Creative Writing Group Session – July 2015 “Things I dislike…” by Karen Robinson

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No. 3 of 4 Creative Writing Group - Artwork Titled 'Things I Dislike' Schmincke Ink on A4 Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected 29.07.2015 .JPG

No. 3 of 4 Creative Writing Group – Artwork Titled ‘Things I Dislike’ Schmincke Ink on A4 Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected 29.07.2015 .JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

My Creative Writing Group Sessions always leave me feeling like I have taken a little journey into a new world of endless possibilities, a world where it can be of utter truths or pure fantasies.  Our sessions not only give us an opportunity to engage in creative writing exercises, but also give us the opportunity to listen to others whilst they share their precious words.

 

THIS CREATIVE WRITING SESSION’S TASK

We engaged in a series of creative writing tasks during this session but I have chosen just the one to share here.  The creative writing facilitator asked us to write about “what are some of the things we really dislike in life“.  It was to be in the form of a rant!  A rant being a tirade writing piece that is like a ‘shout at length’ in an angry, impassioned way. This rant needed to be completed within a 5 minute period of time, without hesitancy, with energy and without holding back.  At the completion of the time frame we were encouraged to count the number of words written and compare this number with the number of words written in a previous rant we wrote earlier in the session.  It was interesting to note that most of us had increased our word count as we progressed from one rant to the next.  It was as though we were loosening up our creative brains, telling our creative brain not to hold back and to not senor ourselves, in other words, give ourselves permission to write freely.

 

MY CREATIVE WRITING RANT!

Title:  “…Things I dislike…”

“I dislike being called ‘love’ or ‘sweetie’ or ‘dearie’ or ‘darling’! I find these titles, these pet names, these excuses for not remembering a person’s name demeaning, annoying.  I feel like saying to the person “don’t you remember my name or if you don’t remember my name, I would rather be called nothing at all instead of ‘love’ or ‘sweetie’ or ‘dearie’ or ‘darling'”.

It’s difficult to know where this dislike comes from within me? Perhaps it is because as I was growing up and as a young woman, my name represented my entire identity and sometimes it was all I owned.

I know when a relative of mine calls me darling, I feel myself wincing. I get this almost impulsive feeling of  wanting to snap back with a very sarcastic ‘darrrlllliiiinnnggg how are you!!!”. But instead what I do in reality is just continue on with polite conversation, ignoring the fact that this relative for over 30 years now has called me ‘darling’ despite the fact that I call them by their given name and not ‘love’ or ‘sweetie’ or ‘dearie’ or ‘darling’!

 Word Count 184

© Karen Robinson, 29th July 2015

 

RANT WRITING REFLECTION!

The creative writing facilitator asked us to then consider how we felt after writing our rant.  I felt better – it actually rationalised my thoughts in regards to this thing I dislike. That there was not much logic in having those feelings towards the thing I disliked, that really I could just ignore the dislike and put in a box called ‘not worth worrying about’!

 

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

 

No. 1 of 1 Creative Writing Group - Artwork Titled 'Things I Dislike' Schmincke Ink on A4 Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist 29.07.2015 NB All images and stories are copyright protected .JPG

No. 1 of 4 Creative Writing Group – Artwork Titled ‘Things I Dislike’ Schmincke Ink on A4 Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 29.07.2015 NB All images and stories are copyright protected .JPG

 Art Work Story – She is saying “Darrrlllliiiinnnggg how are you!!!”

 

After each creative writing session, I personally wanted to use my creative writing stories to inspire an art work.  These artworks are not ‘masterpieces’ but are an important part of a therapeutic process that I enjoy; and helps complete my art for therapy journey after each creative writing group session.  These particular paintings/art works are produced in a quick and spontaneous manner and are unlike my other painting method which is planned and takes many, many hours to complete.  I enjoy both methods!

 

No. 4 of 4 Creative Writing Group - Artwork Titled 'Things I Dislike' Schmincke Ink on A4 Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected 29.07.2015.JPG

No. 4 of 4 Creative Writing Group – Artwork Titled ‘Things I Dislike’ Schmincke Ink on A4 Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected 29.07.2015.JPG

 

CONCLUSION

Once again, after our creative writing session, we headed off to the local restaurant to share a meal together and engage in good conversation – such a wonderful privilege. Thank you for joining me on this Creative Writing Group Session Journey!  Please click here to view previous Creative Writing Group Sessions.

 

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Creative Writing Group”, 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

Art Therapy Group Session Two – July 2015 “Starry Night…” by Karen Robinson

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

 

INTRODUCTION

Today was our second group art therapy session and consisted of four individual exercises.  Here within this weblog, I have included two – one I have named “Starry Night” and the other “Brave”.

