Media 2017: “Abnormal Psychology Book Cover Artwork”

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Karen Robinson at Home Art Studio holding book titled 'Abnormal Psychology' featuring on the front cover her original painting titled 'For Ones' Well-being' March 2017 www.idoartkarenrobinson.com NB: All images are copyright protected

Karen Robinson at Home Art Studio holding book titled ‘Abnormal Psychology’ featuring on the front cover her original painting titled ‘For Ones’ Well-being’ March 2017 http://www.idoartkarenrobinson.com NB: All images are copyright protected

 

 

INTRODUCTION

During mid 2016 I received an email from Gail Buschman, Senior Graphic Designer of Sage Publishing, an international academic publisher based in Thousand Oaks, California.  They were interested in using one of my images ‘Abstract Painting No. 64 – Titled ‘For One’s Well-being on the cover of a forthcoming textbook; and the Second Edition of William J Ray’s ‘Abnormal Psychology‘ – Pennsylvania State University.  They asked if I would be interested in licensing it to them for book publishing, specifically for print and electronic book cover and website landing page header, circulation 20,000, geography – world rights, duration 7 year license/usage from publication date, exposure 1 language, inclusive of a credit line on the back cover.  After some discussions with family and friends, and after becoming a member with Copyright Agency/Viscopy – I agreed.

 

 

THE BOOK

 

Abnormal Psychology written by William J Ray - Second Edition www.idoartkarenrobinson.com

‘Abnormal Psychology’  written by William J Ray – Second Edition http://www.idoartkarenrobinson.com

 

In Abnormal Psychology: Perspectives on Human Behavior and Experience Second Edition, William J. Ray brings together current perspectives concerning the manner in which the human mind, behavior, and experience can be understood. In addition to the traditional psychological literature, this book draws from work in the cognitive and affective neurosciences, epidemiology, ethology, and genetics. Ray’s focus is on a unification and integration of the biopsychosocial understandings of human behavior within a broader consideration of human culture and language as it applies to abnormal psychology (Amazon 2017)”

 

 

 

THE PAINTING

 

No. 29 of 29 Painting No. 64 Titled 'For One's Well-being' Painting Practice by Abstract Painter Karen Robinson Feb 2016 NB All images are protected by copyright laws

Abstract Painting No. 64 Titled ‘For One’s Well-being’ Painting by Abstract Painter Karen Robinson Feb 2016 http://www.idoartkarenrobinson.com NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

 

THE PAINTING’S STORY – “FOR ONE’S WELL-BEING”

 

“This painting titled “For One’s Well-being” has been inspired by the groups of people I have brought into my life through activities such as Art Therapy and Creative Writing provided by Mind Australia; and also my volunteering and paid work that I do with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria.

For the sake of my own well-being, I have found over a course of time, that being part of community groups such as these organisations, has truly helped me gain a better sense of well-being. Within the comfort and security of such organisations, I have witnessed how people have been empowered to voice their feelings, share, reveal, support, encourage each other during times of great difficulty alongside of professional support systems. I have also witnessed how when participants choose to come and join such organisations, they grow strong and more-able to deal with day-to-day difficulties; and I am one of those people.

My painting reflects an image of myself in the foreground, with my support networks in the background. They come from all walks of life; they are family, friends, work mates and community group members whom have been an integral part of my life over recent years, and all have contributed to my ability to reach a healthy mindset. Hence varying colours of difference; and colours with commonality. I couldn’t have got to this place where I am now without their support and this painting is a tribute to them all.”

© Karen Robinson, February 2016

 

CONCLUSION

It was pleasing to have this particular artwork of mine used in such a way.  Hopefully this usage will also convey the painting’s story and help contribute to the knowledge base of students and teachers using ‘Abnormal Psychology’ as a learning tool…

 

 

 

© Karen Robinson – March 2017

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POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH:  Improving one’s sense of wellbeing using art, creative writing, photography and blogging – my journey written by ©Karen Robinson.  Please click here for my latest blog news!

