Art Therapy Group Session 5 – last for 2015 – “Winding Up…” by Karen Robinson

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INTRODUCTION

As an art therapy group, we have now come to the end of this lot of art therapy sessions.  Some of the participants were sad to finish up, some were looking forward to their next opportunity to participant in another art therapy group and some participants unfortunately were unable to attend this last session, due to carer commitments. But for me, I have now reached a point where I am ready to move on from participating in group art therapy sessions.  It has been an interesting and sometimes challenging undertaking being part of an art therapy group; but one that I have gained so much from and I am most grateful for having had the opportunity to have participated within.  It has improved my sense of wellbeing for sure and allowed me to connect with an amazing group of people, who have shown me kindness, respect and given me an insight into how resilient they are in the course of living their daily lives, as carers, for loved ones with mental health issues.

 

EXERCISE 1 –  “Zentangle Art”

 

No. 1 Art Therapy Group Session 5- Exercise 'Zentangle Art Marking' Art Work created by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson March 2015 NB All images are subject to copyright laws .JPG

No. 1 Art Therapy Group Session 5- Exercise ‘Zentangle Art Marking’ Art Work created by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson March 2015 NB All images are subject to copyright laws .JPG

 

During this last art therapy session, we engaged in just two exercises which took up most of the time allowed. The art therapist facilitator had us create repetitive patterns on a sheet of paper.  We were able to use any medium we wished to create our patterns.  Some participants used crayons, paints, colour pencils and I decided to use just grey lead pencil.  I use a lot of colour paint in my own arts practice, so it was a joy for me, to use just one simple medium on paper – for a change.

It was a very relaxing exercise for me.  I discovered myself just simply enjoying the process of creating.  I found a sense of calmness working its way through my mind and body as I worked on my repetitive pattern.  This activity “Zentangle Art Making” just empty my mind of all negative thoughts and emotions and I found myself just enjoying the moment…just being!

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Group Booklet Making”

 

No. 10 Art Therapy Group Session 5- Exercise 'Group Booklet Making' Art Work created by all participants. This is a view of the 'Group Booklet' unfolded. Each image was made by a participant with the thought of the owner in mind. In this case the booklet has been made for me and each section is each person's individual contribution to my booklet. March 2015 NB All images are subject to copyright.JPG

No. 10 Art Therapy Group Session 5- Exercise ‘Group Booklet Making’ Art Work created by all participants. This is a view of the ‘Group Booklet’ unfolded. Each image was made by a participant with the thought of the owner in mind. In this case the booklet has been made for me and each section is each person’s individual contribution to my booklet. March 2015 NB All images are subject to copyright.JPG

 

Our second and now last art therapy exercise consisted of making a “group booklet” – one for each of us to take away as a memento. The art therapist facilitator gave us each a sheet of paper that had been pre-folded so that it made a little booklet.  Our instruction was to make an image on the front cover of the booklet that would be representative of ourselves and/or words/message about the art therapy sessions.  We were to write our name on the front cover and therefore making it our own personal booklet.  Once done, we were then instructed to hand over our own booklet to the person beside us, where that person would then on the following page draw/write an image for the person whom the booklet belong to. So at the end of this whole process we had our own booklet with an image/message from each of the participants.

Each page tackled – was done within a very small window of time, so for some, it was a challenge to think of ideas/images for each individual participant.  Some used coloured pencils, some used crayons and some decided to use ‘collage’ instead.  I decided to do a very quick, miniature portraiture of each participant with wording in a balloon.  At the end of this process, we got to see, what each of us had created and some of the wonderful notations that had been stated within these little booklets of friendship.  Please find below, my booklet, commencing with the cover page which I had created and followed by the pages created by each participants during this exercise.

 

 

CONCLUSION

Now that I have had the opportunity to complete two lots of art therapy sessions, one being in 2014 and now this lot in 2015, I have found it has shown me, that we all need to find ways of being able to express our thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe and secure environment.  Art therapy sessions can be, in my opinion, a wonderful way for people to be able to do just that – feel free to explore what makes them tick!  To get us thinking about what is truly going on in our lives that may be holding us back from enjoying life to the full.  After doing now – 2 lots of art therapy sessions, I feel I have come to a point, where I don’t feel the need to continue with this form of group art therapy.  Well…not for now at least anyway. This statement is said with the intent on being a very positive outcome for me – it’s just time to move forward … art therapy at its best I feel…

 

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group 2015”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular 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 “Street Art” Photo Story No. 8 – Photographed by Karen Robinson

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Photo No. 6 of 21 'KAFF-EINE' Street Artist Work - Melbourne Street Art in Fitzroy at Smith Reserve on Alexander Parade - Just one of the amazing wondrous creatures along the walls leading into the children's playground and park - Photographed by Karen Robinson.JPG

Photo No. 6 of 21 ‘KAFF-EINE’ Street Artist Work – Melbourne Street Art in Fitzroy at Smith Reserve on Alexander Parade – Just one of the amazing wondrous creatures along the walls leading into the children’s playground and park – Photographed by Karen Robinson.JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

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 view my weblog page which features my “introductory story” and view other featured Melbourne Street Art works photographed by me, as I discover them…

 

 

ABOUT STREET ART PHOTO STORY No. 8 – KAFF-EINE

Just recently, I discovered a number of amazing street art works within the suburb of Fitzroy, Melbourne – Australia.  Fitzroy features many well-known, talented street artists and KAFF-EINE is another very good example of street art that can be found in this suburb.  The inclusion of so many street art works within this historical area, adds further interest and distinctive additional character. It gives local residents and visitors alike, the benefit of being able to view art work, both large and small, in these wonderful free ‘open galleries’ for all people, any time of the day or night.  Perhaps…it’s art therapy for the whole community?!…

 

 

KAFF-EINE’S STORY

“Kaff-eine is an established street + contemporary artist within Melbourne’s globally-celebrated street art scene. Since 2010 she has garnered a strong following among Australian and international street art lovers + art collectors, who are drawn to her illustrative freehand style, delicate linework, + quiet melancholic characters. She has been invited to paint her artwork, created with aerosol, acrylic paint + pigment ink, on public + private walls across Australia, Germany, France + the Philippines, in galleries, businesses, homes, and on the streets. Kaff-eine has also illustrated two successful children’s books (The Promise + Vera), + has exhibited in solo + group exhibitions throughout Australia” (Kaff-eine. 2015).

 

 

MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND KAFF-EINE STREET ART YOUTUBE

 

 

STREET ARTIST – KAFF-EINE

  • No. 8 Photo Gallery – Melbourne: Fitzroy “Street Art by KAFF-EINE ” photographed by Karen Robinson March 2015

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MY COMMENTS

This particular street art work of KAFF-EINE is a delightful display of magical creaturesThey line the entrance to Smith Reserve, a children’s playground area and park for the local Fitzroy community.  Behind the wall of these creatives is a line of Australian Native Gum trees which helps to ‘green’ this inner city suburb, also helping to make this area a wonderful retreat away from the hustle and busy city living.  My favourite is the Kangaroo like creative, asleep under the Australian Native Gum trees.  It is not hard to imagine that children would find these images engaging as they lead them towards the entrance of their playground.  KAFF-EINE‘s street art situated along these walls, has very successfully turned this area into a place of purpose and adventure.  Her wall of mystical creatures act as a wonderful invitation to locals to come and enjoy ‘Smith Reserve’, come and take some time out and play…

 

 

CONCLUSION

I hope you enjoyed viewing this Weblog on some of the Street Art featured in the suburb of Fitzroy, Melbourne – Australia.  Please feel free to leave comments that are respectful to the Street Artists 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

New Membership – Regional Arts Victoria ‘Just become a member!’ by Karen Robinson

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I have just become a member of Regional Arts Victoria.  They “inspire art across the state of Victoria through creative facilitation, touring, education, specialised resources, artistic projects and advocacy.  They develop and sustain creative communities and artistic practice” all over Victoria, Australia (Regional Arts Victoria 2015).

