“She drank alone…” Journal entry

She walks– arms crossed, cold hands tucked into armpits, chin tucked into chest. The familiar dark ink pool spreads around her feet. She bends down this time. Curious? Her reflection- just fragmented spirals. She slips! lurching upward and backward, around. The black ink fills her mouth. Hog-tied, she lets out a fluid-filled silent scream. A…

A quick creative project on last day of 2019: The Death and Burial of Cock Robin

Rainy stay-inside sick day today. I have stayed in PJs and creative process. I spent the last few hours interpreting The Death and Burial of Cock Robin with ink, watercolour and salt. [Source: Gutenberg Press. Original text by anonymous circa 14th-17th century] Chanticleer, what want you here, So early in the morning? “Cock-a-doodle-doo,” says he, pray don’t you…

See you in 2020.

Time to read a lot, to write a lot, to do my art a lot, to focus on family, on my health, to finish projects and to reflect on next steps. To balance output with input. Thank you as always for your support. Much love and best wishes, Katarina

Sometimes I feel detached… journal entry, Dec 3, 2019

William March’s Company K (1933) studies- ink, watercolour, coffee, salt

I have never ceased to wonder at the thing we call human nature, with its time of beauty and its time of filthiness, or at the level of calm stupidity that lies in between the two. – William March, Company K (1933)

Inktober Oct 1-12, “Morfar’s Klass.” Old family photo studies.

I am obsessed with this photo of my grandfather’s school class (Hudiksvall, Sweden).  He is in the top left.  I have drawn it over and over and painted it.  But something never allows me to finish.  I get as far as some of the girls, then the rest refuse a portrait.   I tried again…

I don’t bleed anymore. Finding solace in journal pages.

“These are the days of tweeting, blogging, posting, instagraming, snapchatting, you name it. Everyone seems to be doing it. Some people seem very comfortable expressing every morsel of their living and breathing and eating into the world. Not that this isn’t totally fascinating to the one sharing, but most people (including me) don’t care about…

Pausing at the well.

This morning’s journal entry reflecting on the lesson of this sabbatical. Pausing at the well. Being present to see the world more deeply. With mind-FULL-ness. (Doodles inspired by the work of María Hesse)

“All you have to do now is allow…” Sabbatical reflections.

I am on sabbatical/working remotely/dog and kitten sitting in San Francisco… life changing, soul searching, peaceful… no words suffice.  The real lesson will show itself soon. It is finally here! What you’ve longed for is finally here! Know that all you have to do  now is allow and be receptive when the opportunity presents itself….

Turn the page- visualizing fading memory

My latest favourite daily practice is to quickly sketch and then saturate the drawing with watercolour crayon and coffee.  I love the feel of the wrinkled page. How the coffee ages the image.  The way a drenched drawing has a life of its own – beyond my control. I am most in love with the…

Quick sketch: Young gull at English Bay

Why is it,” Jonathan puzzled, “that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he’d spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard? – Richard Bach

Here were valleys filled with tiny trees and minuscule, tangled vines…

I am a collector.  I love the details of seemingly mundane little objects.  I collect discarded plants and nurse them back to life. I collect bits and pieces underneath the heron nests. I collect chestnuts.  They remind me of my mom, who would often tell me she collected chestnuts in shoeboxes as a child. I…

There are times of no ideas… – Lynda Barry (but there is always process)

Daily disciplined connection with my journal maintains my creative process and even though the entries are seemingly unrelated to my writing project… … they cleanse my brain and I am more driven to write as I stay in flow…

Psaltriparus minimus playing in a tree…

I was charmed this morning by a flock of tiny birds playing and eating bugs in the tree above my bus stop. A whole bunch of bushtits.

