Magic moments on P.E.I.

Sally Cole
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Artist Scott O’Neil stands next to Bare Necessities. It’s one of the paintings in Daily Inspirations, his exhibition at the MacNaught History Centre in Summerside. Part of the Sixty Days of Fame series, the show runs until March 31.

Artist Scott O’Neil uses his paintbrush to capture magical moments.

And all it takes is a leisurely walk through his new exhibition, “Daily Inspirations”, at the MacNaught History Centre to enjoy them as much as he does.

Whether it’s Little Wilson, a little boy looking over a flower-covered fence, Rolls of Gold, long shadows falling on freshly-rolled bales of hay, or Sand Castles, a portrait of little boy talking his sister out of destroying the sand sculptures that they’ve created at the beach, it’s clear that his focus is on fleeting moments.

“Back when I did my art studies, I leaned towards the romance period. It’s all about capturing something that’s soon to be lost,” says the Malpeque artist, with a bright smile.

A case in point is Seasonal Pleasantries, a painting of a crumbling P.E.I. homestead surrounded by towering evergreens and covered with freshly fallen snow.

“With this old building, everybody keeps saying to me, ‘It’s going to be torn down soon...It’s barely going to make it through the winter.’ But it’s the fourth time I’ve painted it. So, (my work) is about that, preserving something that will soon be lost,” says O’Neil, whose inspiring exhibit, part of the Sixty Days of Fame series, runs until March 31 at 75 Spring St., Summerside.

Another piece that captures the imagination is Bare Necessities. It’s a painting of a little boy pulling a wagon along the sidewalk.

“His wagon is filled with everything that he needs,” says O’Neil, pointing out a teddy bear, hockey stick, basketball and pair of roller skates in the cart.

“In this painting, I’ve turned his face slightly. Now it’s up to the viewer to decide whether he’s running away from home or on a mission to get to his buddy’s house,” says O’Neil, who wants people to create their own stories when they see his work.

“So people have to decide

for themselves what kind of mission he’s on,” says O’Neil, who starts his paintings from pencil drawings, gradually enlarging them before painting them on canvas.

Painting has been his passion since O’Neil started private lessons in 1984. He further developed his skills at the University of Windsor arts program in 1987. This was followed by workshops throughout Ontario and Newfoundland.

His inspiration comes from different sources.

“Sometimes I have the story and I have to get the piece to fit it. Other times, I see something and I have to capture it.”






Need to know

- Who: Scott O'Neil.

- Approaches: A plein air artist, he travels the countryside and beaches of P.E.I., working out of his van. He also does commission work, painting from photographs.

- Themes: The beauty of everyday life inspires landscapes, seascapes, portraits and custom artworks.

- Location: In the spring of 2014, Scott and his wife, Holly, opened O'Neil Home Gallery located at 2222 Route 20 in Malpeque, P.E.I. The gallery featured primarily Scotts work. In 2015 they expanded the gallery to offer goods by other artisans and a cafè.

- Website: Go to



Organizations: MacNaught History Centre, University of Windsor

Geographic location: Ontario

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