Regional Arts Victoria are an “independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organisation working in long-term partnerships with every level of government, fostering contemporary and innovative regional cultural practice across five decades.  They advise and impact on decision-making across multiple portfolios and levels of government.  The organisation is the peak body for regional artists and arts organisations, and the leading organisation for regional creative practice in Victoria, Australia” (Regional Arts Victoria 2015).

This is exciting for me and I am hoping that I will have lots to share through my blogging as I become more familiar with this organisation.

 

My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist/Blogger/Story-teller/Photo-taker

I Do Art Discussion No. 20 – “Green Peace and Human Nature” by Karen Robinson

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Synergy Gallery Exhibition 2009 Painting Nos. 26A and 26B Title 'Green Peace and Human Nature' Sept-Oct 2008 151cms Length x 61cms Wide x 3cms Deep by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Images protected copyright .JPG

Synergy Gallery Exhibition 2009 Painting Nos. 26A and 26B Title ‘Green Peace and Human Nature’ Sept-Oct 2008 151cms Length x 61cms Wide x 3cms Deep by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Images protected copyright .JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

This pair of abstract paintings Nos. 26A and 26B – titled ‘Green Peace and Human Nature’ as shown above and below, is part of my abstract painting portfolio.  I had completed them in the year that I had decided to take some time out from work, for the first time in my life to recharge my batteries, so to speak!  During this period of time, the plan was to work out what I wanted to do with myself, being that the children were all grown up now and living their lives independently of their parents, as adult children should do.  It was truly a luxury for sure, to take time out, but a very necessary one for me, as I had been suffering a lot of anxiety and panic attacks during the course of my work. So to rebuild myself and regain a sense of quiet control of my life, I took up my childhood love of painting and creative writing.

 

PAINTING DETAILS – ‘Green Peace and Human Nature’

 

  • Painting Nos. 26 A&B Titled:  ‘Green Peace & Human Nature’
  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • 151cms Length x 61cms Wide x 3cms Deep (Each Painting)
  • Sept/Oct 2008
  • Abstract Artist – Karen Robinson

 

PAINTING STORY – ‘Green Peace & Human Nature’

Writing the painting story is always, an important part of my art for therapy journey.

This two-part painting is about the impact we have on our earth. How the health of our planet is all in our control. How the choices we make on marking its surfaces; and using its resources holds an incredible responsibility. How there is many parts of our planet suffering from our human intervention. And how there are other parts which are sustaining great beauty. My mother said to me once ‘Life is like a path of snow, be careful how you tread it, for every mark will show’. My painting shows our human marks and the question …… are our marks benefiting our earth or making it sick. Hope is expressed in these paintings via the use of bright colours which is representative of our youth of the future!  Hopefully our youth of the future will find better ways to preserve our planet…so that it will sustain us for many more future generations of people, plants and animals…

Written by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 2014

 

PAINTING PROCESS

My painting process starts with a conception as described above.  With this concept, I pencil sketch onto my canvas, the outline.  Then I paint, one colour at a time on the canvas, allowing each colour to dry throughly, before starting with another colour.  Once the entire sketch on the canvas has been painted, with a single layer of Matisse acrylic paint, I repeat the process another two times, to obtain a richness of each colour.

 

 

After allowing the painting to throughly dry, I then sign and date the painting on the bottom righthand corner.  I also turn my painting over and put all the relevant details on the back of the canvas.  I then spray varnish it three times which gives it a nice shine.  In order to keep track of my work – I photograph the painting; write the painting story; print it off and put a hard copy in my art portfolio folder; and then write the blog.  Quiet a process!

This particular painting was the very first painting where I started using Matisse  Structure ‘Metallic Copper and Metallic Silver’ colours.  They are not easy to work with and I found it hard to get an even coating, but in the end, I just accepted the look I had achieved. I also found these colours hard to photograph.  Whilst they look lovely in reality, in the photos they lack the luster and the colours look dull and flat.  I do love of the look of them with the naked eye though!

