2007 and 2008 were busy with national exhibits. The themes inspired new directions with media. For Exploring Multiple Dimensions at Albuquerque Museum of Art I created a series of collages, each art work comprised of two drawings with botanicals fused together with bees wax. We were keeping bees at the time and had a large supply.

The two drawings were offset slightly so they could be perceived as two. It was a great practice in letting go of control, because the molten wax would melt the pencil to some degree and sometimes air bubbles inserted themselves. There is a series of hummingbirds, blue birds, red birds, I fell in love with the feel, smell and durability of the beeswax.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Dimensions 2", two drawings fused with beeswax, botanicals, 2007

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Dimensions 2”, two drawings fused with beeswax, botanicals, 2007

It was an honor to have Book of Light, page 79, Beach Light featured at the exhibit entry to Master CraftWorks: Kentucky at College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Book of Light, page 71" at "Master CraftWorks: Kentucky" exhibit, 2007

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Book of Light, page 79” at “Master CraftWorks: Kentucky” exhibit, 2005

More Honest, More Real, More True, exhibit at the Morlan Gallery, Transylvania University, Lexington gave me a chance to create a 3-D object of thirty nine varnished collage and collaged sticks. Records of a Realized Being is about eight feet tall, and now hangs in a modern Asheville home.
© Kathleen O'Brien, "Records of a Realized Being", watercolor, drawing, collage, installed at Morlan Gallery, 2007

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Records of a Realized Being”, watercolor, drawing, collage, installed at Morlan Gallery, 2007

Paper, Inc was such a fun exhibit at the Grovewood Gallery in Asheville. I had a dozen works in the all-paper show. What an extraordinary location it is, how special to see the same visitas as F.Scott Fitgerald.

© Kathleen O'Brien, collages on display at "Paper, Inc." exhibit, Grovewood Gallery, 2007

© Kathleen O’Brien, collages on display at “Paper, Inc.” exhibit, Grovewood Gallery, 2007

Treasured Maps

Treasured Maps is an ongoing collaborative project that began in 2007. Using the customer’s souvenirs or ephemera from a momentus occasion or journey, I combine that with graphite portrait, maps, watercolor painting, drawing and botanicals to create an heirloom artwork. Now that I think of it, it must have been at this time that my love affair with drawing maps began.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "For the Little Japanesy", watercolor, drawing, collage, 2007

© Kathleen O’Brien, “For the Little Japanesy”, watercolor, drawing, collage, 2007

Prolific

Looking back at my portfolios, 2008 was a time of some of my all-time favorite collages, many painted with subtle tones of robin egg blue. I had made note that since moving to Kentucky I had produced 1157 collages to date.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Spring Busyness", watercolor, drawing, mica, petals, collage, 2008

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Spring Busyness”, watercolor, drawing, mica, petals, collage, 2008

© Kathleen O'Brien, "9 Bird Eggs", watercolor, drawing, mica, petals, collage, 2008

© Kathleen O’Brien, “9 Bird Eggs”, watercolor, drawing, mica, petals, collage, 2008

It had been thirty years since I had seen Joseph Cornell’s art. When I entered the galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection of his, tears came automatically. The energy from endearing pieces like “Hommage a Tamara Toumanova” embraced me. Stardust for Joseph Cornell is a directly influenced by it as an homage of mine for him.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Stardust for Joseph Cornell", watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2008

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Stardust for Joseph Cornell”, watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2008

I did several collaged drawings of shadows of beloved Morning Glories.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Memories of Summer, 1", drawing, mica, petals, paint chips, collage, 2008

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Memories of Summer, 1”, drawing, mica, petals, paint chips, collage, 2008

Lincoln Bicentennial

The Kentucky Arts Council supported artists to create artworks for the Lincoln Bicentennial. Because of their grant, I learned how to create Giclee prints from my collage from photographer John Snell and I acquired an Epson printer that I continue to use for Giclee prints. KAC also commissioned me to calligraphy a Lincoln quote that they used on a silk scarf.

Abraham Lincoln’s Kentucky is based on the Lincoln Bicentennial theme of “I too am a Kentuckian”, Lincoln’s Family and Friends. Pencil drawings of important Kentuckians are situated on the map near the locations associated with them. His ancestors crossed the Cumberland Gap on the Wilderness Trail from Virginia, so there you see his father, Thomas Lincoln and mother, Nancy Hanks. The map of Kentucky shows the important locations where the Lincolns and the Hanks families settled. His wife Mary Todd and her family were from Lexington and close friend Joshua Speed lived in Louisville.

When I traveled to Hodgenville to photograph Knob Creek Farm, and walked the land of his birthplace I had a strong sense that the land itself was of great influence in developing his character. I accentuate this with a colored pencil drawing of the farm along the bottom of the collage and by the transparency of his portraits. The small fern is from his still faithful spring.

It is significant that one of his most quoted statements about slavery, “I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think and feel.”, was written in a letter to Albert G Hodges, editor of the Frankfort, KY, Commonwealth, April 4, 1864. Using a quill pen, I wrote this out as near to his hand writing as possible with walnut ink.

 

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Abraham Lincoln's Kentucky", Giclee print of watercolor, drawing, collage, 2008

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Abraham Lincoln’s Kentucky”, Giclee print of watercolor, drawing, collage, 2008

Lincoln Statue in Hodgenville KY at Lincoln Bi-Centennial, 2008

Lincoln Statue in Hodgenville KY at Lincoln Bi-Centennial, 2008

%d bloggers like this: