Greenvale, Victoria – Australia ‘Woodlands Historic Park, Somerton Access Road Area near Moonee Ponds Creek’ Photographed by Karen Robinson January 2022 Comments: Photograph featuring old gum tree arching over Moonee Ponds Creek.
“This weblog is my post-traumatic growth story. I have been journalling about it for a number of years now, and will continue to do so in the years to come. I started blogging at a time in my life, when I was struggling to feel good and positive; where I needed to desperately work on my sense of wellbeing. Not just for me, but for my family, friends and others in my life who were important to me. Now, through the usage of varying expressive art therapy methods, I have been able to re-establish a life that is fulfilling in many ways. By sharing my story here, I hope to help others find their way as well…”
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
Karen Robinson at Creative Writing Therapy with Mind Australia – Northcote Town Hall October 2015 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!.JPG
No. 7 of 29 Painting No. 64 Titled ‘For One’s Well-being’ Painting Practice by Abstract Painter Karen Robinson Feb 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws
No. 24 of 29 Painting No. 64 Titled ‘For One’s Well-being’ Painting Practice by Abstract Painter Karen Robinson Feb 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws
At the beginning of 2007, I decided to return to a childhood love of painting, photo art-making, photography and storytelling/creative writing. This decision came about when I really needed to devote myself to an activity that could help me de-stress, relax and wind down from many years of stress during my career and the demands of daily family life. It was also a time I wanted to look at working on childhood problems that had manifested into perpetual panic attacks, constant anxiety and depression. I was just going to take some time out for 12 months and then go back to work. Little did I know at that time, that painting, digital photo art-making and story-telling/creative writing, would end up being a form of therapy. An important post-traumatic growth stage in my life that would help me work through a quagmire of grief and despair. That would assist me in better understanding and managing my panic attacks and anxiety.
Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist in Home Studio 2014 painting – No. 58 Title ‘A State of Mind’ Dec 2014. On stand behind Karen Robinson is Painting No. 57 Title ‘Of Golden Sands, Sun & Sea’ 2014 and on the back NB: All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG
USING EXPRESSIVE ART AS THERAPY – SAVED ME!
In November 2008, my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma and I became his carer during the twelve-month period of his chemotherapy and recovery process. On the 5th November 2009, just twelve months on, our 25-year-old son was killed in a single-vehicle car crash. I poured all my effects into painting and digital photo art-making (found in Portfolio tabs) as a way of being able to stay sane! When I look back over my paintings and re-read the accompanying stories, I realise now, that I was using painting to work through a torrid of emotions. Art therapy and my painting storytelling saved me. As you go through each of my paintings you will see an accompanying story that helps illuminate each painting’s source of inspiration. This process of painting and writing the corresponding story became a very powerful tool to express emotions and feelings that were too hard to say out loud.
MY USE OF ART AND STORY-TELLING AS THERAPY – ‘A BIRD OF PARADISE’
Painting No. 38 – Title ‘A Bird of Paradise’ Sept 2009 – by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson – Acrylic on Canvas 100cm Length x 115cms Wide x 3 cms Deep. Painting Story: This painting was inspired by the bird of paradise planted out into pots by my husband which now sits upon the back paving garden area. These pots of bird of paradise were from his father’s garden in Bayswater and are now growing happily in our garden. My husband’s father had passed away in 2008, so it was a very symbolic gesture of my husband’s father’s life. During my husband’s recovery from Chemotherapy, he spent small amounts of time in our garden planting which helped him feel better about life. This painting represents the beauty of my husband’s gentle inner soul. He has been a wonderful soul mate over our 35 years plus of marriage. Our garden is a place of peace and hope. A quiet place to potter and tender to mother earth! My husband has been my “Bird of Paradise” in my life. Karen Robinson 2009 NB: All images and stories are protected by copyright laws.jpg
MY USE OF ART AND STORY-TELLING AS THERAPY – ‘THE DEATH OF OUR SON’
Painting No. 45B – Title ‘The Death of Our Son Ben’ Jan-Jun 2010 – by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson – Acrylic on Canvas 91cms Length x 91cms Wide x 3cms Deep. Painting Story: Our son Ben was killed on 5/11/2009 in a single-vehicle car crash. Ben had just finished a 7-day shift at Fosterville Gold Mines in Bendigo and was out with his Crew 3 work colleagues at their local drinking haunt. At approximately 1.30am Thursday morning they headed off from the bar to home. Ben was able to get a cab but his boss was not able to get one. His boss said for Ben to take the cab and he would start walking home. Ben reached home and being concerned about his boss walking home decided to get into his car and go and pick up his boss and drive him home. This was a fatal decision Ben made. After picking up his boss and getting him home safely, Ben headed back to his own home via the road that lead back to his work. This road was out through bush and farmland and Kangaroo territory. At approximately 1.30am Ben travelling at approximately 140 kilometres and with over 0.08 blood alcohol, hit a kangaroo. Ben lost control of his car and at a high-speed collided with trees set on the side of the road. Ben was killed instantly. It was not until approximately 5am that Ben was discovered dead by one of his Fosterville Gold Mine people. Ben made a terrible decision to get into his car that night but for a good reason to ensure his boss got home safely. When we went up to see where Ben had his crash it was incredibly emotional, distressing and heartbreaking. the decision to do a painting of Ben’s crash was all about trying to communicate to all young people about drinking and driving and how in just one split second, a life can be taken. That a young life was taken is such a tragedy and that so many other people’s lives are deeply affected and changed forever as well by this loss… The painting shows the split-second of our son Ben’s death. The impact of his car of silver and crimson into the trees, the shattering of his car and his life. the road through what is a very beautiful country Victoria, a strange contrast to the tragedy we were all facing. The blue in the crash is our boy’s soul, the gold is our treasured son and the blue triangles are his soul reaching for the night heavens. There is the road stretching into the distance and the gums in the bush fields. Karen Robinson 2010 NB All images and stories are protected by copyright laws!
