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My intention in painting is to begin from life, then to interpret the subject matter from a deeply personal and expressionistic point of view. Often, my search is to find the rhythm within the painting that resonates with my own life experiences.


What does the broadest spectrum of emotional intelligence look and feel like in the 21st century? How have I engaged in the "Dance of Life" – through all my various and complex relationships? And what expressive color harmonies and archetypes best support my deepest-felt life experiences? 

This is what I paint: the emotional color spectrum of experiences through my lens as daughter, sister, mother and womanhood—which I teasingly refer to as “going beyond Mary Cassatt."  I intuitively paint the messiness of my complicated reality. In recent years, I have focused on pressing family concerns and gone deeper into my life’s “content.” I am now back in the studio and painting from this new material with a gratitude and wisdom for the path chosen.


A landscape of distinctive brushwork, textured surfaces and gestural marks unite Ursula O’Farrell’s figurative oil paintings.  Her provocative work evokes the California Bay Area Figurative Movement that emerged in the early 1950s with visionaries such as Elmer Bischoff, David Park and Richard Diebenkorn.  O’Farrell’s unique style builds upon this rich heritage.  Primarily an abstract figure painter, she combines the emotional content of Expressionism with a contemporary palette infused with the light and shadows found within her California surroundings.


Ursula O’Farrell is a California contemporary artist with a strong background in abstract figurative painting.  Her formal studies began with a bachelor’s degree in painting from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. During her junior year, she studied in Italy through Gonzaga University in Florence.  Upon graduation, Ursula received the prestigious Eugene Escalier Foreign Study Scholarship for independent study focused on German and Austrian Expressionism.  Later, she received a master’s degree in painting from San Jose State University.  Her exposure to a myriad of internationally renowned artists working in the fields of abstraction and the figure came from working at art institutions such as the San Jose Museum of Art, Smith Andersen Editions Press and The Palo Alto Art Center. 

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