Celebrating Mid-Spring Studio Update

Isn’t this just the most favorite time of year for many people? The lusty month of May lies ahead at Mid-Spring, Beltane, Mother’s Day, Earth Day and here in Kentucky, Derby Day. All the green is busting out, like we humans are also emerging out of the pandemic. There is much to be grateful for.

As I reflect back to the last mid-season studio update, I understand why I feel like I’m holding on to my hat, things are flying so fast. Hello garden sprouts and spring flowers.

It’s time for the Bel Studio Special. For this event there are six new bead necklaces, an artist book with an interesting story (read this blog…) two new Mothers’ Day card sets (note: these sets are already available here) and several paintings. If you are an email subscriber, I’ll be sending an invitation to you on May 3 for the special discount until May 6, as a bonus and thank you for subscribing.

Bel Studio Special Details

Bel Studio Special Details

What has been really exciting is to be meeting customers from the previous two Studio Specials in person. I invite anyone who might like to visit in person to see the latest, to set up a time with me. It’s so much more enjoyable to converse about art this way!

"Nesting", the book, ©Kathleen O'Brien,

“Nesting”, the book, ©Kathleen O’Brien,

6 New Necklaces, ©Kathleen O'Brien

6 New Necklaces, ©Kathleen O’Brien

Look for this new sign outside when you come around the bend in the driveway.

KO'B Studio Sign

KO’B Studio Sign


Since Mid-winter some uplifting events come to mind. Grandson’s birthdays are always central to our celebrations, even if from afar. I’ve been sharing some important treasures with them as I sort through my archives. Like the oil painting my grandfather did of me as a baby. It cheers me up to think since we have received our vaccines, we can soon consider celebrating together.

Baby KO'B by James H. O'Brien, oil, 6x4"

Baby KO’B by James H. O’Brien, oil, 6×4″

The red winged blackbirds returned on Valentines Day, and they are still congregating and murmurating at dusk into the bamboo forests. We estimate at the height of this activity about 5000 come and go. Probably the most exhilarating weekends were when friends came over to watch it from the studio annex deck. Usually, we all had jackets and hats on, it’s been a cool spring. This photo shows the same view but during the ice storm that bent the bamboo all the way down. There is a lot to be said for flexibility.

Bamboo graciously bending, ©Kathleen O'Brien

Bamboo graciously bending, ©Kathleen O’Brien

Behind the scenes of what I present at the Studio Special are this year’s body of work that I am calling Alexander’s Library. So far, I have made eighteen books. I’m as curious as you might be as to where it will lead. The hint I’ve had from the muse is that they are guidebooks. The one shown below is all about the murmurations we experience here.

"murmurations", the book, ©Kathleen O'Brien,

“murmurations”, the book, ©Kathleen O’Brien,

Alexanders Library, Books, ©Kathleen O'Brien

Alexanders Library, Books, ©Kathleen O’Brien

Currently, I am in two online exhibits. Isolation Chronicles is an online exhibition experience curated by Sergio Gomez exploring many aspects of the isolation and confinement we have all experienced since 2020. My work titled Love Letter to Humanity 2 has been selected for participation in the show.  Visit the show here

ROCK-PAPER-SCISSORS is an online exhibition experience curated by Kate Savage for Arts Connects Lexington. My works titled Rock Paperglyph 1, 2 and 3 have been selected for participation in the show.  Visit the show here

©Kathleen O'Brien, "Rock Paperglyph 1" in sunset light, watercolor and Neolithic quartz beads

©Kathleen O’Brien, “Rock Paperglyph 1” in sunset light, watercolor and Neolithic quartz beads

For the first time, I made Vine Charcoal using our grape vine clippings. We’ve been waiting for a dry windless eve to burn the huge brush pile that included our Christmas tree, needles for incense, and ice storm branches. In a rare moment of clarity, I remembered that I wanted to try my hand at handmade charcoal. The only tin can I could fine was a small Stroopwafle one from Trader Joe’s, but it worked perfectly. I did a second batch the next day in the smoldering ash coals. I just wish it weren’t so messy to draw with. There’s something freeing in the act of placing down velvet black marks, I can feel the fire in it.

Vine Charcoal

Vine Charcoal

Vine Charcoal Bonfire

Vine Charcoal Bonfire