Elizabeth (Betty) O’Brien is a regionally known artist who works primarily in watercolor, mixed watermedia, and monotype printing. Best known for her landscapes, these can include elements of our man-made environment as well as those of more pristine Adirondack settings. She also enjoys producing the occasional still life, as the subjects can be manipulated to achieve a more formal and symbolic creation. Describing her style as "expressively realistic", the original inspiration is edited and transformed to produce the essence of a feeling or idea about the subject. Retired from teaching art in the public school setting, she has prepared workshops in the area for both young people and adults, including a number offered through the Hyde Collection. As an arts-in-education coordinator she designed a number of “Artist in Residence” programs and worked with area industries in ascertaining grants for such programs. Throughout her career as an artist and educator she has produced work, and taught her students to create, using multiple media, techniques, and stylistic and compositional concepts.
O’Brien is an active member of a number of regional arts organizations including the Southern Vermont Arts Center, The Saratoga Arts Council, the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council and the North country Arts Center. Memberships include serving as past president and a longtime member of both the Upper Hudson Valley Watercolor Society and The Guild of Adirondack Artists She has served as a panel member for LARAC’s Individual Artist Grant program and as a juror for several regional art exhibits.
O’Brien has exhibited throughout the Northeast for over forty years in a number of solo and group exhibitions. She has as well won awards in any number of regional competitions, including first place in The Hyde Collection’s former Adirondack Regional Show, Juror’s Award in The Lake Placid Center for the Arts Adirondack Life Exhibition, first place in the "Elemental" exhibit at the lake Placid Center and the Stu-art Award at the Adirondack Park Centennial Watercolor Exhibit. The artist’s more recent awards include Honorable mention in the Glens Falls Centennial juried exhibition "It's About Time" at The Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council, and second place and honorable mention in the annual North Country Art Center's juried regional exhibition.
Several shows have garnered press coverage. "Suburban Wood" in LARAC's Lapham Gallery generated the cover story in the Glens Falls Post Star ("The Scene"- May 8, 2002). The solo exhibit, "Natural Selections", displayed at Tannery Pond Community Center's Widlund Gallery generated the lead story in the ARTS/LIFE section of the Post- Star (June 9, 2009). Betty and two other landscape painters were characterized as "truly standing out amoung their peers" in a recent review (Post-Star, April 2, 2009).
Currently, O'Brien paints and teaches in her facility called the The Watermedia Aacademy in The Shirt Factory, 21 Cooper St., Glens Falls, NY. Ongoing classes are available in watercolor and mixed watermedia and private and semi-private instruction in painting and printmaking.