Creative Writing Group Session 6 of 6 – “Pools of Strength…”

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No. 1 Creative Writing Session 6 & Abstract Painting 'Pools of Strength' Acrylic Painting on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 6 & Abstract Painting ‘Pools of Strength’ Acrylic Painting on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

INTRODUCTION

We have arrived at our last session of creative writing and it is a cheerful gathering of participants.  It was time to take a moment out to reflect on our creative writing efforts; and to appreciate friendships formed around the interesting, honest and deeply personal accounts of our shared creative writing efforts.  To also be thankful that we had the generous support of the organisation that had supplied us with our creative writing facilitator and support facilitator – such good people.

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

Our homework that we presented here at this last session, was to be based around 3 separate moments within the week prior, that we thought we required strength of mind.  I didn’t think that I was going to have anything within a week to write about but upon reflection, I found small pockets of time, where I found myself looking for a personal strength and I wrote the following short essays on the said:

Title:  Pools of Strength I – The Family Pet Jessie

“I found myself believing, I was going to require some strength, when my husband told me he was going to be taking our beloved family dog Jessie to the vet; as we had found another lump, this time on his leg. Jessie is an old dog now, but is in good shape considering his age. Sometimes I think – I wish I was in, as good a shape as he! Our dog has lumps on his body and we have been told, in the past, by our vet, that there is nothing to worry about, just fatty tissue deposits. But now there is this new lump on Jessie’s leg which the vet had indicated he is concerned about and needed to take a sample for testing. So I was preparing myself for bad news from my husband on his return home from the vet with Jessie on this day. Thankfully – all is OK and it is just another fatty deposit which means our beloved family pet – Jessie will be with us more…”

Written by Karen Robinson 13/12/14 ‘Copyright’ Protected

Title:  Pools of Strength II – Sisterly Concern

“Just yesterday, and just another day in a week, a dear friend called me and once again I could detect anxiety in her voice. Each time I hear this, I find myself having to draw on my reserves of strength, in order that I can be a good friend and be able to support her in such a way that she will feel less anxiety, more hopefulness after each of our conversations. I will see her again this coming week, which has become a ritual over the past few months; as I have found it seems to be giving her a counter balance to the rest of her week. Just when I think she has reached her tipping point of despair, a good conversation seems to pull her back to a more balanced mindset. I worry that one day, I will not be there to help her… but for now, I reach for my strength… to help her be strong… when she needs to be better for herself.”

Written by Karen Robinson 13/12/14 ‘Copyright’ Protected

Title:  Pools of Strength II – A Worthy Task

“On Monday night of this week, I told my family’s road trauma story to repeat road traffic offenders, whom have been sent by the Magistrates courts as part of their sentencing requirements. This task I do once a month mostly and requires of me some strength. When I hear about these participants’ risky driver behaviour, about how they have been putting themselves and others at risk on our roads, it becomes clear to me that by hearing my story will hopefully give them the strength they need to make better choices about their risky driver behaviour. I leave behind on these nights, a sense that a worthy task has been achieved and I return home to regain my strength for the next time it will be called upon.”

Written by Karen Robinson 13/12/14 ‘Copyright’ Protected

 

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece to inspire an art work and is featured below titled ‘Pools of Strength’. They are not ‘master pieces’ 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.

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 on the below links to view Nos. 1,2,3,4 & 5 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

Creative Writing Group Session 5 of 6 – “When All Seemed Possible…”

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

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 5 & Abstract Painting 'When all seemed possible' Acrylic Painting on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson NB  All images are protected by copyright laws .JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 5 & Abstract Painting ‘When all seemed possible’ Acrylic Painting on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws .JPG

INTRODUCTION

It is now our second last creative writing session, which means we are close to the end of our creative writing journey as this group.  Once again, we shared our writing efforts and once again, these writing pieces revealed more about ourselves.  This process of writing and sharing has helped me feel more confident about broadening my writing endeavours; to look for writing inspirations from areas of my imagination that I had not used as a source of inspiration beforehand.  It was ‘kinda’ fun in lots of ways and in other ways it was confronting, especially when it came to writing about pieces that were deeply personal.

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

For last week’s creative writing homework, one of the writing tasks we were asked to do, was to write a poem or poems, using a list of words given to us by the creative writing facilitator.  We could use some or all the words within a poem, if we wished.  I had a lot of fun trying to formulate words to make a poem, especially from a set of given words.  It felt like play…good therapy!  NB:  The highlighted words, in the list below are the ones I used in my two poems here in this weblog.

These are the words:  magic, conjure, doves, enchant, gloves, wand, stage, words, show, cards, disappear, hat, rabbit, hand, wave, sleeve, coin, theatre, act, glamour, flowers, rings, cloth, illusion, hocus-pocus, abracadabra, spotlight, spells, tricks, tights, curtains, presto, silk, handkerchief, smoke, mirrors, and flash.

The following two poems are the result of this creative writing exercise. The first poem I titled ‘The Magic Rabbit’ , it is a playful piece and the second poem I titled ‘A Person in Need…’ and is more solemn.

Poem No. 1 –  Titled:  The Magic Rabbit…

“There was a magic rabbit

     Who had a very bad habit!

He was full of tricks and hocus-pocus

     And used illusions whilst he had us focus

He would put us under spells with his wand

     Then hay presto the magic rabbit would have us all conned

But alas it was just a show

     Only the magic rabbit was in the know!”

Written 23/11/2014 by Karen Robinson – ‘Copyright’ Protected

Poem No. 2 Titled:  A Person in Need…

       “Give me a hand when I am in need…

Give me flowers when I need the scent of spring…

Give me silk when I need a soft touch…

Give me a handkerchief when I need to stop a falling tear…

       Give me a ring as a sign of your everlasting love…

Give me a wave when you leave for the day…

Give me a card to show you have remembered me…

Give me your word you will stay…

Written 23/11/2014 by Karen Robinson – ‘Copyright’ Protected

 

CREATIVE WRITING PROCESS DURING THIS SESSION

During the creative writing session, the facilitator asked us to write about a time we felt secure, confident and in touch with a strength.  We were also asked to write a piece on ‘stars’ – could be anything but just with the word ‘stars’ in mind.  Here below is my story which I titled ‘When All Seemed Possible”.

“When All Seemed Possible”

“When I was a very young girl, I used to sit on the front, outdoor, wooden stairs of our Northern Queensland home in Cairns and look up at the stars. The night’s skies in Northern Queensland are so clear and the stars seemed to be so close; you felt you could almost reach out and pull one into yourself. They looked like they were winking at me and I could find different shapes as my childish imagination went to work.  I spent many hours with my younger sister and brother gazing up at them, at the end of a childhood day.

These nights were barmy and as children we were usually in our pyjamas, clean and ready for bed. My mother taught us an old English language nursery rhyme which stayed with me for many years and one I also recanted to my children, when they were very young.   The lyrics of this rhyme goes like this:

‘Star light, star bright,

The first star I see tonight;

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight”

Sometimes – in times of childhood despair, I would make a wish that I, very much hoped would come true. I remember, believing that by, looking at the stars in the heaven at night, and making such wishes, must mean, I had a good chance of them being realised sometime in the future.  The heavenly northern night skies, with its twinkling, bright and beautiful stars, were just some much bigger than me – so they must have the power to make my wish possible…this was my childhood belief.

