printmaking

Next up for the Joint Portfolio Project: NIH

Next up for the Joint Portfolio Project: The National Institutes of Health Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland. The exhibition opened last Saturday and runs through September 11. We are also preparing for our next stop at the Bristol Art Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island.

The project's founder, Carol Strause FitzSimonds, recently interviewed me. She is preparing for a discussion panel on the project, to be hosted by the museum as part of the Opening events.

CSF: Why did you do this portfolio project?

KO: My situation is a bit different in that I am a former Printmakers, Inc. member who lives overseas. It felt great to be invited and I saw the project as a way to continue my relationship with the studio. When I was a member, we did something similar for the group's 35th anniversary and it was very rewarding.

CSF: What did you personally get out of the experience?

KO: Continued connection to a group of artists that I like and respect. An introduction to the talented printmakers of the Providence Art Club. Exposure for my work in ways I could not have garnered on my own. The satisfaction of being part of something beautiful and professionally done.

CSF: How much of your time was required to meet this committee? Biggest challenge?

KO: Developing and producing the print edition took about a month. I've also helped out with marketing by managing the project's Facebook page, which has been fun. The biggest challenge has been being so far away! I wish I could be at all of the exhibitions and meet other artists who are part of the collaboration.

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: The Path Itself Changed Her

"The Path Itself Changed Her" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

"The Path Itself Changed Her" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

The Path Itself Changed Her is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Crossing paths with chickens, cows, sheep and horses is an everyday experience living in the Taunus. We have what we call the “chicken loop” as one of the routes we take with our dog Astro.

He used to get so excited when we encountered various farm animals along the way. Now he takes them in stride.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – March 15, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: You Lead, I'll Follow

"You Lead, I'll Follow" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

You Lead, I'll Follow is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series. Okay, full disclosure: this image was shot in Obergurgl, Austria, nowhere near the Taunus. Nonetheless, it's included in this series for now.

When we left the US to move overseas, it was an opportunity for me to focus full time on art. It also meant that I was leaving a good career in government consulting. In one fell swoop, my identity shifted from economic equal to financially dependent hausfrau. The adjustment was not pretty.

I'm learning that you've got to take turns in relationships. Sometimes you lead, other times you follow. And money isn't the only way to share responsibility and power. Living abroad has been a great teacher in this regard.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – March 15, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: She Decides to Shine

"She Decides to Shine" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

She Decides to Shine is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Our local forest is scattered with beautiful mushrooms and fungi. Germany has some 5,000 mushroom species, including many that are considered delicacies.

We have not, however, been brave enough to collect and consume them – something the locals enthusiastically do from early September to mid-October. Apparently, there's even a Mushroom Mafia.

This lovely specimen was literally glowing, not to be missed.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Begin Anywhere

"Begin Anywhere" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Begin Anywhere is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

The Taunus is laced with hiking trails, stacks of timbered logs, and an occasional mid-hike restaurant or biergarten. Foul weather is no excuse, with the sun shining on average only 36% of the time. Rain, occasional shine, wind, snow – everyone is out in droves walking through fields and forest.

Choices abound for a pleasant outing. This ode to John Cage is a mantra for when I don't know where to start – in or out of the woods.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Leave Breadcrumbs

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Leave Breadcrumbs is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

In a fairytale forest we hiked in fog so thick, we could barely see the trail in front of us. There's a lot of natural beauty here. I used to think that the illustrations in children's books were imaginary. But now I know that they're inspired by real-life scenery in Germany.

We live about an hour from Marburg, where the Brothers Grimm studied. Art imitates life that imitates art in this neck of the woods.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Schnell, Like a Bunny!

"Schnell Like a Bunny!" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Schnell Like a Bunny! is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

The grocery check-out line in Germany is like a competitive sport. There's a certain unspoken pressure to quickly unload your cart, bag your groceries, pay and get out of the way. Like these chocolate bunnies, you've got to be quick.

