Art Therapy Group Session Seven – September 2015 “Third Step of Group Project” by Karen Robinson

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INTRODUCTION

This month being our seventh group art therapy session and our third group project session, we continued to work dutifully on our individual works.  Once completed, all participants artworks will be grouped together.  This unity of artwork will then become a representation of ‘what it is like to be a carer of a love one who has been somehow impacted by mental health issues’ and ‘how being a carer for said has impacted on our lives and the lives of others within our families’.  NB:  To view details regarding previous stages – please click here.

 

No. 9 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

No. 9 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work.  All images copyright protected.JPG

 

STEP THREE AT THE SESSION AND AT MY HOME STUDIO

 

  • Little Bright Blue Love Heart Sequins

During this session, I decided to add little bright blue love heart sequins to the top of my painting. These love hearts are representative of all the tears that I have shed over the loss of my son, tears of love.

No. 12 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

No. 12 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work.  NB:  All images copyright protected.JPG

I used a wooden stick with craft glue at the end of it and ran the tiny love heart sequins across it to catch just enough glue that would ensure the sequins would adhere to the canvas.  The craft glue dries clear so it didn’t matter much if a little ran over a bit at the sides onto the canvas itself.

No. 4 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

No. 4 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work.  All images copyright protected.JPG

 

  • String Of Words Around The Large Pink Heart

On my return home to my studio with my art work, I decided to write a string of words around the outside of the large pink heart in black felt pen. As the words are very personal, I wanted the viewer to become very personal with the artwork its self, so I deliberately wrote the words very small so that the viewer of the artwork would need to go up to it very closely to read the words.  These are the words:  “Try to build in my heart the best of those I love, my darling dear husband whom I treasure, who has been so good to me throughout all the years of our marriage; my sweet, loving, caring daughter who is strong and gentle to her parents at the same time, my sister whom I have shared many troubles with – we are still talking; and my son gone but never forgotten – we miss you forever”.

No. 15 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

No. 15 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

 

  • A Symphony of Joyful Artist Endeavour – Butterflies, Flowers and Glitter!

After the above process was completed and had throughly dried, I decided I want to add small green and pink flower shaped sequins, small green satin butterflies, orange with yellow on top beaded satin flowers and green glitter to the stems of the flowers.  It became a symphony of joyful artist endeavour which I really enjoyed doing.

 

  • Signed, Photographed And Varnish

Once I felt I had added enough of the flower sequins, satin butterflies and flowers, I signed and photographed the artwork.  I will now give it a coat of varnish to help preserve it.  Once dry it will be ready to take back to our next session where we are going to be discussing how we will bring all the participants artworks together to exhibit – details will follow once finalised.

 

  • Finished Art Work – yet to be titled!

Whilst the painting is now finished and awaits the last part of our art therapy group project to be completed – we will soon have the creative writing facilitator come into our session and help us write a story about our paintings.

 

No. 17 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

No. 17 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

 

CONCLUSION

At the completion of our art therapy sessions we pack up and head 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…

No. 2 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

No. 2 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual art work-all images copyright protected.JPG

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.

© Karen Robinson, September 2015

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 as Therapy

My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and story telling…by Karen Robinson.  Please click here for my latest blog news!

My art therapy journey has been a solo experience up until mid 2014, meaning without any outside influences or company. It has been a very personal endeavour and one that at first was just for me. Over recent years though, I began to share some of my art work through group exhibitions which has been enlightening and revealing. It was through these exhibitions that I learned about the power of art as a form of self-expression; a way to empower a person with a visual voice, when words are too had to find…

Now that I have had the opportunity to complete numerous art therapy sessions 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. Art for therapy at its best I feel….

Please click the link Art as Therapy to read about my research, understanding and YouTubes on this subject.

1 of 3 Art Therapy Session 24.8.2015 Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being first stage in painting production for group project NB Images are protected by copyright.JPG

1 of 3 Art Therapy Session 24.8.2015 Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being first stage in painting production for group project NB Images are protected by copyright.JPG

My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and story telling…by Karen Robinson.  Please click here for my latest blog news!

© Karen Robinson, September 2015

Art Therapy Humour – “Looking at life as if it were a work of art…”

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

 

Art Therapy Humour - Cartoon by 'dorrismccomics.com' Comments by Karen Robinson "Looking at life as if it were a work of art"....

Art Therapy Humour – Cartoon by ‘dorrismccomics.com’ Comments by Karen Robinson “Looking at life as if it were a work of art”….