So what is the relationship with the blog? It begs to show more of your life in it…

Journal entry July 20, 2019  Sometimes I feel overwhelming sadness that has a type of mystery and release.  Perhaps it’s [binging] Queer Eye S4 that hits me in my most vulnerable low self-esteem spots, maybe it’s seeing Squeak lose weight and anticipating losing her… … maybe it’s the awe of knowing I am… have overcome…

Stream of consciousness #writing and #drawing as #anxietytool

I am diving into a therapeutic and academic exploration into anxiety disorder to wrangle and understand the beast and to build a creative curriculum of tools.  Besides lots of reading, my daily routine includes stream of consciousness writing and drawing, with no attachment to outcome.   I believe with all my heart that just understanding…

Drawing process- trefoil knot found in the wolf

RIP Freddie Jones

Frederick Charles Jones September 12, 1927 – July 9, 2019

I am allowed to think freely. Stream of consciousness journaling

Hi-a-tus from Facebook and Instagram to rejuvenate my creative process

“Set your boundaries and protection but at the same time, look to your own inner friction and allow it to ignite something that will have a positive outcome. This can be an exceptionally creative month especially if you focus on what is ahead instead of what is behind you. Keep your eyes on the door…

Man klarar sig i många år på ett ögonblick…

Just a few moments from this past week. I was gifted 3 very special, very moving, very private days in Stockholm. It was about family, about grieving, about celebrating, about the city. Man klarar sig i många år på ett ögonblick… – Kalle Moraeus, Sommar Pratarna, SVT24 [You can survive many years on a moment]…

I keep the broken bits. They illustrate the subtext.

I keep the broken bits. I honour the cracks. They illustrate the subtext. There in I seek the true story. Subtext or undertone is any content of a creative work which is not announced explicitly by the characters or author, but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the…

Ut Pictura Poesis- the narrative potential of the drawing

I draw pictures. I imagine storylines. I imagine a narrative, a comic, a screenplay… There is nothing quite as on target as the prose I write in my mind when on the bus- whilst staring out the window to deal with motion sickness, taking in the landscape. But alas, those musings instantly disappear as soon…

One must not be too romantic about madness…

Feeling burned out today from my bread and butter work, I decided to ignore my entire to-do list this evening, decided to not to catch up on things, to ignore prepping for the rest of the week. Instead– I got my hands dirty, dove back into my research into mental health treatment 1940’s to 60’s…

Sunday pause. Sunday paws.

Sunday pause. ☕️📰📚 Sunday paws. 🐾 Couldn’t sleep well last night- overthinking- work, responsibilities.  But this morning I pause, knowing I’ve worked dang hard to get here.  To get to this moment.  To get to a place where I can sit at a kitchen table alone on a Sunday morning with the New York Times and…

Drawing 3-D eyes and the human face.

Last Wednesday, I was invited by Susan Clements-Vivian to be guest speaker at SFU for the course IAT 208 Introduction to Drawing in SIAT.  The course is “an overview of the various forms and languages of drawing as both a critical and creative research tool.” I did two follow-me exercises: 3-D eyes (using charcoal), human…

Give yourself the opportunity to discover your own imagery

Dreams of my art being attached to some kind of imaginary romantic self-sustaining monetary outcome no longer serve me.  If my creative process is to continue to be my sacred practice, continue to develop, if my creative process is where I let go of attachment, let go of comparing myself to others, let go of…

“This Look That Was Only Yours,” a short film of my creative process

A short film by Anna Thorsen What I love about this film by my daughter is that she has been able to visualize the peace I find in the creative process.  In my own home, on a cozy weekend, in pjs and cozy sweater…  It also illustrates a core value I hold dear to my heart-…

Nature moves through carcasses…

Illustrating decomposition by allowing the newsprint to deteriorate over several years and for the dead bird to slowly be encompassed by embroidered roots and the dark. The process continues. Check out:

“Retreat mode”

Heading into “retreat mode” for awhile.  Creativity, family, bread and butter work, boundary reset.  See you on the other side. Not known, because not looked for But heard, half heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything)… -TS Eliot

The importance of being specific. Collage for 2019.