Unless, of course, you're paying in cash and want to dig out exact change. Then you can take as much time as you need.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Small World

"Small World" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Small World is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

I found these tiny mushrooms growing on top of an eye-level stone wall. Had I been rushing along at my usual pace, I would have missed them. But I'd slowed down to stop at the mailbox nearby to mail postcards to loved ones overseas.

Up close, the scene revealed an entire small world in a patch of moss.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: freu dich, trau dich

"freu dich, trau dich" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Freu dich, trau dich is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

Frankfurt is surrounded by small towns within a short drive of the city. The contrast between Frankfurt's post-war architecture and the undamaged, well-preserved medieval structures in the Taunus is a stark reminder of Germany's past – recent and distant. Bad Camberg is one such village full of cobbled streets and charming squares.

I regret not noting the name of the artist who sculpted this beguiling bronze goat. Does the awning behind her say “freu dich,” “trau dich” or both? Freu dich means rejoice. Trau dich has several meanings, including trust yourself. Either way, I like that you can rejoice in trusting yourself.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: They Decide to Stay for Awhile

"They Decide to Stay for Awhile" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

They Decide to Stay is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

We have our very own 12th century castle ruin here in Königstein. Host to the annual Bergfest, concerts and fireworks, it sees a lot of action. But most of the time, it's a quiet spot to hike up to for a nice view.

Living on temporary overseas assignment means one's life can be uprooted at any time, with little notice. When I remember that home is where the heart is, I don't mind so much.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

hard tryer at Galerie Uhn: Good Energy

"Good Energy" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'm sharing brief backstories in a series of blog posts.

Good Energy is a mixed media print, part of the Postcards from the Edge: Taunus series.

On the first drive across Germany from Frankfurt to Berlin with my husband, I couldn't get enough of the giant wind turbines scattered across the countryside. Many you see from a distance, marching over hills and through valleys. Others are right along the highway, towering over you like otherworldly sentinels.

Curious about them, I did a little research. Did you know that as of the end of 2013, there are over 23,500 wind turbines in Germany, supplying 8 percent of all power to the country? The transition to renewable energy is a hot topic in Germany – not without controversy – with focused federal support and what appears to be a determined can-do attitude about making the switch from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. 

Back to these turbines...like my travel companion, there was something about the wind turbines' scale, unison and quiet presence that I found reassuring.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

short stories from the taunus

"Leave Breadcrumbs" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 70 x 50 cm.

There's a story behind many of the pieces that I make. During the month of February while new work for my solo exhibition hangs at Galerie Uhn, I'll be sharing brief backstories about the work in a series of blog posts.

The stories are all from a series of mixed media prints, Postcards from the Taunus. The Taunus is the region where I live, just outside of Frankfurt.

The first set of Postcards were from Scotland. I was on an artist retreat to loosen up my work, take risks, and experiment with new techniques.

Postcard series made during Women's Studio Workshop Printing on the Edge retreat at Rua Reidh Lighthouse in northwestern Scotland. Trace monoprint, chine colle and monoprint on color photograph.

Postcard series made during Women's Studio Workshop Printing on the Edge retreat at Rua Reidh Lighthouse in northwestern Scotland. Trace monoprint, chine colle and monoprint on color photograph.

Printmaking can be full of surprises, perfect for these goals. Thus, the Postcards were born, and seem to be taking on a life of their own. They're becoming a way to document not only where I travel, but also particular moments, relationships, and identity.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

a heartfelt Danke!

Last night's Opening for Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn was wunderschön! I was feeling the love as friends, new acquaintances and gallery patrons gathered to help celebrate.

Gallery owner Jimin Leyrer did a wonderful job installing the work and rolling out the red carpet, treating us to her special Chinese New Year's rice cakes as we also toasted The Year of the Horse.

It means a lot to me that everyone who came made the time and effort to travel to Königstein, several navigating train schedules and the autobahn. As I was navigating my own limited German in a short talk, it struck me how people's mere presence was testament to exactly what Hard Tryer is about: putting ourselves out there to connect, even when it takes some effort or in the face of unknown results. Last night showed me that the results are indeed good.

All images above by the lovely Julia Schwager, unless otherwise noted.

