ROANOKE, Va. – A popular local artist known for her colorful paintings of Southwest Virginia landscapes got a big break with a feature in a Southern Living Magazine.
Colombian native, Maria Osorio Driscoll of Roanoke is a true storyteller. But instead of writing, she paints her stories.
“I got to be what I wanted to be when I grew up,” Driscoll said. Painting came naturally to her, though she studied the art in college.
“I’ve been painting my whole life. For as long as I can remember,” Driscoll said.
Her paintings are beautifully branded her own, always vibrant, colorful and have their own signature perspective.
While living in Colombia, Driscoll planned on spending a summer with her aunt helping with her newborn in Roanoke.
“I came, took a couple of classes at Virginia Western while I was helping her out. And then I met my husband one week into it,” Driscoll said.
The next semester she transferred to Hollins College. Love turned one summer into 22 years. She’s been in Roanoke ever since.
“Very unexpected. But good,” Driscoll said with a smile.
She’s known in Southwest Virginia for her paintings of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“Living where we live, there’s always so much inspiration, especially this time of year with all the flowers blooming. People from this area really attached to their mountains, so it’s always nice to create something that makes them feel like home,” Driscoll said. “People love the Roanoke Star.”
While many artists don’t like doing commissioned work, Driscoll loves taking special requests from clients who have something unique in mind. Frequently people will request her paintings as gifts for a special occasions. Many requests include her colorful paintings of the Roanoke Star.
“Last year someone commissioned me to do some for graduation presents and I did them in the colors of the schools the girls were going to. So, I did a Tennessee Star, a UVA star, and a Virginia Tech star. So, it was really cool.”
Commissioned works truly give her a chance to write their stories with brush strokes.
“I paint wedding bouquets or a place where people got engaged. I’m doing one for a girl that loves her father and so it’s a picture of his favorite part of the lake. So it’s like a way to keep people close to you alive,” Driscoll said. “It’s something special.”
While Driscoll takes joy in creating her art, she said the best part is seeing the joy it brings to her clients.
“It makes me so happy when people have happy tears and have a good emotional response to my paintings,” Driscoll said.
Now taking a national spotlight, Driscoll’s work caught the attention of Southern Living Magazine during it’s March Edition.
“A local person had given one of the editors one of my paintings as a wedding present,” Driscoll said.
The feature is a dream come true for Driscoll.
“That was very, very exciting. It was like a dream come true that I never even knew could come true. Being from a small town and coming from another country. When they reached out to me it was just incredible,” Driscoll said.
Since then, she’s gotten commissioned requests from across the country.
She says she’s excited to keep painting stories and special memories to last a lifetime. To see more of her work or to request a commission visit her website.