I still find the stars in the night skies breathtakingly beautiful. I now live in the very southern part of Australia in Melbourne.  Its city night lights drown out the stars’ brilliance, and we don’t get to see the them, as they are meant to be seen.  It is not until I go, out into the bush and take time out to gaze upwards, that I remember just how small I am within this universe. It is this action that always reminds me that my problems are small too.  And it is also at these times, that I remind myself, of my childhood belief. I say to myself “just look up at the heavens and make a wish” – why not…life has taught me, anything is possible…”

Written on 26th November 2014 by Karen Robinson – ‘Copyright’ Protected

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece to inspire an art work and is featured below titled ‘When All Seemed Possible’. They are not ‘master pieces’ 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.

CONCLUSION

Thank you for joining me on this Creative Writing Group Session Journey!  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1,2,3 & 4 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

Creative Writing Group Session 4 of 6 – “A Time to Remember…”

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

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 4 'A Time to Remember' Acrylic Paint A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Nov 2014 NB All images protected by copyright law.JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 4 ‘A Time to Remember’ Acrylic Paint A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Nov 2014 NB All images protected by copyright law.JPG

INTRODUCTION

Acreative writing participants, we are now just past mid way through our journey within this group.  It has been an interesting process so far – learning about what sort of writers each of us are and how much we differ in our writing approaches.  What has been most interesting, is hearing each other’s writing voices through the sharing of our stories each week.

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

For our last week’s homework creative writing piece, we were asked to write about ‘words that have helped ourselves get through something‘. After some reflection, I wrote about the words I found to help me through my greatest loss – the death of my son Ben.  I called it  ‘A Time to Remember’.

Title:  A Time to Remember...

“There was a time in my life, where there were no words that could help me after the loss of my son Ben, who was killed in a single vehicle car crash on the 5th November 2009, at the age of 25. I found myself searching for some way to be able to want to move forward, to find meaning and purpose in my life, to find some small measure of joy in every day.

No. 19 Creative Writing Session 3 - 'A Time to Remember' Ben James Robinson 16.11.1983 - 5.11.2009 Photo taken by Karen Robinson NB all images are protected.jpg

No. 19 Creative Writing Session 3 – ‘A Time to Remember’ Ben James Robinson 16.11.1983 – 5.11.2009 Photo taken by Karen Robinson NB all images are protected by copyright laws.jpg

In early 2010, I had decided to do volunteer speaking with an organisation that uses volunteer speakers, to tell their family’s road trauma story to repeat road traffic offenders, in the hope that by hearing the volunteer speaker’s personal story, their words, would help these drivers to rethink about their risky driver behaviour.

It was at this time, I wrote my family’s road trauma story. I remember getting started and setting out to put my thoughts into words, in preparation of my ‘Road Trauma Awareness’ presentation to come. It was a very painful process, deeply personal, confronting, distressing, physically draining and mentally both challenging and depressing. I found myself swallowed up in tears and full of sorrow. Over time – I wrote, rewrote and rewrote again, as it became a sort of dialogue with me and the memory of my son; a way to look over how and why he had been killed. It also became a defining reality that Ben, my son was not ever going to return, that his death was the end of my real life relationship with him as his mother. My heart was broken and I didn’t know how I was going to fix it…

Most months, since then, I tell my family’s road trauma story. I read these precious words about his life, the cause of his death, his memory – to other mothers’ sons, hoping that by sharing my words, sharing my family’s story will save lives and reduce serious injury caused by road trauma; caused by risky driver behaviour…

It has been five years now, since Ben’s death, and it was on the 5th November this month, another anniversary of his death, that my husband, my daughter and I visited Fawkner Memorial Park, where Ben’s ashes have been placed. Each year, I look at his plague where our carefully chosen words read –

“In loving memory of Ben James Robinson
16th November 1983 – 5th November 2009
Loved Son of Mark and Karen Robinson
Loved brother of Kelly Robinson
Loved Grandson, Nephew, Cousin and Friend
Taken too soon…our beautiful boy Ben…forever in our hearts…forever remembered…forever missed…”

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 3 - 'A time to Remember' Photographed by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing Session 3 – ‘A time to Remember’ Photographed by Karen Robinson NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

Fawkner Memorial Park is beautiful at this time of the year with all its carefully manicured roses standing at attention; almost as if it was a respectful recognition of our presence.. Their scented, showy blooms and wonderful array of colour is a source of comfort to us. Whilst the day is a sad and difficult day, it has become a day we make this pilgrimage to visit Ben’s memorial within this strangely beautiful scene.  A brilliant blue sky hangs over us, like a protective blanket; the sun gently warms our bodies as we take some time out to think about our Ben.  It was his birth day on Sunday, the 16th of this month. He would have been… 31…”

Written 25/11/2014 by Karen Robinson in loving memory of Ben…my son 16th November 1983 – 5th November 2009 – ‘Copyright’ Protected

 

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING PHOTO-TAKING

I am an avid photo-taker and have realised over many years now, that photo-taking has given me an opportunity to record important family events and moments that other wise would be lost in my memory archives, as I age.  Taking photos ensures I have a picture story to forward onto my family’s future generations.  There have been many, many happy moments captured in this manner.  So it is not a surprise that I would also capture moments my family share, when we do our yearly pilgrimage to Fawkner Memorial Park; to take moments out to think about our Ben.

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece to inspire an art work and is featured below titled ‘A Time to Remember’. They are not ‘master pieces’ 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.

CONCLUSION

Thank you for joining me on this Creative Writing Group Session Journey!  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1,2 & 3 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

Creative Writing Group Session 3 of 6 – “Treasured Memories”

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

INTRODUCTION

Once again, we as creative writing participants arrived ready to reveal our homework writing pieces.  It was interesting to note how each of us had taken a considered approach to these writing pieces; how by sharing them within the group was an important part of the creative process and also a means to expressing details that revealed more and more about each of us as people.

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

For our last week’s homework creative writing piece, we were asked to write about a piece of furniture and after some reflection, I wrote about an old piece of furniture my family have had for many years.   I called it ‘Treasured Memories’.

Title:  Treasured Memories

“It stands currently in the corner of our living room, the side board that has been in my family all my married life of 34 years. My husband as a young man and before we met, had rescued it from the house next door to his mother and father’s home, when the old woman, who lived there had died and left behind a house full of old furniture. My husband lovingly restored it to its former glory!

Over the years, this side board has moved from house to house, as we did. Sometimes looking out-of-place and at other times blending in beautifully. It has curved legs and stands tall against a wall. Its mahogany timber is a dark, warm, honey colour and has been protected by a layer of varnish which shines in the light that streams in through the window. It has a flat board top, where our family photos sit proudly; and where a back timber board looks over them. Below this top board, there is situated to each side, a set of wooden shelves and wooded inlaid doors, with fancy antique lock handles. When the doors open, it has that old musky smell of a time long gone. In its centre, it has a set of heavy timber draws, which have been lined with pretty, flowered, scented draw liners.

This piece of furniture holds many dear and treasured memories of my adult life with my husband and children; and explains why it is still with us despite being a very heavy, old piece of furniture…”

Written by Karen Robinson 16/11/2014 ‘Copyright’ Protected

DURING THE CREATIVE WRITING SESSION

During the session, the creative writing facilitator had us create a number of writing pieces on (1) Moving; (2) then on a saying we had each chosen, mine was ‘never say never’; (3) and a final writing piece on something that we could sight from the balcony window where our session was being held – I called my writing piece “Black Power”.