 

Over the last eight years, I have been using art for therapy, so my story comes from the practice of art for therapy as an individual visual artist/story-teller/photo-taker and also as a participant within art therapy and creative writing groups; and not from a professional art therapist stance. But in saying this, I feel I have been learning from personal experience the practices and benefits of said, in a way that has given me an insightful understanding of its incredible ability to improve ones sense of wellbeing.

When it came to deciding to blog about my art for therapy journey – I firstly struggled to make the final decision, to blog about this most vulnerable part of my life, with honesty and an openness that would bare my soul to the ‘world-wide web’; to be fearless. The outcome has been just amazing from many different perspectives. It has been, and continues to be, one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. I approach each blog with a great sense of being real and true to myself, in the hope that by sharing, will inspire others to take up art for therapy, in order to improve their sense of wellbeing – it has improved mine.

When I first looked at this cartoon pictured above and produced by ‘dorrismccomics.com’ – these words sprang to mind “Looking at life as if it were a work of art…”.  I have always loved how cartoonists seem to be able to capture a thought, a moment so simply within just a few lines and squiggles.  This cartoon captures it well, we try to create our lives in an orderly fashion, in a sequenced way but sometimes in just goes beyond ourselves; we get to paint outside the lines and we end up with a creation that is unique to each of us…

© Karen Robinson, September 2015

 

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

Creative Writing Group Session – September 2015 “I am packed to go!” by Karen Robinson

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

 

2 of 2 Creative Writing Session Sept 2015 'I am packed to go!' Ink on Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

2 of 2 Creative Writing Session Sept 2015 ‘I am packed to go!’ Ink on Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.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.  At other times these sessions take me back in time challenging forgotten memories.  Our sessions not only give us an opportunity to engage in creative writing exercises, they also give us the opportunity to listen to others whilst they share their precious words.

 

CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK – SOURCE OF INSPIRATION

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this particular creative writing session.  The Creative Writing Facilitator had set some creative writing homework which I was able to complete.  We were given an image of post card, featuring a traveller’s suit case that was covered in travel stickers.  Using this as a source of inspiration we were tasked with writing a piece 500 words or more, about what the image resonated for each of us when we looked at the image itself.

 

1 of 2 Creative Writing Session Sept 2015 - Postcard image of a travellers Suit Case given to participants to use as a source of inspiration for a writing exercise 500 words or more.JPG

1 of 2 Creative Writing Session Sept 2015 – Postcard image of a travellers Suit Case given to participants to use as a source of inspiration for a writing exercise 500 words or more.JPG

 

MY CREATIVE WRITING PIECE

Once I sat down at the computer and started writing, I found myself not being able to stop.  The 1,700 words just seemed to pour onto the page before me.  After I had exhausted my thoughts and reached a satisfactory end, I stopped and read over what I had written.  My travel adventure which I had titled ‘I am packed to go’ had truly covered nicely what had occurred on that particular night and I had found that inclusive within my story was a sharing about how I suffered largely from anxiety and panic attacks.  I wasn’t sure whether I should have included this in my story but without it would have robbed my story of a significant insight into my experience.  After reading out loud to my creative writing session group this week, I felt more confident in sharing to the wider world.  I also said to myself that more people need to be open and forthright about such things in order that there is a greater understanding of these conditions.  To also show that anyone can be a victim of anxiety and panic attacks.  So here’s my story, my personal story about one particular travel adventure I had some years ago.

 

Title:  “I am packed to go!”

It was approximately midnight and I had just arrived at one of the largest International Airports in the world – Guangzhou, China. I had been there before, on a number of occasions in my role as a ‘Product and Business Development Manager’ for one of the largest formal wear companies in the southern hemisphere! Well this is what the company commonly touted and it was reasonable to believe after being with the company then for a number of years. Tripping here to Guangzhou was not too daunting, as I normally arrived during the daytime and was usually greeted by a driver whom had been sent out by the company I was visiting, to pick me up and take me directly to the them and then onto my hotel. This always made me feel safe and secure and I have to confess impressed me to have such treatment even though for some business travellers it was the norm, for me it was a real novelty which I came to really appreciate and enjoy. Being a woman on my own, in a strange country and not being able to speak the language, meant this kind of service ensured that I was able to get on with what I had to do business wise and for me personally ensured that my anxieties didn’t escalate out of control. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sense of adventure travelling to a country I have not been to before; and a country that was so vastly different from my own country of Australia, but travelling did at times make me feel very anxious.

