In 2018 I’m celebrating my 50th year as an artist. In 1968 I set up my first show on – gasp – pegboard- at the Allentown Art Festival. Someone from across the street noticed my oil painting of Beethoven, came over and bought it. They commented that they wanted it because they could feel the Celtic spirit in it. My first thought was, “what does Celtic mean?”. My second thought was, “OK, I’m a professional artist now.”

Now I am appalled at my lack of professionalism by not documenting the artwork and art event a bit more thoroughly. This vague photo is the only one I have, cropped out of the 3″ snapshot scan of the display.

1968, first sale, an oil painting of Beethoven by Kathleen O'Brien

©1968, first sale, an oil painting of Beethoven by Kathleen O’Brien

1968, first art show display of oil painting and drawings by Kathleen O'Brien

©1968, first art show display of oil painting and drawings by Kathleen O’Brien

The other artworks were a self portrait and a few portraits done from my imagination. The buyers became close friends. They were the ones who discovered Boulder, and we all loaded up in my VW Micro-bus and moved across country. All I packed was my art, art supplies and music albums.

Packing art for the move to Boulder,1970

©Packing art for the move to Boulder, 1970

We just didn’t take many photos back then. I wish I had one that showed my long, long hair. Recently a long time friend sent me this photo of a large painting she’s had and passed down to her son.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Untitled", oil painting, 1966

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Untitled”, oil painting, 1966

She thoughtfully included the quote from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 that I scribbled on the back.

“In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.”

Seeing the stretcher frame brings back memories of ripping the wood on a table saw to create the canvas edge. Yikes! glad I don’t do that any more.

© Kathleen O'Brien, "Untitled", Shakespeare on the back of the oil painting, 1966

© Kathleen O’Brien, “Untitled”, Shakespeare on the back of the oil painting, 1966

 

being herded into the solarium, photo by Nick Lacy

Being herded into the solarium, photo by ©Nick Lacy, uesed with permission

In addition to being 50 years an artist, I’ll also be celebrating my big seventy with the kids in the renovated solarium. Having this beautiful organic homestead and sanctuary to share is a dream come true.

%d bloggers like this: