Artful Child’s Play!

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September 2014, I was asked if I would do a one-off, two-hour ‘holiday program art session’ at our local council, for a group of 8 children, ages from 5 to 12 years old, as a volunteer artist.  The theme we decided upon was Halloween and the children made Halloween masks.  We had an assortment of materials to work with and I was on hand to assist with any requests the children had; to answer any questions and to offer artistic encouragement during the whole process.

We firstly talked about what Halloween is in very simplistic terms being that it is one of America’s favourite holidays which is celebrated on the night of October 31st. It’s a time putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties.  It can also be a time for superstitions, ghost and goblins and also about having lots of fun…

It was very interesting how each child went about producing their Halloween mask and what materials they individually decided to use.  We started the process with a coloured rectangle shape of hard cardboard.  I had given each child a specific colour and suggested that if they didn’t like the colour they had, perhaps they could ask someone to swap with them.  A couple of the children decided to swap and did it in such an agreeable way – that impressed me!  Then we glued a white, plain cardboard face onto the square coloured paper, just so that they had a basic face to work on.  Paint was a big favourite with the children and glitter became the star product used, both with the boys and the girls.  I made a suggestion to use wool for hair and as you can see above, there were some children who took up the offer.

I was so impressed with how the group of children went about studiously working on their Halloween masks.  At times I offered further encouragement and input; along with some ideas and suggestions for them to consider; and with lots of encouragement and praise.  For me, this was a form of art therapy for children, as it gave them an opportunity to do just what they wanted to do; unrestricted creativity and with total ownership for their end results.  It was a good art session and it appeared the children had enjoyed themselves and were genuinely pleased with their efforts.

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that ran the session.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will be about my own experience and broad statements about the session.  I hope you will understand.

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Melbourne: Fitzroy North “Street Art” Photo Stories No. 4 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

During this series of ‘Melbourne Street Art Story Weblogs’  I will endeavour to share my personal discovery of Melbourne’s Street Art.  Whilst there is much available to view in the way of images on the web, I hope I can offer a point of difference.  I will be inviting you to productively contribute your opinions and knowledge, in a way that is respectful to the Street Artists featured, and in a way that will add value to this conversation. Please click here to take you to my weblog page which features my “introductory story” and view other featured Melbourne Street Art works photographed by me, as I discover them…

Melbourne:  Fitzroy North – “Street Art” Photo Story No. 4 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

STREET ARTISTS – HERAKUT

When I first stumbled onto this incredible mural, I firstly thought to myself what an amazing corner building shape this mural has been created on.  It’s located at 639 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North and is one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs.

The mural its self has been produced by an internationally renowned Street Art Germany based duo Herakut comprising of artist Jasmin Siddiqui, or “Hera” and Falk Lehman, “Akut”.  Most of their works are commissioned and can be found both in and outside of galleries.  Whilst they were in Australia in 2013, they painted this mural called ‘Running away with the monkeys‘ which forms the ninth page in their “Great Story Book Project”.  The project chronicles are a new children’s book they started in September 2012 and have been introducing their storybook characters with each mural accomplished around the world which is just extraordinary. To view a map of where these murals are and to view an image of said, please click here!

The texted in Herakut’s mural below reads “So she dreamt of running away with the monkeys.  The most curious just tended to be the most… courageous”.

Melbourne:  Fitzroy North – “Herakut Street Art” Photo Story No. 4 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

I found the back story about this duo Herakut amazing!  As my understanding and appreciation for Street Art grows I am left wondering how will it look in say 50 to 100 years time. Although I will not be here to see – it is interesting to ponder about how Street Art, the people’s art will be valued as time progresses…

I hope you enjoyed viewing this Street Art, please feel free to leave comments that are respectful to the Street Artist and add value to the conversation…Karen Robinson

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Art Therapy Group Session 7 of 7 – “Our journey is at an end!”

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My Art Therapy Group Sessions have now come to an end.  Part of me was sadden by this, as I was going to miss the meeting up each week, with a group of women whom I have gotten to know and appreciate.  Over a period of seven weeks, we have all shared deeply personal thoughts, emotions and feelings with an honesty and frankness that is generally very rare with people whom you barely know.  The art therapist herself proved to be an intrinsic part of the success of this Art Therapy Group set of workshops.  We left with the knowledge that art for therapy, has a place in our lives that will give us a voice to express ourselves seriously and sometimes just for the fun of it!

It was at this last Art Therapy Session, the Art Therapist had us start with an exercise that would involve each of us contributing to one another’s art work.  We were asked to gather up, art materials and a piece of butcher paper and commence producing an art work. The theme was around, what we found we had gained from attending the Art Therapy Sessions overall; and what we had gained also from each other.  We were given a short period of time to do this and then we were required to passed onto the group member next to us to contribute their part. This process preceded via each group member until each had contributed on each and every art work.

Featured above is mine and I commenced with a circle of green, squiggly lines and in the middle of that, I wrote the words ‘BEING’.  Then I wrote the words: ‘exploring self’; ‘understanding others’; ‘appreciation’; ‘new connections’; and ‘new artistic ideas’.  The rest of the art work were the contributions of the other group members.

We were then asked to make a set of little cards that would be representative of each group member. Each card needed to be about what we had learned about that group member. I firstly chose a colour that, for me, reflected their personality and then used symbols to tell my story as requested.  I add a common element of the silver pieces which was a symbolic representation of finding the ‘silver lining’ in life.  I also used gold and silver paint to be symbolic of the best I found in them all over the course of the 7 sessions.  Once this task was completed, we shared with each other our cards and their stories about that group member.

NB:  Below are my set of cards – each representing a group member and the bright green card is the one I made for myself.

3. ArtTherapy Group Session 7 'Our journey is at an end!' Painting by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Sept 2014 NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

3. ArtTherapy Group Session 7 ‘Our journey is at an end!’ Painting by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Sept 2014 NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

To finish up our last session, we had lunch together.  It was a warm and friendly atmosphere with lots of laughs and good conversation and a blossoming of new friendships.  Art Therapy at its best I feel…

Thank you for joining me on this Art Therapy Group Session Journey! Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 Art Therapy Group Sessions:

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

What is ART? – It enriches your soul and gets you thinking!

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What is ART?  Well for me, it is a means of being able to communicate with myself and with others, emotions, feelings and thoughts.  It is a voice that can reach into our hearts and souls; it can reach out across oceans.  Art can convey powerful messages, points of view, challenge our beliefs and attitudes; and it can change the way we think.  It can take us back in time and also it can transport us into the future. Art can invite us into unknown magical worlds of others and it can, at times be like a ‘slap in the face’ by being troubling and confronting.

TAC "Picture This" Exhibition 2010 at Geelong Gallery, Victoria - Australia. Featuring Painting No. 45B "The Death of Our Son Ben" by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson (as photographed) NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

TAC “Picture This” Exhibition 2010 at Geelong Gallery, Victoria – Australia. Featuring Painting No. 45B “The Death of Our Son Ben” by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson (as photographed)
NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Art takes us on a journey and then returns us back to where we came from but on our return we are a little richer for the experience; whether a viewer of art or an artist.  This is what art is for me. Please find here in this video below titled “Using art for therapy” – myself talking about my own art for therapy journey.

 

When I firstly watched this other video following below “what is ART”, I was so impressed by the freshness of these artists’ take on what art is!  Each of their statements resonated with my own personal experience of what art has been and has become for me.  It was not until I got to delving into the details of the video further that I realized that these participants of said, are actually theatre artists and not painters.  I was surprised that what they had to say about “what is art?” from their perspective, as theatre artists, rang just as true for me, as an abstract painter; so much so that I felt it was a good summation to share!

These are their words about “what is ART?”….

“art is an agent of change”; “anything that highlights life”; “they know it’s an art form when it has a story – when it speaks to them”; “art is an expression of the soul”; “the product of the reaction to something you love”; “and passion”; “and anything in-between”; “it’s the highest form of language”; “it’s got to be honest”; “a vehicle for expressing your thoughts, your emotions”; “we can’t keep it, we need to share it”; “if it’s not shared – it’s just a work of a crazy person”; “for me art is important because it makes you think”; “I like the idea of creating something out of nothing”; “think about how to improve your own life and the lives of others”; “to have something in the world that exists that affects people”; “it is what allows us to feel”; “without it we are nothing more than robots”; “just rocks”; “if you don’t have art – you merely exist”; “art draws out the humanity”; “art elevates existence into something else”; “we are able to inspire and move people into action”; “it’s your way of sharing and giving back to the people”; “without art life would be boring”; “everyone should have some sense of creativity in their lives”; “it is not beautiful without art”; “if you have a point of view your are an artist”; “an artist is someone who sees things that no one else sees”; “with the mindset of moving the society forward”; “anyone could be an artist as long as you are honest”; “courageous”; “art makes you sensitive to things around you”; “to allow growth in our lives”; “a reflection of the beliefs and the desires”; “it pushes me to improve everyday”; “makes me appreciate all the little things”; and “art is everything”.

 

This video campaign, as shown below, is produced by Mayk Juat, Jake Macapagal, Pam Imperial and directed by Mayk Juat and the Cinematography by Nix Lanas. They state that it “aims to take a closer look on how the arts can be applicable to our lives” and is “expressed by those who live, breathe and LOVE it – the Filipino Artists” (What is ART – maARTe ako, 11 Jul 2011).

Spoken by Theatre Artists:- Robbie Guevara Actor/Director; Ana Abad Santos Actress; Carlos Canlas Actor/Singer; Stephanie Reese Actress/Singer; Joel Trinidad Actor/Playwright; Reuben Uy Theatre Actor; Bea Garcia Actress; Casisa Borromeo Actress; Jake Macapagal Actor; Jenny Jamora I’m a Human Being; Topper Fabregas Ma ART e ako; Pam Imperial Ma ART e ako; Raul Montesa Ma ART e ako; Astarte Abraham Ma ART e ako; Teresa Herrera Ma ART e ako; Kakki Teodoro Ma ART e ako; and JM Rodriguez.

Reference:
Juat. M., Macapagal. J., Imperial. P. (2011, July 11). What is ART? – maARTe ako. YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjuV7SA6fj4

Whilst you are here – please check out my my home page!  I hope you will continue to join on my art therapy journey…Karen Robinson

Melbourne: Thornbury “Street Art” Photo Stories No. 3 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!

During this series of ‘Melbourne Street Art Story Weblogs’  I will endeavour to share my personal discovery of Melbourne’s Street Art.  Whilst there is much available to view in the way of images on the web, I hope I can offer a point of difference.  I will be inviting you to productively contribute your opinions and knowledge, in a way that is respectful to the Street Artists featured, and in a way that will add value to this conversation. Please click here to take you to my weblog page which features my “introductory story” and view other featured Melbourne Street Art works photographed by me, as I discover them…

Melbourne:  Thornbury – “Street Art” Photo Story No. 3 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

STREET ARTIST – LIN VAN HEK

I found this Artist’s work Lin Van Hek on the front of Poet House Studio Gallery, 736 High Street, Thornbury, Melbourne, Australia.  On researching this artist, I came across an incredible story. On the 3rd May 2013 Lin Van Hek opened an exhibition at her Poet House Studio Gallery.  It was called “Lost Women of Melbourne Exhibition” and was about unsolved murders and missing women of Melbourne. Formerly – this Studio Gallery was a bookshop once owned by a women named Maria James and in 1980 was murdered at this location.  Maria James had been stabbed 68 times and her violent assailant has never been caught.

The Artist’s work on the outside of her building, I am sorry I cannot shed any further light on its meaning.  Although if you look at Lin Van Hek Gallery you will find that some her art work features similar portrait styling.  Also you will also find curious animals and birds.

For me, this street art had a warm and inviting message.  The faces, being as large are a person on the wall, really made them stand out from the shop front wall and very visible as you drive along the street its self.  The inclusion of the cats and the rabbit is playful and cute.  I love the colour choices and especially the blues…

I hope you enjoyed viewing this Street Art, please feel free to leave comments that are respectful to the Street Artist and add value to the conversation…Karen Robinson

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Art Therapy Group Session 6 of 7 – “Blessings, Ideas and Inspiration!”

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Art Therapy can be a surprising process within a group session.  It is an incredible way of learning about one’s self and about others, in a safe and supportive environment. It can reveal pain, sorrow, joy and laughter…

This week’s Art Therapy Group Session revolved around selecting one to two cards, from a set of cards called ‘Healing with the Angels Oracle Cards’ by Doreen Virtue Ph.D.  The pack consists of 44 oracle cards with unique Victorian-style or Old Master-style angel pictures on one side. They convey a simple statement on the front side of the card and on the reverse is the full meaning of the ‘angel readings’.  During this session, these cards were used just as a means to creating another meaningful piece of art within this art therapy session.

