Art and Creative Writing Group Therapy – Early 2016 “Altered Book Project” by Karen Robinson

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No.75 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 - Facilitated by Art Therapist Vicky Nickolls NB: All images are protected by copyright laws

No.75 Karen Robinson (me) holding my ‘Altered Book’ created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 with Mind Australia – Facilitated by Art Therapist Vicky Nicholls NB: All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Earlier this year, I participated once again in art therapy and creative writing therapy sessions with Mind Australia as a participant.  Our art therapist facilitator – Vicky Nicholls had us work on a project which required us to create our own special ‘altered book’.  During the process of creating my ‘altered book’, I decided to add pockets that would hold a small selection of my creative writing pieces, that I particularly liked and also that held special meaning for me.  These creative writing pieces I had written throughout 2015 and early 2016 during my creative writing sessions, and sometimes as part of homework we were given by our Creative Writing Facilitator – Judy Bird.  These particular pieces I have included within this blog and can be found towards the end of this page.

 

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

No.77 ‘ Step 8 – Group photo taken at our Art Therapy Session – last day!  We stand holding our precious ‘Altered Books’ created during our Art Therapy Sessions 2016.   NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

MY ALTERED BOOK!

This is my ‘altered book’ as seen here below, which I had created during my art therapy sessions with Mind Australia 2016.  I discovered during my research on ‘altered books’ that they are a form of mixed media artwork, where a book is changed from its original state – to an altered state.  This can entail cuts, tears, burns, folds, paints, adds to, collages, rebinds, gold-leafs, created pop-ups, rubber-stamps, drills, bolts, and/or be ribbons.  It can have pockets and niches added to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects.  I decided to create a ‘altered book’ that was made up of materials that I had used on a painting titled Heart of Treasured Memories that I had painted during Art Therapy 2015 sessions.  I wanted to achieve a marriage between these two items – as they signified to me the end of one journey and a commencement of another!

 

No. 15 Completed 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

No. 15 Completed ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

 

PROCESS USED TO CREATE MY ‘ALTERED BOOK’

I stripped back the book’s first layer of paper on each page and cover.  Then I painted it with a creamy iridescent paint and then painted the book’s spine and page edges – in gold paint.  Then I added decorated ribbons at one end of the book’s spine which I had added little wooden flowers and butterflies too, also I glued onto these items, sequins that I had left over from my Heart of Treasured Memories painting. During one of the art therapy session, I found a set of patterned decorative paper sheets which I further decorated with the wooden flowers, butterflies and sequins.  I then folded these paper sheets in half and inserted then into the back of the book’s spine.  When the book was closed and the book’s spine was fanned outwards, these folded paper sheets offered another visual dimension to the ‘altered book’.  I then created ink drawings onto sheets of luminous creamy coloured paper that I had especially purchased for its paper weight, colour and look; and made little insert folders out of them that once glued into the ‘altered book’ itself, held my especially chosen creative writing pieces.  I then purchased a cardboard box that was big enough to hold my ‘altered book’ creation in, as I wanted something that would safely store the art work itself.  Like my ‘altered book’ I also altered the cardboard box and used a similar process and materials for its re-creation.

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION

It occurred to me after completing my ‘altered book’ during a time of reflection, that the whole procedure of creating a personal ‘altered book’ through re-invention, or it could also be said, transforming it into something that represented a piece of ourselves to share with others and/or keep as a private thought book to mull over when needed – was a very therapeutic process. It proved to be a deeply personal endeavour; a quite and studious creative journey that helped us work towards a better sense of well-being. It wasn’t until I had finished my ‘altered book’ and read through my selection of creative writing pieces, that it became apparent to me that this whole process of creating a ‘altered book’ was a way of re-assessing ones self; and helped me understand just how much I had gained from having been part of these wonderful art therapy and creative writing therapy sessions since 2014 to now being early 2016.  It showed me just how far I had travelled within my own personal post-traumatic growth journey.

 

 

 

MY ALTERED BOOK CREATIVE PROCESS SLIDESHOW

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ALTERED BOOK PROJECT PROCESS – STEP BY STEP!

  • Step No. 1 – “Stripping back the original book”
No. 4 - Stage No. 1 - The stripping back of the original book to make way to make the 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 4 – Stage One – The stripping back of the original book to make way to make the ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 2 – “Painting the whole stripped back book cover and pages”
No. 7 Stage two - Painting whole of the stripped back book with Matisse Pearlized Structure Paint - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 7 Stage two – Painting whole of the stripped back book with Matisse Pearl like Structure Paint – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 3 – “Decorating the outside cover of the altered book”
No. 18 Step Three - Decorating the outside cover with personally chosen materials - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 18 Step Three – Decorating the outside cover with personally chosen materials – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 4 – “Decorative paper panel spinal book inserts”
No. 25 Step Four - Decorated paper panel spinal inserts - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 25 Step Four – Decorated paper panel spinal inserts – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 5 – “Ink painted pocket inserts to hold the short creative writing stories”
No. 36 Step 5 - Hand ink painted pocket inserts to hold my short creative writing stories 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 36 Step 5 – Hand ink painted pocket inserts to hold my short creative writing stories ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 6 – “Altered book keepsake box”
No. 43 Step Six - The painting and decorating of a keepsake box for the book - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No. 43 Step Six – The painting and decorating of a keepsake box for the book – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

  • Step No. 7 – “Completed altered book and keepsake altered book box”
No.51 Step 7 - Completed Altered Book and Keepsake Box for book - 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.51 Step 7 – Completed Altered Book and Keepsake Box for book – ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

MY ALERTED BOOK CREATIVE WRITING STORIES

No.65 Creative Writing Stories inserted into ink painted insert pockets of the 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

No.65 Creative Writing Stories inserted into ink painted insert pockets of the ‘Altered Book’ by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright

  • Title:  “Destination – Old Age…”

My life has not been boring that is for certain!  At times it has been a sweet and delicate pathway where my soul has strive to ascend to a place of beauty and peace.  And at other times, my life has been painfully difficult.  But now, I am at a mature age, where my youthful adventurers are in the past and I feel like the moon that is quietly shining within the lives of those nearest and dearest to me, hoping that my presence brings beauty – a presence that causes no harm.  I do seek to gain knowledge of the outer world – the good, the bad, the ugly, to delve into the mysteries of others, to seek out the natural beauty of the human soul and treasure the best of us.  Old age has made me become a very practical person and it has also allowed me to arrive at a place where I find myself enjoying this part of my life.  It’s a time where I can also be strong and direct, where I can now share a lifetime of memories, in the hope that some good can be achieved. I am a sentimental deep thinker and determine to leave behind me, memories worthy of retelling to future generations.

