“The countryside has turned into literature, poetry and art…” #HalldorLaxness

“The world bacteria has overcome you, the countryside has turned into literature, poetry and art: and you no longer belong there… But still I paused for a while over my thoughts of departure, and listened to the silence that had robbed the gods of sleep; and dusk sank slowly over the ponies.” – Halldor Laxness,…

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…

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…

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…

I am happy among my books – I am not happy without them. – Anne Lister

“Anne’s reliance on her books for mental well-being and personal happiness was clear – ‘What is there like gaining knowledge?’ she once said. ‘All else here below is indeed but vanity and vexation of spirit – I am happy among my books – I am not happy without them’ (2nd May, 1829). Words on a…

There is one moment in Pippi Longstocking that nailed it for me…

As a child, I desperately searched for characters in books that aligned with my anxious outward ways and my happy reclusive interior.  Charlie Brown came close, but he was always seeking connection.  I was seeking alone time.  Like Charlie, school terrified and exhausted me.  Home, my room, my books were my calming tools.  I found…

The Sparrow’s Nest

Behold, within the leavy shade, Those bright blue eggs together laid ! On me the chance-discovered sight Gleamed like a vision of delight. – William Wordsworth, The Sparrow’s Nest, 1807

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…

Silent interiors…

Fort Langley National Historic Site, Easter, April 21, 2019 I spent a wonderful afternoon with my family in Fort Langley today. While the egg scramble mayhem and sugar highs rang out outside, I was drawn to the silent interiors. Form follows function—that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual…

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…

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,…

On this one year anniversary since Asterix passed, something poignant happened.

In the early morning of September 24, 2018, it will be one year since I lost my beloved parrot, Asterix. Recall: Losing him was deeply painful.  I lost my companion.  I lost our family history keeper.  I lost my parents’ voices.  Taking care of his little body, saying our goodbyes, wrapping him in a little…

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- Parts of a Songbird

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. Today’s lesson: Parts…

I can feel the planet churning…

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. – John Muir When I am in the forest in Stanley Park, and sit down on the forest floor, I am acutely aware that I am on a sphere.  In fact, I swear that I can feel the planet churning.  I place…

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,…

Books are life rafts.  I climb into them to keep moving forward…

Books are life rafts.  I climb into them to keep moving forward when life seems in limbo and my energy is fully depleted.  Here is a sampling of those I return to repeatedly. I return to this quote to address my subject of research and remind myself why: A cheap Saturday night took you down….

I promised myself a library…

When I turned 10, my parents gave me this book– Hans Christian Anderson Fairy Tales illustrated by Jiří Trnka (published by Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd, ©1959, 1972).  My father had purchased it at the Vancouver Airport.  I remember so clearly being woken up, with breakfast on a tray and receiving the book.  The $4.95 in pencil…

Journal entry April 16, 2018 San Jose Airport

Journal entry April 16, 2018 San Jose Airport [unedited] It is so odd to take time out from the trajectory of every day in these journeys… to get off the tracks so to speak.  The experience both relaxes the brain, and creates unease.  You feel like you spend too much money and you are wondering about…

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…

The third letter home. November 18, 1968

Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — Previous posts: Package of letters to Sweden A letter home. November 1, 1968 Dream. Letters. Thought and Memory. Writing exercise. The Second Letter. As these translations focus on the letters from my mother to her best…

Writing exercise.

1. Put the timer on for 10 minutes. 2. Write stream of consciousness about whatever- whatever comes out of the pen onto paper.  Keep the pen moving. 3. Review your writing- read it out loud. 4. Circle the main words- the words that stand out for you- try for about ten.  Ten key words.  Trust…

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…

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…

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…

Until we meet again… dropping off Asterix 

Letting go In order to hold on I gradually understand How poems are made… – Alice Walker   Recall September 24, 2017: Well, I did it.   Finally.  It was time for Asterix’s cremation. I pulled my parrot out of the freezer this morning and placed his wrapped body (decorated with a drawing by my…

The crown ripped away. Journal musings.

My head hurts.  Not the inside of my head.  The outside.  The muscles on top of my skull.  The ligaments. I sat under a young tree yesterday and leaned my head back and my head was and is tender, so tender. I swear my skull has changed shape in the past few years- at the…

My @TwinPeaks fan art helps me hold on to the dream

We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives inside the dream. I process my obsessions through creativity.  And there is a lot to process as we have reached “the end” of Twin Peaks: The Return. A Lynch fan since Eraserhead, deeply deeply influenced and inspired by The Elephant Man and Blue Velvet, I…

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…

The Mulberry @ParcLiving Fox Panels

Without art we do not die.  But without art we do not live.  – Intersections Media Opportunities for Youth Society participant, 2012 I have the pleasure of working with an extraordinary group of individuals at Mulberry PARC doing art projects that range from drawing, interactive art, sock animals and group painting/quilt! Our latest session involved drawing…

Happy birthday, Frida.

