Sardines and ash

Veronica O'Leary

Oil on canvas / 30 x 30 cm


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Veronica O’Leary


Veronica initially trained at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, and later completed a Masters in Visual Art at Charles Sturt University. She teaches art classes from her Tathra studio  and works on her own painting practice. She lectured in Creative and Visual Arts at Darwin Community College, Frankston Teachers College, and the Illawarra Institute of TAFE.   In December /January 2019/20 she worked as artist in residence on King Island and produced an exhibition of landscape paintings for the King Island Cultural Centre.

Her art practice has taken her to many residencies in the Northern Territory, Queensland, NSW and Tasmania and she has exhibited throughout Australia over the past 30 years. She has had solo exhibitions in the NT, NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and most recently in 2020 on King Island, Tasmania.

She lived in Darwin for 8 years and during that time was appointed as Court Artist for the ABC.  Her 180 court drawings for the Chamberlain trial were purchased in 2011 by the National Museum of Australia.

Veronica’s landscape and still life paintings are informed by her dedication to the act of drawing from the natural world.  She has an extensive collection of artist books kept from travels in Australia, Brazil, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Jordan and these often become the source for further developed paintings. She has been a multiple finalist in the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize and the Mosman Art Prize. She was also a finalist in the NSW Countryscapes Landscape Award, the Noosa Gallery Art Award and the Meroogal Historic Trust Award.

In 2020 she was shortlisted as a finalist in the Glover Prize and awarded the Hangers Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award. She was also selected as a finalist for the John Leslie Landscape Prize. Her concertina book ‘A Surfeit of Tastes’ was Highly Commended in the works on paper section of the Tastes of Art, Rutherglen Art Prize.

Her base is now her coastal studio in Tathra NSW and her interest in painting landscape is a response to the environment in which she lives and works. In recent years she has explored the impact of fire on Australia’s changing landscape in a series of large oils which capture a fierce intensity and energy.


Professional Qualifications

2004    M.A. Visual and Performing Arts, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga
1984     B.A. Fine Arts, NT University, Darwin
1982-3 B.A. Fine Arts, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne
1974     Dip. Ed. Monash University, Melbourne
1972     B.A. Hons, St. Lucia University, Brisbane

Art Awards:

2022  Finalist, National Capital Art Prize, Canberra
2022  Finalist, Tacit Still Life Art Prize, Tacit Galleries, Melbourne
2021   Finalist, The Dutch Project, West End Art Space, Melbourne
2021   Finalist, Lethbridge Small Scale Art Awards
​2020  Winner People’s Choice and Hanger’s Choice, Glover Prize 2020
2020  Finalist, John Leslie Art Prize, Gippsland Regional Gallery, Sale
2013   Finalist, Mosman Art Award
2011   The National Trust Meroogal Art Prize Member’s Award
2011 & 2010  Finalist The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, 
           South Australia Museum, Adelaide
2009   People’s Choice Award, John Briscoe Prize, Raglan Gallery, Cooma
2009   Finalist NSW Countryscapes, Country Energy Landscape Art Award
2007   Best Pastel Drawing, Bega Art Awards, Bega Valley Regional Gallery
2005   Best Acrylic Painting, Bega Art Awards, Bega Valley Regional Gallery
2000   Finalist Mosman Art Award, Mosman Regional Gallery, Sydney
1999    Margaret Settle Memorial Prize, Bega Valley Art Awards
1987    Zonta Woman of the Year NT, Outstanding Professional Achievement in the Arts
1983    Undergraduate Drawing Prize, National Gallery Art School, Melbourne, VCA

Exhibition History

2020  Glover Prize Finalists Exhibition, Tasmania
2020  Impressions of King Island. King Island Cultural Centre, Tasmania
2019   Bloom, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo, NSW
2019   Immersed, Tacit Galleries, Melbourne
2019   Place and Identity, Spiral Gallery Bega
​2018   Wild, Remote and Intimate. Paintings, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo
2017   Fresh Salt. Paintings from the Four Winds Land Art Project.
            ANU Gallery, ACT
2017   Swept Away – Paintings from King Island, 
            Tacit Contemporary Art, Melbourne
2016   Skyscapes, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo
2014   Weeds to Wildflowers, Ivy Hill Gallery
2014   Noosa Art awards, Noosa Regional Gallery, Finalist
2013   Mosman Art Award Finalist Exhibition, Mosman Art Gallery
2012   Exhibition of the Chamberlain Court Drawing Collection purchased by the
            National Museum of Australia, Canberra, National Museum, ACT
2012   Salon De Refuses, Shirley Hannon National Portrait Prize, 
            Spiral Gallery, Bega
2011    Images of Gulaga, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo 
2011   The Waterhouse Prize Finalist Exhibition, SA Museum, Adelaide
2010  The Waterhouse Prize Finalist Exhibition, SA Museum, Adelaide
2010  8 Artists Paint Gulaga, Bega Valley Regional Gallery
2009  Recent Works, Ivy Hill Gallery, Wapengo
2008  Memory and Myth, Raglan Gallery, Cooma
2000  Canberra Grammar Gallery, Red Hill, ACT
2000  Landscape and Lino, Raglan Gallery, Cooma
2000  Paintings and Lino Cuts, Bondi Pavilion, Sydney
1999   Paintings, Drawings and Monotypes, Framed Gallery, Darwin
1998   Floriade Exhibition, Narek Gallery, Cuppacumbalong, ACT
1998   Still Passages, Bega Valley Regional Gallery
1994   Ten New Artists, Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney
1994   Paintings, Solander Gallery, ACT
1987   Recent Works, NT Museum of Arts and Sciences, Darwin, NT 


ABC Court Artist, Chamberlain Trial, Darwin Supreme Court

Print Portfolio, Seven Spirit Bay Eco Resort,  Cobourg Marine National Park, NT

Court Drawing Portfolio, National Museum of Australia,  ACT

182 drawings from the Chamberlain Trial, 1982 and 12 drawings from the Coronial Inquest, 2012


Seven Spirit Bay, Cobourg Peninsula,  Arnhem Land, NT
Mulgara Gallery, Sails-in -the-Desert, Uluru, NT
Club Med, Lindeman Island, Qld
Canberra Boys Grammar, ACT
Milton Park Estate, Bowral


A Celebration of Colour, Australian Artist, No.186, Dec 1999
Lindy Chamberlain-Madonna or Witch? NT Perspective, NT University, Vol 19, No1, 1996
Notes from an Artist’s Diary, Cobourg Peninsula. Northern Perspective, NT University, Vol.19, No1,1992

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