ANOTHER FORM OF THERAPY – VOLUNTEER SPEAKING
At the beginning of 2011, I followed through with a desire to do volunteer speaking with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV). It also became a form of therapy and an important part of my life and still is. Volunteer speakers share their road trauma stories with repeat road traffic offenders at Road Trauma Awareness Seminars in the hope that sharing their family’s road trauma story will help the participants of these seminars repeat road traffic offenders directed by the Magistrates Courts to attend, to rethink their risky driver behaviour and in turn this will hopefully save lives, reduce serious injury and reduce the ripple effect caused by road trauma. Initially, I was required to do some training in order that I could formulate my family’s road trauma story, give me an opportunity to train with like-minded people, and attend a number of Road Trauma Awareness Seminar (RTAS) sessions where I would be speaking; and then the final act in actually delivering my family’s road trauma story as a volunteer speaker – talking about my son Ben who had been killed in a single-vehicle car crash on the 5th November 2009 and who had a serious history of road traffic offending, just like the many RTAS participants attending the seminars. I have been doing this most worthy task as an RTAS volunteer speaker for most months since 2011.
Karen Robinson – RTAS Volunteer Speaker Presenting her family’s road trauma story at Werribee RTAS July 2015 Photo No. 2. JPG. “I present at Road Trauma Awareness Seminars to repeat road traffic offenders in the hope that by hearing about my family’s road trauma story will get them to rethink their risky driver behaviour and in turn will help save lives and reduce serious injury caused by road trauma. Within the photo above, is a photo that I had taken just before my son was killed in a single-vehicle car crash on the 5th of November 2009. It was the last time I saw him alive and I remember thinking that I had finally seen the man in the boy on that very day. Ben was 25…in loving memory of my boy Ben…forever missed and forever remembered by his mum..me”. NB: Art Therapy became a way for me to process my grief and despair and rebuild my life so that I could continue being a wife to my loving, caring husband and a mother to my dear sweet daughter. Karen Robinson Copyright 2016. NB: All images and stories are protected by copyright laws!
ABOUT ‘USING ART FOR THERAPY’ VIDEO
This video was produced by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) as a CLIENT VIDEO featuring myself Karen Robinson talking about using ‘art for therapy’ for TAC’s 2011 ‘Picture This’ Exhibition. It was “ in its fifth year and provided people who had been affected by road trauma to use the artistic expression, whether it was drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography or textiles, to share their experiences. The exhibitions showcased artwork by people who had either taken up art since being involved in a transport accident or who were artists before their accident“. TAC (2013). Client art exhibition – Picture This 2013. Retrieved from http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/claims/client-zone/client-art-exhibition.
ABOUT MY FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION VIDEO
Once again the Transport Accident Commission Victoria made a short video of myself on the opening night of my 2015 solo exhibition. I talk about how my art has been a form of therapy over the last five years, since the death of my son, who had been killed in road trauma on 5th November 2009. A very big thank you to TAC’s CEO – Janet Dore for seeing the value in spending the time and money in capturing this very special moment, in my life. Link: http://www.tac.vic.gov.au
ARTIST INTERVIEW BY CASEY WEBB – JUNG KATZ
July 2014 I had the good fortune to have had the opportunity to be interviewed by Casey Webb – Jung Katz – Blog for Artists. It was a wonderful way of being able to share with others my ‘art for therapy’ story – please click here to read “Artist Interview: Karen Robinson – Abstract Painter”.
A PHOTO-STORY MOVIE ABOUT MY 2015 ART THERAPY & CREATIVE WRITING SESSIONS
Please click here to read the back story about the creation and production of this above movie by me and about my art therapy and creative writing sessions in 2015 with MIND Australia.
No. 2 of 17 Art Therapy Sessions 14th & 17th Sept 2015 Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist working on own individual artwork. NB: All images and stories are protected by copyright laws!JPG
ABSTRACT PAINTING SLIDESHOW
Here below is a slide show of some of my abstract painting favourites! You can find a complete overview of my paintings and their stories by clicking on the drop-down tab called “Abstract Painting Portfolio”. I hope that when you go through my gallery, you can take the time to also read some of my painting stories. For me, the painting’s story is just as important as the painting itself. The act of painting and painting story writing has become an important part of my art therapy journey.
