residence programs always manage to leave me very inspired and this one was particularly inspiring, as they were painted by me at Banff, at the Banff Center, and later exhibited at Courtyard Gallery in Enderby.
Tatianna O’Donnell
Working on a 48 x 60-inch commission that later went to a private collection in Victoria. Commissions are always interesting to work on. The client gave me free rein to compose a restaurant scene based on a painting I did a number of years ago. I compiled the composition from various photographs I took in restaurants through my travels in Italy.
Tatianna O’Donnell
Poppy Mural in Enderby. In this picture, I am working on a poppy mural for the Courtyard Gallery. It was a labour of love. We were five artists working together to compose the mural and paint it.


Which ’hood are you in?

My home studio is in Coventry Hills, between North East and North West Calgary. I live and work close to Nose Hill Park.

What do you do?

I am a Visual Artist focusing on painting in oils and acrylics. I am also an instructor and teach throughout the year, which I find inspirational. My passion is painting…always has been. Most days you can find me in the studio.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am experimenting with oil paint and cold wax medium in a more abstract form, although I continue to work with acrylics as well. My focus in all my paintings is shape, colour and texture. I often work from photographs, and once I have established the contour of the shapes I plan to use, I put the photograph away. From here I work intuitively. I think of my work as being about the rhythm and soul of the subject, a visual narrative. The spirit of the land, the still life or figure, comes with me into my studio and is translated onto the canvas.

Where can we find your work?

My work is available at the Leighton Center, in public collections and on social media, primarily on Instagram, and of course in my studio and my website.


About Stephanie Prentice 18 Articles
Stephanie Prentice, originally from Southern Ontario, now calls Alberta home, where she thrives on embracing life to the fullest. As a dedicated grant writer, she uses her expertise to support non-profit organizations in making a difference. In her spare time, Stephanie crafts sustainably developed mittens to combat Canadian winters. A true people person, Stephanie enjoys building connections and engaging with diverse communities. She's an adventurous soul, equally at home exploring new destinations or cherishing cozy moments. With a passion for travel and a crisp new passport, she's always ready for her next adventure, whether it's discovering warm beaches or hidden gems in the Rockies. Join Stephanie as she continues to advocate for causes close to her heart and make a positive impact wherever she goes.