My 50th year as an artist comes to a close as I write the last post, about the years 2017 – 2018. It’s with a sense of accomplishment that I complete this series, reptrospective, 23 posts in all. It became a big visual resume that gives me a grounded sense of accountability to myself in regards to creative purpose. I hope it will serve to give perspective to anyone who inherits or buys my art, a real legacy, in my opinion because the images are served up with story.

KO'B 1968 - 2018, 50 years as an artist

KO’B 1968 – 2018, 50 years as an artist

My grandfather, and first painting teacher, would have approved. Once he started painting late in life, he kept good notes as he learned through his correspondance courses.

He was an amateur painter, but not in the eyes of the people he gave his paintings to. It thrilled him to capture a likeness in oils, make the frame, and share it with the model.

I have always aspired to be as large a human being as he was. A true self-made man who evolved from orphanage to retirement that afforded him any art supply he needed, and a grand tour of Europe’s great art centers with me in tow.

Grandpa painting me at his easel, 1956

Grandpa painting me at his easel, 1956

Atlas of the Year

So much of this period has been developing  the Atlas of the Year. It started with the idea to create one collage for each month of the year to symbolically trigger the qualities of being in the right place at the right time. It would be one more iteration of the four seasons-four directions theme of my career.

Then further I did twelve graphite drawings that were the maps to accompany the collages. These twenty four artworks will be shown publicly at Carnigie Center for Literacy and Learning March 2019.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Atlas of the Year, 1", watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2017

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Atlas of the Year, 1”, watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2017

Then those twenty four artworks were formated into four notebooks to be the material component to the Atlas of the Year eCourse. Perhaps you can understand how much work this involved, since I had to study and learn how to conduct on online class.

©Kathleen O'Brien, "Atlas of the Year, Spring East Journal", pages 6 and 7, 2018

©Kathleen O’Brien, “Atlas of the Year, Spring East Journal”, pages 6 and 7, 2018

My focus for months has been creating the content that goes with the notebooks, for downloading each month. I discovered the joy of making the ebooks and designing their covers, the extras that will support the student’s process of creating their own artisitic maps.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Maps" ebook Cover, 2018

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Maps” ebook Cover, 2018

Art and Shows

The art from this period were watercolors and watercolor collages. Bouquets was a series of twenty seven florals, painted on my porch near the garden. Working in series is often how I develope greeting card sets, they have a continuity.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Bouguet series", 16 cards, watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2017

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Bouguet series”, 16 cards, watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2017

KO'B with "Three Shapes" at "Gridworks" exhibition, 2017

KO’B with “Shapes 1, 2 and 3” at “Gridworks” exhibition, New Editions Gallery, Lexington, 2017, showing with friends Michelle Hayden, Ray Papka and Elsie Harris.

I usually have a bead project in process. It’s a nice counter point to working in 2-D or on the computer.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Healing Necklace 13", detail, antique, vintage, ancient and handmade beads, 2018

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Healing Necklace 13”, detail, antique, vintage, ancient and handmade beads, 2018

KO'B with "Pleasant Hill Botanicals" and Abraham Lincoln's Kentucky" at the "225" Exhibit, 2017

KO’B with “Pleasant Hill Botanicals” and “Abraham Lincoln’s Kentucky” at the “225: Artists Celebrate Kentucky’s History” Exhibit, Kentucky Artisan Center, Berea, 2017, showing with friends Mark and Angela Selter, John Dixon and Linda Fifield.

Other shows were the two year traveling exhibit with the Kentucky Arts Council, Illustrated Word, Visions at the Capitol, Kentucky Painters Exhibition and Put a Bird on It, both at Berea Arts Council, Feeling Blue at the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, Lexington to name a few.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Birtday Party with Red Wing Blackbird Symphony, Robin Solo", watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2018

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Birtday Party with Red Wing Blackbird Symphony, Robin Solo”, watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2018

Birthday Bead necklaces, 2018

Birthday Bead necklaces, 2018

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Anasazi Doorway", watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2018

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Anasazi Doorway”, watercolor, drawing, petals, collage, 2018, premiering at New Year, New Art at Community Arts Center, Danville, January 2019

Expansion

We’ve been callilng it the Studio Annex, but for year’s it’s been “the multipurpose building” in our imaginations. You’ll have to come see for yourself how we define multi. We invision a place for rest, learning, creating, exhibiting, folks from near and far…

© Kathleen O’Brien, Birds Eye drawing of Studio Annex at Sunwise Farm and Sanctuary, 2018

4 Seasons at Sunwise Farm and Sanctuary, 2018

4 Seasons at Sunwise Farm and Sanctuary, 2018

All during the process of celebrating my 50th year as an artist, a Sam Gilliam quote has reverberated in my mind; “now that my career is over, I can flourish”. Yeah…

KO'B three years old, photo by JH O'Brien

KO’B three years old, photo by JH O’Brien

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