ChristmasKells' Bio | Shop Home



Falls Church, VA, United States


When I first saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin, I was amazed by the vibranct colors used to illustrate the 9th Century manuscript. Although only one page is displayed each day, the artistry made a lasting impression on my spirit. So inspired I was that I wrote my first screenplay, about the Viking invasion of a monastery and an ill-fated relationship between a Nordic princess and an artistic Irish monk. Today, that inspiraton lives on with my radio station, Celtic Salmon - "Music for Your Spirit” that plays eclectic mixes from around the world - (Irish/Celtic every Tues, Thurs and Saturday) to soothe you soul, awaken your creativity and touch your heart. It makes the perfect soundtrack for painting the highly detailed Christmas Kells. I welcome you to listen on LIVE 365 (link below) and awaken you spirit.

Skills and Techniques

Christmas Kells cannot be rushed. After receiving the hand-blown glass from Palestine, I feel for the best side to paint on. Because these are hand blown, there are to be expected imperfections. Then I sketch an image using a felt tip marker. Then, using enamel paint, I outline the design. And many layers of color later, the Christmas Kell is born in all of its fine detail and human imperfections. Because of the time it takes to dry, Christmas Kells takes about 5 days to complete.

Get to Know

Christmas Kells are one of a kind ornaments lovingly hand painted by Mark O'Brien on hand made blown glass crafted by Bethlehem Fair Trade Artisans - an empowering non-profit in the Holy Land. Christmas Kells are inspired by the masterpiece of medieval art and Ireland's greatest cultural treasure "The Book of Kells "- brilliantly decorated manuscripts of the four Gospels with depictions of Christ, the Virgin and the Evangelists.

I painted the very first Christmas Kell in 1991 but I never offered them to the public opting instead to give them as gifts to family and friends because of the amount of time it takes to paint them. This summer, while recovering from surgery, a dear friend from Australia suggested that reconnecting with art could be physically and emotionally therapeutic; I officially created "Christmas Kells" - for You!