 

 

 

SYNERGY GALLERY EXHIBITION 2009

In June 2009, I had to opportunity to exhibit this pair of paintings in an Exhibition called “Ways Out – Journeys through Recovery” at Synergy Gallery, 253 High Street, Northcote.  The exhibition was part of Northcote’s Visual Arts Festival 2009.  It was my very first experience in exhibiting, and a great opportunity to be part of a community event.  It gave me the chance to meet other artists where we were able to exchange ideas and chat about our own art work experiences.  We also had the chance to interact with the general public during the exhibition opening night which turned out to be a very enriching experience!

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

Since 2008, I have been using art therapy along with creative writing processes as a means of improving my sense of wellbeing.  Whilst I paint for myself – it is wonderful to share with others my art for therapy journey by taking up small opportunities to exhibit.  It has given me the opportunity to talk directly with viewers about their thoughts, impressions of my work.  It has also allowed me to understand more fully how art is a powerful way of being able to communicate with others.  It can get people to stop, think and question, it can give them something to mull over long after they have viewed the art work its self.   For detailed accounts of some of my other paintings please click here

 

NB:  To view my Abstract Painting Gallery, please click here. 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 – Abstract Artist/Blogger/Story-teller/Photo-taker

Art Therapy Group Session 2, 3 and 4 for 2015 – “It get’s you thinking…” by Karen Robinson

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INTRODUCTION

Art Therapy Group Sessions 1, 2, 3 and 4 – 2015 have been just as interesting and revealing as demonstrated in the first lot of group sessions I participated in during 2014. Being my second round of art therapy, I have been finding the sessions more enjoyable and less confronting. But I have noticed that for some other participants, being their first experience with art therapy, are at times finding the art therapy sessions emotionally challenging.

 

ART THERAPY SESSION NO. 2

Exercise 1 – “Yellow & Black Cut Up Painting on A4 Paper”

For one of the art therapy exercises, we were asked to think about a problem we currently have in our lives.  Once we had formulated this within our minds, we were then instructed to paint/draw it onto a sheet of paper. What came to mind for me, was a difficult relationship that exists between a family member and their young grown-up child and how this relationship has caused grief and despair for both parties over a long period of time. So I painted one black rectangle with a yellow circle in it and another rectangle in yellow with a black circle in it. This for me, was representative of how both parties had the same DNA, yet a huge chasm sadly exists between them.

Once we had completed our drawing/painting, we were then instructed to tear and/or cut up the drawing/painting itself. This was a significant process and very symbolic.  By tearing/cutting up our drawing/painting, we were effectively breaking up our problem into smaller, more manageable pieces to deal with.  It also appeared to look different, hence giving me the opportunity to look at my own problem in a different way. An interesting process that got all the participants thinking that our problems can be approached in different ways, if we are prepared to take a different approach and perhaps instead of looking at a problem as a whole, that we take some time out to see it in smaller tasks that might be easier to handle – even if only part of the problem is solved with other parts left to resolved perhaps at a latter date.

 

 

 

Exercise 2 –  “Happy Boxes Made In Clay”

This next art therapy exercise involved taking a large block of clay, approximately the size of a square-shaped brick. We were then asked to close our eyes and start working the clay with our hands. We were asked to make something with it and I decided I was going to make something positive – I just didn’t want to have any negative emotions and feelings at work in this particular activity. We were given a period of approximately 10 minutes for this part of the process. I personally enjoyed moulding the clay but there were others that found it hard and didn’t enjoy. During the closed eyes part, I started making what I like to called ‘happy boxes’. I made a set of them and decorated the tops with a pencil. It was interesting to see what others had made and the symbolism of their work.