Book Review by Karen Robinson – “Upside – The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth” Author Jim Rendon

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Karen Robinson reading Jim Rendon's book titled 'Upside' The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth NB All images are protected by copyright laws

Karen Robinson reading Jim Rendon’s book titled ‘Upside’ The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth – reading via Kindle. NB All images are protected by copyright laws

 

INTRODUCTION

What drew me towards reading this book titled ‘Upside‘ written by Jim Rendon was the book’s tag line – ‘The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth‘.  Over recent years, I have come to formally understand, that my art and creative writing processes, have been – my own personal post-traumatic growth journey.  Reading Jim Rendon’s book, has further assisted me in gaining insightful knowledge about the subject matter. It also, had me appreciating, just how much post-traumatic growth I myself have encountered, after experiencing a series of life changing devastating traumatic events. That post-traumatic growth can be like, a rebirth of oneself, a rebuilding of everything previously known and understood; and that it can lead to positive outcomes, that one would have never anticipated; that life can once more – become meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling.  But it takes work, and the process of post-traumatic growth can be different from one individual to another.  What works for some, may not work for others and in Jim Rendon’s book – his interviews/stories about individuals from all walks of life and traumatic experiences, shows this to be true.

 

NB:  Recently I spoke at Mind Australia’s 2016 Conference in Melbourne, Australia about my Post-Traumatic Growth, about how art and creative writing had improved my life after experiencing a series of family crises and about what I had learned about the catalyst for my positive change.  Please find here a link for the webpage about ARTIST TALK NO. 2 – ‘OUR VOICE, OUR CHOICE’ 2016that refers to this presentation of mine.

 

 

UPSIDE – THE NEW SCIENCE OF POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH

Jim Rendon has written his book in sections, number one being titled ‘Why Terrible Experiences Can Also Be Good For You‘, number two being titled ‘The Essential Tools for Growth‘ and the third titled ‘Cultivating Growth‘.  The following Amazon overview of his book covers it well and I felt I couldn’t have covered it better:-

 

'Upside' - The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth written by Jim Rendon

‘Upside’ – The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth written by Jim Rendon

 

In the tradition of Po Bronson and Paul Tough, journalist Jim Rendon delivers a deeply reported look at the life-changing implications of post-traumatic growth—an emerging field of psychological research that shows how the suffering caused by traumatic events can be harnessed as a force for self-improvement and success rather than destruction.

PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, is at the center of national conversation and a widely recognized psychological condition. But an equally valid, though lesser known outcome of trauma is post-traumatic growth. While many survivors suffer long-term emotional damage, over the last several decades psychologists have discovered that with the right circumstances and proper support, survivors can actually emerge from their trauma stronger, more focused, and with a new and clear vision for the future. In fact, as many as two-thirds of trauma survivors report positive changes—far more than suffer from PTSD.

But how can terrible events lead to remarkable and dramatic breakthroughs? Upside seeks to answer this question by taking a deep-dive look at this burgeoning new field of study. Comprised of interviews with leading researchers and dozens of trauma survivors, Rendon paints a vivid and comprehensive portrait of this groundbreaking field. With accessible language, prescriptive takeaways, and specific tools to promote positive responses to trauma, this book is perfect for anyone interested in the ways that traumatic events shape people. It is particularly useful for trauma survivors or their loved ones seeking a more hopeful and positive future. (Amazon 2016).”

 

LEONARD LOPATE SHOW’S INTERVIEW WITH JIM RENDON ABOUT HIS BOOK

Below is a link to ‘Leonard Lopate Show‘ interview with Jim Rendon, spamming just 20 minutes.  It helps give a quick overview of what Jim Rendon’s book is all about and worth a listen.

“The Silver Lining of Trauma” Radio interview with Jim Rendon

 

 

MY BOOK REVIEW OF ‘UPSIDE’ & PERSONAL INSIGHTS

Jim Rendon’s Book ‘Upside’ was a good read. There was so much I could personally resonate with and improved my understanding about post-traumatic growth exponentially which in turn, has improved my understanding of my own experience with post-traumatic growth.  Jim’s extensive research into the science of post-traumatic growth and his in-depth interviews/stories about people whom have experienced post-traumatic growth – proved to validate his work even more.