After we had all thoughtfully considered which ‘Angel Card/s’ and it’s statement had appealed to us most, we were asked to collect them and assemble as a group at the table.  The Art Therapist asked each of us to explain our reasons for selecting our specific cards.  When it came to myself to explain, I suddenly found myself very emotional and began to cry.  It was a shock to me and I didn’t think I would be able to continue but with a breath of time, I was alright to do so.  My choice of the ‘Blessings Card’ was related to the fact that after my son had been killed in a single vehicle crash, I found it very hard to find joy and meaning in my life.  It took so much inner strength to look at my life in a different way and it was very hard to look forward without my son but I worked hard at looking at what blessings I had, which eventually lead me to a better place in my life.  The second card for me ‘Ideas & Inspirations‘ was all about finding that new path, rebuilding myself and finding joy in everyday life – it took a lot of ideas and inspirations to do – but I am there and grateful to be able to enjoy life again.

Once we had all talked about our reasons for choosing our particular cards, we then received instructions about our next art therapy project.  We were to make little ‘candle holder covers’ from assorted provided materials.  These covers once completed were then stuck to the outside of a glass jar and a little tea candle placed within it and lite.

I decided to base my glass candle cover around people; people in my life.  Here below you can see how I have strung them together and when placed around the glass jar, they complete a full circle.  Different colours represent different types of people, and the different heights represent the different ages of these people.

 

The image below I particular like as it shows one large purple person looking down at the small yellow person in a caring way – the green person is part of this group and at the same time is reaching, stretching out to connect with another within the circle of people.

Once we had all finished our glass candle holders with their new covers around the outside, we lite the tea candles. Each group member’s art work was reflective of the ‘angel cards’ statements. We then had the opportunity to share our thoughts and emotions we experienced during this art therapy process.  Whilst these art works will not mean much to others, they are little treasures to the group members…art therapy at it’s best I feel…

 

 

 

NB:  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2 & 3 Art Therapy Group Sessions:

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Melbourne: Thornbury “Street Art” Photo Stories No. 2 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

During this series of ‘Melbourne Street Art Story Weblogs’  I will endeavour to share my personal discovery of Melbourne’s Street Art.  Whilst there is much available to view in the way of images on the web, I hope I can offer a point of difference.  I will be inviting you to productively contribute your opinions and knowledge, in a way that is respectful to the Street Artists featured, and in a way that will add value to this conversation. Please click here to take you to my weblog page which features my “introductory story” and view other featured Melbourne Street Art works photographed by me, as I discover them…

Melbourne:  Thornbury – “Street Art” Photo Story No. 2 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

STREET ARTIST – TOM CIVIL

I came across this Street Artist’s work on the corner of High Street and Raleigh Street, Thornbury, Melbourne, Australia.  This delightful and playful mural has been created by one of Australia’s leading Street Artists – ‘Tom Civil’ painted in 2014 and is called “The Wanderers”.  The mural occupies the entire brick wall, top to bottom and right along the street side of the period style building.  The building its self is occupied by a business called Crisalida who specialise in child, adolescent, adult and family therapy.  I noticed on their signage attached to the building wall, that they also offer art therapy as well as other support services.  This gives some insight as to why this particular Street Artist and Street Art subject matter has been so beautifully presented here on this wall.

When I came across this stretch of Street Art, it struck me as being playful, friendly and with little treasures to be discovered, as I took the time to look over.  It is very Australian in its content.  Whilst viewing the mural, I found these curious little ‘Stick Folk’ playfully inhibiting the Australian bush scene and they are a signature inclusion in most of ‘Tom Civil’ works.  The delicate displaying of red flowers on the Australian eucalyptus river gum trees, brought back childhood memories of good times I spent with my brother and sister playing in the bush.  The Wanderer Butterfly is featured strongly throughout the mural and are known to be ‘people friendly’; meaning they are not afraid of humans. They are native to all areas of Australia and a great choice for this particular mural.  How cleaver of this Street Artist with these depictions, at this particular location.