The exhibition runs through the end of February. Details below.

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: 

Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn opens tonight!

"Small World" by Kelly O'Brien (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

My Hard Tryer solo exhibition at Galerie Uhn opens this evening at 19:00. If you can stop by for a visit, I'd love to share the work with you personally. The exhibition runs through the end of February.

If you have a small group of friends and would like to have a private tour, please let me or gallery owner Jimin Leyrer know.

There will be an exhibition catalog available for purchase, or as a gift when original art is purchased.

Throughout the month of February I'll be sharing short background stories about some of the work in the exhibition, including Postcards from the Edge: Taunus, through regular blog posts.

Gallery Uhn details and opening hours, below. I hope to see you on Friday!

"Hard Tryer" (detail). Watercolor, coffee, pencil on paper, 80 x 60 cm.

Exhibition details:

Hard Tryer at Galerie Uhn
January 31 – February 28, 2014
Vernissage: Friday, 31 January at 19:00

Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein
Tel: 06174-221750

Opening hours: Di. + Do. 14.00 – 18.00 Uhr, Mi. + Fr. + Sa. 10.00 – 13.00 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung

New Year's studio update

Happy New Year from the studio! I'll be starting 2014 off with my first solo exhibition in Germany. It will be at Galerie Uhn from January 31 to February 28, right here in Königstein. I'm thrilled to have this opportunity and am hard at work preparing for the show.

"Hard Tryer" (detail), watercolor, coffee and pencil on paper, 80 x 60 cm.

"Hard Tryer" (detail), watercolor, coffee and pencil on paper, 80 x 60 cm.

The exhibition will be centered around my Hard Tryer body of work, including brand new large-format watercolors and mixed media Postcards from the Edge: TaunusThe opening reception is Friday, January 31 at 7:00 pm.

"Small World" (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

"Small World" (2014). Mixed media print on paper, 50 x 70 cm.

Work has already begun to sell, so if you're interested in a piece, don't miss out! You're welcome to stop by my studio for a preview (just call or email ahead and chances are, I'll be here).

Local friends, I hope to see you at the opening! If you'd like a private tour of the work once the show is open, please let me know. I'd love to do so.

In the meantime, check out an arts-centered blog by The Torpedo Factory that featured my response to the question: "Should I major in art or go to art school?" It's a great blog for diving deeper into the studio life and work of the artists at one of the largest juried art centers in the United States.

Wishing you and yours a prosperous and happy 2014!

Exhibition details:

Hard Tryer, solo exhibition. Galerie UHN, Königstein, Germany. January 31 – February 28, 2014. Opening reception: Friday, 31 January at 19:00 Seilerbahnweg 1, 61462 Königstein-im-Taunus

new online shop!

Just in time for back-to-school shopping (and holiday early birds): you can now purchase some of my work online through the world's largest online marketplace for handmade goods, Etsy.com.

I'm starting small, with a few Hard Tryer pieces...small watercolors, hand-pulled one-of-a-kind prints, and high-quality reproductions of my original Postcards from the Edge series as postcards and blank cards.

Get yourself a little something! Whether it's affordable original art, or a stash of cards to dash off quick notes to friends, clients, students, your kids...or anyone who'd enjoy celebrating life's everyday victories.

open studios at the Roedelheim Fabrik

OPEN STUDIOS: special heads-up to local Frankfurt Area friends

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be a guest artist at the Rödelheim Fabrik's annual Open Studios on September 20-22
. If you're in the Frankfurt area, please stop by!

I'll be showing completely new work, all from my Hard Tryer series. This includes small framed and unframed watercolors, hand-pulled etchings and monotypes, postcards, blank cards and more.

Work will be shown from over 20 artists in four different studios. A dance performance kicks things off Friday the 20th at 19:00, with studios open on Saturday and Sunday from 14:00 to 19:00.

If you can't make it or aren't in the area, my Hard Tryer work is now available for purchase online through Etsy.com, the world's largest online marketplace for handmade goods. However, I'll be showing some special pieces during the Open Studio that are not available through Etsy.

