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“In the Membership of My Days” painting by Kay O’Rourke



“In the Membership of My Days” painting by Kay O’Rourke

The creative process is crucial to any piece of art, especially when the artwork is a depiction or reflection of one’s deep thoughts and feelings, instead of a representation of an existing person, animal, plant or object. Most of the time when people are told to express what they feel or their perception of a certain experience or event, words are often the safe haven where they lay down their thoughts, but to be able to communicate this feeling or notion through drawing or painting in such a way that other people can discern is not an easy feat. That is why I took keen interest in the artwork by Kay O’Rourke at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture.

Kay O’Rourke grew up in a farm with his grandmother who just like her, loved literature. By sharing their love for literature through incessant reading and conversing, O’Rourke embraced storytelling and valued the importance of narrative in every expression. However, she did not realize that narrative or storytelling could go beyond the confines of anecdotes until she was thirty-five years of age. That is when she realized that creativity and storytelling abilities could extend into the world of drawing and painting. As such, drawing and painting became essential parts of Kay O’Rourke and she used them to tell her tales and communicate feelings that other people could relate to through her drawings and paintings.

Drawing and painting can be taught, but what defines a remarkable artist is his or her belief in the cultural value of art, creativity and the ability to utilize this creativity to communicate through novel pieces of art. Such artistic prowess is what Kay O’Rourke portrays in her “In the Membership of My Days” painting. The story behind this painting is that while at an event with the Spokane Symphony, Kay O’Rourke together with other artists were asked to create a painting that evinced or reflected their perception of the event. Since Kay O’Rourke had a rich background in narrative or storytelling, she was able to produce a remarkable piece of art that reflected what she felt when she listened to the Spokane Symphony and how she imagined the world to be at that time. Artists were expected to incorporate music, artists, feelings and nature in their paintings which Kay O’Rourke did with perfection.“In the Membership of My Days” painting by Kay O’Rourke

The painting reflects the rhythm of the music and the day Kay O’Rourke spent with her aunt Eileen and two other friends on her grandparents’ farm. It is not about the music or the artists; rather, it is where the music takes you, be it to past memories or a place when one dreams about when he or she listens to music. In this painting, Kay O’Rourke portrays her childhood moments and how music brought them happiness, desire and passion as evident in how Kay O’Rourke, her aunt’s friends and even the dog are attentive to the music, as well as, the gentle breeze in the farm ferrying the gentle tunes that seem quite calming and fulfilling. Such creativity in storytelling is what drew my attention to this painting at the museum.“In the Membership of My Days” painting by Kay O’Rourke