Recall Vision for 2019: Courage Last night I mind mapped around the heart image- and one of the key “to-do’s” for 2019 is PAUSE AND REFLECT, BEFORE SAYING YES. Tonight I spent time around the kitchen table, cutting and pasting stream of consciousness collages with my soul-sister Patti Henderson, as we chatted about life and about our…

Vision 2019: COURAGE

Recall My Big Vision and Mission for 2018: Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. – Carl Jung This vision board has stayed on my bathroom shelf all year as a daily check in.  And as I reflect on a year…

It’s not that I don’t know what to do.

Regarding my passion project Molly- a true crime analysis: 2003-2016 was all about researching, drawing, accumulating, writing, collecting.  2017 was all about creating an online weekly draft, telling the story with images, words and music in whatever way it unfolded, sharing it openly, publicly.  2018 has been all about allowing others in, and letting go of control,…

Inktober 2018: 31 studies of Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD

  Imagination, of course, can open any door– turn the key and let the terror walk right in. – Truman Capote No. 1 Richard Hickock: “It was early, not yet nine…” No. 2: “Nancy Clutter is always in a hurry, but she always has time.” No. 3 Truman Capote: “In Cold Blood- a true account of…

Father, daughter, Fenrir, Gleipnir and “Drawn Together”- the book: 6 years later.

Wow.  October 25, 2018 will mark the sixth year since my father passed away.  I am so aware of all the dates in October… so aware that he was winding down. Interestingly, more October connections: on October 12, 2005 (13 years ago), my father drew for the first time after his life threatening stroke (September 21,…

Come back to me.

Come back to me, Molly.  It’s been a strange time- hiding you from the world in order to explore new ways of telling your story.   I’m not sure I like this anymore. You chose me.  Remember?  At the library?  15 years ago.  As your spirit wandered restlessly on the  viaduct, you passed through me with…

Potato Nose Diaries (1977)- Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Today’s instalment: © Katarina Thorsen 2018 — Potato Nose Gallery:

Potato Nose Diaries (1977)- Instalment 2: The First Entries

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Today’s instalment: — © Katarina Thorsen 2018

“Potato Nose Diaries- 1977” illustrated weekly instalments start Sunday!

©2018 Katarina Thorsen

Bird School: The first rule

I am obsessed with birds.  I have this strange belief that I will not uncover truths that I seek in my art without first understanding birds fully.  So I am taking myself through my own Bird School– developing my own rudimentary curriculum and drawing out the answers and stitching together the truths. Recall: Parts of…

Bird School- Head feather groups

I am obsessed with birds.  I have this strange belief that I will not uncover truths that I seek in my art without first understanding birds fully.  So I am taking myself through my own Bird School– developing my own rudimentary curriculum and drawing out the answers and stitching together the truths. Recall: Part- Parts…

Journal exercise: find a message in your words

Journal exercise: 1. Identify something that is blocking you from living fully and loving yourself.   I chose my goddamn fucking ugly mug. 2. Write for several minutes on the subject or whatever comes to mind.  Just let it unfold. “What is really perseverating in my mind is my ugly face.  I keep saying it…

Ghosts in the wall… #streetart

I think about the wall often. Many ask me about it. It no longer exists.  But lives on in my heart. My new friend, Chrissy Davey (aka @craftyfatalist) recently connected with me on Instagram about my embroidered drawings.  Serendipitously, she had taken pictures of a street art wall (in the lane behind 119 East Cordova…

Spirit Guide.

I was going to write tonight. Instead I fell down a nap hole and dreamt of a fox. I was going to write tonight about how much I hate my face, but instead looked up foxes and symbolism.  And put on a pot of coffee. I was going to write tonight about how I (could)…

Die into life.

I haven’t posted for awhile.  That’s not to say I haven’t been writing, drawing, planning, thinking, working. A new job started January 15 and somehow 5 months have sped by.  Work has given me a place to land.  During that time there have been some exciting new developments… Ah, blah blah blah.  Fuck that.  I…

Grateful for the once upon a time…

Photo evidence that once upon a time my feet could do this. Grateful for the once upon a time. Grateful to still be here with creaky bones, spreading body, soreness, slowness. I am still here. Grateful. Especially for the discipline that dance taught me.

Operation Sock Monkey Western Division: Craftivism and Healing using Sock Monkeys and Sock Owls

I am delighted to still be part of Operation Sock Monkey Western Division—the relationship is going on 10 years now!  Time for an update as to what we have been up to lately! About OSM: Since 2005, Operation Sock Monkey has raised nearly $10,000 in support of the humanitarian work of Clowns Without Borders. Partnerships…

Every stitch a thought- problem solving embroidering drawings.

I’ve got a lot to think about these days.  (Not really any different from other days, I guess, but seriously, there is some amazing stuff brewing). To stay on track with massive projects, to dos and ideas racing around in the head, I have found great solace in pulling out embroidered drawings. As I stitch,…

UPDATE ON: Burning it down…

UPDATE: May 8, 2018 8PM: I received an extension and all is good in blog land!  Thank you WORDPRESS   Tonight at midnight, this blog’s business plan will expire.  Not able to renew it, I am letting it go and allowing it to do what it will.  Information will likely be lost, but that is OK….

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…

Staying in process…

Just when I think– Oh shit, I put myself out there, and now I am all vulnerable and shit and feeling old pangs of, oh shit, what am I doing, where is this going, how will I get there, will it go anywhere, what is this creative career bullshit, shit – a flood of creative process infuses…

Molly- a new phase

Molly- a true crime analysis Currently in a new development phase and therefore the online graphic novel is now set to private. Thanks for your support!  ♥️ Stay tuned. Love, Katarina  … a crime analysis to determine the general characteristics of the most likely suspect for the crime. – Henry Lee, Crime Scene Investigation (1994)

My narrative.

Something new is brewing.   This new thing will require that I dig deeper, reveal more and share some things previously unshared.   But in order to do that– I need to prepare… Wait.   Hold on… [—–] I just deleted a massive amount of verbosity and ramblings. I don’t need to PREPARE.  I am…

Ear to the ground… Another recurring theme…

There are repeated themes in my work and obsessions that satisfy my creative process and my explorations into grief.  Like human faces, birds, dead birds… I hadn’t noticed one theme recurring- ear to the ground. Ear to the ground: to devote attention to watching or listening for clues as to what is going to happen… In…

Practicing neutrality.

I know anxiety. I know depression. And now it seems these days like I am practicing neutrality. Allowing things to be.  Just be.  Letting fear crumble through my fingers.  Sighing it out.  Letting the little bird free. … keep some middle ground of neutrality amidst the chaos to stay out of other people’s drama.– Lena Stevens…

Why do I keep the journals?  Is there any value in the pain contained within?

Why have I kept all my journals/sketchbooks? Yes- they are filled with sprinklings of magical memories about raising children- that is definitely the best part.  But they are also filled with extraordinary pain, confusion, stupidity… I pull out an old journal from 1991, and sit and smile and laugh as I find little scrawls about…

The New Year’s Drawing Marathon

On January 15, 2017, I launched the first chapter of the third draft of my experimental graphic novel: Molly- a true crime analysis.  Birds have been a recurring theme throughout the work.  It is difficult to explain their symbolism fully, but to me they carry messages across space and time.   I spent Dec 31,…

Perhaps I am simply an explorer.  Not seeking answers…

I sit on the 23, heading home… leaning my head against the window.  The bus is full.  It’s damp outside and damp inside.  I have a seat, a warm seat on the left side- I always get a seat as I always get on at the first stop.  No need to anticipate and worry about…

Reclaiming the act of creating…

I could sit and wait.  Ask myself: how I will get back to that beautiful, exhilarating buzz of creative process and my soul’s work?  But why wait?   I MUST simply work.  Reclaim the act. How?  I mind map.  I attempt to draw and throw out the results.  I return to my crafts.  I allow the…

Automatic writing to tap into the creative process.

Automatic writing, automatic drawing and mark-making all help me stay in or (re)enter the creative process. Automatic writing is generally defined as the process, or product, of writing material that does not come from the conscious thoughts of the writer. The writer’s hand forms the message, and the person is unaware of what will be written….