Mary Jo O’Gara is based in Winnetka, Illinois, where she keeps her own studio and teaches painting at the North Shore Art League. An alumna of Marquette University, Evanston Art Center, and the Noyes Cultural Art Center, she is the recipient of numerous painting awards including Best in Show at Winnetka’s Art in the Village and at Art on the Plaza in Wilmette, Illinois. O’Gara’s rural, Midwestern roots are a thoroughgoing and consistent influence on her work, which centers around skillfully rendered, painterly depictions of farm structures and prairie flora, as well as still life. Her technique is an adaptation of impressionism, beginning with a trip through the countryside, then drawing on a reference photo back in the studio just long enough to spur an emotive, spontaneous application of paint. Her work is typically finished alla prima, meaning wet-on-wet, and in one session, maximizing her sense of connection to the environment that inspires her.