Written by © Karen Robinson – April 2016

 

  • Title:  “Taking a Look Back…”

It takes me back – so far into the past as I look at the nicely framed photo of my two children when they were very little.  Ben would have been about five years old, I would say, and Kelly would have been 14 months younger, making her four years old.  They were both dressed in clothes that I had skilfully made for them.  Ben in a grey corduroy, long sleeve jacket with three bright gold buttons at its front, and matching knee-length shorts and a white shirt with a bright aqua blue tie.  Kelly dressed in a lollie pink corduroy long sleeve jacket, with three gold buttons at its front, and a matching three-quarter length skirt and a white shirt with a frilled edged collar and satin ribbon tie around the shirt collar.  Both children wore long white knee-high socks and brand new shoes.  Ben’s were polished leather and Kelly’s were patent leather.  Both had freshly scrubbed faces and sweet-smelling clean hair.  Ben’s hair was cut and groomed according to young boys of the day and Kelly’s hair had a mind of its own, as always – blond and curly!  They are holding hands which would have been under my instructions for sure, knowing I would have wanted a wonderful brother/sister photo of the two of them for memory’s sake.  I can see by looking at this photo that the sun was in Ben’s eyes so his face is slightly titled to the side, with his eyes squinting and a look I grew to see over many years and Kelly’s expression reflects a warm shyness.  They were dressed to attend a wedding with both Mark their father and myself – their mother. 

It was a country wedding of the daughter of a man I used to work for – Alf John was his name.  Alf John owned a substantial company in South Melbourne and an important mentor for me.  This now reminds me that Alf John was the man who had lent Mark and I the deposit for our very first home in Essendon, Melbourne.  He demanded that we paid back the money with no interest and we dutifully do so with much gratitude for having given us both the opportunity to buy a home.  The house was a very old Californian bungalow styled home, needed everything done to it which we did get to do over time.  We spent our first 13 years of family life in this home.

I so much love this photo of the both of my children.  It brings back memories of a very good time in our family’s life.  Whilst bringing up a young family wasn’t always easy, it was one of the most important roles I have had in my life.  I didn’t always do the best job of being a mother, but I always loved both my children with every bit of my heart and soul and still do today.  Kelly has grown into just an amazing young woman, a fine human being and my son sadly…well Ben is not with us in this world but is always in my heart…my beautiful boy Ben.

Written by ©Karen Robinson – March 2016

 

  • Title:  “When I was 10…”

When I was 10 – life was difficult, but let me think more about my childhood adventures instead.  I was the oldest of three children. I had a younger sister by 3 years and a young brother by 4 years. It was my job, most days, to look after us all, whilst mum worked and dad … well he would work sometimes, and mostly drink other times, and sometimes – both at the same time, but enough about dad.

The three of us children, would take ourselves off into the tropical rain forests and along the Bay’s esplanade for walkabouts.  These times became the sum of our childhood adventures!  We would swim in the crystal clear creeks that were refreshed daily by out bursts of torrential rain. When the creeks were still and quite, we would study the clear water and search for small fishes, tadpoles and look for tiny specks of sparkling gold dust at the bottom of creek beds. We would stalk blue mountain butterflies, as they fed on showy tropical flowers, within the neighbourhoods’ green lush gardens.

Sometimes, we would look for mango trees to climb and retrieve Mangos to help satisfy our hunger and other times, we would search for the freshest coconuts that lay at random beneath the numerous coconut palm trees within the region.  It would take us hours and hours to remove the outer hard dark-brown hairy husk casing of a coconut, but all seemed to be worth the effort, once we had reached its inner sanctum of creamy white coconut flesh and opaque coconut water.

We would walk along the Bay’s esplanade and collect the sour-sweet fruit pods that had fallen from the shore line Tamarind trees, onto the ground – then sit on the wall, looking out over the bay, whilst we suck on the sour-sweet fruit seeds.  At low tide, we would venture out onto the Bay’s shore edge, which did not consist of sands, but of a mud flat. Each step we would take – would have our feet and legs sinking into squishy, soft and sometimes smelly mud. Many small soldier crabs lived on these mudflats, and would run for cover, upon the sight of us three small children.

There were other times, where we would take retreat from the burning hot sun, under the shade of Frangipani trees where we cooled down and rested our tired little legs.  We would collect the fallen perfumed scented Frangipani flowers that lay beneath these trees and string them together and hang them around our necks or my sister and I would place them in our long hair. 

Stray dogs always seemed to become our friends and we would often have to tell them, to go back home and stop following us – perhaps they too were looking for adventures. We were always on the hunt for fresh water to drink and over time we grew to know where every fresh water tap was within our walkabout region, where every fruit tree was with available fruits to pick as needed, whether on public land or in private gardens, to us there was no difference, all land was our playground, awaiting for our arrival to explore.

These days would end in the inevitable journey back home, where our tired bodies found baths to wash away a day’s play; and with sleep ahead to prepare us for the next day’s walkabout adventures. This is how it should have been, but many times, the thought of returning home was full of trepidation, as we would never know, in what condition, we would find our father. Would he be there, better if he was not! If he was there, would he be drunk and angry; fearsome and scary? Would we be able to avoid – his tirade of imposing drunken rampage?…

As I said at the beginning of this little story, our lives as children was difficult but I do remember my childhood walkabout adventures with my younger sister and brother with much fondness. I know that these times for sure, were the birthplace of my love and respect for nature …”

Written by ©Karen Robinson – June 2015

 

  • Title:  “Laughing At Mother – A Teenager’s View Of Humour!