 

 

ART THERAPY SESSION NO. 3

Exercise 3 – “Australian Native Garden Drawn with Pastels on A4 Paper”

For this particular art therapy exercise, we were asked to close our eyes and visualise sitting on a magic rug that was to take us on a ride. We were asked to imagine where the magic rug was taking us and to imagine where its final destination would be. Some of the participants’ magic rug journeys were sad, emotional and distressing, others had journeys that were pleasant and comforting. For me, I had a good journey across the grass fields opposite where I live, across homes and gardens within my suburb.  My final resting place was within my own home garden. My dear husband over 15 years has grown from bare earth, a beautiful Australian Native Plant garden and it offers both of us in our autumn years, much joy and peace.

 

 

Exercise 4 – “People Scene Drawn with Pastels on A4 Paper”

This was a very interesting art therapy exercise. We were handed a set of cards. These cards each had an individual image. We were required to take a card from the pack without sharing the image on the card with another and then partner up with the person next to ourselves. Each partner was required to describe the details of the card to the partner, without the partner seeing the card. The partner was required to draw from this description on a sheet of paper. Once each partner had completed the task, we all showed our cards, shared our experience and drawing with the group. This for me, was a process that really required a great deal of trust in another. It required a degree of understanding that at times, we need to surrender our desire to want to control all circumstances. I didn’t have a problem with the task, as I trusted my partner, to do her best to inform me of details that would enable me to complete my drawing from her description. I also noticed that I wasn’t too concerned about how different my drawing might be from her card. I really just enjoyed the process but I did see and understand that some others struggled with letting go and just taking it as it comes and not getting stressed out because it didn’t look the same as the card image. It was a very good activity about effective listening, communicating, trust, understanding that we cannot always be responsible for another’s actions, we can only be responsible for our own.

 

 

ART THERAPY SESSION NO. 4

Exercise 5 – “Two People Talking Drawn with Black Felt Pen on A4 Paper”

The art therapist had us do a series of sketches that involved firstly choosing a card from a pack of cards without the knowledge of what we were about to be asked to do.  Once each of us had our chosen card we were asked to do the following:

  • 1. Drawing the card image with dominate hand without looking at the card image
  • 2. Looking at the card image and drawing the card image with our dominate hand
  • 3. Looking at the card image and drawing the card image with non dominate hand
  • 4. Drawing the card image with dominate hand without taking the pen off the paper

What was firstly revealing was how little we had listened to the instructions first up.  How we really needed to have paid attention to fully comprehend what seemed like simple instructions.  Another revealing factor was that most of us preferred the last of our images being No. 4 – drawing with dominate hand without taking the pen off the paper.

 

Exercise 6 – “Fence and Barbed Wire Section of Group Mural on Length of Butcher Paper”

Our last activity for session 4 was a group activity based on producing a group mural.  I had, in 2014 participated in such a task and was familiar with what to expect, which did help me prepare myself to just enjoy the process and not be to ‘precious’ about my artistic endeavours.  We were required to paint/draw an image and then think about how it could be connected to the person’s art work, either side of ourselves.  I was happy with my image, which I did in paint with bold orange fence posts, out lined in charcoal with two runs of charcoal barbed wire running through them.  As I stared at my art work, I realised that it could be the fence posts and the barbed wire that could be the connecting theme running through the whole mural work.  For me, I found the task enjoyable.  My only concerns during the process was to ensure I had consulted properly with the rest of the group to ensure they were going to be happy with what I proposed as a way of connecting all our individual art works, for my part.  Some of the group were apprehensive about having another mark their part of the mural work but after some general conversation, they came to appreciate that it was a group work of art and as per the instructions given by the art therapist we needed to ‘give and take’ during the group mural task at hand. All group participants in my group got the idea and all individually went about adding in their personal contribution to the other participants mural art work sections.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

Over the course of participating within these art therapy session for 2014 and 2015, it is very clear to me that it is not about the art, but about what we are thinking and how we apply that thinking to the art work itself. The art therapy process can present as a challenge for some participants.  Some, also find it hard to let go of the fact that their art work is not a representation of being a good artist or not; and struggle to make an open acceptance that it’s about self exploration; that the art work is just a vehicle that is used to achieve that outcome.

 

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group 2015”, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that runs the sessions.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will only be about my own experience – and broad statements about each particular 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