Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Revels

After the Open Studio and all the followup I was ready for a rest. For Holiday Revels exhibit at M S Rezny Studio/Gallery, I gave myself permission to choose whatever was at hand. But this year the annual show that features the 8 gallery artists is a benefit for the Hospice of the Bluegrass Fund for Art so I challenged myself to finish 3 artworks that had been avoiding completion.

Holiday Revels was begun last December as a chronicle to all the amazing days of that month, from the Halcyon Days, Day Out of Time, birthdays of my 2 muses Henry Miller, 12.26 and Joseph Cornell, 12.24. Solstice (remember last year 12.21.12 the end of the Mayan Calendar!) the day of the return of the Kachinas who help us through the dark time. Can you see 2 in this collaged watercolor?
©Kathleen O'Brien, Holiday Revels, 20x16x2,
watercolor, pencil, mistletoe, holly, rose petals
As Above, So Below was started last July as a demonstration for the KET filming of The Transparent Nature show.
It  is one in a series I am continuing about numbers, geometry, math. You might have to see this one in person to see the details... 

©Kathleen O'Brien, As Above, So Below, 30x22,
watercolor, pencil, found objects
There Are Places I'll Remember All My Life 1 has gone through a metamorphosis since its pastel beginnings. For about a year traveling the world has been a theme. This one has traces of the symbols used to depict being in different places.
©Kathleen O'Brien, There Are Places I'll Remember All My Life 1,
24x20, first stage before gluing to panel

©Kathleen O'Brien, There Are Places I'll Remember All My Life 1,
20x16x2, watercolor, pencil, acrylic, flowers, found objects 
I hope you can see the show.

UK graduate Paper by Erin McDonald

Erin McDonald, Artist Interview #2, November 23, 2013
A Chat with Kathleen O’Brien

Erin McDonald: Hi Kathleen, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. You live in a really beautiful part of Kentucky and I enjoyed getting to see your home and studio. To start off the interview I thought maybe we could talk about your childhood and what it was like growing up.

Kathleen O’Brien: Certainly. I was born in Yokasuka, Japan in 1948 into a loving and artistic family. As a child I was lulled to sleep by my father’s piano. My mother’s joy was sewing things for me and also my doll’s clothes. I watched my grandfather paint and was allowed to paint my first oil painting at age 12 under his watchful supervision. I was always coloring, drawing. As a service family we lived in many places around the world – Italy, Germany, Austria, Florida and more. This lifestyle expanded my awareness of aesthetics.

McDonald: It sounds like your grandfather was pretty instrumental to you as an artist- would you mind talking a bit more about that?

O’Brien: Well, my grandfather was a painter and he was actually my first teacher. I had to wait until I was 12 because of the toxicity of the materials. But he was really my hero, and I really looked up to him and so he taught me the rudiments. And then I just kept working at it.

McDonald: I know you said you were in Japan, and you've mentioned a few other places, how did those places really impact your work? *See also Artist Timeline at end of paper

O’Brien: Definitely. The scripts you see in the paintings around you are referring to an invented language. They are marks that appear in all my works I do. They are marks that I intend for it to be a language, but one that the viewer can bring their own meaning to. On a deeper level what it represents to me is communication, because actually, when we were talking about inspirations, that really is probably my biggest value. It’s communication. So I use those scripts to represent that. But I lived in Italy also and I really think that had a big influence. A really big influence on my aesthetic. You know, I have this aesthetic in my life. I like everything to be beautiful and I like to have beauty around me. And then just a certain – integrated lifestyle. I mean, that’s – my real art is my life. Because I make pictures, but I also want to integrate that with really good living. And for me that means growing food, cooking food, and having people around to enjoy it. You know, people around to enjoy the art and all of that. So I’m always trying to think of events where I can combine all of those things. And I’m sure I picked that up from Italy (laughs). It’s like, yeah let’s just sit around and talk about art, look at art and have really good food! Another thing was the music. My father was a pianist and I heard that every night. Especially when I was a young artist. I did a lot of portraits of musicians. But I also think that came from Italy. Because music was everywhere and my parents – remember those huge transparent red vinyl records – but my father had all these records. My father was always playing these. We were always listening to operas, arias, concertos and it was just something that was always prevalent. Even today- I’m listening to different things but it’s still a strong driving force.

McDonald: Can you talk a little bit about your studio or the places you reside in to work and how that affects your process?

O’Brien: I built my house, and I was able to design my own space which is based on the Golden Rectangle, a theme that is also relevant in my work. My studio space consists of Northern windows for bright non-direct light, fail safe storage systems and everything is movable. I am able to put things away easily and quickly to change tasks, like move the taboret and set up watercolors, shelves for pencils, etc., clear a space for framing, find materials for shipping. The things that are necessary to have in my studio are a Big flat table, sitting level, workbench tops, standing level, drafting table, metal sheet and magnets for collage, all my supplies, flat storage for paper, storage systems for botanicals and papers, inspirational things, white walls, windows, Epson printer, computers, phone.

McDonald: Thank you again so much for letting me interview you. It really has been a pleasure.

O’Brien: You’re welcome. Thank you for the interview!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Legacy of the Kentucky Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowships

The reception last Friday for the Kentucky Arts Council's Uncommon Wealth exhibit was truly exceptional. The spacious gallery at the Lyric Theatre was graced with 62 sparkling works of art. The variety represented by the Al Smith Fellowship recipients made it interesting- paintings, ceramics, furniture, bead work, drawing. Fortunately for you, the exhibit will be at the Lyric until January 11, 2014. And after the exhibit travels the state - stayed tuned for updates.

©Greg Orth, Lori Meadows, Executive Director of KAC, KO'B & Mark Whitley, fellow 2012 recipient
I was delighted to be in the company of some of my most admired artist friends: Gwen Heffner, Double White, porcelain, Mark Whitley, Thinking Chair #2, wood, Hunter Stamps, Vicissitude, Ceramic, Marco Logsdon, Circle Painting #3, oil, tar, beeswax and resin on Board, Jeffrey Nichols, Yellow/Red Still Life, earthenware, CJ Pressma, Ruins Overlooking the Pecos River, photographuy, Jennifer Reis, Seven for a Secret, embellished textile assemblage, and more I wished I knew.
©Greg Orth, art and art lovers at the Uncommon Wealth reception
I want to thank all the people who came to show your support! I know you left with smiles on your faces after seeing all this talent displayed in one place.
©Greg Orth, KO'B with Rainbow Parrot, drawing, collage on Panel, 20x16x2"

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

5th Open Studio Was Superlative

It was exciting to meet so many new Art Lovers and to welcome back loyal collectors. Thank you all for coming, and sharing your opinions about how you loved the studio, the art, the drive through the countryside. You made it a memorable occasion. I made this 2.5 minute video for those of you who could not make it, and as a souvenir for those who did.

It was good to learn that so many people loved the idea of the ARTTOUR and were able to see some of the other 10 locations.

I loved what Brandon Long  from Community Art Center shared on Facebook; We had a great time at your studio. It was the one place that my baby  didn't want to be held. She kept wiggling loose so she could see what was next. My girls loved the display case with the hand made dolls. J. later found a gingko leaf and pressed it in her sketchbook so she could use it in a collage. So inspiring.