Adnan turned to Mount Tamalpais, not far from San Francisco, for inspiration. The mountain—sometimes rendered jagged, at other times rounder—appears in many of her paintings throughout the decades. She’s still painting it today, from memory now, instead of observation. It’s no longer just out her window: She’s settled into an itinerant Paris-Beirut-California lifestyle with her partner, sculptor
O’Hanlon and her husband gave Adnan her first solo show in 1961, at a gallery they’d established in Mill Valley, California. Exhibitions at small venues continued throughout the decade, mostly around the region. Mary Sabbatino, vice president and director of Galerie Lelong & Co.
(one of Adnan’s New York galleries), describes the artist’s work from this period as “brushier,” though on the same small scale as her later work. Adnan was also making hand-woven tapestries, always expanding her practice into different media while keeping her themes and her colorful, abstract approach consistent.
In the 1970s, she returned to Lebanon for four years and edited two daily newspapers, Al Safa and L’Orient le Jour. Civil War broke out in the country in 1975, and Adnan moved back to Paris the next year. Her award-winning novel, Sitt Marie Rose (1977), critiques Lebanese society’s treatment of women and its religious intolerance. As if she wasn’t busy enough, Adnan continued to paint and exhibit, showing work in Beirut and Rabat, Morocco.