 

CONCLUSION

Jim Rendon’s book is an important read for those whom are interested in ‘post-traumatic growth’ and how in can be an incredible means to helping people rebuild and reshape their lives which have been somehow traumatically impacted by a life changing event.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, July 2016

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

Creative Writing – June 2016 “I Am Listening…” Poem by Karen Robinson

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Volunteer Speaking at a Road Trauma Awareness Seminar Melbourne Australia with RTSSV - Karen Robinson June 2016

Karen Robinson (me) Volunteer Speaking at a Road Trauma Awareness Seminar Melbourne Australia with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria – Karen Robinson June 2016

 

INTRODUCTION

Last night – Tuesday 14th June, 2016 at RTSSV’sRoad Trauma Awareness Seminar (RTAS) in Werribee as a RTAS Volunteer Speaker, I told my family’s, being husband’s and my daughter’s road trauma story about my son Ben – killed in a single vehicle car crash on the 5th November, 2009. Like many other RTAS volunteer speakers each month across the state of Victoria – Australia for Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV), we share with repeat road traffic offenders our road trauma stories, in the hope that repeat road traffic offenders gain a greater understanding about how risky driver behaviour is deadly. That it only takes one careless action as a driver to cause death and serious injury which in turn can leave behind, a devastating ripple effect.

Talking to and with these RTAS participants about their risky driver behaviour, once again reaffirmed the importance of the volunteer work that we do. Sure, it’s not easy and sure why do it all – might be your question. But when I hear, like many other volunteers hear, what participants say at the end of the Road Trauma Awareness Seminars: about what they have learned in regard to road safety and road trauma; about what they had never understood beforehand about the ripple effect impact of road trauma on family, friends, workmates and the wider community; and about how hearing our personal road trauma stories, has got them re-thinking about their own risky driver behaviour – it becomes apparent that it is a very worthwhile task and for me is the hardest thing I do.

 

POEM INSPIRATION

I found myself wanting to write, needing to write and I wrote this short poem about my feelings relating to this week’s Road Trauma Awareness Seminar Volunteer speaking experience.  This is what I wrote…

 

Title:  “I Am Listening…” Prose Poem

 



Here I am, again, listening to their reasons why

and as I hear, I cannot help but sigh!

 


They talk about the daily risks they take

and my calm facial expression is all a fake

 


for I know if they continue on in this vein,

their lives will not be blessed by the ordained.

 


Their loved ones will end up mourning their loss

for their risk-taking comes at a massive cost.

 


The tears, heartache and emptiness of soul

will leave their loved ones with this only role.

 


And as for me, I am already there -

left without my son and left with great despair.



Prose Poem ©Karen Robinson, June 2016

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

Writing this poem helped me process my feelings and thoughts about what I heard, saw and experienced during my RTAS volunteer speaking this week.  At this particular RTA Seminar there was another whom had experienced the loss of a loved one through road trauma and he hadn’t spoken about his loss for over 20 years…  It was very sad and demonstrated just how important it is to reach out and share our feelings, thoughts and emotions in order to maintain a healthy sense of well-being.  My creative writing and art practice gives me a way to maintain my well-being and has become an important way for me to continue on moving forward with my post-traumatic growth journey.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson – June 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 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

Book Review by Karen Robinson – “Wired to Create” Authors Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregorie

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

 

4 of 4 Book Review by Karen Robinson - 'Wired to Create' Authors Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire NB All images are protected by copyright laws

4 of 4 Book Review by Karen Robinson – ‘Wired to Create’ Authors Scott Barry Kaufman & Carolyn Gregoire.  Karen Robinson – being me spending time reading.  NB:  All images are protected by copyright laws

 

 

INTRODUCTION

I have to confess, I am not and have not ever been a big reader.  During my turbulent childhood, reading was just not at the top of the list of important things to worry about.  Throughout my adulthood, it has proven to be a great failing of mine, and I wish I had learned the love of reading books in my earlier life.  So what I am hoping to do here within my blog is to take up reading books in relation to art therapy and creative writing therapy and sharing my thoughts about such books.

