Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Collaborating part 1

Part of the inspiration for the exhibit, Birds of a Feather, which opens in two days, has been collaborating with guest artist, Leslie Patterson-Marx, print-maker. The last time I created etchings or lithographs was in 1967, at Kunstshule Rodel, Mannheim Germany. So when Leslie suggested that she could demonstrate monoprinting as part of our exhibit, that sparked the idea to collaborate by drawing on her prints. She sent a few prints to me and I began to work on them with my pencils.
©O'Brien & Marx, The Fey at Play, etching, graphite, silver leaf, petals, 17x14", $500. unframed
In this one, I left Leslie's etching mostly untouched, except for the series of soft straight graphite marks along the bottom. On the border of the etching I added powdered graphite. On the top half are tiny dots of silver leaf, on the bottom, I erased circles and gave them their own shadows. Next,

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Guest Post, Leslie Patterson-Marx, monoprints

Hello! My name is Lesley Patterson-Marx and I am happy to be a guest blogger for Kathleen O’Brien, with whom I am showing work in our upcoming exhibition at MS Rezny Studio/Gallery. Don’t miss our opening reception on May 9 from 4-7 pm. On May 10, I will be at the gallery from 12:30-3 with my small printmaking press, ready to demonstrate for you a printmaking process called “monoprint”. You will have the chance to make your own monoprint that day, and bring it back to draw on with Kathleen on May 17 or 24. Please stop by and try this simple process which yields beautiful results!

A monoprint is a single impression of a painted image or texture made from a repeatable matrix. Rather than printing multiple identical copies of an image, each monoprint impression is unique. At MS Rezny 
Studio/Gallery, I will be demonstrating the process applying printing ink to a flat surface and transferring it to paper. 
©Leslie Patterson-Marx
Step 1: In this image, you see that the roller is applying ink to the surface of a plastic plant that I found on one of my daily walks. It is also possible to make a monoprint impression of a real plant! Bring one of your own in to try if you like. The only rule is that it should be fairly flat.
©Leslie Patterson-Marx
Step 2: Once the texture has been rolled with ink, place it inky side down onto printmaking paper. The paper is now on top of the press bed. Cover with protective paper to protect the press blankets. In this case, I’m using newsprint. Fold the blankets down, turn the wheel and roll it through!
©Leslie Patterson-Marx
Step 3: Lift up the press blankets and unfold the protective paper to reveal your image!

I hope that you will stop by MS Rezny Studio/Gallery on May 10 to make a monoprint! Feel free to bring any small plants, lace, or other textures that you would like to try printing. I will have textures available, as well as all other supplies. This event, as well as Kathleen’s drawing sessions, are free of charge, but donations will be accepted. See you soon!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1000 years ago today...

2 years ago on this date I wrote this post. Today I am remembering and honoring High King Brian Boru and all that he accomplished.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Each Day in the Year of the fire Dog 85, 4 x 6"
One treasure I have that my grandfather painted is the O'Brien coat of arms, the 3 lions of Ireland pictured on this postcard.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Year Plan

It's hard to believe that it is mid-spring and that I had a new year plan. That's not true, I do revisit my plan regularly, it's just that I am such a Present Moment Person, that some things I foresee manifesting take longer than a year because I forget how slow I am. As soon as I returned from Twinrocker paper mill, I began this drawing, so it is the first in the series that will premiere at Birds of a Feather exhibit, May 2 at Rezny Gallery.
©Kathleen O'Brien, New Year Plan,
drawing on Twinrocker Linen paper, 20x15"
My plan (i.e. describing the symbols in this drawing) : be with my grandson and family as much as possible, be open to guidance from above, add every color (in every sense of the meaning) to my life and being, continue to care for the bees, make my plant spirit medicines, and LISTEN to the messages from my dear guide, the hawk.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Giveaway Lesson from Turkey