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece ‘Treasured Memories’ to inspire an art work.  I wanted to especially create an image based on the sideboard wooden texture characteristics and it beautiful honey tones using  Matisse Acrylic Structure Paint.  Four colours were used:  (1) a very dark brown – almost black; (2) a lighter dark brown; (3) a mustard colour; (4) a orangey colour; (5) and then a light metallic gold.  I then used the end of a fine paint brush handle to etch in a lining to reveal the first layer of the dark brown – almost black paint.


CONCLUSION

Thank you for joining me on this Creative Writing Group Session Journey!  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1 & 2 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

Creative Writing Group Session 2 of 6 – “The Face Mask”

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

No. 1 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting 'The Face Mask' Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Nov 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright laws .JPG

No. 1 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting ‘The Face Mask’ Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Nov 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright laws .JPG

INTRODUCTION

We are now into our second session of Creative Writing and feeling a bit more confident about what the process of creative writing will bring.  Group participants appear to be happy to be in attendance; and keen to reveal their creative writing home work efforts, that our creative writing facilitator had set for us, to do in between our first session and this now our second session.

NB:  Please click here to read the introduction to this series of posts and also more about the first session:  Creative Writing Group Session 1 of 6 – “The Happy Box”

THE CREATIVE WRITING HOMEWORK

We were asked to think about writing a piece about ‘what plant/flower’ we imagined we might be!  On giving this some thought and after doing a small amount of research on my choice, I decided to nominate myself as a ‘prickly pear plant’ –  http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/76606/IPA-Prickly-Pear-Control-PP29.pdf

This is my homework writing piece and I called it ‘Prickly in Nature!

Title:  ‘Prickly in Nature’

“I remember a time, when a CEO of a company I worked for, said to me, that I was a little prickly in nature! Yes, it is true at times, I can be a little prickly and therefore it seems appropriate I choose to be a prickly pear plant…

I am greenish in colour and have long, sharp spines that protrude from my fleshy, oval-shaped flat pads. When I am at my best, I have a show of flowers that will bare one fruit for every flower. My fruit can be peeled and eaten raw, but I like to be used to make candy, jelly, juice or wine, as it helps improve my reputation, as a sometimes likable cactus. My flowers maybe coloured red, yellow, or purple and depends where I am growing. I have a tolerate nature and therefore like a wide range of temperatures and moisture levels. I adore my desert like conditions!  For centuries I have been best known for my healing capacities and hold valuable food qualities.  At my worst my spines will come off into your skin, they will be difficult to remove and will irritate your skin for days, so a warning – be careful how you handle me!

So whilst at times, I can be a little prickly in nature and perhaps I don’t appeal to all; and whilst valued by some and brushed aside by others, I do know there is a place for me in this world as a prickly pear….”

Written on 2nd November 2014 by Karen Robinson – “Copyright’ Protected

I was the first to embark on telling my story about, being a plant/flower and there was some discussion that I wasn’t really a ‘prickly pear’; that some of my writing didn’t sound like me.  I was surprised and also pleased, but not without understanding that there is a prickly pear inside of me!  Each creative writing participant then proceeded to share their plant/flower story.  All were very thought-provoking creative writing pieces.  Some wrote detailed and deeply personal stories that revealed life long struggles.  Hearing their creative writing pieces left me pondering about the power of words and how writing our experiences can be so revealing, about what we are thinking; about what we have deeply embedded in our subconscious’.  That by taking on a creative writing exercise, can bring forward these thoughts and emotions to the forefront, for further self-examination.

CREATIVE WRITING PROCESS DURING SESSION 2

During the balance of the session, we were asked to write a piece about a Sue Janson Mug.  We were presented with the mug itself.  It was handed around the group, where each of us had a turn, to examine it in detail.  Then we were asked to brainstorm a list of thoughts that came to mind after handling the mug.

The following is my brain storm list of thoughts after viewing the Sue Janson Mug:

  • Being old – not a wonderful look!
  • Comfort in old age!
  • Vanity disappears – thank god!
  • Good humour about bodies!
  • As if the face mask can hide the other 99.9% of the body image!
  • Seagulls are having a good laugh!
  • Learning to accept the passage of time!
  • Humanizing body image!
  • Low acceptance of human fragility in society!
  • Glamorising of the body beautiful of so few!
No. 2 Creative Writing Session 2 - working with Sue Janson Australian Artist Coffee Cup Images as inspiration photographed by Karen Robinson Nov 2014.JPG.JPG

No. 2 Creative Writing Session 2 – working with Sue Janson Australian Artist Coffee Cup Images as inspiration photographed by Karen Robinson Nov 2014.JPG.JPG

Once we had written our brain storming list of thoughts, we were than asked to pass it over to a partner and we where then asked to circle three thoughts and/or words/phrases on the list and give back to the writer.  From this point we were ask to write a piece, which would be inclusive of those three circled word/s and mine consisted of:  (1) body beautiful; (2) face mask; and (3) the seagulls are having a good laugh.  From these I wrote the following creative writing piece which I titled ‘The Face Mask’.

Title: The Face Mask!

“The glamorising of the ‘body beautiful’ puts so much pressure on us as women. I have seen it, as my job as a mum, to ensure my daughter does not feel the need to adopt a falsehood of herself. That the value of a person is not summed up in, how we look first up, but in what we say and do!

Makeup wearing by women can act like a ‘face mask’ worn to hide the real self, to indicate to others that we are not happy with the real us, that an improvement of our physical self needs to be done regularly. It’s the same for body hair and in particular women’s body hair. We go to such lengths to ensure there isn’t a pubic hair in sight, when wearing bathers at the beach, fearing that the sight of one, will be an utter embarrassment and most certainly have ‘the seagulls rolling on the beach in laughter’.

It’s a tragedy that we cannot, just be our natural selves all of the time; we waste so much time, energy and money on our ‘looks’. We need to just consider our health in mind and body only, as looks fade and without a healthy mind and body…looks are just so unimportant!”

Written on 5th November 2014 by Karen Robinson – “Copyright” Protected

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

Again I wanted to use my creative writing piece to inspire an art work.  ‘The Face Mask’ had me thinking about how as women in privileged societies spend so much time, energy and money, in trying to live up to almost impossible images that they view each and every day through television, newspapers, magazines, movies, and social media.  Over a life time, masses amounts of lipstick is applied to our lips;  face make up smeared onto skins; eyebrows plucked and shaped;  lashes lengthened and coloured; face-lifts done to ward off wrinkles; tanning colour applied; bleaching of skin; eye colour lens to change original eye colour; hair dyed, cut and styled over and over again; along with numerous other ‘beauty’ treatments.  All these effects are beyond wanting a healthy mind and body.  My art work below is of a face that has had a constant laying of Matisse Acrylic Structure Paint applied to its surface – hence hiding its true self…

CONCLUSION

I am finding the creative writing group process, gives me an opportunity to express myself with words.  We get to share our creative writing pieces and we have the opportunity to hear what others have written as well.  It really makes you think and listen…

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

Creative Writing Group Session 1 of 6 – “The Happy Box!”

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

INTRODUCTION

My art therapy journey has been mostly a solo experience up until recently, 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 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 hard to find.

No. 9 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting 'The Happy Box!' Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright law.JPG

No. 9 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting ‘The Happy Box!’ Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright law.JPG

Throughout my abstract painting portfolio, I have dedicated an effort to verbalizing my art works’ sources of inspiration, meaning and sometimes its purpose.  Each painting has its own painting story, as I have called it, and whilst the details are of a factual nature, the process feels very much like creative writing. The creation of painting stories to accompany each painting has become, for me, an important part of the therapeutic process which has, over time, lead to a greater sense of wellbeing.