 

WIRED TO CREATE

After searching the internet, I came across this book titled Wired to Create.  The title captured my imagination firstly, and then it was its – book review and the qualitative authors, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire that final sold me on purchasing the book to read.

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD “is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity” (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  Carolyn Gregoire “is a senior writer at the Huffington Post, where she reports on psychology, mental health, and TEDx and the Harvard Public Health Forum, and has appeared on MSNBC, the Today show, the History Channel, and Huffpost Live” (S.B. Kaufman/C.Gregoire 2015). 

 

BOOK TRAILER VIDEO OF SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN

 

 

MY BOOK REVIEW OF ‘WIRED TO CREATE’ & PERSONAL INSIGHTS

The Wired to Create book explores the many faces of creativity through the habits and motivations of highly creative people; and what they do differently within areas of:  imaginative play, passion, daydreaming, solitude, intuition, openness to experience, mindfulness, sensitivity, turning adversity into advantage, and thinking differently (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).

At first I found Wired to Create a little hard to get into but within a number of pages turned, I was hooked.  It was an easy read and I felt myself being able to really grasp what was written.  There was much I personally could relate to, along with being able to experience science based new information about a subject matter that’s important to me.

 

 

Some of the notable things that I learned whilst reading this book, has been that creative people whom enjoy the process of their creativity, and feel a sense of control over it, show greater creativity, than those whom concentrate just on what the end result will accomplish (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  This statement rings true for myself, as the process of painting, creative writing, photo-taking is very much part of my therapeutic journey overall, and the outcome just seems to be a place where I just stop and pause, in readiness to embark on the next project.  Reaching the end of a project is satisfying, but the process in getting there is far more significant and self-fulfilling. Part of this process demonstrates a state of mind describe as ‘flow’ which allows the creative person to be completely absorbed; to be deeply concentrating on the task at hand and in turn, there’s a sensation of time being lost (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015).  This flow state of mind has played a very important part during my own art as therapy journey along side of my story telling for each painting I have painted.

NB:  Click here to view an Interesting Ted Talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

The subject matter about post-traumatic growth was of great interest to me whilst reading this book. Wired to Create authors stated that “post-traumatic growth often leads people to see new possibilities in their lives, and one of those new possibility ties – may be an artistic hobby or an entirely new career that allows them to express their creativity” (S.B. Kaufman/C. Gregoire 2015). I found this to be true myself as I had taken up art and creative writing at times in my life where I most needed a way of coping with a series of major life crisis’ and traumatic events. Creativity formed an essential part of my post-traumatic growth. It lead me to experiencing a better sense of well-being and improved my life in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

NB: Click here to read about a blog I wrote about attending a Regional Arts Workshop where the subject was around ‘post-traumatic growth’

 

CONCLUSION

Highly recommend Wired to Create as a read for those interested in what creativity is and how the creative mind works/evolves and how important that we be supportive of those that choose to be creative.  That unlocking our creative self, is not just a benefit to ourselves as creators, it also benefits those whom are viewers/users of such creativity.  It also benefits humanity at large and the Wired to Create authors help to substantiate that proposition within their book.

 

Written by © Karen Robinson, April 2016

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

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

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

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

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

 

INTRODUCTION

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

 

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS PROGRAM DETAILS (RAV 2015)

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

       

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

       

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

       

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

     

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

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

 

  • Singing Workshop:  Kerry Clarke, Choir Leader

     

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

ARTIST DISPLAYS – Mitchell Makers Exhibition

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

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CREATIVITY IN RECOVERY

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

 

 

CONCLUSION

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

 

My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson – Abstract Artist/Blogger/Story-teller/Photo-taker