In Jamie Sam's,  Medicine Cards, turkey is the giveaway animal, sharing everything so that life can go on. Her perspective on the creatures of the earth is so profound, I urge you to read her directly. she certainly influenced me beginning in the late 1980's until this day.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Turkey Feather Fan,
drawing on Twinrocker Linen paper, 20x15"
A fan is used with burning purifying herbs like sage. A dear friend gave me these turkey feathers when I was feeling very low and disconnected. Turkey extended her healing to me by realizing how much my friends had given me. As I made this fan, I gathered trinkets they had given me as symbols of their devotion in friendship to add to the yarns at the bottom. The process pulled me out of that negative space, and continues, 30 years later to remind me that we are all related.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Prayer Sticks

Have you ever made a prayer stick? I learned how from the Hopi to, especially for the Winter Solstice, make what they call Paho. As the feathers are attached to the stick prayers are said. They are placed in the earth for safe keeping.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Flicker Prayer Stick,
drawing on Twinrocker Linen paper, 22x15"
I made this one last time I was in Colorado, before the floods of last year. West of the Mississippi River, flickers are coral underneath, instead of yellow in the East. I drew a few correspondences from Sun Bear's Earth astrology: as Flicker represents the month of Cancer, the flower is rose, the mineral is carnelian agate, and it is the Strong Sun Moon - Summer Solstice, yes, when I was there.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Hawk Prayer Stick,
drawing on Twinrocker Linen paper, 22x15"

Pictured here is a Prayer Stick of Hawk feathers I found walking my dogs on my land. they are attached to a paint brush that has dried paint.

The texture on this Twinrocker 100% Linen paper takes pencil marks so well. The graphite is so easily extended with a tortillion, and you can add and add more graphite, continuing to create great shading. Also with the colored pencil, I found I could add many layers without the paper becoming saturated. In some areas, like the top blue area I just wanted it to look like pencil strokes, not blended.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

52 Sound Paintings, Helen Davey

Helen Davey is celebrating her 52nd year by composing a piece of music to and art work once a week, 52 Sound Paintings. I encourage you to check out her varied styles and sounds, I am so amazed. In preparation for her composing to my Pentad we shared a delightful 2 hour Skype chat - Switzerland to Kentucky.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Pentad, Mystery of Numbers, detail

I received the notification that it was ready and loaded on her site on April 4. I just love the meditative quality to her 6 minute The Phi of Five. She did more research into the golden mean and composed it in 5/4 meter and used the Fibonacci series. Read more about her process, she would love to her your response to this and the others you may hear on her site since she started last November.

I you would like to view/listen/buy her music in high quality format, check this site.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

National Tartan Day

April 6 is National Tartan Day. As an Irish person, I am proud to wear the O'Brien tartan, created to honor my ancestor, High King Brian Boru, who united the clans of Ireland in a 20 year period of peace 1000 years ago this year. He died after the battle of Clontarf April 23, 1014.
O'Brien Tartan, from The Scottish Register of Tartans
From The Scottish Register of Tartans: Designed by Australian Edward John O'Brian or O'Brien and available for use by all of the name. Colour significance: two red stripes represents the two victorious battles of Brian Boru (978 & 1014); Pale Blue represents ancient Royal Blue which was one of the battle and court colours used by Brian Boru; Gold represents the trimming used for Brian Boru's battle and court colours; Green represents the modern Irish emerald green of the shamrock; Saffron represents the colour used in ancient Ireland dating from 2000 years ago. Usually ordered from D C Dalgliesh.

Commonwealth of Kentucky Tartan
from Kentucky United Pipes and Drums
A RESOLUTION supporting the Kentucky Tartan.

WHEREAS, Senate Resolution 155 of the 105th United States Congress designated April 6 of each year as "National Tartan Day" to honor those Americans of Scottish descent who played an integral role in the founding of our great nation, and recognizing the achievements and contributions made by Scottish Americans in the fields of science, technology, medicine, government, politics, economics, architecture, literature, media, and visual and performing arts; and

WHEREAS, in 2001, the first year of the new millennium, Kentucky will host the International Highland Games at Glasgow, Kentucky; thus, it is appropriate and fitting that Kentucky have an official Kentucky Tartan that can be worn with pride and honor, and that represents the many early settlers and trailblazers of this great Commonwealth that were of American Scottish descent; and

