Mari O'BRIEN, San Luis Obispo, CA Member Since November 2006 Artist Statement I am a painter, jewelry artist, and photographer 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. Prior to my rediscovery of art and design, I conducted research on, published, studies about, and taught literature courses with an ecocritical focus, exploring how nature and literature interact. I continue to be inspired especially by the natural world. I zealously believe that Nature has many lessons to teach humans, if we will only listen to her voice.
My art works are rendered mainly in transparent watercolor, gouache, acrylic, pastel, collage, mixed media, and photography. As an artist, I produce both representational and non-representational / abstract work.
While I often feel an irresistible compulsion to interpret the natural world and communicate the profound emotion Nature inspires in me, my work also explores the realms of the human subconscious--mine in particular--that emerge in my paintings. I am inspired by poets and poetry, and write poetry myself, so you will often find that my paintings reflect my love for poetry.
I frequently enhance my photos digitally, filtering my subject matter through a visual artist’s lens, with the creative possibilities that technology provides. Both my art works and photography appear on my greeting cards, note cards, silk scarves, calendars, and other items. I greatly enjoy digital graphic design and produce holiday, greeting, and note cards featuring my digital collages.