Now the first quarter of the seasonal year is tidied up, it’s Mid-Spring, Beltaine, a favorite time for many folks. The next season is open for possibilities in the studio and garden. We are very grateful to live on green land where we have been eating kale, spinach and radishes for several weeks.

Panorama of the front room of the Spring Into Art Open Studio

Panorama of the front room of the Spring Into Art Open Studio

A smile remains on my face as I recall how fulfilling it was to greet art lovers once again for Spring Into Art Open Studio last Saturday. I enjoy blogging and keeping my website up to date, but there is no substitute for being with people! I wrote about connection, conversation and convenience in Why I Open the Studio. See a short video on that post for those of you who could not be here. You may know that I featured 27 new artworks for the first time. As Greg has dubbed “tranquil art for trying times”.

25 Spring 2022 Artworks by Kathleen O'Brien

Details of 25 Spring 2022 Artworks by Kathleen O’Brien

For your pleasure

Alexander’s Library Collection

As a first step to sharing my artist books for all seasons, I created Alexander’s Library Collection on Artwork Archive. First, I made videos of each book, downloaded them to Vimeo, since they must be public to show on the Archive, then downloaded them into the collection. Simply click here to view them.

Kathleen O'Brien's Artwork Archive Alexander's Library Collection, Screenshot

Kathleen O’Brien’s Artwork Archive Alexander’s Library Collection, Screenshot

Some Music to enjoy for the spring

Waters of March, I know March was then, but it’s a favorite song written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, performed by Suzanna McCorkle

Rainfall, written by David Darling, performed by David Darling and Michael Jones

Sunny Days, French Café 24×7, With Harlem Jazz Guitar Quartet, Cafe Jazz Deluxe France, Daniel Colin and more

Hang On Little Tomato, Pink Martini, Thomas Lauderdale, bandleader/pianist. Featuring a dozen musicians with songs in 25 languages, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America.

Warikiku and wrist cuffs

Do you enjoy stitching? I find it very relaxing, so I signed up for an online course of Warikiku embroidery with Sashiko Lab. Warikiku is one of the very traditional designs of sashiko which is elegant and beautiful. Kiku represents chrysanthemum in Japanese, and it’s used as the imperial seal of Japan.

Warikiku bags by Kathleen O'Brien

Warikiku bags by Kathleen O’Brien

That experience primed the pump for me to continue with making new wrist cuffs again. The process of going through favorite pieces of fabric saved through time was all about choosing the ones that jumped out. The slowness of choosing, designing, stitching is therapeutic. The attention to detail and narrow focus is grounding. Creating a 3-d object with care and thoughts of how comfortable it will feel around a wrist, warm and supportive of small wrists. Bonus, when not being worn, they make fun wall art.

9 wrist cuffs with embroidered fabric, antique beads and buttons by Kathleen O'Brien

9 wrist cuffs with embroidered fabric, antique beads and buttons by Kathleen O’Brien

On the business side of the Studio

One of the tasks that most people don’t know about in an artist’s studio duties; the inventory. You gotta be in the mood to update your inventory ledgers going backwards from now to 1968. I spent countless hours organizing just beginning this project is a part of a larger one, to organize my estate. Under the category of “How I Run My Business Manual”, I was advised to digitize my inventory on to Artwork Archive.

Realizing I can probably never add everything before my expiration date, I decided to make the pencil ledgers as accurate as I can and photograph them into a PDF. It was such an amazing review that yielded a 52-page document of 2,151 works of art from 2001-2022. Now at least I have a complete record in case I lose the original notebook.

Kathleen O'Brien's Ledger Pages from the 21st Century

Kathleen O’Brien’s Ledger Pages from the 21st Century

Kathleen O'Brien's Organized Notebooks from the 1968 to the present

Kathleen O’Brien’s Organized Notebooks from the 1968 to the present

The records from 1983-1999 exist only in slide sheets, 29 sheets of them. At 20 per page, that’s 580 works of art to track. Luckily, I have titles, sizes, owner names (but not dates) on most of the slides. We used to have to type that data on tiny labels to adhere to the slides. Sigh.

Kathleen O'Brien's Organized Slides from the 1968 to 1999

Kathleen O’Brien’s Organized Slides from the 1968 to 1999

Classes and Projects

I’ve enjoyed teaching on a small scale. One student comes every other Tuesday to expand her drawing skills. We covered self-portraits, values, negative space, trees. I had a day long class on making artist books. What I love about teaching is the tracks we go down with questions that come up. I’m kind of lazy when it comes to organizing a class that I have to “market”. I’d rather have someone ask for a class. Someone may also sign up for Atlas of the Year online program. It was enjoyable for me to explain the program to interested folks at the open studio.

Drawing Class Statement from 1978 by Kathleen O'Brien

Typewritten Drawing Class Statement from 1978 by Kathleen O’Brien

Artist Book Class Books

Artist Book Class Books

Is that wrong? Not for me at this time when I must limit my time away from painting and continuing with writing the Business Manual, blogs and a chapter for Stanley D. Brunn’s next big volume TIME JOURNEYS.  He has requested that I write about my artist journey. Four years ago I wrote “Art as a Language: An Atlas of Seasons Where Time and Space Intersect,” which is published in Handbook of the Changing World Language Map, edited by Stanley D. Brunn and Roland Kehrein (Springer, 2018).

More News

Ask me about Layaway Plan to help you acquire the art work you need and want to cheer up your home or work environment!

I upgraded my packaging for sales: new tissue paper and stickers designed on Canva. Big news, right? Bead Jewelry is packed in precious hand-sewn recycled Sari silk bags made in Nepal.

New Packaging for art

New Packaging for art

New Silk Bags Packaging for jewelry

New Silk Bags Packaging for jewelry

It is massive, almost 1000 pages, but I finished “Van Gogh; the Life”. Admittedly depressing, I had to read it in all it’s seemingly daily detail of the life of my first beloved art influence. When I first thought I was an artist in high school, in Germany, I learned about him. What is weird is that then it was a mere 76 years since his death which is nearly the amount of time between now and my birth. I went on a pilgrimage to his places in the Netherlands by train. I would say it was a life altering experience. Thanks, Liz Crain for bringing this book to my attention.

"Van Gogh; the Life" Book by Steven Naifeh and Gregory W. Smith

“Van Gogh; the Life” Book by Steven Naifeh and Gregory W. Smith

As a gift to myself I joined “Soul Collage”.   Now that the next season expands before me, I have time to explore the depths.

KO'B with a soul collage that shows the sections of a Golden Rectangle

KO’B with a soul collage that shows the sections of a Golden Rectangle