And it would be great to see you in person! Treat yourself to a little art field trip, details below.

Details:
"Die Fabrik" Open Studios
Friday, Sept. 20 - Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013
2 to 7 pm Sat & Sun, 7 pm opening on Friday
Westerbachstraße 47
60489 Frankfurt-R
ödelheim
S-Bahn 3, 4, or 5 (Station R
ödelheim) or Bus lines 34, 55

postcards from the edge

One of the surprises that emerged from my retreat in Scotland was a series of small mixed-media prints, Postcards from the Edge. And while my life story has had its moments, Carrie Fisher's 1987 autobiography of the same title is not my reference.

They are, however, a response to a series of experiences this year: Printing on the Edge with Women's Workshop Studio, embracing my inner hard tryer, and seeing what happens when I stop, well, trying so hard.

printing on the edge

Edginess in all its forms was what we were promised, and Printing on the Edge is what we got! Ten days on the northwestern coast in Scotland in a lighthouse with a group of rocking women artists was bliss to begin with. But wait, it gets better.

Rua Reidh Lighthouse

Led, encouraged, tough-loved and humored by Women’s Studio Workshop co-founders Tatiana Keller and Ann Kalmbach, we tackled printmaking, papermaking and artist books.

Dramatic scenery inspired our work, while Susan Fateh’s seamless coordination of seemingly everything and sumptuous home cooking fueled our creativity.

Never mind that it literally never gets completely dark there at this time of year, we were too engaged to sleep. Even counting sheep didn't help much.

Our neighbors at the lighthouse

Inspiration came at us from all directions. Weather in many shades of grey, expansive views of sea, rolling hills of heather, tiny wildflowers, craggy cliffs, and tide pools teeming with jellied shell creatures. An afternoon at Inverewe Gardens provided enough imagery to work with for years.

Tide pool

If you’re ever looking for an unusual adventure, go. Our hosts and hostel owners, Roger and Tracy McLachlan, were extremely gracious as we converted their conservatory to our printmaking studio. Rua Reidh Lighthouse is a historical gem, cozy where it counts, and the perfect base for long walks on the edge. You never know what will show up in the water – we spied an otter, grey seal, ships, sailboats, and a nuclear submarine.

Most of all, it was a privilege to soak up the company of the women in our group. Thank you, Alke, Ann, Bev, Halide, Leslie, Ling, Lucy, Susan, and Tana for a memorable and cherished experience. And thank you, Ian, for this gift.

Lucy Gans, Beverly O'Mara, Leslie Fedorchuk, Kelly O'Brien, Halide Salam, Alke Groppel-Wegener (image: Women's Studio Workshop)

As each evening’s pair of artist talks unfolded, we swam in stories of lives richly and thoughtfully lived, now reflected in layered, accomplished art. Our little “exhibition” at retreat’s end was a celebration of our collective output, attended by our hosts and a couple of German hikers that we lured in off the trail that passes by the lighthouse.

house with four rooms: new work underway

Since returning from ArtPrize, I've been head-down creating new work for my first exhibition here in Germany. This opportunity came about as the result of a small, informal working artists' group that I formed earlier this year. We've been meeting more or less monthly as a way to keep our work moving forward and grounded.

There are three of us - Astrid Haas, Astrid Blasberg, and myself - in this show. Thanks to Astrid B's relationship with her former employer, Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt's University of Applied Sciences), our exhibition is part of the university's culture programming which brings arts onto campus through a series of monthly events.

Our theme is inspired by the title of Rumer Godden's autobiography, A House With Four Rooms:

There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person. -Rumer Godden, A House with Four Rooms

The exhibition, sponsored by the master's degree program in Healthcare Administration & Contracting, will explore the notion of what it means to be a "whole person" through a range of media: artist books, painting, printmaking, and paper sculpture. I am working on four paper dress sculptures, each dress representing one of the four "rooms."

House With Four Rooms

November 14 - December 12, 2012

Opening reception: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 1:00 pm

Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main

University of Applied Sciences

Nibelungenplatz 1

D-60318 Frankfurt am Main