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The Golden Artists Residency: Eryn O'Neill's Perspective

The Golden Artists Residency: Eryn O'Neill's Perspective

We recently caught up with Eryn O'Neill who just returned to Ottawa after a number of years away to work on her MFA followed by a residency with Golden Artists Colors in New York. As I was helping her cut some canvas from the roll, she told me a bit about her experience in the residency program and I asked her to share this experience with our community; she agreed.

Born in Ottawa, Eryn O’Neill holds a BFA from NSCAD University, and an MFA from the University of Waterloo. 

Eryn’s paintings study an urban space in transition through the perspective of a runner. The paintings are the product of months of repetitive outings, in all conditions, to gather enough information, visually and mentally, to create sensory charged paintings suggestive of a figure navigating an urban environment. 

Eryn is a multiple Ontario Arts Council Grant recipient, and a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Award. In September 2019, her solo exhibition, Desire Paths, was held at Rotunda Gallery in Kitchener City Hall in, and was granted funding from the Region of Waterloo. 

Eryn lives and works as a full-time artist in Ottawa, with a studio space at the Rectory House in the Byward Market.

In 2019 she was granted the opportunity to participate in Golden Artist Residency in New York.

We asked Eryn to speak about her experience. Here is what she had to say:

I was introduced to the idea of applying for the Golden Artist Residency from my MFA supervisor at the University of Waterloo, Cora Cluett, who was in the first round of artists invited to the Residency program, which began in 2014. 

MFA Thesis Show 2018 - No Access

During my MFA I was working in both Oil and Acrylic, however, my entire thesis exhibition was done in acrylic. I have always enjoyed being able to switch back and forth depending on the nature of the work, the speed in which I was working, as well as studio space restrictions. I completed my Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in spring 2018, and I put forward an application to Golden as an artist in Residence for 2019, I was invited for March 2019.

Eryn's Studio Space

The program runs from March– October of each year, with accommodations and studio space for three artists each month. Upon arrival we were warmly greeted by Barbara and Emma Golden, who immediately made us feel at home in the beautifully renovated barn, which would be our accommodations and studio space for the month! With what can only be described as an epic view out the windows that lined each room, a full kitchen, common space and private living spaces, we all relaxed into our new setting quite easily. The other two artists chosen for March was Sophie Knight, who came from California, and Keri Kimura from Maine. We were a strong group, with a good dynamic and the first Resident Artists to start off 2019!


The month consisted of an ideal blend of structured time spent with trained technicians at Golden Artists Colors (located across the road), as well as independent studio time. We got a tour of the factory, learned the history of Golden Artist Colors, which is fascinating, and of course, got to test the entire range of products Golden creates on site. The ambition and dedication was immediately apparent, and only grew more evident over the weeks as we got to know the family. Golden Artist Colors continues to function as a family run, employee-owned business located in New Berlin, NY. 

A point that should be celebrated is the on site supply inventory, consisting of each line of acrylic, oil and watercolor, including mediums and grounds, in other words an artists dream scenario! We were encouraged to experiment and familiarize ourselves with products we might no previous experience using. I am speaking for myself, but I can say that my confidence with the products and how to decipher their use grew exponentially during my time there.

Using the landscape available, I created work that responded to the daily outings. The focused time in the space allowed for a decent body of work to form from over the month, all relating to a specific landscape that quickly became integrated into the work and process. 


They wrap up each session with an Open Studio Night was hosted in the barn. Ours took place on March 28th 2019. It was a unique opportunity to meet and talk with technicians, local artists, community members as well as each other in our spaces! The engagement and attendance speaks volumes of the connection the Golden’s have with the area, and beyond. I felt supported and valued as an artist who was chosen for this opportunity. 

In April 2020, I will be part of the annual Made in Paint Exhibition, which showcases works from each artist from the previous year, who are all invited back for the opening reception. 

Thank you again to Mark, Barbara and Emma Golden, as well as the entire staff at Golden Artists Colors Inc, for their support and confidence in my work and career. 



Interested in checking out more of Eryn's work? Take a look at her Website & Instagram

All of the photos in this post have been provided by Eryn.

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