Kentucky Tourism

O'Brien, Kathleen

Harrodsburg, KY


collages, cards

Kathleen was born in Yokasuka, Japan, where both her parents were stationed in the U.S. Army. Three years later her family moved to Italy. It was during their four years there that Kathleen’s grandfather took the family on a grand tour of Europe. He owned a paper box company, so everywhere they traveled , he bought exotic papers to take home. It was during this trip that Kathleen became enamored with paper.

When her grandfather retired, he became an artist and taught Kathleen to paint. She studied art at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo NY, and continued to paint in oils whenever she could. After her second child was born, she began taking art classes at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. There she became an assistant to professor and painter Bill Newman.


In 1999, Kathleen moved to land near Shaker Village in KY, where her husband Greg and their son built a home she had designed. Surrounded by rolling fields and meadows, Kathleen began to gather, press and preserve native flowers and botanicals that she found. Her love of nature and art came together when she began working with water mediums, layering drawings, unusual papers and her own dried botanicals – to design paper paintings, cards and installation works.


Kathleen, who has been a professional artist since 1968, is a member of the National Association of Women Artists, and the Society of Layerists in Multi-Media.


Kathleen’s work can be found at the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft in Louisville, KY;  and the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.