WHEREAS, Kentucky is bounded on the north by the Ohio River and on the west by the Mississippi River, and between these boundaries are two of the largest man-made lakes in the world, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, and the blue water of these rivers, lakes, and other streams is represented by the
blue in the Kentucky Tartan; and

WHEREAS, Kentucky was the birthplace of both presidents in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, born in Hodgenville in Larue County, and Jefferson Davis, born near Fairview in Christian County, and the Kentucky Tartan's blue and gray represents the brave soldiers who fought during the Civil War; and

green and bluegreen in the Tartan represents Kentucky's bluegrass where magnificent thoroughbreds graze and frolic among the few that are training for the Kentucky Derby which is held each year on the first Saturday of May; and

WHEREAS, Kentucky is located in the geographic area known as the Bible Belt; many brave and courageous Kentuckians of American Scottish descent fought and died for religious freedom and independence, and
white in the Kentucky Tartan represents their purity, goodness, bravery and valor; and

WHEREAS, the official state bird is the Kentucky Cardinal, and
red in the Tartan represents the precious blood that was shed by many American Scottish citizens of this great Commonwealth in the defense of freedom; and

WHEREAS, the Tartan's bright
yellow represents the Goldenrod, Kentucky's state flower; and the black "window pane check" in the Tartan represents the Commonwealth's coal and oil resources;

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General 
 Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

Section 1. The House of Representatives is proud to endorse the Kentucky Tartan and deems our great Commonwealth fortunate to host the International Highland Games in Glasgow, Kentucky, in the year 2001. The participants in these Scottish games will receive the outpouring of Kentucky hospitality that has always been indicative of the Bluegrass State.

Section 2. When the House of Representatives adjourns on January 20, 2000, it does so in strong support of the endorsement of the Kentucky Tartan.

Section 3. The Clerk of the House of Representatives is hereby directed to transmit a copy of this Resolution to The Scottish Coalition, P.O. Box 1307, North Riverside, Illinois 60546. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring, Eagle, East

Years ago I learned from my spiritual teacher, Grandfather Wallace Black Elk, about correspondences between the seasons, the direction and the animal who guards that season and direction. East is the direction we face in the Spring, with Eagle flying guard. There are other correspondences like the color yellow, the time of rebirth, and the time of youth. This drawing of an eagle feather was done in 1985, and it was the inspiration that called me back to drawing at the beginning of this year.
©Kathleen O'Brien, Helpers, drawing, 17x14"
There is something so soothing about rendering beloved objects as observed, and also laying out the design from imagination. This was done on smooth Bristol paper that allows for subtle shading. I think this might have been the first time I drew cascading ribbons, symbolic of descending energy, that appears in almost everything I draw now. That rainbow has stuck with me all this time, and long before. Do you recognize the artists who I like to imagine looking over my shoulder?

This will be in the exhibit Birds of a Feather, NFS - I framed this one for myself, but want to share it for the merry month of May with you at Rezny Gallery.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

coming soon, Birds of a Feather

In preparation for our show, birds of a feather, Lesley sent me a few of her prints for me to draw on. It's been a fun challenge to draw off her inspiration. The texture provided by the ink has such a different and enjoyable quality for taking pencil marks. She is staying over from Nashville to demonstrate how to make a mono-print at the gallery the day after our reception (see below for details) and visitors can make a print. I wanted to have some samples to show people who return to the gallery to draw with my pencils on two May Saturdays. This piece drawn on silkscreen turned out to be the one we're using for our postcard invitation.
©O'Brien & Patterson-Marx, Birds of a Feather, drawing and collage, mica on silkscreen, 18x14"

Birds of a Feather
works on paper and found object sculptures
Kathleen O’Brien & Lesley Patterson-Marx

May 2-31, 2014
Reception May 9, 4-7 pm
 ask about on site Mother’s Day weekend specials...

MS Rezny Studio/Gallery
903 Manchester Street, Lexington KY 40508                  859 292 4647

Monoprint demonstration with
Lesley Patterson-Marx on May 10, 12:30-3.
Make a print to bring back and draw on with
Kathleen O’Brien on May 17 or 24, 12:30-3.