I remember a particular time as a teenager when my mother was having a very serious argument with me. We were screaming at each other – it was full on verbal abuse towards one another at its worst. I cannot remember the details of this tirade of back and forth abusive communication we were engaging in, but I can remember what brought it to an end. My mother was screaming furiously when all of a sudden her top false teeth came flying out of her mouth! At first we were both astonished and wondered what had just happened. Then when I realised that my mother’s false teeth had flown out of her mouth whilst she had been berating me – I just burst out laughing as it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. As a teenager this was a wonderful end to what had been a very serious encounter with my mother. My mother did not see the funny side of this event and collected her false teeth from where they had landed, but for me, as a teenager, this too just seemed to be even funnier. It was one of the very rare times when my mother seemed defeated and in some way sorrowful but my teenage sense of humour just enjoyed the event too much. One for daughter and nil for mother – a teenager’s view!

Written by © Karen Robinson – August 2015

 

  • Title:  “My Very First Memory Of Art…”

Art was a part of my childhood life and it was my father whom painted in oils.  There were numerous paintings throughout our home of a nude woman whom I came to learn many years on – was my mother.  These art works were never on walls, as we as a family moved many, many times up and down the eastern coast of Australia.  My father used to also have a subscription to an art magazine which I enjoyed going through and examining all the difference paintings and creative works; I remember being fascinated by these art journals. There were times my mother would round us three children up and with my father, we would visit art galleries, usually not the large imposing national and state galleries but the smaller and intimate ones featuring ambitious and creative artists, hoping to make a name for themselves, hoping to pay the rent for the next month – I would think.  Art represented in our lives, in my life as a child, the struggles of my father, his alcoholism, his frightening inner tumultuous self that in turn was used as a weapon upon his family.  I remember a night, in a fierce rage, my father smashed all of his paintings – I don’t remember him returning back to painting after that episode.  As a child, I enjoyed art and was always doodling great patterns in class and drawing whenever I had a chance.  I didn’t take up art in my early adulthood but I have now found myself returning back to a joy I had experienced as a small child, art for therapy I feel…

Written by ©Karen Robinson _ August 2015

 

  • Title:  “Not A Game But A Real Necessity…”

Solitaire – it’s a card game you play alone!  It’s when you have decided to be alone, the sometimes most enjoyable times when being alone can be just blissful.  When there is no need to satisfy someone else’s needs or wants.  When there is a silence that brings a sense of peacefulness within… and the chatter in the brain winds down to a quiet hum.  It can be a time to recharge the inner child so that the adult can function properly instead of being an out of control beast.  Yes, Solitaire…not a game but a real necessity!  And when this Solitaire, this game of being alone comes to an end, it presents a time to reunite with daily life – refreshed, renewed and enabling oneself to throw one’s arms around life once again… with gusto!

Written by © Karen Robinson – October 2015

 

  • Title:  “Beautiful Other…”

You are long and sleek and there’s a fine wick running through your centre, holding together a delicate array of very fine feathers.  You stare back at me, in a sophisticated way, dressed in blacks, dark midnight navies and soft sky blue colours.  At your very tip, there is a white colour which looks like you have stopped short of being finished.  I image you, in your wing, in flight, soaring up into fluffy white clouds and then gliding down, down, down towards the open field looking for pray.

I now image you heading back towards your shelter, as the dark thunderous clouds trample across the sky, in readiness to open up and let free winter rains from its pregnant clouds.  It’s now midnight, and I know the darkness has caused you to rest in one of your caves of choice.  Where you are safe and secure, where you rest your tired and weary wings and dream of the next day’s flying adventures.

Night has past and the sun is now raising and there is a column of sunlight reaching into your cave and alerting your awareness that it’s time to awake.  You open and stretch out your wings with a vigor that signals that you are strong and ready for what is ahead in your day.  A gentle breeze enters the cave, and you give flight and drift towards the cave opening and out into a chilly but beautiful dawn.

In your sight there comes another, just like you and you head towards this beautiful other with a sense of anticipation, a sense that this is the one. With little acknowledgment you fly off together out into the breathtakingly blue skies and up, up, up towards the heavens…

Written by © Karen Robinson – October 2015

 

  • Title:  “Listening To His Voice…”

As I listened to my husband’s voice over the telephone, I could sense how he was feeling.  The ability to do this comes from being married to this man for over 35 years, which has given me a knowing that can only be achieved by sharing one’s life with another, in an intimate and personal way.

There is a sign of tiredness, a slow tempo in his voice that tells me, things are not good with his brother.  I listen with care, waiting for the right moment to ask “and how is he” and my husband’s response is “not good”.  “He got back his blood results today and it is not hopeful” he adds.  My husband’s voice then trails off into a silence.  It means that the chemotherapy tablets his brother was taking as a last resort, in an attempt to live – are now not working.  This means that his brother, partner and doctors will need to look, to see if there is anything else his brother can take instead, that may extend his time – here in our world.  Without hearing my husband say anything else, I know it means there will be little else that can be done.  The cancer is at a point, where it will slowly grasp the last bit of life from his brother’s body and soul.

We tried to finish up our telephone call on a cheery note.  My husband’s voice still sounding sorrowful and sad as he proceeded to tell me that – they’re off now to see his brother’s neighbours, so that they could share the lady-finger bananas that he and his brother had just the day before, cut down from the banana tree that stand tall within his brother’s beautiful tropical garden paradise.  I let him go back to being with his brother, back to sharing precious moments, back to creating memories that will survive past his brother’s living presence and that would be stored away in my husband’s memory of his brother, to be hopefully shared with future generations of family to come.

I hang up the phone and are now left with the thoughts about my own journey that I had during my husband’s cancer fight.  My mind meanders through memories of how hard it was during my husband’s time of chemotherapy, during his recovery – painful and distressing.  I am so thankful that he survived, that he is still here with me now – my dear sweet husband.