CREATIVE WRITING GROUP

Just recently,  I was fortunately asked, if I would like to join a ‘Creative Writing‘ group.  The small group is especially for those who are carers for another in their lives.  The sessions are designed to offer individuals a way to express themselves through ‘creative writing’ in a safe, secure and supportive environment.  It also gives participants an opportunity to meet new people whom they learn to share thoughts, emotions and life experiences within an imaginative and creative environment.

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.

No. 10 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting 'The Happy Box!' Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright laws.JPG

No. 10 Creative Writing & Abstract Painting ‘The Happy Box!’ Acrylic Paint on A3 HW Paper by Karen Robinson Oct 2014 NB All images are subject to copyright laws.JPG

CREATIVE WRITING PROCESS

In our group there are between five to eight participants, one creative writing specialist and one co-facilitator.  At this very first session it was really about getting to know each other, gaining a sense of being comfortable in sharing basic facts amongst the group, in this new space.  We then embarked on several creative writing exercises where we were asked to write about (1) The View; then about (2) Where am I right now!; and lastly (3) What am I an expert in?  After each piece was written, we shared our writings with each other.  It was very interesting to share and hear each others creative writing endeavours and was a wonderful way to get to know each other in a manner that was quite personally informative.

MY CREATING WRITING PIECE TITLED “THE HAPPY BOX!”

We were given homework to do which was to write another piece on ‘What I am an expert in?’ and this is the writing piece I would like to share here below.  I gave it the title of ‘The Happy Box!’:

Title: The Happy Box!

When it comes to thinking about what “I am an expert in” and taking into account my age, being the length of time I have had, to create expertise – I am left to ponder. The word expert, for me, has a limiting effect. Once you become labelled as an expert, there is a notion that you have reached the end of that ability to grow further more; that you therefore know, all there is to know, about that particular field of knowledge.

Thinking again, about what “I am an expert in” I would have to say there have been many things that I have become an expert at, over my life; and once I reached that state of being an expert, I moved onto the next thing I could become an expert at. Over what now seems to have been a long life, I have always challenged myself to be the best; to be expert in tasks that require great dedication and drive, and an inclusiveness of a sort of madness to continue, despite hurdles to overcome.

My greatest life-long challenge has been, to become an expert at being a fully functional human being. Inherited childhood learning’s and deficiencies, became adult puzzles to work on throughout my whole life. I would mould myself into a better me at times and at other times fail at this task miserably. I have learned to treasure the smallest of delights and recall them in my melancholy moments; to use them to uplift my spirits, when day-to-day life had failed to do so.

To help me gain this sense of expertise in being a fully functional human being, I just recently developed a system for myself. I call it the ‘happy box’! I ask myself each day, is what I am going to be doing this day, going to tick the ‘happy box’ and if the answer is yes, then it is included and if the answer is no, I take the time out to ask why and should I be doing it at all, if it is not going to tick the ‘happy box’.

I find myself now working towards being an expert at living the balance of my life in such a way that I look for joy in everyday. My ‘happy box’ thought process, has been helping me work towards this quest. I look to become the expert I have been striving for, all my life. It is a deeply personal endeavour and it is going to be very satisfying … it will tick the happy box!”

Written on 28th October 2014 by Karen Robinson – ‘Copyright’ Protected

CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRING ART!

After immersing myself in my creative writing homework task; and after reading it to the creative writing group in session 2, I decided to go home that day and do a small work of art based on my creative writing piece ‘The Happy Box!’ to accompany this weblog.  The ‘Matisse Acrylic Structure Paint‘ colours I chose to use are bright and bold being (1) Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red and Red Oxide, along with two other colours I had mixed previously – a reddish colour and black/smokey colour.  I used a flat, oval spatula to smear the paint around the paper and then used a thin paint brush to add the box and tick. I found myself really enjoying the process of producing the art work and photographing it accordingly.  Even the act of photo-taking of it was a therapeutic process!  Art therapy at its best I feel…

CONCLUSION

For me, the act of creative writing and accompanying it with the process of creating an art work to reflect the creative writing piece – definitely ticked the happy box…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Art Therapy Group Session 3 of 7 – “Taking a long hard look at one’s inner self can be childs play!”

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We are now into our third week of ‘Art Therapy Group Sessions’ and I have been finding them interesting, challenging and enlightening.  This particular session was smaller in numbers than the other two.  Having small numbers in the group made the experience of sharing a little more intense, as there is more time than usual to discuss our art therapy works.  Hence more focus on our individual thoughts, feelings and emotions which can be intimidating and confronting.

Art Therapy Session No. 3 - 'Mindfullness' 2-8 by Karen Robinson Materials - Soft Pastels & Watercolour Paints on butcher paper August 14, 2014 Images copyright .JPG

Art Therapy Session No. 3 – ‘mindfulness’ 2-8 by Karen Robinson Materials – Soft Pastels & Watercolour Paints on butcher paper August 14, 2014 Images copyright .JPG

There were a number of activities undertaken during this session and I have decided to discuss just the one.  We were asked to select a shell from a group of sea shells laid out before us; a sea shell that appealed to us, that we could connect with in some way.  After spending some time viewing the shells, I found myself drawn to a shell that was largish when compared with the other shells.  It was very solid with aging lines on the right side; barnacle type marks on its underside and brown-yellow in colour.  We were then asked to hold the shell and concentrate on its shape, size, smell, colour and feel; to be truly mindful of its presence.  I found my thoughts drifting to thoughts about when I was a child and the times I played with my brother and sister on the beaches where we lived.  Playing in the sand, sun and the sea; collecting shells, driftwood and little treasures to play with after leaving the beach and on our return home.

Once we had completed our ‘mindfulness’ about the shell, we were asked to paint a scene where the sea shell could be placed within.  I selected a small sheet of butcher paper, a set of soft crayons and a set of watercolour paints and proceeded to paint my beach scene using these materials and keeping in mind my personal shell story.

 

On completion we were asked to verbally share our story.   The art therapist had given me a sheet of paper where I wrote some words to explain mine and they are as following:

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time on the beach with my brother and sister.  Some beaches were placid and tame, some were wild and furious. My sea shell represents how it has been able to survive these earthy conditions and be able to land on the shore and nestle within a safe haven of rocks.  Although being small, it has still made its presence felt and found its way to here today…

This art therapy session took me back to my childhood, reminding me of the pleasurable times at the beach with my brother and sister.  I remembered how engaging with nature had been one of my joys during my childhood years.  Childhood was not an easy time for the three of us children but…we survive…just like my shell.

NB:  Please click on the below links to view the first and second Art Therapy Group Sessions:

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

Art Therapy Group Session 1 of 7- “It’s actually fun!”

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My art therapy journey has been a solo experience up until now, 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 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 had to find.

Just recently, I was fortunately asked, if I would like to join an art therapy group.  The small group is especially for those who are carers for another in their lives.  The sessions are designed to offer individuals a way to express themselves through art in a safe, secure and supportive environment.  It also gives participants an opportunity to meet new people whom they learn to share thoughts, emotions and life experiences within an imaginative and creative environment.

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog series “Art Therapy 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.  During my first session experience, I realized that I must have been ready for this type of art for therapy, as I found it actually fun. This was my personal experience but I am sure for some of the other participants, it was emotionally challenging and confronting.

In our group there are five participants, one art therapist and one co-facilitator.  At this very first session it was really about getting to know each other, gaining a sense of being comfortable in sharing basic facts amongst the group, in this new space.  One of the exercises involved using a set of crayons and a sheet of butcher paper.  Each participant had to articulate a story about the first session.  Our time frame was just 10 mins – so we had no time to waste, it was straight into creating!  It was very interesting how each individual’s drawing was so different; and how each participants accompanying story – fascinating and revealing.  I was just amazed how the act of making art could unleash such strong emotions, thoughts and feelings.

