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OUT AND ABOUT: Local artist celebrates nature through paintings (W/ VIDEO)

SOLWAY -- Maureen O'Brien has always been painting. "My first memory of doing anything was with a crayon on the wall. I must have been 3. Oh and it was wonderful but I got in trouble," she said. "So now to be paid to do murals on the wall, I thin...

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Maureen O'Brien, local artist, works on a painting in her studio. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)

SOLWAY -- Maureen O’Brien has always been painting.

“My first memory of doing anything was with a crayon on the wall. I must have been 3. Oh and it was wonderful but I got in trouble,” she said. “So now to be paid to do murals on the wall, I think there’s some good satisfaction with that because I don’t get hollered at for doing it.”

Throughout college, O'Brien, now 72, never enrolled in an art course, but continued drawing and painting.

“People started asking if they could purchase pieces and so it’s just evolved,” she explained.

O’Brien works out of her Evergreen Farm Studio near Solway. Her environment, and nature, provides much of the inspiration for her artwork.

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Ravenrock Jewelry and Fine Art and the Artists of Studio 10 are hosting an exhibit by O'Brien at Ravenrock Gallery, 1000 Paul Bunyan Drive NW No. 102 during April and May. Her exhibit “Peace and Healing” will include original acrylic paintings and metal-infused prints and show how both nature and art itself can provide us with healing and a calming peace in a busy world.

Living in northern Minnesota, O’Brien’s work often includes trees and animals that can be found here. O’Brien lived in northern California for 10 years and enjoyed painting the nature that could be found there.

“(I) loved painting the redwoods, the ocean, the big eucalyptus trees and all the stuff that is there,” she said, “And then I switched and starting doing birch trees because I missed them and they started selling because there were a lot of people that lived in the area and remembered the birch trees.”

Besides working alone in her studio, O’Brien teaches children in several different settings.

“They are two separate joys. I love this (in the studio), it gets quiet and at times lonely but when I’m really into a painting, the time just flies by and to work with people painting is special, especially to see a child just blossom when they’re painting,” she said.

O’Brien has no plans to stop making art.

“As long as the arm works, it froze up for awhile and I had to be in physical therapy so that was a little scary,” she said, “but I’m well now and it’s like I have my life back.”

About Out and About Out and About is a Pioneer feature where we profile everyday people doing everyday things in and around Bemidji. We run stories on Tuesdays. If you know someone you think should be profiled, please email Maggi Stivers at mstivers@bemidjipioneer.com or email news@bemidjipioneer.com .

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