Written by © Karen Robinson – April 2016

 

  • Title:  “Crying Roses…”

It’s raining and the roses look like they are crying,

Perhaps they know we are here amongst the ones, who were once dying,

Both my husband and I stop and sit in silence,

Thinking about our loss and leaning on one another with great reliance,

It’s been 6 years now since the passing of our son,

We often think why, why did he have to be the one,

It’s now time to stand and walk a little amongst the rain drenched roses,

And I seek my dear husband’s guide to do some poses,

For each year we make this pilgrimage to remember,

And always on the 5th of November,

A coffee and cake we share,

Where conversation is mostly spare,

Then it’s back home and a chat with our daughter,

The one we now look towards, in our family, to be the mortar…

How precious she is to us,

And our endless love will always be a must…

Written by © Karen Robinson – November 2015

 

  • Title:  “Something I Am Proud About…”

Proud – meaning ‘feeling pleased and satisfied about having done something or about owning something’!

I think one of the things in my life, that I have personally done, which makes me feel that I should be very proud of, is my volunteering with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.  Being a RTSSV volunteer speaker has helped give meaning and purpose in my life after the death of my 25-year-old son Ben, who was killed in a single vehicle car crash in 2009.  Telling my family’s road trauma story to Road Trauma Awareness Seminar participants, helps to give these young and not so young people an opportunity to rethink their risky driver behaviour.  It is remarkable, the impact this has on participants.  And as a volunteer speaker, you know that what you have told them is going to save lives, help reduce serious injury and lessen the ripple effect of road trauma on family, friends and the wider community.  It’s something I don’t do for me, but I have definitely benefited from, in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated when I first started volunteer speaking back in March 2011.  It’s important, it has helped me reconnect with the wider world, it has added value to my daily life and it has made me a better person.  It is also an act of courage, it is humbling, it is sometimes very sad and sometimes difficult, but most of all, it’s the most, worthy task that I do right now in my life.

Written by ©Karen Robinson – November 2015

 

CONCLUSION

Looking back from where I began in 2014 to now, I am so grateful for all that I have been able to learn about myself and learn about how to take care of me, so in turn I can take care of those whom are nearest and dearest to me…

My Art Therapy and Creative Writing Therapy Sessions have now come to an end with Mind Australia.  I have been so fortunate to have had this opportunity to be part of these two therapy groups and have been able to meet an amazing group of people whom I have grown to admire and respect. But is time for me now to leave the security of this group to take on new adventures. Thank you Gillian Scaduto for extending to me the invitation to do art therapy and creative writing with Mind Australia and thank you to our two facilitators Vicky Nicholls and Judy Bird whom have been just so supportive within their facilitation roles. I will not forget my time with you all…

 

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 (me) & Judy Bird – Mind Australia Creative Writing Facilitator during Creative Writing Session Northcote Townhall 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.76 'Altered Book' by Karen Robinson created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

No.76 Karen Robinson (me) as a participant and Gillian Scaduto as Mind Australia Art Therapy & Creative Writing co-facilitator featuring our ‘Altered Books’ which we had created during Art Therapy Sessions 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

© Karen Robinson – May 2016

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

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

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

 

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

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

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

 

STEP THREE AT THE SESSION AND AT MY HOME STUDIO

 

  • Little Bright Blue Love Heart Sequins

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • String Of Words Around The Large Pink Heart

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

  • Signed, Photographed And Varnish

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

 

  • Finished Art Work – yet to be titled!

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

 

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

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

 

CONCLUSION

At the completion of our art therapy sessions we pack up and head across to the local restaurant for a bite to eat and a friendly chat. It’s a great way to finish up on a positive note and it always works for me…

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

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

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

© Karen Robinson, September 2015

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

© Karen Robinson, September 2015

 

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

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

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

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

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

STEP TWO PART 1 – AT THE SESSION

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

STEP TWO PART 2 – IN MY HOME STUDIO

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

 

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

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

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

 

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

Art Therapy Group Session Five – August 2015 “Commencement of Group Project” by Karen Robinson

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

 

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

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

 

INTRODUCTION

Today was our fifth group art therapy session and consisted of the commencement of a group project which took up the whole of this particular session’s given time span.  The art therapy facilitator firstly layed out onto the carpet a very large stretch of canvas where upon members of the group measured out equal sections which were then cut into separate pieces.  A single piece of canvas was handed to each participant to work on in any fashion they wished.  The ultimate goal was to have each participate complete a work of art that was representative of their carer experience.  At the end of this artistic endeavour which is to take a number of weeks to achieve, we would then somehow bring all the individual artworks together as one sole piece of group artistic masterpiece!

 

RECEIVING MY PIECE OF CANVAS

In previous weeks, the art therapy facilitator had us engage in artistic activities that were to help us reach this point in being able to produce this particular work of art.  So I had been thinking about working with paint on canvas, lace and crystals – that was about as much as I had been able to envisage.  Once I had the canvas in front of me, it became clearer to me, where I should start.  Just recently I had re looked at a video that TAC had made of me in 2011, about the loss of my son Ben to road trauma and about my art for therapy journey.  I was listening to myself speak, I re-heard my words ‘try to build in my memory, the best of Ben, to carry him in my heart‘ – it then came to me what I was going to produce for this project, I would start with a large heart and that heart would dominate the canvas. I firstly draw a large heart onto a sheet of paper, folded it in half and cut around one side of the heart to ensure each side of the heart was the same in shape.  I then placed this cut out heart onto the canvas and traced around the outer edging with a lead pencil.  I mixed up a beautiful colour pink to fill the heart with and then mixed up a beautiful colour tangerine to surround the heart.

 

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

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

 

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 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.

 

 

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

After we had all completed the very first stage of our individual pieces of art work, we all shared a little about our art work and only as much as we wanted to share.  Some of us talked about the meaning of it, others talked about what they intended to do moving forward over the weeks to come.  We then placed our precious art works in places around the venue in order that they could dry completely before working on then further, at next week’s art therapy session.