2 of 18 Class 12 ‘Produce Paintings’ CAE Class-Certificate 111 in Visual Arts – Photograph by a fellow student of Karen Robinson Oct 2016 NB All images protected by copyright
I am hoping that by sharing my art therapy journey, my creative writing and photography efforts will inspire others, to take up art therapy and creative writing to find their voice – in order to be able to move forward in the most difficult of times. Art and storytelling/creative writing have brought me now to a much better place, where I find myself being able to seek joy each day. As an ongoing process, I will be blogging about my art therapy journey “moving forward” and expanding on how others have used/are using art therapy to assist physical and emotional well-being. I hope you will join me!
My wonderful daughter, me Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist and my dear husband at my very first Solo Exhibition Opening Night Titled ‘When words are hard to find!’ 2015 Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery, Craigieburn, Melbourne, Australia. The Painting featured titled ‘The Dining Room Table 2009 NB: Images are protected by copyright laws.Jpeg
Karen Robinson at her Solo Exhibition titled …When words are hard to find – 6th May 2015 at Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery – Craigieburn. Photo graphed by Angie Basdekis for Hume Leader Newspaper getimage.aspx.jpg
No. 63 – ‘When words are hard to find’ Solo Exhibition of Karen Robinson 6.5.15 Gallery ready for Opening night at Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery for Exhibition.JPG
Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist with Hubby standing along side of Painting No. 45D Titled ‘Rest in Peace Ben’ at TAC’s ‘Picture This’ Exhibition 2011 at Geelong Gallery NB All images are protected by copyright.JPG
At RTSSV celebrating 21 years with Karen Robinson (left), Gillian Scaduto (middle) and Ann Bougen Lewis (right) 27.11.2015 NB All images are copyright protected.JPG
Gillian Scaduto MIND Australia Facilitator – Art Therapy & Creative Writing with Karen Robinson at ‘Reflections Carer Group Exhibition’ Northcote Town-hall, Melbourne Australia 2015 NB Images protected by copyright
Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist with Hubby standing along side of Painting No. 45E Titled ‘Reaching Out to Sons’ TAC’s ‘Picture This’ Exhibition 2011 at Geelong Gallery NB All images are protected by copyright..JPG
2 of 21 Regional Arts Victoria’s Annual Members Celebration and AGM at the State Library of Victoria, Latrobe Street, Melbourne 30.05.2015 – Karen Robinson & Amanda Gibson – RAV Regional Facilitator.JPG
Hand over of Abstract Painting No. 45E – Titled “Reaching Out to Sons” to Janet Dore, CEO of TAC with Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist Feb 2012 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!
No. 8 of 10 Karen and husband at the ‘Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei’ Exhibition – National Gallery of Victoria – Melbourne Australia 23.04.16 NB Images are copyright protected
No.77 ‘ Step 8 – Group photo taken at our Art Therapy Session – last day! – Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws
Karen Robinson (me) & Judy Bird – Mind Australia Creative Writing Facilitator during Creative Writing Session Northcote Townhall 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright laws
Karen Robinson at Home Art Studio holding book titled ‘Abnormal Psychology’ featuring on the front cover her original painting titled ‘For Ones’ Well-being’ March 2017 http://www.idoartkarenrobinson.com NB: All images are copyright protected
Jessie_Robinson Family Dog_R.I.P. March 2017_Karen Robinson_www.idoartkarenrobinson.com_All images are protected by copyright_March 2017_102.jpg
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne, Victoria – Australia. Karen Robinson’s daughter takes photos of Dragon Flies on top of Water Lillies during a mother/daughter day. 2016 NB: All images are protected by copyright laws
So needed to read this as I am new to the blogging world and am a survivor to childhood trauma. Your work is amazing it’s so good to see this. Way to go such a positive influence.
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Hi…so glad that you have decided to blog. Blogging can be a very positive way of being able to express feelings and thoughts, a way to share with others in the hope that by sharing will have a positive action for all. There have been many times in my life where I have struggled and it wasn’t until late in my life that I found something that worked for me over all. One day I said to myself, why am I still not happy? So I went on this daily endeavour to find one thing that really made me happy in a day, something that ‘ticked the happy box’ so to speak. What I discovered over time was this. Once we start looking for one thing in one day to make us happy, it becomes addictive and we start looking for more and more in everyday. This process lead me to feeling much better about life, and more able to deal with the times where daily life was a challenge. I changed my mindset! And anytime I find myself going down the path of depression and/or experiencing anxiety – I just reframe my day to look for something that ‘ticks the happy box’. Works for me and hope that by sharing it might work for you – tell me how you go…sincerely Karen
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Thank you for that advice. Its so amazing to see people do good and work thru their problems. I will give your advice a try and much love to you.
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Thank you. You too. 💖
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