Living with art

Living with art means finding “tranquil art for trying times” to uplift your spirit, room, office or hospital. It also means learning about it, sharing it and loving it.


“My friend for the last 40 years, Kathleen O’Brien, was just picked as Artist of the Month by She has always had this delicate way of connecting worlds.” ~ Jerry Downs, friend and internationally acclaimed photographer

“I was recently in Kentucky attending the World Equestrian Games, and took a side trip to the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.  Your artwork was on display in one of the buildings and I was dazzled and moved by the beauty and intricacy of your pieces.  Your work brings to mind the detailed drawings of 19th century naturalists, infused with the spirituality of the 21st century ecological movement.  I’m a documentary filmmaker, specializing in “science films”, always striving to convey the sense of wonder with which great scientists embrace the mysteries of the natural world.  I admire the way you so gracefully accomplish that feat in your exquisite work. Thank you for the inspiration.” ~ Gail Willumsen, collector and documentary filmmaker, Gemini Productions

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

“Our family proudly displays our Treasure Map that Kathleen O’Brien personalized for us last Christmas. She beautifully incorporated significant heritage and meaningful items such as a Canadian maple leaf, postage stamps, sea shells, and blue birds. Kathleen was fun to work with and made the piece ever so unique. What an heirloom she has created for our family.” ~ Caroline, friend and collector

“Kathleen has been such an inspiration and help to me, in both my work and my life, as a mentor and role model and a good friend. I have had several formal opportunities to learn from her such as her talk at a local art group about her marketing techniques, and a KPAN consultancy. Each of these experiences opened new horizons for me. I have also observed what she does and asked questions along the way. Kathleen has always offered her expertise graciously and willingly. She has been a great teacher as well as a cheerleader for my work and my life”. ~ Fox, friend and artist

“For nearly 40 years, Kathleen and I have shared a unique reality, based both in art and Shamanic practices. I feel in her art, a vibration that brings healing and also reveals a multi-dimensional awareness of the connectedness of Spirit.” ~ Deborah, friend and collector

Blue Spiral Gallery Asheville NC, collectors

“I just love your studio news updates, Kathleen and I never, ever tire of seeing your amazing creations.  You are so outrageously talented and equally kind in spirit and generosity.  I am so honored to be your friend. ~ Candace, friend and collector

I recently found myself looking at the work of several different artists, and found myself thinking most of the work “trite”. I then wondered what my definition of trite was…and concluded that all art probably feeds the soul of the artist who created it, as a manifested form of an envisioned image. Yet often the art fails to feed the soul or enrich the lives of the average viewer. The work of Kathleen O’Brien clearly feeds her soul, yet the viewer also experiences the transcendent effect that great art can bring to the human spirit, with uplifting colors, images and shapes, and offers a dimensional magnetism that draws us in ever closer to the experience of the artist. This is the core difference that separates O’Brien’s work from others, lifting us above the trite.”  ~ Greg, husband

“I was drawn to Homage to Nightingale because of the text about the Nightingale and how the male sings a love chant. I am giving this to my parents as a gift for Christmas for them to hang in their lake house that they built for their 25th anniversary.” ~ Sydney, collector


Homage To Nightingale

“Kathleen and I inaugurated our two-person discussion group this afternoon. The first thing I noticed was how tranquil a space she has created as a “shrine” for her artistic dedication. One can truly listen to the heart in such a studio, and I appreciate her willingness to share it for a couple hours. For me the sense of place at Sunwise Farm is inseparable from Kathleen’s mixed media collage. The fullness of her artwork is about energy, and this energy—with the powerful intention it carries—is tied in some significant way to a field of Light that is carefully nurtured for optimum receptivity and intuition. I have long admired the way in which she maintains the uplifting focus of her art, an essence that is recognizable at fifty paces, and how her respect for the process is embodied in her bright, organized, efficient studio. What an inspiration for someone who seems caught in a perpetual struggle to concentrate, prioritize, and decisively press forward with a more streamlined vision.” ~ John, artist

“The painting, Memories of Summer 3, spoke to us immediately, yielding a peaceful feeling of effervescent joy. The summer days are fading with the cool silver rain, causing the leaves to descend with the lasting memories of another resplendent summer in Kentucky, to linger in our hearts and minds forever. Memories of Summer 3 is a reflection of a lasting and beautiful sensation of contentment that is harmonious with humanity and nature. WE LOVE IT!” ~ Jeff & Sharon, architect, collectors


Memories of Summer 1

“Kathleen’s artwork clearly grows out of how she thoughtfully observes and attunes with the world of nature. It also literally contains and preserves natural ingredients. But in contrast to collage that maintains its focus on formal or intellectual juxtapositions, Kathleen’s art always nudges one toward a deeper sense of wholeness and the inner complexity of our balanced existence as both organic and spiritual beings. Without question, she has made a personal commitment to creating art as a mystical practice, and, on a communal level, to providing nature-inspired beauty as a source of healing in a fractured world. With the strong presence of these intangible dimensions, Kathleen’s art is always esoteric, and yet she manages to make the work accessible to all with her choice of subject matter and allegiance to traditional drawing. At the same time, she can delight the eye of a fellow artist with her methodology, aesthetic choices, and pictorial skill. I’m not ashamed to admit that much of Kathleen’s symbolic virtuosity is beyond my ken, but I appreciate that it’s all in play at the intuitive level. Being near the prolific output of her creative life is simply uplifting, and that’s because all the facets of her art —whether conscious or subliminal— unify as a total perception to nourish the mind, heart, and soul.” ~ John, artist

“As I neared retirement, I looked forward to having time to develop my skills in oil painting.  Having admired Kathleen’s beautiful art for many years, I sought her as my mentor.  Though we live in different states, she provided me a written assignment/references/books to read etc.  I sent her photos of my paintings electronically as I progressed which we discussed by phone regularly.  I feel I made great progress as we worked together over a year.  Kathleen is a practical teacher plus very sensitive to individual awareness, capabilities and potentials. She is a wonderful mentor and I highly recommend her!” ~  Rebecca, friend and student

“As a photographer, I’ve seen and photographed thousands of other artists works in the studio. Photographing Ms. O’Brien’s work is the most difficult challenge I’ve had, bar none. Within many of the same pieces are broad and intense color, subtle color, items of reflectivity, 3 dimensional surface changes, texture changes and uniqueness within all of it. It is truly some of the most fantastic work I’ve experienced up close, and admittedly, my 4 decades of skill as a photographer CAN NOT do it justice. You really must experience it in person.” – Sam, photographer

The Kentucky Arts Council  (KAC) is supportive of our artists, as can be seen when you link to these pages: The Kentucky Peer Advisory Network: I am one of the arts professionals on the KPAN roster available to provide Consultancies to assist eligible organizations and artists with a full range of skills needed for the business of art. Consultancy fees are paid by the Kentucky Arts Council.
As KAC’s featured artist they made a short video in my studio. In recognition of artistic excellence,I am a recipient of a KAC Al Smith Fellowship Award. Connect to my page on Kentucky Arts Council Directory Page.