Stan O’Bannon is a busy man. A farmer in Hartwell, Georgia, he raises chickens and beef cattle and does custom hay cutting. He’s also on call 24/7 as a volunteer firefighter for the past 37 years. In his very limited spare time, O’Bannon paints.
He enjoyed drawing as a young child, but it was the influence of a friend’s dad that ignited a real passion. When O’Bannon spent a weekend at his friend’s house, he was awed by all the artwork on the walls. Noticing the boy’s interest, his friend’s dad introduced him to watercolor. “After everyone went to bed, we painted until 2 a.m.,” said O’Bannon.
Another influence was Andrew Wyeth, O’Bannon’s favorite artist. “A teacher took us to an Andrew Wyeth art display, where I saw Christina’s World,” he said. “I said then that if I could live to get half as good as Wyeth, I’d be an artist.
O’Bannon sold his first painting as a teenager and has been exhibiting in juried shows and selling his work ever since though he’s only painted seriously in the last decade. His paintings can be found around the world, including two in Puerto Rico and four in Japan. Sometimes company representatives in search of original artwork seek him out. Four of his paintings are also on display at the new city hall in Hartwell.
One of O’Bannon’s goals is to become a Signature Member of the Georgia Watercolor Society, and he’s close, needing only half a point more. Points are accumulated through exhibitions, including at least one national show.
His style is realistic, and he’s drawn to landscapes and old structures that have a lot of history. He has also started to paint plein air. He’s tried some different things but prefers watercolor. “It’s harder to master and control, but once you learn how, I find it’s quicker to do,” he said.
O’Bannon lives in Hartwell with his wife, Joyce. The couple has one son and four grandchildren.
Stan O’Bannon’s work can be seen in the Anderson Artists Guild display case on the first floor of the Anderson Art Center from May 14 to July 9.