What was different about this particular trip was that I was not visiting the same company again – I was to attend a world-wide trade fair. This meant that I would have to make my own way from the airport to my hotel room and then back and forth to the fair. This may not seem such a difficult task to seasoned travellers and to those that live in the said country, but to me this seemed daunting. During my travelling with this company, I always felt like I was a fraud! A fraud – meaning that I had something to hide or you could interpret it as something that I hadn’t revealed. On the outside of my person, I portrayed a confident and knowledgeable professional which I was, but on the inside, there was this other me! I suffered all my life from depression at times, anxiety seemed to be a daily battle which would often lead into panic attacks, sometimes they could be minor and at other times major. But at all times I tried my best to manage my condition in a way that did not allow others to know or see my inner turmoil.  An inner turmoil that had manifested during my childhood where child abuse, family violent and the wrath of an alcoholic father had to be endured. I never shared these feelings with others at my work, and nor did I really ever shared them with loved ones either; and in actual fact I really didn’t know myself – just how much personal trouble I was in until many years later when I under took counselling for severe depression and anxiety after the diagnose of my husband’s lymphoma and the sudden death of my 25-year-old son. So, this particular travel experience was leading me into feeling vulnerable and hence I was feeling anxious and in a state of panic. But I also need to say here, that I always seemed to find the funny side of life … and this travel adventure story does have a funny side.

As I went through the usual security airport departure checks during this particular trip, I thought to myself ‘it’s OK…just get a taxi and show them the address of the hotel and you will be alright’. What I didn’t know at this particular time, was that there were many illegal taxis’ where taxi drivers would target incoming travellers to get into their illegal taxis’. I found myself being hastily approached by a young Chinese man who asked me if I needed a taxis and I replied “yes”. He tried to take my baggage from my hand which surprised me and I held onto it with a strong grip and said “no”.  He try again and for some ungodly reason I relented and allowed him to carry it. He then proceeded to move quickly up ahead of me and at first I thought “O my god…there goes my luggage!”.  He looked back around and waved at me, indicating to follow him up ahead which I did thinking – “follow the luggage!”. We finally, at what had been a long distant hastily pace reached what I thought was a taxi. Something in me stopped me thinking for a second, but before I could blink, the man had thrown my luggage into the taxi’s trunk, opened the passenger side door indicating for me to get in, which I did, in a stunned state. Before I knew it, the door was closed and to my surprise the man jumped into the passenger front seat and not the driver’s seat. I was shocked, and then when I looked over at the driver’s seat there was already a man sitting in it. All of a sudden I felt trapped…the man in the passenger’s seat turned around quickly and asked me for the address I was going to, which I dutifully handed across a piece of paper with the said address, trying to look like there was nothing usual about this situation.

At this point in time, there was inside of me, a raging panic attack screaming to get out! The taxis torn off in a bust of energy and then I started to image all sorts of horrors, “I am being kidnapped for ransom”, “I am going to be murdered” or “I am going to be sold on the white slave trade market in Europe!”.  I was in an even bigger panic by now, and tried to seem as calm as I possibly could; as there was no way of getting out of the taxi – it was travelling at great speed on a freeway to what I hopefully wanted to believe was my hotel. At this point I was looking for some form of taxi identification and/or a driver’s ID – there was none in sight so this compounded my thoughts that I was going to end up dead somewhere and nobody would know where to find me. So I decided the only thing I could do was to ring my husband, yes that’s right, my husband way back in Australia. Yes, wake him up in is safe and sound bed and tell him that I am in a taxi off to being possibly killed. So I rang my dear husband whom answered the phone with a groggy voice and where upon I said – “it’s me – Karen, I am on my way to my hotel”! He said “good and how was your flight”? Now you have to remember I didn’t want the taxis driver or the passenger to think I was thinking I was in danger, I just thought if I show any form of panic that it might make the whole situation worst. This was very easy for me to do, as I was an expert at not showing panic on the outside! Somehow I had communicated with my husband that I was in a taxi and asked if we could talk until I got to my hotel destination…he realised something was up and understood that was all I could say. So we talked about my flight over, talked about the weather, talked about home, talk about what I was going to be seeing at the trade fair because – it was almost a 45 minute drive and this mobile phone call ended up being the most expensive call I have ever made in my life. Halfway through this, what I can now call an adventure, all of a sudden the taxis stopped at a crossroads, the passenger’s door flew open and the passenger ran off into the night. Most peculiar I felt, but at least now there was just one possible kidnapper/murder I thought with husband still on the mobile at my ear. The taxi driver started driving down lanes and then back onto main streets, then back into lanes which seemed like forever before we came to a sudden stop…well it felt like a sudden stop. With my mobile phone to me ear and my eyes directed out of the window of the taxis towards some signage on what seemed like a hotel, I saw the hotel name that was a match for the name on my paperwork from my work – “thank you god” I said to myself. Suddenly a sense of great relief came over my body and my mind. I paid the taxis driver and jumped out of the taxis, grabbed my luggage from the trunk of the taxis and headed up the stairs of the hotel with my dear husband still hanging on the mobile in his comfy bed back in Australia. In tears and in laughter and all at the same time, I then told my husband all was good, I am safe and sound at my hotel and in one piece, I explained to him in full what had happened and that I couldn’t think of anything else to do – I said to him, with some humour “at least with the mobile GPS you would have been able to find my body”.