 

EXERCISE 1 – “Starry Night” 

 

Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh's 'Starry Night' Painting 1889 - Oil on Canvas. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Remy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. It is regarded as amoung Van Gogh's finest works (Wikipedia 2015)

Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ Painting 1889 – Oil on Canvas. It depicts the view from the east-facing window of his asylum room at Saint-Remy-de-Provence, just before sunrise, with the addition of an idealized village. It is regarded as among Van Gogh’s finest works (Wikipedia 2015)

 

For our first art for therapy exercise for this session, we were given a small rectangle piece of paper, featuring a copy of a small portion of the Dutch artist – Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting titled ‘Starry Night’ 1889.  With our individual particular image portion of his painting, we were asked to do our interpretation of it, within a 20 minute period of time.  There were no restrictions, except for the time frame! At the end of our personal creative efforts of producing our own ‘Starry Night’, we were asked to place them on the wall in the sequence that would represent, the original painting (original painting image shown above).  I had the section of painting that consisted of the chapel in the background surrounded with small homes in the foreground.  It was interesting to see how each of us had interrupted the instructions and how each participant had created their own personal work of art.  Most participants indicated that the exercise was a very relaxing experience and for me a good way to start the art therapy session for the day.  Below please find my efforts…

 

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 'Starry Night' Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 ‘Starry Night’ Oil Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

 

On my return home, I couldn’t help but do some research on the life and works of Vincent van Gogh and enjoyed watching the following tv documentary published 26th January 2015.

 

 

I also found this interesting YouTube where modern-day technology meets 1889 Vincent van Gogh and shows another approach to artistic application.

 

 

This video below was forwarded onto me by a of my followers and offers  –

The unexpected math behind Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – Natalya St. Clair Physicist Werner Heisenberg said, “When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.” As difficult as turbulence is to understand mathematically, we can use art to depict the way it looks. Natalya St. Clair illustrates how Van Gogh captured this deep mystery of movement, fluid and light in his work.  Lesson by Natalya St. Clair, animation by Avi Ofer

 

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Brave”

Our second art therapy exercise for the session involved creating an art work that reflected what others say is a good quality within ourselves.  I have to confess that I found it difficult to come up with what others say, perhaps it’s because I don’t listen for these comments, don’t seek them out but I was able to record what is said to me when I do my volunteer speaking to repeat road traffic offenders at Road Trauma Awareness Seminars (RTAS) when I tell my family road trauma story.  Often these RTAS participants come to me after the end of the seminars and tell me how brave I am to do what I do which is what many other volunteers do as well with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.

Karen Robinson - RTAS Volunteer Speaker Presenting her family's road trauma story at Werribee RTAS July 2015 Photo No. 2.JPG

Karen Robinson – RTAS Volunteer Speaker Presenting her family’s road trauma story at Werribee RTAS July 2015 Photo No. 2.JPG

I stated to the art therapist facilitator that I don’t feel brave and I noted for myself this to be an interesting statement.  It was something that others had discovered as well, that we don’t often see what others see in ourselves.  That the person we show on the outside can be in conflict with what is going on within ourselves – this was an interesting reflection and shows how art for therapy can raise questions that are worthy of examination.  Some of us reflected on our thoughts during the group art therapy session and others, for sure will be reflecting further at a time which allows for some soul-searching.

 

No. 3 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 'Starry Night' Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

No. 3 of 3 Art Therapy Session 2 July 2015 ‘Starry Night’ Pastels on Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are copyright protected.JPG

 

CONCLUSION

We completed a couple more exercises and then packed up at the completion of the art therapy session.   We headed across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…

 

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group Sessions 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

Art Therapy Group Session One – July 2015 – “A Warm Up…” by Karen Robinson

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

 

 

INTRODUCTION

July has arrived and the recommencement of our Art Therapy Group has got started!  There were the same familiar friendly faces along with an addition of two new members.  We have been fortunate to have the same art therapy facilitator and the organisation’s co-facilitator as in previous art therapy sessions.  Being our first session, we were advised by the art therapy facilitator that this session will be a warm up to get us all back into the art for therapy process.

 

EXERCISE 1 – “Landscape Colour Opposites” 

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Session One - July 2015 'Landscape Colour Opposites' by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Session One – July 2015 ‘Landscape Colour Opposites’ by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

 

For our first art therapy exercise, we were asked to choose a piece of paper from a selection – being small, medium and large which ever we felt comfortable with in size and I choose the large.  Then we were to do a landscape image with a difference.  We were to have colours within the landscape that were a contrast to what we would normally expect them to be – for example the sun could be normally yellow, so a contrast could be green.  There were a choice of mediums to work with such as pencils, pastels and crayons, I choose the pastels.  Some of the participants expressed that this exercise was difficult to some degree being that doing the opposite to the norm was a challenge and others, like myself found it fun, a good challenge and especially for myself, a relaxing experience.

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Self Portrait”

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One - July 2015 'Self Portrait' by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

No. 2 of 3 Art Therapy Session One – July 2015 ‘Self Portrait’ by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

 

Our second art therapy exercise for the art therapy session involved doing a self-portrait.  I had done a self-portrait in a previous art therapy session and could remember it as being very challenging at the time and thus lead me to be a little apprehensive about committing to producing another.  I decided to follow the same method as done previously and asked the co-facilitator if she could outline the shadow of my image onto the paper.  I then outlined this shadow in black pastel.  I found I wanted to soften the black lining and commenced etching short strokes across this lining.  Liking this look, I decided to complete the whole image in the same fashion.

At the completion of our self portraits, we were asked to hang them on the wall, in one line, side by side to view.  We then sat back and viewed from a distance.  It was amazing how different each of our portraits were and how we had interpreted the art therapist’s instructions.  The art therapist facilitator stated that it was not unusual during this exercise for participants to do a ‘young self’ image and for me, I had done an image that really portrayed my current self.  This I did find challenging and found myself becoming upset without really understanding why – the challenges of art for therapy I feel, the close examination of ones inner most personal thoughts and emotions, not always clearly definable!

 

EXERCISE 3 –  “Zentangle Art”

No. 3 of 3 Art Therapy Session One - July 2015 'Zentangle Collation in Ink' by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

No. 3 of 3 Art Therapy Session One – July 2015 ‘Zentangle Collation in Ink’ by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson.JPG

 

To finish up for the art therapy session we were ask to do a Zentangle small artwork.  This was meant to be a relaxing process but unfortunately for me, it wasn’t.  I had started off this art therapy session enjoying the process, but after the self-portrait exercise, I found myself a little disturbed.  Other participants did find this exercise a good way to finish up the session.

 

CONCLUSION

After packing up at the completion of the art therapy session, we headed across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…

 

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy Group Sessions 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

Regional Arts Victoria – “Creative Conversations and Post-Traumatic Growth” Blog Story by Karen Robinson

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

No. 1 of 2 Creative Conversations with Regional Arts Victoria - Attendee at the Event - Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist 10th July 2015.JPG

No. 1 of 2 Creative Conversations with Regional Arts Victoria – Attendee at the Event – Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 10th July 2015.JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

On Friday 10th and Saturday 11th July 2015, Regional Arts Victoria brought together artists, cultural and community groups, and services providers together in an event titled “Creative Conversations“.  It was held within a regional township called Wallan, Victoria – Australia and at their local multipurpose centre.  The purpose of this event was to have all parties share their understanding and experiences, in relation to creative practices, that are helpful within communities recovering from the impact of natural disasters.  It covered how art and art therapists, can assist in the development of “Post-Traumatic Growth” through specifically considered programs and approaches, that can positively help trauma affected individuals, groups and communities.  Greater insights into “Post-Traumatic Growth” gave the audience a clearer understanding about how “art for therapy” can be transformative; how it can improve an individual’s and/or a community’s sense of wellbeing after a traumatic experience.

 

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS PROGRAM DETAILS (RAV 2015)

I was fortunately able to attend all of the first day’s and most of the second day’s events.  Below outlines the structure of the days’ events which is inclusive of the name of each speaker and the subject matter they covered during their presentation (RAV 2015).  Also I have included some lovely photos I was able to take over the two days!

 

Day One – Friday 10th July 2015 (RAV 2015)

 

 

 

 

  • The Regional Arts Fund  An overview of funding available to regional artists.  Amanda Gibson, Creative Arts Recovery Facilitator, Regional Arts Victoria

 

  • Art Therapy:  Embracing the variety of roles art can play in health care with individuals, groups and communities.  Dr. Patricia Fenner, Course Co-ordinator & Libby Byrne, Associate Lecturer, Master of Art therapy Program, LaTrobe University

 

 

  • Three Art Pieces:  Three remarkable creative projects that emerged following the 2009 Black Saturday fires.  The artists will share the processes they used to engage traumatised communities and create meaningful artistic work
    • Kyneton Mosaic:  A mosaic mural made from personal treasures.  Kathryn Portelli, Mosaic Artist

       

    • The Blacksmiths’ Tree:  A 10m high forged steel gumtree created by a collaboration of blacksmiths from 23 countries and local supporters.  Amanda Gibson, Project Manager, Australian Blacksmiths Association (Victoria)

       

    • Into the Light:  An annual candle-lit lantern parade that uses art as a tool for community engagement and recovery.  Mahony Kiely – Whittlesea Shire Council

       

  • Panel Discussion:  An opportunity for attendees to ask questions on creativity, community and recovery with the speakers.

