My work focuses to capture the spirit of timeless beauty, striving for an ethereal quality. I have a love for painting figures that are often very silent and still, introspective, and emotional. My backgrounds are set as stages, and the colors are often warm and earth tones. I love patterns, and often use them in the hair, dress and background to build beautiful textures and colors. Another aspect of my figures are women and how they relate to nature. Some pieces are contemporary takes on the nude in the landscape, and some are influenced by early photographs from the late 1800’s.

I have recently started to collage torn pages from books onto boards and then paint over parts to create a richly textured surface. This adds an interesting aspect to the work. My art always reflects my current fascinations. I have fallen in love with birds and love to incorporate them into my work. I do not like to be stagnant so my work is constantly changing and evolving.
I was born in a back bedroom of a former house of ill repute (which had been turned into an art studio) to a couple of hippies trying to escape the disco music scene in 1977. I was born in Kell, Illinois--population 231, or as I remember it, a house on the highway. I was born to the song Suzanne, by Leonard Cohen. A family friend placed me into a basin of water and rose pedals and said “This is a felicitous experience” and I was named Felicia Suzanne.

Unlike my sister, who was saying words before she was one, I rarely spoke. My father remembers being surprised when I had my first conversation with him when I was 5 or 6. My early communication mostly consisted of funny noises and the slamming of doors.

I started drawing when I was 2 years old. My family moved to Springfield, Illinois when I was 3, and my parents enrolled us in Montessori school, wanting to provide us with a non-traditional education. I was able to gravitate toward art in the open format, and drew obsessively. I have always drawn figures of women, similar to the paintings I make now. I never had a doubt that I would be an artist.

My favorite book when I was a child was an old, dog-eared copy of Land or Froud. I was drawn to fantasy art and movies like Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, and Legend. I believe these things have shaped who I am as an artist today. The images I love and love to make have an element of the fantastical and whimsical.

I received an Associates in Arts from Benedictine University, and a BFA in painting from Illinois State University. When I graduated in 1999, my husband and I moved back to Springfield, where we grew up. I had a need to continue making art and sharing it with people, so I started making artistic envelopes and postcards. I made hundreds of them for 5 years. I mailed them all over the world… to pen pals, as trade, just to keep making art, and in the process, give mailmen across the world something interesting to look at.

After 5 years of mail art, I wanted to start making larger paintings again. It took a long while to re-learn and re-teach myself how to do it. I made a lot of bad pieces and eventually found inspiration in 2004 and painted “The Queen of Hearts” and in that, I found myself as a painter. Since that one piece, I have made over 500 paintings. I’ve always been met with love and appreciation for what I do. It makes me truly content to fill the world with images I find beautiful, and to find an audience who shares that vision.

I currently live on a little brick street not too far from where Abraham Lincoln lived, with my husband, Jim, who makes his own art in steel, our dog Sugar Bear, and 2 cats, Belladonna and Baby. When I’m not painting… well, I’m probably thinking about painting. or sushi… or panda bears….


Bachelors of Fine Arts - Painting 1999
Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois

Associates Degree - 1997
Springfield College in Illinois


Honorable Mention – Painting – 2011 Illinois State Fair Professional Art Competition

2011 recipient of The Rosie Richmond Artist Advancement Award

2011 recipient of Springfield Business Journal’s 40 under 40

Honorable Mention - Painting - 2010 Illinois State Fair Professional Art Competition

Patrons Award - 2010 Northern National Art Competition - Rhinelander, WI

Illinois Times - Best of Springfield (2010)

2nd Place - Painting - 2009 Illinois State Fair Professional Art Competition

Governors Award - 2008 Illinois State Fair Professional Art Competition

3rd place Drawing - 2000 Illinois State Fair Professional Art Competition

1st place in Art - 1995 SIU SCOPE literary magazine

Copyright © 2012 Felicia Olin