On recalling this travelling adventure or misadventure when I got back home to Australia, I did have a very big laugh at myself … all the fears I had and how they had my imagination running wild. I discovered later, that it was an illegal taxi and found out that these drivers target passengers coming out of airports – luring them to taxis’ parked away from the designated taxi ramps. So this image of a suitcase that has lots of travel stickers on it reminds me of the many travel adventures I have had, travelling alone for business, with my anxiety and panic attacks in co….”

 

© Karen Robinson, September 2015

 

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

After each creative writing session, I personally like 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!

 

2 of 2 Creative Writing Session Sept 2015 'I am packed to go!' Ink on Paper by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

2 of 2 Creative Writing Session Sept 2015 ‘I am packed to go!’ Ink on Paper by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

CONCLUSION

I hope by sharing this very personal story, a part of me that talks about being a person who experiences anxiety and panic attacks opening, will help others know and understand that there is nothing to be ashamed about such human conditions.  That we all at times in our lives find ourselves being inhibited by such human experiences, some of us more than others.

 

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 Six – August 2015 “Second Step of Group Project” by Karen Robinson

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

 

2 of 11 Art Therapy Session 31.8.2015 Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being second stage in painting production for group project NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

2 of 11 Art Therapy Session 31.8.2015 Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being second stage in painting production for group project NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

Today was our sixth group art therapy session and our second session working on our individual works, which once completed, will be grouped together to form one single group work of art.  NB:  To view details regarding the first stage please click here.

 

STEP TWO PART 1 – AT THE SESSION

During this session, I decided to add a blue line across the top and a green line at the bottom of my canvas.  I then mixed a lime green paint colour and using a finely pointed paint brush, marked the inside of the heart shape, with stem like markings.  Around the top where I had the blue line, I decided to mute the blue line by tapping over and around it with my black paint covered fingers on the canvas.  At the base of the canvas, using a small finely pointed paint brush,  I used dark green and lime green paint to make fine swirling lines and repeated the process with the colour orange/yellow around the base and along each side of the canvas.  The finished effect can be see in the image below.

 

3 of 11 Art Therapy Session 31.8.2015 Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being second stage in painting production for group project NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

3 of 11 Art Therapy Session 31.8.2015 Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being second stage in painting production for group project NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

THE COMPLETION OF THE SECOND STAGE OF OUR ART THERAPY GROUP PROJECT

After we had all completed this second stage of our individual pieces of art work, we all shared a little about our art work and only as much as we wanted to share.  Some of us talked about the meaning of it, others talked about what they intended to do moving forward over the weeks to come.  We were then given the option to either take our art work home with us to work on further or leave them at the venue to dry.  I chose to take mine home to work on and to give me the opportunity to plan what I wanted to do further, during the coming weeks of our art therapy sessions.

At the completion of the art therapy session we packed up and 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…

 

STEP TWO PART 2 – IN MY HOME STUDIO

The next day, I decided to work on my art work further.  Firstly with an ink pen, I outlined the green stems within the heart, and then draw in flowerets at the end of each stem line.  Once this was dry, I then coloured in the flowerets with, watered down yellow ink which nicely dispersed within the flowerets shaping.  In a couple of spots, I draw in mini flower bugs and small hearts.  I decided to ink blotch the top end of the canvas further, to make a stronger statement.  Once all this was dry, I pencilled in a boxing shape around the outer edging of the canvas, then use masking tape along the pencilled line and then painted it in gold, to frame the whole art work. The finished effect can be see in the single image below with close-ups in the follow set of images.  I am now leaving this art work to sit until our next art therapy session where I will then work on it further.

 

4 of 11 Art Therapy Session 31.8.2015 Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being second stage in painting production for group project NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

4 of 11 Art Therapy Session 31.8.2015 Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist painting on square canvas with acrylic paint being second stage in painting production for group project NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

CONCLUSION

It amazes me every time, just how much value there is being a participant within this art therapy group.  The art therapy facilitator involves the participants in all fazes of the decision-making process, so we are still deciding on how we will bring all the art work pieces together to represent the finished art work as one piece.  I will blog each week with up dates to show how it evolves – art therapy at it best I feel…

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