MARI O'BRIEN, ISAP, UWS, CCWS
I am a painter who spent 25 years as an academic teaching French and English language and literature, comparative literature, and humanities—until I felt a calling to return to the art that inspired much of my youth.
My art works are rendered mainly in acrylic, collage, and mixed media. In general, the impetus for my paintings is primarily intuitive, adventurous, and experimental, resulting mostly in abstract or non-representational pieces. I revel in creating paintings with multiple layers, resulting in a rich, complex tapestry. I most often prefer to let the subject emerge on its own from these layers. For me, a successful painting feels balanced and evokes an emotional or spiritual response on the part of the viewer, even when no identifiable subject is depicted.
For a great many humans, complexity includes words. In the past, I taught language and literature, and I myself strove to be a wordsmith, doing both left- and right-brained writing. Poets, poetry and words in general inspire me still--and I write poetry myself--so you will sometimes find that my paintings reflect my love for poetry and language (both English and French).
As an artist living in California, I find that our years-long state of drought and attendant forest fires – as well as the longing for rain – have lately been informing my work. My latest series attests to this and is called “Drips and Drought.”
A Photoshop junkie, of sorts, I often manipulate digital images of my paintings for use as collage materials, as well as for my silk scarf and note card designs. You will find some of my images on ceramic tiles as well. I also create holiday ornaments using my hand-painted rice papers, acrylic mediums, glitter, and alcohol ink. In addition, I find great joy in creating unique jewelry designs -- color, texture, and composition also come into play here!
Art has become my life, my joy, my raison d’être. I am blessed to be able to indulge myself in all the possibilities for creative expression that this existence has afforded me!