Video of the Show, “Talisman for Going On”

Click here to watch a two minute video of the Talismans exhibit that opened last week and continues until April 18. If at all possible see it in person, because the subtleties are hard to make out online, like in Talismans for Going On. As is the case with this piece, sometimes I create something  to see that encourages me to go on creating. This large collage developed over a six month period.

"Talisman for going On", watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O'Brien, 28 x 36"

“Talisman for going On”, watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O’Brien, 28 x 36″

If you look closely you can see some letters from the word “equinox”.  At the last autumnal equinox I painted the watercolor background with some writing about walking in and being grateful for balance, symbolized by the equal dark and light tones. The vermilion path, the good red road, crosses the horizontal plane from left to right. That’s where inspiration stopped, waiting for the next layer to come before this recent Vernal Equinox.

"Talisman for going On", detail , watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O'Brien, 28 x 36"

“Talisman for going On”, detail , watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O’Brien, 28 x 36″

It’s a mystery to me where some ideas come from, and I like that. At the next seasonal cycle, Samhuin (Halloween) I started writing with walnut ink on some Twinrocker Linen papers I had dyed with dandelion petals, onion skins and rebar ties. Do you remember how it was last autumn? It was intense, all good, but so accelerated energetically. I was prompted to praise us all for going on with our life calling. The path is long. The rock with holes that is tied into the paper with vermilion leather represents hieroglyphs carved in stone. Yes, the path is long. Everything else in this photo is two dimensional. The drawn shadows are meant to fool the eye.

"Talisman for going On", detail , watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O'Brien, 28 x 36"

“Talisman for going On”, detail , watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O’Brien, 28 x 36″

If you have trouble reading my writing, each of the marks was made with one nib load of cold process walnut ink a student shared with me. I love mindless tasks like this – how far will this ink go, it speaks to the integrity of a lovely pen nib. It’s magical to see and watch the mark shape lay down on the paper. I like to be quick so the mark is less absorbent, or wait longer to see it spread further. And then there’s dots. I caught on to the thrill of  making dots when, an era ago, artist friend Shary Hart pointed out the meditation one enters in the making.

"Talisman for going On", detail of map, watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O'Brien, 28 x 36"

“Talisman for going On”, detail of map, watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O’Brien, 28 x 36″

There are about ten loose leaf pages adhered to the support of this going on story. Some have notes of interest written in my invented language scripts – you bring your story to the meaning. Some have painted poppy petals. Here they are subdued under the top layer map of the Chesapeake Bay flood plane area, a place I am going on from. Several hand made paper coral beads allow the cord of the timeline to freely move. Those beads must be milestones, that just occurred to me.

"Talisman for going On", detail , watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O'Brien, 28 x 36"

“Talisman for going On”, detail of Milagros, watercolor, drawing, collage, objects by Kathleen O’Brien, 28 x 36″

I wanted something to represent real movement back and forth for the talismanic energy. These animal Milagros serve that purpose well. Milagros are used ritually to appeal to Deity for health and help.

So here we are as the seasons turn, bravely going on, the spring fragrance renewing and nurturing my soul.

 

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