 

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

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

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

 

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

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

Art Therapy Group Session Four – August 2015 “Fantasy, Mystical Creature of Self…” by Karen Robinson

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No. 11 of 13 Art Therapy Session 'Fantasy, mystical creature of self with shelter that provides for all its needs - by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG.JPG

No. 11 of 13 Art Therapy Session ‘Fantasy, mystical creature of self with shelter that provides for all its needs – by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

Today was our fourth group art therapy session and consisted of just one creative exercise which took up most of the session’s given time span.  The art therapy facilitator instructions were to make a fantasy, mystical creature of our selves out of polymer clay.  It was not to have any human likeness.  Once we had achieved this, we were then to make a home/shelter for our creature that would include all the creature comforts we thought we needed to live.  We were provided with varying materials to use to make the home/shelter consisting of – different sized boxes, printed paper, felt, wool, glitter, magazines, pens, pencils, felts, paints ect. Whilst at first this task seamed like child’s play it quickly became apparent that participants were endeavouring to go about producing creations that significantly interpreted the project brief given.

 

MY FANTASY, MYSTICAL CREATURE OF SELF

For myself, I decided to firstly use a brown colour for the torso of my creature.  It then gained orange feet, a white face, red nose, black eyes and brows and three colourful feathers set at the back of its head.  During my story telling to the group, I said that my creature was colourful because of my love of colour and my creature also had the ability to chance colour to reflect its environment as needed.

 

No. 12 of 13 Art Therapy Session 'Fantasy, mystical creature of self with shelter that provides for all its needs - by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG.JPG

No. 12 of 13 Art Therapy Session ‘Fantasy, mystical creature of self with shelter that provides for all its needs – by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

HOME/SHELTER FOR MY FANTASY, MYSTICAL CREATURE OF SELF

My creatures home/shelter started with a small box which had an open lip and when put on its side led to look like a balcony or like an entrance into my home.  Within my home I included small fluffy balls which represented food.  Then I made a bed out of fine wool that I glued to a circular rug like shape.  The back of my home inside the box, I lined with dark rock patterned paper, and the sides and balcony/drive with a rock patterned paper to represent the Australian outback.  At the sides of the entrance of my creatures home, I cut out small trees and glued them onto the box which represented my love of nature.  At the end of the balcony/drive, I placed a dark blue felt lagoon shaped object with sparkles to represent fresh, clean water.

 

No. 1 of 13 Art Therapy Session 'Fantasy, mystical creature of self with shelter that provides for all its needs - by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

No. 1 of 13 Art Therapy Session ‘Fantasy, mystical creature of self with shelter that provides for all its needs – by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

 

At the back outside of my home/shelter, I used paper that had blue sky and clouds and then I glued a fluffy, yellow ball of wool which represented the sun.  At the back outside of my home/shelter I glued a picture of a cactus with glitter.  At the very top, I glued a picture of a bull’s silhouette against a raging sunset  I also included other creatures which were representation of family and friends.  In summary I ensured my fantasy, mystical creature of my self had a home/shelter that provided me with:- shelter, food, a warm bed, a home that I felt good and safe in and then I surrounded myself with family and friends.  I said to the group when we were sharing our story about our creations, that for me, my fantasy, mystical creature of my self and the home/shelter was a representation of what is important to me – it is what I have built-in my real life for myself and my family.  That I was the sum of all those who are in my life and without them I would be alone and life would seem meaningless…

 

 

CONCLUSION

Once we had completed our mini projects we then shared our story about our creatures and their homes/shelter.  It was just so interesting and revealing what was shared during this part of the session.  Whilst an activity like this can be seen as child’s play, it is very apparent when participants share their stories, including myself, that much more is going on in our minds.  What could be seen and heard is how differently we all had interpreted the brief and how powerful the stories were that we had shared!

What also becomes evident during these sessions it that at times carers feel unheard, unseen and their needs, desires are put on hold whilst they endeavour to care for their loved ones in their day-to-day lives. But having a place where they can have time for themselves such as attending an art therapy session, gives them a place where it’s just for them and where they do not have to share their time with another – for just a little while at least…

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

 

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

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

Art Therapy Group Session Three – July 2015 “What is important!…Mandala” by Karen Robinson

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

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Today was our third group art therapy session and consisted of a number of individual exercises.  Here within this weblog, I have included just the one!  For our first art for therapy exercise, we were asked to create a circular mandala that would be made up of a number of sections.

 

About Mandalas

Mandala means ‘circle’ in the Sanskrit language and is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe.  The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point.  It can be used as a psychological and educational approach to human development and offers a conceptual model for understanding how we can heal, develop, and transform consciousness (Mandala Symbolism).

Please find below here an amazing time-lapse YouTube about –

“the making of a Mandala by the Tibetan Monks who painstakingly spend five days to design and place tiny grains of sand to create a beautiful work of temporary art.  On day 6 they scoop up the sand and place it in a body of water, releasing the energy of the project back into the community” (The Crow Collection of Asian Art Jan 20, 2010)

 

EXERCISE 1 – “What is important!…Mandala” 

Each section of the mandala we were to make in this art therapy session was to represent something that was important to us as individuals on this particular day.  We were given a sheet of paper and a large bowl which was used to create the outer rim of the circle.  Materials supplied consisted of magazines that we could cut out selected images and paste onto the mandala, felt pens for easy drawing application, oil pastels, crayons and ink pens.

 

 

I decided to work with some images from the magazines, and with ink pens and felt pens for quick, easy application.  We had approximately 20 minutes to achieve but by the time we actually got started and completed the exercise, it was more like 40 minutes all up.  After completing the task each of us in turn explained what our mandala was all about.  Above is an image of my whole mandala and below – images of each section with an explanation of its meaning for me.