For myself, I did a crayon sketch on butcher paper about our group.  The black darken outlines represents the seven of us within the art therapy group.  The red shaping in the body of each represents our hearts.  The different coloured lining represents our human makeup.  What I said at the time, when explaining about my art work story was that “we are at the beginning of this 7 week journey in this art therapy group, we are all human, all the same, we know little about each other at this point, but we are united together as a group to venture forward to learn more, more about ourselves and about each other”.

Once we had all explained what our art work was about, we had to cut or tear it up and use the pieces in a group weave.  This was confronting for me and some others because it meant we had to virtually destroy what we had just created.  It was an interesting group process and once completed, we all stood back to have a look at our new group master piece.

 

This whole process for me, was about the act of individually creating; individually given up that creation; and then recreating as a group.  A little like what happens in a family, giving up individual efforts for the good of the family as a whole.  Another thought that I had, was that we can some times in our lives suffer great losses and in order to continue on, we need to look at being able to recreate ourselves over again, for ourselves and for others.  Art for therapy gives us a way to process thinking…I could see this in action within our art therapy group on this day…

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

Short and Sweet Post – “Art for therapy’s sake!”

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This particular article from the Hindustan Times, nicely and simply sums up art for therapy’s sake’.  We all think that when we have a problem, talking about it will help and it can – if you can talk about it!  And sometimes, we find ourselves in a situation which has us emotional held up, until we can find a way to communicate, communicate in a positive and effective manner and art can do just that, give us a voice when words are just too hard to find…

“The classic image that comes to mind when you think of counselling is a psychiatrist sitting in a comfortable chair, notebook and pen in hand, and the patient lying on a sofa, talking non-stop about the early childhood experience.

This is because the best way to deal with a problem, or even know the problem, is to talk about it. That’s the common narrative, and it’s true to a great extent. But sometimes, a person suffers trauma so severe that he/she can’t talk about it. Can’t open up. Can’t deal with the pain in any way but to hide it away or keep it locked. That’s when the experts know words are useless. What this person needs is, to express himself some other way; which is why counsellors are now using art therapy to aid their non-talking patients to open up” (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).

 

Singh, V. (2014). Lady with lots of thoughts. [Photograph ID. pg_19]. Retrieved July 4 2014 from httpwww.hindustantimes.combrunchbrunch-storiesart-for-art-therapy-s-sakearticle1-1234219.aspx#sthash.N0cUhPTZ.jpg

Singh, V. (2014). Lady with lots of thoughts. [Photograph ID. pg_19]. Retrieved July 4 2014 from httpwww.hindustantimes.combrunchbrunch-storiesart-for-art-therapy-s-sakearticle1-1234219.aspx#sthash.N0cUhPTZ.jpg

EXPRESS YOURSELF (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
“Art therapy includes doodling, drawing and painting, but it’s also more than just these. It includes music, colours, dance and story-telling as well. “Art therapy, when combined with counselling, speech therapy and occupational therapy, is known to show superior results for people of all ages including children, individuals, couples, families, groups and communities,” says Dr Samir Parikh, director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Hospitals. “Through the creative process involved in the artistic self-expression, people can resolve conflicts better, develop interpersonal skills, manage behaviour, reduce stress, and improve self-esteem and self-awareness.”

Doodling helped an 18-year-old girl, who suffered from anxiety and was unable to connect with anyone including her counsellor, open up. “I gave her paper and crayons and once she started doodling, she started talking about her childhood and problems,” says clinical psychologist Kamna Chibber. Story-telling also helped a nine-year-old boy diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder increase his power of concentration. And painting helped a 56-year-old cancer patient cope with her illness” (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).

CREATIVE TOOL (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).
“Art therapy brings benefits to children and people suffering from sexual abuse, terminal diseases and cases of marital discord when the couple simply cannot communicate with each other,” explains Chibber.
So it’s a useful mode of therapy – but not one that should be used on its own. “It’s used as part of counselling, not a therapy by itself,” says art therapist Kanika Mehrotra. “Counselling must continue. But art therapy is used when words cannot reach a patient’s emotional space.” (Singh, Veenu. 2014, June 27).

 

For me, I found myself using art for therapy during a difficult time in my life and I continue to do so.  What also helped me was the act of verbalizing my art process.  With the completion of each painting, I would  and do, articulate its meaning for me, inclusive of its source of inspiration. This process of story telling/writing along with the act of painting and photo taking was/is an important part of my art therapy process.  It gave/gives me an opportunity to be able to examine my thought processes, my emotions and feelings which I at first had no words for!  Over time, I was able to re-look at where I had started in my art therapy journey to where I am now and have been able to realize that art for therapy has been an important process for me, to be able to move forward in my life.  An added bonus has been, that by sharing my art and the art work’s stories, others have been able to gain an insight into issues, that they themselves had previously had no understanding about; or issues that they themselves had experienced and now understand that they are not alone.  By sharing my art and their stories, has not just helped me, but has actually helped others as well.  And that’s a great feeling…art for therapy in action!

Reference:  Singh, Veenu. (2014, June 27). Art for therapy’s sake! When talking doesn’t help. Hindustan Times Online. retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/brunch/brunch-stories/art-for-art-therapy-s-sake/article1-1234219.aspx#sthash.N0cUhPTZ.dpuf

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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

I Do Art Discussion No. 8 – “Single Images as Abstract Digital Photo Paintings”

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Part of my “art for therapy” journey has not just involved abstract painting on canvas with acrylic paints; it has also involved taking photos and spending time digitally manipulating them to create an altered imagery.  I have spent a lot of time, over the course of time, going through my photos, finding little gems of images, cropping the image and then altering its brightness, contrast and colour.  Some of these images, I would then completely abstract by using a Windows program called ‘Paint’.  Whilst this program is not very sophisticated, I did find using it a very therapeutic endeavour and gained some satisfying results.

This first set of images below, come from a single photo I had taken whilst attending the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse 2008.  I had taken a photo of a young lady who was waiting with a group of other young ladies, whom were about to have their Melbourne Cup outfits judged, for the “Fashions on the Field”.  The image of her below has been greatly cropped and digitally manipulated.  The two following images in this first set, are the same image of this young lady but using the Windows program ‘Paint’ to create an abstract look!  The same process was used with the following sets of images.

Whilst the original photos had been taken during November 2008, it was over many months onwards that I worked on many photos creating single digital photo paintings and collage digital photo paintings.  It was a very therapeutic process which became essential to me.  My husband had been diagnosed with Lymphoma January 2009 and was under going chemotherapy treatment and I became his carer during the following 12 months.  It was a very difficult time in our lives and during my spare time in the evenings, I would work on these creations.  It was all engrossing and helped me clear my mind of all my worries, for a least a small amount of time, each day – art for therapy in action…

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

I Do Art Discussion No. 7 – “It’s all about the hats!”

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The following abstract paintings were part of a series I had painted after attending Australia’s famous racing season at Flemington Racecourse 2008.  I had the opportunity to attend both Derby Day and the Melbourne Cup; both famous horse racing days! I was inspired to take a range of photos on both these days, which I used as a source of inspiration for the four abstract paintings below.  Whilst these horse racing days are very much about the horses and the horse races, it is also about the amazing fashion statements made by both men and women, especially lady’s hats!  Hence came my desire to do this series of abstract painting portraits as seen below.

