Why I Love to Open My Studio

Why I love to open my studio can be said in one word, you. After so much time spent alone creating, dreaming, scheming and sharing art online, to have the fresh energy of you entering into a realm I’ve designed to bring a smile to your face completes the circle of creativity. There’s a lot in it for me like the satisfaction of connecting aesthetically, warmly, and hearing you tell me what my art is. Like “complex simplicity”. Yes! I’d been trying to put my finger on that.

It is the magical moments that cannot be planned, that are the gift I receive for continuing to express the moment, alone in the studio. Like meeting a brand new friend walking through the door with a big smile, waiting to tell me how he had purchased a print online, just happened to be spending the night around the corner at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill (#1 on the tour) on a weekend get-away. He saw the ARTTOUR map, noticed my name and that I was close by. I was thrilled to have great conversation about our mutual interests like Henry Miller’s writing and painting. And the I Ching, as he shared his favorite contemporary version. When he bought the Talisman for Aphrodite for his dear wife, another new friend, I knew it would serve to remind each other of these treasured experiences.

"Talisman for Aphrodite" detail, necklace by Kathleen O'Brien

Talisman for Aphrodite detail, necklace by Kathleen O’Brien

The tour was nearing its end, when my dear friend Pamla Wood came with four of her dancer friends. That was like icing, as they say. I wasn’t tired anymore, as their vivacious energy and enthusiasm for seeing my art and hearing my Joseph Cornell stories about how he loved ballerinas enlivened the day. The conversation turned to my invented script, and how I had used Kanji in Garden of Healing, Garden of Hope, for the UK HealthCare commission.

One of the woman’s eyes widened as she realized I was the artist of her favorite art work. She told me how she loved to sit by it whenever she passed by. To hear this was a very emotional moment of connection, a grand feeling of expanded success. Not just that the art is serving it’s intended purpose of imbuing the environment with peace, hope and healing, but that we would meet and become friends.

Garden of Healing, Garden of Hope, mixed media collage by Kathleen O'Brien

Garden of Healing, Garden of Hope, mixed media collage by Kathleen O’Brien

This year’s Open Studio exceeded my expectations with great sales, and greeting many happy tourists, some of whom were being exposed to art for the first time. But the magical, synchronistic experiences are the ones that feed my artist soul.

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