Born in Los Angeles and a graduate of California State University at Long Beach, Kathleen Otley spent most of her 42-year art career in Northern California before moving to Whidbey Island, Washington in 2005.
Kathleen works in 3D mixed media, including willow sculpture, painting and, most recently encaustics. Her willow sculptures are created from farmed willow that she peels and dyes before joining with ropes, metals, leather and wire to transform into wall sculptures. The encaustics are wax, resin, and pigment applied in layers on board and heated to bond each successive step achieving an ancient-looking surface supporting complex symbology, ancient language, birds, stones, willows, hearts and other found objects . Techniques include scraping, carving, painting, transfers, burning, weaving metal, wire work and imprinting patterns. This body of work is described by the artist as “contemporary primitive”. The art is a bridge for the artist and the viewer to connect to the past–to a time when the spiritual journey was the measure of a life, when the human presence was a part of the natural flow of the universe, when our spirit and the spirit of nature were in balance–striving to find a sense of harmony that continues to live in our collective conscious.