 

 

Mandala Section 1 – ‘Mother Nature’ Important to me!  My husband has create around our home a beautiful garden.  Now 15 years on in its development, we have large mature trees and brushes that attract the local native birds.  Be in winter, spring, summer or autumn – our garden offers a slice of nature just outside our back and front door – good for the soul!

 

 

Mandala Section 2 – ‘Coffee’ Important to me!  When my husband and I were at the peak of our grieving process from the loss of our son, we would take ourselves out and find a quiet place to have a cup of coffee.  It was a time where we found it hard to get out and mix with others. This coffee outing treat, helped us both feel that we were not alone, that we were still connected to the rest of the world.  At times we would just sit, sip our coffee, read the paper, or just quietly take in what was happening around us.  So having a cup of coffee out at a cafe’ was important to us and still is these years – it’s a small treat for us both.

 

 

Mandala Section 3 – ‘Art for Therapy’ Important to me!  The engagement of art for therapy in the way of abstract painting, creative writing and blogging is very important to me.  It helps me everyday maintain a good sense of wellbeing.

 

 

Mandala Section 4 – ‘Good Health’ Important to me!  During the period of time when I was my husband’s carer, as he recovered from chemotherapy, and during the period of time where my husband and I were deeply grieving for the loss of our son, my personal physical and mental health declined to a point where if was beginning to shorten my life span drastically.  My mental health has improved and my physical strength has returned. I am now eating better, walking each day and sleeping soundly.  Good health has become a top priority for me to ensure I can live a long and productive life.

 

 

Mandala Section 5 – ‘People in my life’ Important to me!  More than ever before, the people in my life are essential to my existence as a mother, wife, friend, colleague, art therapy group participant, creative writing group participant and as a volunteer worker. All these people who I come in contact with, week in and week out, help to ensure I have meaning and purpose in my everyday.

 

 

Mandala Section 6 – ‘Equilibrium’ Important to me!  Everyday I look for equilibrium in my life.  A balance between all of the other elements that may up my day.  When things look like they are getting out of balance, I take a deep breath and reassess and look for the things that tick the happy box!

 

CONCLUSION

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

EXERCISE 1 – “Starry Night” 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Brave”

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

EXERCISE 1 – “Landscape Colour Opposites” 

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

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

 

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

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Self Portrait”

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

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

 

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

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

 

EXERCISE 3 –  “Zentangle Art”

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

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

 

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

 

CONCLUSION

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

 

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

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

Art Therapy Humour – “When you just gotta get it out – on a wall!”

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

 

 

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

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

The cartoon above – I thought was very cleaver, and just so relevant to today’s 21st Century ‘world-wide web’ we use to communicate with each other. These wonderful cavemen caricatures, created by the cartoonist, helps to demonstrate just how far we have come, yet not really – we still seek to write/draw/communication on a ‘wall’!

I wish you all, the very best in your artful quests/endeavours … sincerely Karen

 

Ref:  Cartoon – https://libraryladiesrock.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/cartoon_great_hunt.png

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 5 – last for 2015 – “Winding Up…” by Karen Robinson

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

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

EXERCISE 1 –  “Zentangle Art”

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

EXERCISE 2 – “Group Booklet Making”

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

CONCLUSION

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

ART THERAPY SESSION NO. 2

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

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

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

 

 

 

Exercise 2 –  “Happy Boxes Made In Clay”

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

 

 

ART THERAPY SESSION NO. 3

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

ART THERAPY SESSION NO. 4

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

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

 

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

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

Art Therapy Group Session 1 of 5 for 2015 – “A Tree of Treasured Memories…” by Karen Robinson

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

 

INTRODUCTION

My art therapy journey 2015  – has once again enabled me to participant in another art therapy group.  This group is larger than our previous 2014 group and is especially for those who are carers for another in their lives.  It is facilitated by a very experienced Art Therapist and a co-facilitator.  They assist participants to express themselves through art in a safe, secure and supportive environment.  It also gives participants, an opportunity to meet new people with whom they learn to share thoughts, emotions and life experiences with, in an imaginative and creative way.  The art work produced during an art therapy session, is not and will not be, works of art, as little time and energy is invested in the creative process.  But what is important to understand and appreciate, is that it is, about the process of self exploration through art therapy.

 

GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER

Getting the participants to know each other – was the group’s Art Therapist’s primary goal at this first session.  It involved participating in a number of simple exercises which helped each of us, to get to know one another, a little better.  For some, we already knew of each other through our first art therapy group in 2014 and for others, it involved getting to know the whole group for the first time.  Following our first session will be another 5 sessions, where we will have plenty of opportunity to broaden our knowledge of each other and of ourselves even further.

 

A TREE OF TREASURED MEMORIES

One of our art therapy exercises involved a visualisation process.  We were asked to close our eyes and visualise a place of beauty, a place we feel safe in, a place we would enjoy being within.  I found it easy to reach my ‘mind place’ as I like to call it, being the beach with stretches of golden sand, a deep blue sea with crashing waves creeping up onto the shoreline, a pretty, light blue sky that seem to go on forever, a warm sun filling my soul with a sense of joy and a soft sea breeze caressing my skin.  On reaching this ‘mind place’ we were then asked to find a ‘magic seed’.  I found myself picking up a seed pod near a rock pool and holding in my hand as I examined its texture, shape and colour.  We were then asked to plant it and visualise what it had grown into.  After a few moments of visualisation, we were then asked to open our eyes and draw/paint/crayon an art work that showed what our ‘magic seed’ had grown into.

Once we had completed our art work about what our ‘magic seed’ had grown into, we each took turns to explain it to the group; and only as much as we were comfortable in revealing.  It was very interesting and amazing how serious the participants had involved themselves in this visualisation process.