 

The Street Art work its self, for me, reflected a sense of delightfulness and warmth; and gives the viewer, a visual invitation to participant in this magical Australian bush world.  I can image children enjoying his mural and it certainly brought the child out in me…l loved this mural of ‘Tom Civil’

I hope you enjoyed viewing this Street Artist’s work, please feel free to leave comments that are respectful to the Street Artist and add value to the conversation…Karen

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Art Therapy Group Session 5 of 7 – “Finding a safe place within!”

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This week’s Art Therapy Group Session consisted of a well attended group of 5, plus the Art Therapist and the assisting facilitator.  We commenced our session with a light physical stretching set of exercises for approximately 10 minutes.  Just to get us loosened up.  We were then asked to sit down and close our eyes and concentrate on our breathing, clearing our minds of other thoughts, relaxing our body and bringing ourselves right into the present.  From here we were asked to think of a space we felt safe in; it could be a real space or it could be an imaginary space.  We were asked to image ourselves walking through this ‘safe space’ and to think about what it was that made us feel safe.  It was a very relaxing process where I could feel my mind and body totally washing away other thoughts and emotions and truly being in the moment.

From here we were asked to open our eyes, take up our desired art materials and commence an art work that represents our ‘safe space’.  I gathered up a sheet of butcher paper, paint brushes of varying sizes, some acrylic paint, soft oil pastels and some ink paint and got started…

After completing our paintings, we were asked to place them in a line across the floor.  Each of us in turn talked about what our painting said in relation to painting about our ‘safe space’.  It was interesting to see and hear what others had painted and said about their ‘safe space’.  A number of the group had ‘imagery safe spaces’ and others had ‘real safe spaces’.

My painting was based on a ‘real safe space’.  It was my home garden which my husband has worked on for over 13 years to create from bare soil.  Every room in our home has a view of our garden.  The garden its self is full of well established bushes and trees where wild life flock to rest, feed, drink water and go about the daily lives.  Over the seasons, the leaves on the trees go golden brown, yellow, orange and drop; in spring they flower and in summer they provide us with must needed shade to protect us from the strong Australian sun.  In my painting about my ‘safe space’ the golden-yellow represents the soft warmth of the sun in spring, when it warms my cheers and reminds me of the summer to come.  The blues remind me of our beautiful clear bright blue sky, we as so fortunate to have here in Australia.  The planting represents a plant my husband has used to line each side of our garden leading from the road to our front door.

Our garden has been a treasure over many years, offering both my husband and myself a form of refuge during difficult times in our lives.  My ‘safe space’ is my garden where nature kindly cares for my soul…

NB:  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2 & 3 Art Therapy Group Sessions:

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Melbourne: Northcote “Street Art” Photo Stories No. 1 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

While you are here – please check out my home page!

During this series of ‘Melbourne Street Art Photo Story weblogs’ I will endeavour to share my personal discovery of Melbourne’s Street Art.  Whilst there is much available to view in the way of images on the web, I hope I can offer a point of difference.  I will be inviting you to productively contribute your opinions and knowledge, in a way that is respectful to the Street Artists featured, and in a way that will add value to this conversation. Please click here to take you to my web page which features my “introductory story” and view other featured Melbourne Street Art works photographed by me, as I discover them…

Melbourne:  Northcote – “Street Art” Photo Stories No. 1 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

STREET ARTIST – AS TAGGED BELOW

I came across this Street Artist’s work on the corner of High Street and Mitchell Street, Northcote, Melbourne, Australia.  It is set on the side of a shop building which has a long side wall, ideal for such art work.  The positioning of the Street Art work is well placed, just behind a transparent bus shelter, within a side street leading to Santa Maria College and public/disabled toilets; and just down from a frequented coffee shop.  Lots of Northcote’s community members would regular use this travel route which ensures this Street Artist’s work gains lots of exposure.

The Street Art work its self, for me, was striking as it grabbed my attention as I was travelling along High Street in my car.  On taking a closer look when photographing, I found the inclusion of the different animals and the bird delightful, especially the upside-down zebra.  The expanse of the bird’s wings and clawed feet, approaching a landing or ready to grasp its prey, was well-defined. I particularly loved the colour choices of this Street Artist – beautiful blue/green colour against the blacks and greys.  I am sure that this Street Artists work has added to this community’s street scape in a very positive way and given them something to gaze upon and wonder…

I hope you enjoyed viewing this Street Artist’s work, please feel free to leave comments that are respectful to the Street Artist and add value to the conversation…Karen

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson