The importance of the vintage photograph as creative resource.

  There is no end to the inspiration I get from looking at vintage photographs- through immersion comes awakened imagination. The central characters in my graphic novel are real people but as I am doing an artistic interpretation of real events, I revel in the freedom to flesh out the central characters using old photos as a…

Secrets and mysteries

Great, invisible stories are being written all around us, every day.  The language of the world is full of ineffable secrets and mysteries. – Brian Brett, Tuco- the Parrot, the Others and a Scattershot World Reminding myself to take it all step by step by small step.  Be well and be curious as you enter…

Shaping non-fiction characters.

What was initially to be a short volunteer research project into a Vancouver cold case to support a theory championed by a retired homicide detective, became, for me [and continues to be], a 17+ year personal journey “to restore to now dead people the fullness and degree of complication of their lives. To restore their humanness…

Visual notes: Patient No. 6, Psychiatric Diagnosis, 1959

As part of my research for a current project into mental health treatment in BC 1940’s to 60’s, I came across vintage psychiatric videos recently. One particular interviewee has completely captured my heart. Psychiatric interview series. Patient no. 6 : evaluation for treatment Publisher: Los Angeles : University of California at Los Angeles, 1959. Edition/Format:…

Sock Robin- bird sculpting with upcycled materials

When Spring returns, the earth becomes a child who recites poetry. – Rainier Maria Rilke Walking home from a workshop yesterday, I was delighted at all the bird activity close to my home.  A robin crossed my path, a wriggling worm in its beak, the rain gentle.  The moment pulled me out of my head…

The objects are the context from which I draw clues.

What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. When I work on Molly, I step into the 1940’s through books, research, primary sources.  And I do it…

I have put my beloved pie safe on craigslist!

  — Pie Safe: a cupboard with doors originally designed to store pies after baking. Instantly add additional storage space to your kitchen with this absolutely charming, authentically aged pie safe. It is rustic and naturally aged, with all original paint and details and of course- some wear and tear. It has not been fixed up,…

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain… Birds, metaphors, graphic novel, experiments

— Central to my graphic novel is the intensity of anxiety and severe depression while drowning in circumstance, highlighted through the metaphor of birds. — — Here are some experiments from the past weekend:      I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,  And Mourners to and fro… – Emily Dickinson

SOLD: STUDIO CLEARANCE SALE: Painting entitled “The House,” 1998

Raising FUNDS, clearing SPACE and LETTING GO. STUDIO CLEARANCE SALE (Vancouver BC) FOR SALE: A favorite piece from my 1998 solo exhibit: Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses SOLD e-transfer or paypal: britakatarina@gmail.com CONTACT: EMAIL You pick up in West End, Vancouver The House, 1998, Katarina Thorsen It was a house and a stable in one.  All that was…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No. 6: Sock doll in Tehuana headdress

 I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise. I…

Of being age 21 at age 54. Being a menopausal millennial. Journal musings.

Have you ever sat so fully in the moment, teetering on a sharp blade, fully aware of being so profoundly present- wondering if you are living a parallel storyline or path not predicted, not destined, but accidentally claimed? The world is chaotic and painful, glorious and terrifying, and large- yet each of us spin around…

Eclipse therapy.

Checking in to the August Power Path: I have been struggling of late with depression, been pulling out the tools and re-evaluating life, making strides, dipping down, climbing up etc. and I have a post I plan to write– as part of that toolbox– that I will share, but that will wait! There is an…

‘Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses’ exhibit

My 1998 solo exhibit: Asta Sollilja of Summerhouses ONE OF THE PIECES FROM THE SHOW: The House, 1998, Katarina Thorsen It was a house and a stable in one.  All that was visible of the inner, wooden shell was the door and its frame, the door so small, the threshold so high that one had to…

What can I learn from the little mouse in the house… 

  T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. – Clement Clarke Moore Well, maybe a few mice were.  Since my beautiful cat, Violet, passed away, the mice have been showing up here and there. It makes sense in this 1929 building, a block from…

The importance of historical context in an investigative story

  What happens when a case is very old, when much of its physical evidence is deteriorated or destroyed, and its main players long deceased?  How do we investigate? For me it is all about the historical context. I interviewed Dr. David Sweet, forensic odontologist, on the importance of historical context in solving the 1953 Stanley Park cold…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas: Frida No. 8: Dia de los Muertos Sock Monkey (made to order)

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. — For 10 Tuesdays, I have been creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise….

Reminder: the purpose of the design is to unsettle the bee…

I am about to embark on a very personal journey revisiting a time in my past I need to process in depths in order to fully move forward into the next chapter in my life.  I’ll share more about that later.  Until then, I will revisit an old post on the bee and its relationship…

Allá cuelga mi vestido. The Frida Kahlo paperdress in progress

I love drawing.  I love crafting.  I love street art.  And I LOVE making paper dresses. Perhaps because it combines all my art forms- I am so blissed out when I make these things! Here is the latest one the compiles my collection of Frida doodles. Stay tuned for photo shoot of finished piece next…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Art blog event. Frida No. 1: sock doll. #recycledcraft

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo. (How many of you that know me are right now rolling your eyes and saying, “duh”…!?!?  I realize I am a tad obsessed.) For the next 10 Tuesdays, I will be…

Why use seemingly unrelated vintage photographs as sources for a true crime story?

There is no end to the inspiration I get from looking at vintage photographs- through immersion comes awakened imagination. The central characters in my graphic novel are real people but as I am doing an artistic interpretation of real events, I revel in the freedom to flesh out the central characters using old photos as a starting…

Notes from the kitchen table… #journalexercise

Journal exercise: Take time to listen. Sit with pen and paper and write down all you hear.  ALL.   BE PRESENT. I was sitting at my kitchen table the other evening, sewing.  The apartment to myself except for sleeping pets.  I suddenly became very aware of my surroundings. I had, what I can only call, a…

I have coveted her for years. My doll from Salmagundi West

I have coveted her for years.  That first time I stepped into Salmagundi West with the my mom and saw her tucked in the cupboard (to your left as you walk in the door, on the north wall): Every time I have passed the shop or entered the shop and now more often spend time in…

New shop in my neighborhood: @ingoodcompanynv: #Local #Handmade #EcoFriendly #Cooperative #Inspiring

I love connecting with people who pursue a dream and then execute the plan.  Janelle Bakker and Jean Stenhouse in North Vancouver are two such people: Local. Handmade. Gifts. Baby & Kids. Clothing. Eco-Friendly. Cooperative. I am delighted to discover the new store IN GOOD COMPANY a couple of blocks away from my apartment filled with eco-friendly,…

Dealing with bullies, 1937 Norwegian style. My father recounts. #vintage #photography

Recall that I’m writing a book with Dad, about how he uses art to find purpose and meaning after his stroke. I’ve pulled out old photographs and albums for him to peruse and the stories coming out are remarkable. I found Dad’s baby album.  Wow. One recurring story that Dad has to tell me every…

Visual therapy in Gastown: Salmagundi West- a collection of interesting things.

Recall I bought a glorious old doll at Salmagundi West in February 2011: Broken vintage doll as blank canvas. I painted Frida Kahlo on it (big surprise): Broken vintage doll as blank canvas part 2! Salmagundi West is one of my favorite shops in Vancouver.  It reminds me of Mystery Mister and Loved to Death in San…

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

Weighted and achy heart today on Mother’s Day.  Missing Mom is an expected constant in my life.  But I am so blessed to have been loved so completely by her.  The pain now is, therefore, beautiful. Revisiting some favorite photographs. A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for…

On Becoming a Woman- vintage treasure. #graphicnovel research #Vancouver #coldcase

I found a glorious and heartbreaking book on ETSY at LOST BEAR STUDIO as I was searching for 1940s/50s items for my graphic novel research. On Becoming A Woman by Harold Shryock, MD. The information teenage women were receiving at the time regarding their physical, personal and sexual development was truly horrifying from my perspective…

Take Off the Amber, Put Out the Lamp #graphicnovel #research

Take the day.  Immerse.  Forget everything else.  Read.  Sketch.  Cocoon.  Trust the calling. Today’s resources: Jamison, K.R. (1999) Night Falls Fast- understanding suicide, Vintage Books: New York, NY, USA Malooof, J., ed. (2012) Vivian Maier- Street Photographer, powerHouse Books: New York NY, USA Appignanesi, L. (2007) Sad, Mad and Bad- women and the mind-doctors from…

Giddy over my vintage 1943 Complete Book of Sewing from @WhimsicalVintag! #graphicnovel research

It arrived!  Absolutely delicious and perfect primary source for my graphic novel research. Whimsical Vintage is a delightful store!  I encourage you to visit!  I can’t wait to shop again!

The purpose of the design is to unsettle the bee. #journalexercise #anxietytool

ANXIETY is part of life.  It can beneficial.  It can hinder.  When I am overwhelmed by it, to the point of distracting me from enjoying my life and making it hard to live in gratitude,  I pull out my copy of A Slender Thread- rediscovering hope at the heart of crisis and read the following quote….

Muse reawakened. #Vancouver #coldcase #graphicnovel

MOLLY- the graphic novel Read updates at KICKSTARTER Follow links at GRAPHIC NOVEL   • Prepping the mindmap • Gathering inspiration • Collecting quotes • Reviewing current work- written and drawn • Creating new pieces • Planning new photoshoot • Documenting process *Rethinking approach • Full immersion imminent — She waved as she made her…

Scrapbook experimenting for #graphic novel, Molly. #Vancouver’s #coldcase, Babes in the Woods.

I ordered a couple of batches of vintage scrapbooking images from MOOSEHORNVINTAGE on ETSY: I highly recommend a visit to MOOSEHORNVINTAGE! See also: GRAPHIC NOVEL PROCESS 

Part 10 daily journal workshop. Vintage workout. People watching. #arttherapy

Recall: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT OK, let’s change things up a bit.  Today we will utilize…

These days when I dream of Dad, he is walking. #drawntogether #fatherdaughter

These days when I dream of Dad, he is walking. I also feel peaceful and protected.  It feels very much like: I find myself mesmerized when I drive by sites of beauty and sentimentality.  Yesterday afternoon, the trees glistened in the sun as I drove west on Hastings in Burnaby.  Wet with raindrops, they were…

Vintage fur coat. Eerily perfect.. #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel – Today I purchased a vintage furcoat on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories for use in the next illustration resource photo shoot.  It sends shivers down my spine as it is very close to the original found at the scene, including bakelite buttons. ETSY ITEM: SCRUMPTIOUS vintage…

Vintage fur coat arrived. Very moving. Photoshoot soon! #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel – Today , the furcoat I purchased on ETSY from wolfman1377 Vintage Clothing and Accessories arrived!  As it is very close to the original found at the crime scene, I felt quite shaken thinking about a woman covering her dead children. Here is a look at opening the…

Kat’s DAILY JOURNAL WORKSHOP SERIES. Parts 1-35 #arttherapy

DAILY JOURNAL WORKSHOP SERIES: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3′S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING…

Part 11 daily journal workshop. Gesture drawing. Abstractions! #arttherapy

Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT — TODAY’S LESSON IS ABOUT…

Molly’s brother 1926-1963. Mental illness. Bowel obstruction. #Essondale #graphicnovel #Vancouver

PROJECT FUNDED on KICKSTARTER! MOLLY- the graphic novel (model: Jocelyn Louise) — I am finding incredible primary sources on ETSY and am particularly impressed with VINTAGE BOOK LOVER. I ordered vintage 1940s resources regarding Tuberculosis and intestinal disorders. I was elated to receive a special gift of bowel disorder illustrations, which proved PERFECT for finishing today’s page…

Part 24 daily journal workshop. BODY IMAGE. #arttherapy

Write about your thoughts on body image.  Just stream of consciousness.  Any negative events that affected your views?  Positive events?  Where are you now? … you should get sick more often, he said. Found this online: Glue an image of a favorite person onto a page (just glue three sides), write a positive message to…

Part 17 daily journal workshop. ALTER: to make different without changing into something else #arttherapy

Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING Part…

Mnemosyne : Greek Goddess of Memory and Mother of the Muses. Love letter to my mom.

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  ~Tenneva Jordan

Delicious vintage book, with great art on the cover, just arrived in the post! Gotta love @Etsy!

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ be damned!  I judge!  And I love!  I ordered this book through SPACE 87 on Etsy. SUPER RARE PAPERBACK: “The Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall. 437 pages. Originally published 1928, this paperback Perma Book edition is from 1960 with amazing cover art! Probably the best edition in that…

Immersing oneself in history #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953 — I believe that to best  research a cold case one must immerse oneself in the history of that time. I was elated to receive my order from…

Vintage photos- perfect inspiration for the Graphic Novel.

PROJECT FUNDING HAS LAUNCHED on KICKSTARTER: He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had. – The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953   My Graphic Novel is in the post-research, now-start-drawing phase.  I purchased some amazing photos from the ETSY shop VINTAGE WAREHOUSE.  The 1940’s style depicted is exactly the…

Part 19 daily journal workshop. CANCER #arttherapy

Today simply draw about your relationship with cancer.  Literally, metaphorically, personally, generally.  Be quick and simple. It’s been on my mind a lot lately for SO MANY REASONS. In memoriam: Unspoken Truths, Christopher Hitchens Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE…

Part 15 daily journal workshop. GUEST SPEAKER. #arttherapy

Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING Part…

Fabulous vintage items arrived in the post from Dharmadejavu @Etsy for my #graphicnovel research!

I discovered a fantastic shop on ETSY: Dharmadejavu!  Re-cycled, re-used, re-loved.  Finding the following items was amazing!  Perfect source material for my graphic novel, which includes all the juicy issues round catholicism, unwed mothers, murder…! Visiting this ETSY shop is like walking through the ultimate vintage store and taking all the time you need!  Heaven!…

Part 9 daily journal workshop. WORD CRAZY QUILT . #arttherapy

Recall: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN — Yesterday, you spent a few minutes writing at the end of the self-portrait exercise. Now…

Part 25 daily journal workshop. TAKE YOUR JOURNAL OUT. #arttherapy

Now that we are pretty far into this journal [notice how I’m taking you all the way to the end of mine, and we’re half way there], shove your journal in your bag, or thrust it under your arm, grab some pens and get the hell out of the house. Make your journal your best…

Part 23 daily journal workshop. GYPSY. #arttherapy

gypsy One inclined to a nomadic, unconventional way of life. You need not travel to be a gypsy.  You need not be forced to.  You can embrace the gypsy spirit through unconventionality.  I once wrote: “the greatest sin is timidity.”  I referred to myself holding back.  Restraining myself. So cut the fucking cord and fly.  Even…

Part 22 daily journal workshop. EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCE #arttherapy

Extraordinary circumstance.  What does that mean to you? For me, major life-changing markers come to mind.  Events you have to survive in order to move forward.  Painful events.  Positive chapter changes as well. Write or draw to celebrate how you have come through these life events.  How you have grown.  Think about it.  Then stop…

Part 20 daily journal workshop. WORTH #arttherapy

Let’s take a look at the concept of worth. Write about it.  Then draw “ME” over your words. Pull out the words covered by “ME.” Draw an eye.  Recall tutorial.  Draw tears coming out.  Large, bloated tears. Write the ME words in the tears. Find a quote you like about worth, self-worth, self-esteem etc. I…

Part 18 daily journal workshop. SURVIVOR #arttherapy @Kris_Carr

A survivor is a triumphant person who lives with, after, or in spite of a diagnosis or traumatic event.  Survivors refuse to assume the identity of their adversity.  They are not imprisoned by the constructs of a label.  Instead, survivors use their brush with mortality as a catalyst for creating a better self.  We transform…

Part 14 daily journal workshop. BE THE MAP. #arttherapy

Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING Part…

Part 13 daily journal workshop. NEGATIVE – POSITIVE. #arttherapy

Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING Part…

Part 12 daily journal workshop. Dear World. Secrets.

Daily Journal Workshop: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3’S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING —…

Part 35 of 35 daily journal workshop. SELF. #arttherapy

DAILY JOURNAL WORKSHOP SERIES: Part 1 JUST WRITE Part 2 DRAW OUT THE WORDS Part 3 HEART Part 4 SPILL OUT COLLAGE Part 5 NAKED SCREAM Part 6 INVITE ALTER STRETCH EXTEND Part 7 ARISE AROSE IN 3′S Part 8 SELF-PORTRAIT. HUMAN Part 9 WORD CRAZY QUILT Part 10 VINTAGE WORKOUT Part 11 GESTURE DRAWING…

Broken vintage doll as blank canvas PART 2: “de ver la vida abierta”

Recall my original post on Feb 10: BROKEN VINTAGE DOLL AS BLANK CANVAS. It may be hideous and creepy to some of you and the legs may be terrifying as well as the lack of arms- but I adore it! Here’s my test run: The quote “de ver la vida abierta” means at seeing life…

Broken vintage doll as blank canvas. #art #inspiration #Gastown #Vancouver

I found this doll at Salmagundi West in Gastown yesterday and I adore it.  I don’t know what it is about these curiosity shop treasures that totally inspire me.  I plan to use this one as a canvas upon which to paint medieval landscapes with baby Frida Kahlo  flying through.  Stay tuned! In boys and…