Things that fly, like summer.

Things that fly, like summer is a work that I began on September 15, 2015 (and was completed September 11, 2020) with an inspiration that arrived as I was floating on my back in a salt water pool. It was a huge blue day with white clouds drifting, and the sky was littered with birds, butterflies, leaves and things blowing in the wind. It brought awareness of passage of time and season. I started painting with a simple hope of remembering this moment of appreciation for simple pleasures of the light, warm half of the year.

"Things that fly, like summer", original underpainting, ©Kathleen O'Brien

“Things that fly, like summer”, original underpainting, ©Kathleen O’Brien

It is structured as a golden rectangle. The main components involve the three basic shapes (gold leaf circles signifying “all that can happen, will happen”, silver leaf triangles, signifying “the joy that comes from working in alignment with soul force” and mica squares, representing “the state of pure being”), drawings of flying things, cloud paintings, zinnia petals, fig leaves, and maps west to east. It rested for years, it always felt incomplete.

This spring I decided I would continue with art I could improve. After two Love Letter series, Things that fly, like summer started speaking about the deeper meanings that the title alluded to. Once I brightened the right edge of the square with fire symbols and summer’s color – red – each step was revealed. The light ultramarine path from left to right, highlighted with the gold leaf circles, identified itself as my 2020 intention – move forward.

"Things that fly, like summer", in process, ©Kathleen O'Brien

“Things that fly, like summer”, in process, ©Kathleen O’Brien

In my December soul retreat when I planned 2020, I had no idea how powerful that conviction would be for me, and for the world. The process with this painting involved developing elements like the large circles and the Golden Rectangle, symbol of continuing life. I added the star triangles. I returned to this piece with joy each day, literally painting my positive way forward into the dark, cold seasons ahead. To symbolize this transition, I glued a large sheet of Japanese paper with newspaper squares over the right side of the rectangle. White is the color of winter. The gold and mica on top of this translucency symbolizes light that is infinitely, immediately accessible.

"Things that fly, like summer", collaging Japanese paper, ©Kathleen O'Brien

“Things that fly, like summer”, collaging Japanese paper, ©Kathleen O’Brien

"Things that fly, like summer", complete, ©Kathleen O'Brien

“Things that fly, like summer”, complete, ©Kathleen O’Brien

In this piece I see my value of transparency, always being willing to see and look below the surface appearance of things. This piece is about the fragility and changing nature of life and the strength of spirit. It’s about stability vs. chaos, with it’s underlying structure of positive movement forward – evolutionary consciousness. It’s about letting go of things that are passing and going forward on the long path to peace.


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"Things that fly, like summer", detail, ©Kathleen O'Brien

“Things that fly, like summer”, detail, ©Kathleen O’Brien

"Things that fly, like summer", detail, ©Kathleen O'Brien

“Things that fly, like summer”, detail, ©Kathleen O’Brien