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I Do Art Discussion No. 6 – “Lady in the Honey Straw Hat with a Flurry of Feathers”

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Painting No. 33 – Title “On the Rails with my sister entertaining friends” Painted Nov/Dec 08 – Jan/Feb 2009

A good part of my art therapy journey has involved taking photos, which are part of my visual diary process that I use for inspiration, to create my abstract paintings and abstract digital photo paintings.  During one of Melbourne – Australia’s  famous racing seasons, I had the good fortune to be able to attend my sister’s Derby Day marquee function at Flemington Race Course 2008.  Victoria Derby is a thoroughbred race and is the oldest classic horse race in Australia, it ran first in 1855 (Derby Day. 2014).  And on this day 2008 Melbourne, once again, turned on a beautiful day with a clear blue sky!

Whilst attending my sister’s racing day function, I helped her prepare the food and entertain her friends. During the day I took many photos of interesting people in great outfits. One of the photos of my sister really inspired me to paint an abstract painting of her.

Sister at Derby Day, The Rails - Flemington Races, Melbourne Australia 2008 Photo taken by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

Sister at Derby Day, The Rails – Flemington Races, Melbourne Australia 2008 – Digitally manipulated photo taken by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

Below is the portrait abstract painting I did from the photo inspirations of that day.  It is one of four that I painted for the 2008 Melbourne Racing Carnival.  They consisted of this Painting No. 33 featured below and Paintings Nos. 32, 34, & 35 – please click here to view!

Painting No. 33 - Title "On the Rails with my sister entertaining friends" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2009 All images are protected by copyright laws!

Painting No. 33 – Title “On the Rails with my sister entertaining friends” Jan/Feb 2009 Acrylic on Canvas, 60cms Length x 60cms Wide x 3cms Deep
– by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson All images are protected by copyright laws!

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Art Exhibition – ACSO Branching Out 2014 – Art creating another chance!

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My own art therapy journey has given me a personal insight as to how art for therapy can help improve a person’s physical and mental well-being.  My journey has brought me to understand, that art is an important way for people to be able to express thoughts, emotions, grief, despair, joy and just what’s on their mind!  It is important to understand that art for therapy can be experienced by anyone – you don’t have to be an artist to gain a benefit from engaging in art, whether it be as a producer of art or even as a viewer of art instead – gains can be made.  Art for therapy gives a voice to people where words can be hard to find, and helps others as viewers to understand, the maker of the art better.  Art can help us gain an insight into our own or others – inner most personal thoughts; it came be a window into the sole of the artist.

So it was no surprise to my husband when I suggested that we go to ACSO’s Art Exhibition called “Branching Out” 2014 at the Yarra Gallery, in at Federation Square, Melbourne – Australia. The exhibition consisted of self portraits, prints and other medians which have been produced by ACSO clients – via ACSO’s  Creative Art Program. I wanted to see what these artists, artists whom are serving time in prison or artists whom had served time in prison had shared in their art.  ACSO was established in 1983 and their goal is to reduce re-offending and help people in their transition from prison, assist them in the community, stop them re-offending and divert others from committing crime (ACSO. 2014).  Melinda Wills, artist in residence at ACSO provides art therapy sessions to their clients “to find a new form of self-expression, tapping into their emotions and uplifting their spirit through colour, line and texture” thus helping them to express their inner thoughts (Wills. 2014).

Please find here, a series of photos I took on my iPhone during the opening night of the ‘ACSO Branching Out 2014’ Art Exhibition:-

During the exhibition I had the opportunity to speak with one of ASCO’s clients – Michael Morgan about his particular piece of art work called ‘Prehistoric Breathing’ which he had produced through the Fulham Correctional Centre – Cultural Arts Program.

Kangan Institute delivers a nationally recognised qualification in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts to Indigenous inmates at Fulham Correctional Centre.  The course covers a range of drawing techniques, developing painting and printmaking skills.  Concurrently, the Correctional Centre provides Indigenous inmates the Koori Art program as an opportunity to practice their culture.  NB:  Paintings from both programs were on display at the ACSO Branching Out 2014 Art Exhibition.   (ACSO Program 2014).

Painting by Michael Morgan – Titled:  ‘Prehistoric Breathing’ and following the wording that he provided with his painting –

No. 6 - Branching Out 2014 ACSO Art Exhibition - The Yarra Gallery at Federation Square, Melbourne - Australia. Photos taken by Karen Robinson on iphone.JPG

No. 6 – Branching Out 2014 ACSO Art Exhibition – The Yarra Gallery at Federation Square, Melbourne – Australia. Photos taken by Karen Robinson on iphone.JPG  Painting by Michael Morgan – Titled:  ‘Prehistoric Breathing’

No. 7 - Branching Out 2014 ACSO Art Exhibition - The Yarra Gallery at Federation Square, Melbourne - Australia. Photos taken by Karen Robinson on iphone.JPG

No. 7 – Branching Out 2014 ACSO Art Exhibition – The Yarra Gallery at Federation Square, Melbourne – Australia. Photos taken by Karen Robinson on iphone.JPG  Painting by Michael Morgan – Titled: ‘Prehistoric Breathing’

These clients through the ACSO’s Creative Arts Program, gain an opportunity to explore art as a therapeutic means to help them reintegrate into community living (ACSO. 2014).  This exhibition was a good example of how important art for therapy can be, how it can help people to take a look at their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a non judgemental environment.  During my time at the exhibition I was able to witness how these artists were using art to help create another chance for themselves in their lives…

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

Reference:

Wills. M. (2014). ACSO. Branching Out 2014 ACSO Art Exhibition Brochure. Exhibition Curator and Artist in Residence. Retrieved June 28, 2014 from http://art.acso.org.au/art-show/artist-residence/

ACSO. (2014). ACSO Create Another Chance. Branching Out. Retrieved June 28, 2014 from http://art.acso.org.au/

 

I Do Art Discussion No. 5 – “Lady in Striking Pink Feathery”

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Painting No. 35 – Title “On the Rails & The Business End of Celebrating Melbourne’s Racing Festival Season” Painted Jan/Feb 2009

A good part of my art therapy journey has involved taking photos, which are part of my visual diary process that I use for inspiration, to create my abstract paintings and abstract digital photo paintings.  During a of Melbourne – Australia’s  famous racing seasons, I had the good fortune to be able to attend my sister’s Derby Day marquee function at Flemington Race Course 2008.  Victoria Derby is a thoroughbred race and is the oldest classic race in Australia, it ran first in 1855 (Derby Day. 2014).  Melbourne, once again, turned on a beautiful day with a clear blue sky!  During this day, I took many photos of interesting people, in great outfits!

I took this photo below, of a lady enjoying herself in her work’s marquee which was located on “The Rails”. On “The Rails” is located right next to Flemington’s Race Track and is adjacent the finishing line where, if you are lucky enough to be there, you can see the horses close up and their jockeys in colourful silks.  This lady’s striking hat and pose made for a good photo. Her hat was a particular inspiration for me. It had been designed by one of Melbourne’s most famous hat designers – Peter Jago!

Lady in striking Peter Jago Hat Derby Day Flemington Racecourse 2008, Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

Lady in striking Peter Jago Hat Derby Day Flemington Racecourse 2008, Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Karen Robinson-Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

Below is the portrait abstract painting I did from the photo inspirations of that day.  It is one of four that I painted for the 2008 Melbourne Racing Carnival.  They consisted of this Painting No. 35 featured below and Paintings Nos. 32, 33, & 34 – please click here to view!

