KATHLEEN OTLEY - Wall Sculptures and Encaustic Paintings

One of the gallery's most successful artists works in two kinds of mixed-media. Whidbey Islander Kathleen Otley calls her work “contemporary primitive,” combining ancient forms and symbols with a modern, nature-infused sensibility.

Large Shield    willow, copper, brass, wool, cord

Crows and Nest     mixed media encaustic     12 x 12"

Starting as a weaver nearly forty years ago, Kathleen soon found her interests broadening as she discovered willow cane for basketmaking and began incorporating the willow into woven tapestries she calls Shields and Bundle Banners.

To createher willow wall sculptures, she uses farmed willow branches, which she peels and dyes before joining them with a variety of colorful ropes, metals, leather and her own hand-spun wool.

Please scroll down to see more of Kathleen's beautiful willow wall sculpture.

Willow Shield - detail

Shield with Encaustic - detail

Encaustic with woven metals, willow

Mixed-media encaustic with raised surfaces and iron glaze

Mixed-media encaustic with raised surfaces, willow nest and glass egg

Encaustic Paintings

Several years ago Kathleen began exploring encaustic painting in addition to her willow work and found herself fascinated by this ancient technique that is undergoing a revival in popularity.

For her prolific series of bird-imagery encaustics, she uses wax, resin and pigment, which is applied in layers on board and heated to bond each successive step. With her unique layering process, Otley achieves an ancient-looking surface that provides a backdrop for the artist’s thoughtful use of images of birds, trees, flowers and fragments from ancient aged parchments of Japanese folk tales. calligraphy scrolls and symbols.

A finished encaustic piece may include up to fourteen layers.


Avoiding the Target

Crow with Treasure

Oriole Berry Picker

Goldfinches and Cherry Blossoms

Kathleen's work ranges in size from small 4 x 4" bird pieces to larger pieces 18 x 18", as well as rectangular work from 4 x 6" and up. Most are painted on cradled painting panels 1.5" deep, sometimes Otley uses high fired ceramic. Some pieces have a distinctly Asian esthetic, while others focus on avian and horticultural imagery.

Prices range from $69 - $1,200, with a wide variety of work under $250.

To purchase or inquire about Kathleen's currently available work,
lease contact the gallery at 800/858-5063. 




The Chat Finds Home in the Deep Woods

Spring Surprises

A Mating Pair of Goldfinches


An attractive way of displaying these small gems is by making arrangements of three, five, or more to make a fresh and lively grouping. Combinations of a larger piece with several smaller ones work great as well. The gallery is happy to assist you in finding the perfect grouping.

Shield with Encaustic

Asian Encaustics

Encaustic with woven metal

Encaustic with woven metal


Willow Wall Sculptures

Willow wall sculptures work particularly well in places where a two dimensional piece sometimes just won't work, like the narrow spaces between windows or in stair wells. The larger pieces can be striking and often commented on centerpieces that can greatly enhance any room.

Banners range in size from 30 x 8" to 72 x 30",  Shields range in size from 16 x 20" to 54 x 72".
Price range is $200 - $1,500    Custom Commissioned Work possible.

To purchase or inquire about Kathleen's currently available willow pieces.
please contact the gallery at

Medium Shield   24 x 36"

Small Shield   28 x 12"

Large Bundle Banner   72 x 30"

Shield Detail

Shield Detail

Shield with Encaustic  42 x 16"

Medium Shield   36 x 24"

Medium Bundle Banner   60 x 24"

Small Shield   20 x 12" 

Medium Shield   40 x 18"