 

No. 1 of 3 ArtTherapy Group Session 1 'Tree of Treasured Memories' created by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Feb 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright..JPG

No. 1 of 3 Art Therapy Group Session 1 ‘Tree of Treasured Memories’ created by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Feb 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright..JPG

 

For me, my seed grew into ‘A  Tree of Treasured Memories’:-

It was an imaginary tree with no leaves!  It held only pear, shaped droplets hanging from its branches, that once reached for and plucked, would take me to a treasured memory I held in my mind and in my heart.  I didn’t realise at that very moment of producing my ‘tree of treasured memories’ art work, that I would become very emotional.  I found myself working hard at trying to push back the tears, so as no one could see them. As we went around the table, with each person telling their story and showing their art work, I found myself becoming more and more tearful.  I held tight to my tears welling up in my eyes, so they wouldn’t fall. It was then that I realized, that my ‘tree of treasured memories’ was about, having a wish to be able to revisit memories of my son Ben, who had been killed in a single vehicle car crash in 2009.  Over the recent years, I had come to understand, how time spent with loved ones was a treasure.  I tragically had learned this through my loss and all that was left of my son now – were treasured memories.  I did manage to explain some of my tree of treasured memories art work, but it was difficult and I stopped short in order to hold back the pain in my heart, that was slowly seeping forward to the present moment.  No doubt there were others there on this day, that had difficulty in relaying their stories as well, but it was hard not to think about anything else other than – my treasured memories….”

Written by Karen Robinson

 

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

 

Our next art therapy exercise involved getting a piece of paper and cutting a small hole out of it, in the centre, a hole big enough to peer through.  We were then instructed to hold the paper up to our eye and look through it and then look for something ‘beautiful’ to focus on.  The room we occupied had beautiful,ornate architraves.  I used those images to create the above sketch.

 

WHAT I NEED NOW

No. 3 of 3 ArtTherapy  Group Session 1 'What I Need Now!' created by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Feb 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright.JPG

No. 3 of 3 ArtTherapy Group Session 1 ‘What I Need Now!’ created by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Feb 2015 NB All images are protected by copyright.JPG

 

The last art therapy exercise for the day, involved choosing a card from a set of cards.  On one side of the card was an image, and on the other side of the card, were a set of words.  Using the card as inspiration, we were asked to create an art work that reflected  ‘what we need now’.  My chosen card and its accompanying words as stated below, inspired my crayon art work above.

“We will call deep into the past to all our ancestors and they will come because they have to.  Because…without us they do not exist and without them we do not exist…Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service Cards

 

During my sharing of my art work, I explained that what I needed now and look for, is joy in my life.  I very much look for actions that tick the happy box in order to fulfill that desire.  So there are lots of colourful shapes in my art work which is representative of having lots of avenues of finding joy in everyday life.

 

CONCLUSION

I must say, I found it difficult to go forward with the rest of the session after the visualisation process exercise, where I created my art work and story of  ‘a tree of treasured memories’.  Sometimes during art for therapy, I have found and still do find the process to be very challenging, difficult and confronting.  Thankfully our co-facilitator had organised for the whole group to have lunch together after this session. This helped wash away any sadness I was feeling and I left in a good frame of mind; strong enough again to go back to working on actions that tick the happy box!…

 

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

 

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

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

Artful Child’s Play!

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September 2014, I was asked if I would do a one-off, two-hour ‘holiday program art session’ at our local council, for a group of 8 children, ages from 5 to 12 years old, as a volunteer artist.  The theme we decided upon was Halloween and the children made Halloween masks.  We had an assortment of materials to work with and I was on hand to assist with any requests the children had; to answer any questions and to offer artistic encouragement during the whole process.

We firstly talked about what Halloween is in very simplistic terms being that it is one of America’s favourite holidays which is celebrated on the night of October 31st. It’s a time putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties.  It can also be a time for superstitions, ghost and goblins and also about having lots of fun…

It was very interesting how each child went about producing their Halloween mask and what materials they individually decided to use.  We started the process with a coloured rectangle shape of hard cardboard.  I had given each child a specific colour and suggested that if they didn’t like the colour they had, perhaps they could ask someone to swap with them.  A couple of the children decided to swap and did it in such an agreeable way – that impressed me!  Then we glued a white, plain cardboard face onto the square coloured paper, just so that they had a basic face to work on.  Paint was a big favourite with the children and glitter became the star product used, both with the boys and the girls.  I made a suggestion to use wool for hair and as you can see above, there were some children who took up the offer.

I was so impressed with how the group of children went about studiously working on their Halloween masks.  At times I offered further encouragement and input; along with some ideas and suggestions for them to consider; and with lots of encouragement and praise.  For me, this was a form of art therapy for children, as it gave them an opportunity to do just what they wanted to do; unrestricted creativity and with total ownership for their end results.  It was a good art session and it appeared the children had enjoyed themselves and were genuinely pleased with their efforts.

NB:  For the purposes of this weblog, I will not be mentioning any names or personal details of participants or even the name of the organisation that ran the session.  Individuals have the right to privacy, so it will be about my own experience and broad statements about the session.  I hope you will understand.

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

Art Therapy Group Session 7 of 7 – “Our journey is at an end!”

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

My Art Therapy Group Sessions have now come to an end.  Part of me was sadden by this, as I was going to miss the meeting up each week, with a group of women whom I have gotten to know and appreciate.  Over a period of seven weeks, we have all shared deeply personal thoughts, emotions and feelings with an honesty and frankness that is generally very rare with people whom you barely know.  The art therapist herself proved to be an intrinsic part of the success of this Art Therapy Group set of workshops.  We left with the knowledge that art for therapy, has a place in our lives that will give us a voice to express ourselves seriously and sometimes just for the fun of it!

It was at this last Art Therapy Session, the Art Therapist had us start with an exercise that would involve each of us contributing to one another’s art work.  We were asked to gather up, art materials and a piece of butcher paper and commence producing an art work. The theme was around, what we found we had gained from attending the Art Therapy Sessions overall; and what we had gained also from each other.  We were given a short period of time to do this and then we were required to passed onto the group member next to us to contribute their part. This process preceded via each group member until each had contributed on each and every art work.

Featured above is mine and I commenced with a circle of green, squiggly lines and in the middle of that, I wrote the words ‘BEING’.  Then I wrote the words: ‘exploring self’; ‘understanding others’; ‘appreciation’; ‘new connections’; and ‘new artistic ideas’.  The rest of the art work were the contributions of the other group members.