Painting No. 35 - Title "On the Rails & The Business End of Celebrating Melbourne's Racing Festival Season" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2009 All images are protected by copyright laws!

Painting No. 35 – Title “On the Rails & The Business End of Celebrating Melbourne’s Racing Festival Season” Jan/Feb 2009 Acrylic on Canvas – 60cms Length x 60cms Wide x 3cms Deep
– by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws!

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I Do Art Discussion No. 4 – “Race-goer in Red Hat at Derby Day!”

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A good part of my art therapy journey has involved taking photos, which are part of my visual diary process that I use for inspiration, to create my abstract paintings and abstract digital photo paintings.  During a of Melbourne – Australia’s  famous racing season, I had the good fortune to be able to attend my sister’s Derby Day marquee function at Flemington Race Course 2008.  Victoria Derby is a thoroughbred race and is the oldest classic race in Australia, it ran first in 1855 (Derby Day. 2014).  Melbourne, once again, turned on a beautiful day with a clear blue sky!  During this day, I took many photos of interesting people, in great outfits.

The photo below was taken of a site, in a section called “The Rails”  that is located right next to Flemington’s race track and is adjacent the finishing line.  If you are lucky enough to be here, you can see the horses close up and their jockeys in colourful silks.

'Derby Day' at Flemington Racecour 2008 - Melbourne, Australia Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

‘Derby Day’ at Flemington Racecourse 2008 – Melbourne, Australia Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

This photo below features a young lady who was on the site next to ours and she was wearing this fabulous red hat with a bright yellow flower and a delightful personality.

A young racegoer in a fabulous red hat with a yellow flower at 'Derby Day' Flemington Racecourse 2008 Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images

A young race-goer in a fabulous red hat with a yellow flower at ‘Derby Day’ Flemington Racecourse 2008 Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images

This photo below was a photo of her vibrantly coloured tartan silk skirt.  I loved the texture and style!  Her whole outfit was bright and cheery and really reflected the celebratory feeling of the day.

A Digitally enhanced close up of the tartan skirt worn by the young racegoer at 'Derby Day' 2008. Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright

A Digitally enhanced close up of the tartan skirt worn by the young racegoer at ‘Derby Day’ 2008. Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright

Below is the portrait abstract painting I did from the photo inspirations of that day.  It is one of four that I painted for the 2008 Melbourne Racing Carnival.  They consisted of this Painting No. 32 featured below and Paintings Nos. 33, 34 & 35 – please click here to view!

Painting No. 32 - Title "On the Rails & Youthfulness" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2009 All images are protected by copyright laws!

Painting No. 32 – Title “On the Rails & Youthfulness” Jan/Feb 2009
– by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson All images are protected by copyright laws!

Painting 32 – Title “On the Rails & Youthfulness” Jan/Feb 2009 – Acrylic on Canvas
60cms Length x 60cms Wide x 3cms Deep
Painting Story: Whilst attending my sister’s racing day function on Derby Day during Melbourne’s famous racing season. I helped her prepare the food and entertain her friends. During the day I took many photos of interesting people in great outfits. This was of a young lady called Joey whom was on the site next to ours. She was in this fabulous outfit with a tartan skirt and red hat with yellow flowers. I loved the combination of colours and the way she had put together her outfit. Joey was having a great time with her friends and enjoying being part of one of Melbourne’s greatest Sporting Events – “Derby Day”.
Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson
NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Abstract Digital Photo Painting No. 1B - "Derby Day - Tartan Skirt" 2008 by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Abstract Digital Photo Painting No. 1A – “Derby Day – Tartan Skirt” 2008 by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

The above single digital photo painting is a digitally manipulated photo of the tartan skirt.

Collage Digital Photo Painting 'Tartan Skirt' by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist 2008. NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

Collage Digital Photo Painting ‘Tartan Skirt’ by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 2008. NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

The above collage digital photo paintings is a digitally manipulated photo of the tartan skirt.

Abstract Digital Photo Painting No. 1B - "Derby Day - Tartan Skirt" 2008 by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Abstract Digital Photo Painting No. 1B – “Derby Day – Tartan Skirt” 2008 by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

The above single digital photo painting is another version of the digitally manipulated photo of the tartan skirt.

Collage Digital Photo Painting 'Tartan Skirt' by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist 2008. NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

Collage Digital Photo Painting ‘Tartan Skirt’ by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist 2008. NB All images are protected by copyright laws!

The above collage digital photo paintings is another version of the digitally manipulated photo of the tartan skirt.

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

Reference

Victoria Derby. (2014). Victoria Derby History. Retrieved June 6, 2014 from http://www.victoriaderby.com.au/history/

Short but not so sweet post! “Artists Fear”

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I can not image what it must be like, to have to worry about the consequences of my actions as an artist when painting a story about how I feel, what I think and what I want to communicate through my art!  I cannot image…

Chinese Artists routinely court danger with their work and most exhibited their work in private for fear of being detained, being subjected to torture and imprisonment (Rao, M. 2014 June, 6).

Artist Yan Zhengxue Paiting Titled "89.6!!!! Tiananmen" Rao, M. (2014 June, 6). Huffpost Arts & Culture. Five Chinese Dissident Artists Who Aren’t Ai Weiwei. [Photo ID: courtesy Getty Images]Retrieved June 11, 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/10/chinese-dissident-artists_n_5474258.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

Artist Yan Zhengxue Painting Titled “89.6!!!! Tiananmen” Rao, M. (2014 June, 6). Huffpost Arts & Culture. Five Chinese Dissident Artists Who Aren’t Ai Weiwei. [Photo ID: courtesy Getty Images]. Retrieved June 11, 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/10/chinese-dissident-artists_n_5474258.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

“CAPTION INFO: After the Tiananmen Square massacre, Yan Zhengxue and his art turned sharply against the government. While imprisoned for two years for his dissident work, he painted almost 100 works, including this one. Titled “89.6!!!! Tiananmen,” it shows a blackened sun over a barren Tiananmen Square surrounded by black-oozing veins. Three goats stand in the middle of the square. “They represent the obedient ones, the only ones left alive,” he explained. (Photo by {Courtesy of Yan Zhengxue}) ” (Rao. 2014 June, 6).

 

Once again it can be demonstrated that art is a very powerful form of communication and greatly feared by some…

Reference:

Rao, M. (2014 June, 6). Huffpost Arts & Culture. Five Chinese Dissident Artists Who Aren’t Ai Weiwei. Retrieved June 11, 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/10/chinese-dissident-artists_n_5474258.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

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

I Do Art Discussion No. 3 – “The Race that Stops a Nation”

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An important part of my art therapy process has been taking photos of people and places that I am most interested in.  Looking through a camera lens and concentrating on framing up a story in the camera view finder, totally absorbs ones concentration.  Spending the time reviewing them and deciding which will be a candidate for an abstract painting, also adds to the therapeutic process.  I use photography as my visual diary for my abstract painting art work.

Melbourne Cup 2008 at Flemington Racecourse - Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Melbourne Cup 2008 at Flemington Racecourse – Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

On the first Tuesday November 2008, I said to my husband, let’s go to the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Races – as I wanted to take a series of photos of this iconic Australian event.  A number of days before hand, we had attended Derby Day at Flemington Races where I had taken a series of photos. I wanted to also capture photo images of the Melbourne Cup Day as well. These photos were used as a source of inspiration for four abstract paintings (Nos. 32, 33, 34 & 35). I have always loved fashion and the Melbourne Cup and for these reasons, it is certainly a stand out on Melbourne’s social calendar for socialites, politicians, Australia’s rich and famous; and the everyday Australian punter!  The very first Melbourne Cup ran in 1875; a century and a half later it is still considered ‘the race that stops a nation’.  For me this significant event is all about the horses and the fashion and on this day I took many photos of fabulously dressed women in their racing finery.