     

Day Two – Saturday 11th July 2015 (RAV 2015)

  • Welcome and Introduction to Day 2!
  • Working Creatively with People and Communities who have Experienced Traumatic Events:  Exploring how trauma affects the mind and body, tips and approaches that best support people and communities to heal, celebrating art as a tool for transformation.  Shelley Hewson, Nexus Primary Health

 

  • Singing Workshop:  Kerry Clarke, Choir Leader

     

  • The Work of our Neighbourhood Houses:  The up lifting and creative work of these important community groups.  Vicky Mann, Kinglake Neighbourhood House, Mary Farrow, Emerald Neighbourhood House, Megan Smithwick & Fiona Miller, Whittlesea Community Garden
  • Three concurrent workshops/presentations:
    • Lantern Making Workshop:  Mahony Kiely, Program Co-ordinator:  Community Development Through Performance/Art, City of Whittlesea
    • Art in Public Places:  The challenges and processes of creating art in a public space.  Sandy Caldow is a poet, freelance artist and the Public Art Office at the City of Whittlesea.  She writes for World Sculpture news and Asian Art news.  She has been involved with putting art in public places over the past 20 years and is still amazed by all aspects of it.  She, along with Kristen Cherry, Manager Active Communities in the Mitchell Shire will reflect on Council requirements, secret solutions and share memories of close calls and catastrophes averted.  Sandy Caldow, City of Whittlesea & Kristen Cherry, Mtichell Shire Council
    • Animal Felts:  Bring the kids! Making animal ears from felt, a paws-on workshop for beasties of all ages.  Barbara Joyce, Art therapist and Project Manager of the Chook Project
    • Creative reflection/Sunset ritual

 

WHAT DID I GET OUT OF THIS EVENT – CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS?

 

No. 2 of 2 Creative Conversations with Regional Arts Victoria - Attendee at the Event - Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist 10th July 2015.JPG.JPG

No. 2 of 2 Creative Conversations with Regional Arts Victoria – Attendee at the Event – Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 10th July 2015.JPG.JPG

 

I found myself realising even more, that “my own art for therapy journey” was/is very much alike what others have experienced after being subjected to a traumatic event.  After listening to the speakers it was clear that the path I have travelled has been and still is what was coined as “Post-Traumatic Growth“.  It also became apparent to me that people and whole communities fare much better where appropriate care and support is offered by trained professionals within the field of ‘Post-Trauma Growth’, along side of their personal ‘art for therapy’ endeavours.

During the event breaks, I found myself talking and listening to other attendees, mostly listening as they shared their personal stories about loss, grief, despair and ‘Post-Traumatic Growth‘.  Some of the stories I heard were deeply personal and some people were still struggling to reach a place where joy could be found in every day, even after many years since the traumatic event.  They talked about how they use art forms such as crocheting, painting, singing, dancing, writing etc to help manage their daily struggles in obtaining a good sense of wellbeing.

I came away better appreciating how the combination of “art for therapy” in conjunction with specialised professional care and support in the field of ‘Post-Traumatic Growth‘, can help people find a new path forward.  It was clear after speaking and listening to others at this event that this path of ‘post-trauma growth’ can be short for some, long for others and sadly for a few – never-ending.

 

ARTIST DISPLAYS – Mitchell Makers Exhibition

At the end of the first day of this event, a celebration with all occurred, which marked the opening of the Mitchell Makers Exhibition of new contemporary art from the Mitchell Shire, Regional Victoria, Australia.  Please find below a slide show of art works that where on display at this event.

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CREATIVITY IN RECOVERY

Nexus Primary Health in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria, Mitchell Shire Council, MCRAG and the City of Whittlesea on the 16th September published this interesting “heartwarming grassroots documentary which highlights the powerful effect of how creativity & community spirit can be harnessed to achieve healing, transformation & recovery from trauma, natural disaster & all things that knock us sideways” (Nexus Primary Health 2015).

 

 

CONCLUSION

It’s a big role that Regional Arts Victoria (RAV) plays across the state of Victoria, Australia which assists, in keeping the arts alive, within these communities; and helps community members rebuild lives and townships after devastating bush fires have swept through their homes, their lands and their lives.  This particular event “Creative Conversations” was a wonderful way of bringing together a diverse group of people such as stakeholders, communities and individuals to share, learn and think about the wellbeing of people who need help with their “Post-Traumatic Growth” journey – Art for therapy at its very best I feel….

 

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