We were then asked to make a set of little cards that would be representative of each group member. Each card needed to be about what we had learned about that group member. I firstly chose a colour that, for me, reflected their personality and then used symbols to tell my story as requested.  I add a common element of the silver pieces which was a symbolic representation of finding the ‘silver lining’ in life.  I also used gold and silver paint to be symbolic of the best I found in them all over the course of the 7 sessions.  Once this task was completed, we shared with each other our cards and their stories about that group member.

NB:  Below are my set of cards – each representing a group member and the bright green card is the one I made for myself.

3. ArtTherapy Group Session 7 'Our journey is at an end!' Painting by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Sept 2014 NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

3. ArtTherapy Group Session 7 ‘Our journey is at an end!’ Painting by Abstract Artist Karen Robinson Sept 2014 NB All images are protected by copyright laws.JPG

To finish up our last session, we had lunch together.  It was a warm and friendly atmosphere with lots of laughs and good conversation and a blossoming of new friendships.  Art Therapy at its best I feel…

Thank you for joining me on this Art Therapy Group Session Journey! Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 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 6 of 7 – “Blessings, Ideas and Inspiration!”

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

Art Therapy can be a surprising process within a group session.  It is an incredible way of learning about one’s self and about others, in a safe and supportive environment. It can reveal pain, sorrow, joy and laughter…

This week’s Art Therapy Group Session revolved around selecting one to two cards, from a set of cards called ‘Healing with the Angels Oracle Cards’ by Doreen Virtue Ph.D.  The pack consists of 44 oracle cards with unique Victorian-style or Old Master-style angel pictures on one side. They convey a simple statement on the front side of the card and on the reverse is the full meaning of the ‘angel readings’.  During this session, these cards were used just as a means to creating another meaningful piece of art within this art therapy session.

After we had all thoughtfully considered which ‘Angel Card/s’ and it’s statement had appealed to us most, we were asked to collect them and assemble as a group at the table.  The Art Therapist asked each of us to explain our reasons for selecting our specific cards.  When it came to myself to explain, I suddenly found myself very emotional and began to cry.  It was a shock to me and I didn’t think I would be able to continue but with a breath of time, I was alright to do so.  My choice of the ‘Blessings Card’ was related to the fact that after my son had been killed in a single vehicle crash, I found it very hard to find joy and meaning in my life.  It took so much inner strength to look at my life in a different way and it was very hard to look forward without my son but I worked hard at looking at what blessings I had, which eventually lead me to a better place in my life.  The second card for me ‘Ideas & Inspirations‘ was all about finding that new path, rebuilding myself and finding joy in everyday life – it took a lot of ideas and inspirations to do – but I am there and grateful to be able to enjoy life again.

Once we had all talked about our reasons for choosing our particular cards, we then received instructions about our next art therapy project.  We were to make little ‘candle holder covers’ from assorted provided materials.  These covers once completed were then stuck to the outside of a glass jar and a little tea candle placed within it and lite.

I decided to base my glass candle cover around people; people in my life.  Here below you can see how I have strung them together and when placed around the glass jar, they complete a full circle.  Different colours represent different types of people, and the different heights represent the different ages of these people.

 

The image below I particular like as it shows one large purple person looking down at the small yellow person in a caring way – the green person is part of this group and at the same time is reaching, stretching out to connect with another within the circle of people.

Once we had all finished our glass candle holders with their new covers around the outside, we lite the tea candles. Each group member’s art work was reflective of the ‘angel cards’ statements. We then had the opportunity to share our thoughts and emotions we experienced during this art therapy process.  Whilst these art works will not mean much to others, they are little treasures to the group members…art therapy at it’s best I feel…

 

 

 

NB:  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2 & 3 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 5 of 7 – “Finding a safe place within!”

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This week’s Art Therapy Group Session consisted of a well attended group of 5, plus the Art Therapist and the assisting facilitator.  We commenced our session with a light physical stretching set of exercises for approximately 10 minutes.  Just to get us loosened up.  We were then asked to sit down and close our eyes and concentrate on our breathing, clearing our minds of other thoughts, relaxing our body and bringing ourselves right into the present.  From here we were asked to think of a space we felt safe in; it could be a real space or it could be an imaginary space.  We were asked to image ourselves walking through this ‘safe space’ and to think about what it was that made us feel safe.  It was a very relaxing process where I could feel my mind and body totally washing away other thoughts and emotions and truly being in the moment.

From here we were asked to open our eyes, take up our desired art materials and commence an art work that represents our ‘safe space’.  I gathered up a sheet of butcher paper, paint brushes of varying sizes, some acrylic paint, soft oil pastels and some ink paint and got started…

After completing our paintings, we were asked to place them in a line across the floor.  Each of us in turn talked about what our painting said in relation to painting about our ‘safe space’.  It was interesting to see and hear what others had painted and said about their ‘safe space’.  A number of the group had ‘imagery safe spaces’ and others had ‘real safe spaces’.

My painting was based on a ‘real safe space’.  It was my home garden which my husband has worked on for over 13 years to create from bare soil.  Every room in our home has a view of our garden.  The garden its self is full of well established bushes and trees where wild life flock to rest, feed, drink water and go about the daily lives.  Over the seasons, the leaves on the trees go golden brown, yellow, orange and drop; in spring they flower and in summer they provide us with must needed shade to protect us from the strong Australian sun.  In my painting about my ‘safe space’ the golden-yellow represents the soft warmth of the sun in spring, when it warms my cheers and reminds me of the summer to come.  The blues remind me of our beautiful clear bright blue sky, we as so fortunate to have here in Australia.  The planting represents a plant my husband has used to line each side of our garden leading from the road to our front door.

Our garden has been a treasure over many years, offering both my husband and myself a form of refuge during difficult times in our lives.  My ‘safe space’ is my garden where nature kindly cares for my soul…

NB:  Please click on the below links to view Nos. 1, 2 & 3 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