Melbourne Cup 2008 at Flemington Racecourse Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Melbourne Cup 2008 at Flemington Racecourse Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

NB:  This link leads you to a “Silent Clip” of the Melbourne Cup 1896 and is worth a viewing!  Australian Screen. (2014). Melbourne Cup 1986 – Silent Clip. YouTube. Retrieved June 3, 2014 from http://aso.gov.au/titles/historical/melbourne-cup-1896/clip3/

My husband joined me to keep me company on this particular day.  It was a beautiful day and once again Melbourne had turned on a great Australian Event!

Melbourne Cup 2008 at Flemington Racecourse - Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

Melbourne Cup 2008 at Flemington Racecourse – Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist NB: All images are protected by copyright laws!

I spotted a lady with a very large pinkish hat. This lady had a degree of gaiety and elegance. To me she seemed to epitomize the feeling of a Melbourne Cup Day. Later I was able to establish this grand lady was Helen Court!  I loved her hat; the swath of material that had been manipulated into a work of art and topped with beautiful pink flowers, all in gorgeous pink – was very eye-catching,

Melbourne Cup 2008 - Helen Court - Lady in Fabulous Pink Hat Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist

Melbourne Cup 2008 – Helen Court – Lady in Fabulous Pink Hat Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist  NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws!

 

Melbourne Cup 2008 - Helen Court - Lady in Fabulous Pink Hat Photo taken by Karen Robinson - Abstract Artist

Melbourne Cup 2008 – Helen Court – Lady in Fabulous Pink Hat Photo taken by Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist  NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws!

These photos I took served as an inspiration for me and I painted this portrait of Helen Court.  This portrait was one of four abstract paintings (Nos. 32, 33, 34 & 35) I did of different race goers during the 2008 Melbourne Racing Season.

Painting No. 34 - Title "Melbourne Cup & Australia's National Celebration of Horse Racing" by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson - 2009 All images are protected by copyright laws!

Painting No. 34 – Title “Melbourne Cup & Australia’s National Celebration of Horse Racing” Jan/Feb 2009 Acrylic on Canvas 60cms Length x 60cms Wide x 3cms Deep
– by Abstract Artist: Karen Robinson All images are protected by copyright laws!

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Short & Sweet Post! – “Colour My World”

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A colouring book and a set of colouring pencils as a child, I found very therapeutic. Any parent that has children would probably know that on a rainy day, they come in very handy to help occupy restless children. When I was a child, some time ago now, my most prized possession was a box of Derwent Pencils.  They were/are the “finest pencil in the world” (Derwent. 2014).

Derwent Colour Pencils in a tin box!

Derwent Colour Pencils in a tin box! (Derwent 2014)

Derwent has been inspiring artists worldwide for many years (Derwent. 2014) and as a child I just loved them!  I usually owned a tin box of colours and with a limited number of colour pencils, but dreamed about having the large range of colours! I loved colour as a child and this has not changed over the years which can be clearly illustrated now in my abstract paintings and abstract digital photo paintings.

It is just amazing where technology has taken us!  In today’s world children and adults’ find their time being consumed in the use of electronic devices. So getting a child to look at pencils and a colouring book, as I did as a child, might seem a little arcade to them.  But we now have a Pen that can draw every single colour in the world (Bratskeir. 2014).  For me, this is just so exciting that we can create any colour in the world, with a tip of a pen and will never be limited to what’s in a box of colour pencils!

Then, after the pen analyzed the specific orange of this paricular orange, you could take the tint to paper (Scribble. 2014)

Then, after the pen analyzed the specific orange of this particular orange, you could take the tint to paper (Scribble. 2014)

“The device is called “Scribble” and it “is the first coloring device of its kind that can take the world of colour around you and transfer it directly to either paper or your favourite mobile device.  The Scribble pen and stylus pairs with Scribble+ mobile app to instantly sync every colour you scan directly onto your iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device. Colors become more useful when they are organized, tagged, searchable and converted to various colour models” (Scribble. 2014).

Both the ink pen and the stylus are a little more than six inches, rely on bluetooth wireless technology and have a rechargeable battery (Scribble. 2014)

Both the ink pen and the stylus are a little more than six inches, rely on bluetooth wireless technology and have a rechargeable battery (Scribble. 2014)

So…this could replace the box of colour pencils, perhaps?!  It could get children to engage in creative endeavours, I think so!  Doing art is very therapeutic – no matter what age you are.  Think I might get me one of these pens!!!  Looks like fun…

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

Ref:  Bratskeir. K. (2014 May, 6). Huffpost Arts & Culture. This Pen Can Draw Every Single Color In The World. Retrieved June 6, 2014 from

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/05/scribble-pen-so-many-colorz_n_5452287.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

Ref:  Derwent. (n.d.). Products. Inspiring artists worldwide. Retrieved June 6, 2014 from

http://www.pencils.co.uk/product.aspx

Ref: Scribble. (2014). Meticulously Designed. Retrieved June 6, 2014 from

http://www.getscribblepen.com/

I Do Art Discussion No. 2 – “Open-Air Galleries – a way to protest!”

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Once again, it can be demonstrated that art can be another way of communicating, examining and humanizing important internal and external human conflicts.  It helps the viewer become more informed and more involved than they otherwise would have been, prior to experiencing the art work image and its accompanying story.

In Brazil, South America’s biggest and most influential country, with a population of 200 million people (BBC. 2014, May 6); where it is known to be the country of football – art is being used to highlight the daily struggles of its people.  Brazil is currently in preparation to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio.  These forthcoming events are attracting huge global interest in Brazil and has given Brazilians an opportunity to have a voice that is being heard worldwide. BBC’s Documentary series helps shed some insight into what it is meant to “Being Brazilian” (BBC. 2014, May 6).

One of the ways that Brazilian people are highlighting Brazilian life is through Graffiti Street ArtStreet artists in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are using the streets as canvases within open-air galleries for their graffiti art work as a way to express discontent (The Guardian. 2014, May 24).  Brazilian Graffiti Artist Paulo Ito on May 10, posted this mural on the doors of a schoolhouse in Sao Paulo’s Pompeia district.  It has become an international sensation, sweeping the Internet after Paulo Ito posted it to his Flickr account. Since then it has been prolifically shared on Facebook and Twitter (McDonald, S. 2014, May 23).  It depicts a “portrait image of a weeping, starving Brazilian child with nothing to eat but a soccer ball” (Stahl. 2014, May 23).

Paulo Ito - Brazilian Graffiti Street Artist Mural Ref: Mosbergen. D. (May 21 2014). The Huffington Post. Street Artist Captures The Sheer Irony of Brazil's World Cup in Heartbreaking Image. [Photograph ID: Paulo Ito Mural]. Retrieved 5th May 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/brazil-world-cup-poverty-paulo-ito_n_5362373.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

Paulo Ito – Brazilian Graffiti Street Artist Mural Ref: Mosbergen. D. (May 21 2014). The Huffington Post. Street Artist Captures The Sheer Irony of Brazil’s World Cup in Heartbreaking Image. [Photograph ID: Paulo Ito Mural]. Retrieved 5th May 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/21/brazil-world-cup-poverty-paulo-ito_n_5362373.html?utm_hp_ref=arts&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000027

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