I am celebrating Frida Kahlo‘s birthday! Although her birth certificate says she was born on July 6, 1907, Frida Kahlo told people her date of birth was July 7, 1910. She allegedly did so not to seem younger but simply because she loved her home country, according to The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo filmmaker…

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 12: the moment of death

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life Part 2: Practice Dying Part 3: Preparing to Die Part 4: Dying from the Common…

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 11: Fear of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life Part 2: Practice Dying Part 3: Preparing to Die Part 4: Dying from the Common…

From the Heart- a 15 day journal exercise: Part 10 Fear of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life Part 2: Practice Dying Part 3: Preparing to Die Part 4: Dying from the Common…

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 7: Fear of Fear

It’s been a while.  It’s been a lot lately.  But let’s see how this chapter unfolds.  What it reveals. I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching…

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 6

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life Part 2: Practice Dying Part 3: Preparing to Die Part 4: Dying from the Common…

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 5

I dedicate today’s post to my soul-sister Patti Henderson and to our deep HEART chats. — I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart. Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your…

“You’re a piece of shit.” #drawoutanxiety

Check out:

Anticipation: revisiting a journal exercise

Standing on the edge of the unknown, we anticipate.  We over-think.  And create anxiety that has no place to land. There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it. – Alfred Hitchcock I created this journal exercise about 5 years ago to meditate on: releasing the anxiety around the unknown when…

My Stanley Park observations find their way into “Molly” at unexpected times

Our usual spring awakening is late this year. I recall a walk around Beaver Lake a year ago…  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my…

My ugliness, my solitude, my experiences have built a protective wall

Diary entry April 17, 2017 Once I have reached my energy limit- my body/mind/spirit experiences a type of fatigue migraine– it comes on when I finally relax and have a day to stop- and seemingly ALL threatens to stop.  My eyes can’t stay open in the tub, my heart feels tender, my to-do list seems…

Teachable moment during drawing session! 

I have been incorporating How to Draw an OWL in my creative engagement for years. My must-bring tools always include: The china marker is the essential drawing tool.  It is not only my favorite medium, but a great teaching tool as you can’t erase it.  This encourages participants to let go and quiet down the inner critic….

“To prepare a face to meet the faces…” the Williams Lake portraits

There will be time, there will be time To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet… – TS Eliot — On my way to Williams Lake to co-facilitate forums with youth and program leaders for the viaSPORT YOUTH INCLUSION PROJECT!  So excited to spend the week with this extraordinary community! Bringing along…

What the sock pigs taught me…

This past Sunday morning- hanging out on Vancouver Island, my 4 friends and I had a hankering to create sock pigs.  There is such magic in sitting around the dining room table at my friends’ house, surrounded by crafting supplies creating.  We laugh, we go deep, we eat, we drink coffee, we share time.  It…

Routine? No, ROOTine.

The word ROOTine came up for me the other day when I was texting with my daughter who is on a life-changing journey, travelling in SE Asia: Looking back on your life from a mom’s perspective as to when you have felt the most happiest is during developing an idea and planning transitions.  When you have gotten…

Release attachment to the outcome…

To feel the anguish of waiting for the next moment and of taking part in the complex current (of affairs) not knowing that we are headed toward ourselves, through millions of stone beings – of bird beings – of star beings – of microbe beings – of fountain beings toward ourselves. – Frida Kahlo I…

Is this where they’ll find me?

Is this where they’ll find me?  In the tub, laying back, my neck resting on the edge, my face covered with a book? Is this where they’ll find me? Seemingly asleep, one hand holding tight the book that covers my face, hiding the cheap reading glasses that have slipped a little, eyes closed, the mouth slightly…

She is filled with secrets. Journal exercise.

In honour of Laura Palmer, central character in Twin Peaks, who disappeared on the night of 23 February 1989 after a date with her boyfriend, we revisit an old journal exercise: Post Card Secrets. She’s filled with secrets. Where we’re from, the birds sing a pretty song, and there’s always music in the air. – Twin…

Still willing to eat that shit sandwich!

It’s been a year and a bit since I came across this article by Mark Manson that asks 7 fabulous and profound questions re: finding your life purpose: I just LOVE his questions!  I really recommend you read the article and contemplate the questions. As I read through them, all I did was nod, nod, nod-…

Recalling a declaration from “my future self” on July 25, 2015

Working on my graphic novel, I pull out research and reference materials from my files and come across a journal entry from July 25, 2015 created during Peter Breeze’s Be a Star workshop.  This is truly why I keep everything for what an incredible reminder to myself that I am fulfilling my dream by whatever means necessary….

Three years ago, with shaky hand, I signed…

Three years ago, with shaky hand, but empowered to move my life forward, I signed bankruptcy papers.  And my grown children and I signed a lease for a magical apartment in the West End.  There have been dark moments since that have terrified me as I processed and struggled, but also so much lightness and so…

Celebrating 95 pages with a vulnerability hangover…

I am workshopping my graphic novel through a weekly online serial. So far… we have been witnessed a crime: Looked at the original headlines: I’ve introduced my involvement (more to come): And travelled to Ireland to get our first glimpse at the main character: Molly’s and The Babes in the Wood timeline are now starting…

For I need to SPEAK FREELY. Without restraint…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of chatting in the past few days about my passion project: Molly- a true crime analysis: I’ve been chatting, speaking, blabbing, vomiting words with friends and family about it, at the dinner table, over the phone, even on the radio— Check out my INTERVIEW about Molly- a true crime analysis from…

Traditional craft: handwoven treasure by “Domestic Intervention Co.”

Being Swedish, I was raised surrounded by beautiful handwoven cloths.  When I think about Sweden, I see looms. Textile art is in my DNA.  My mother loved to tell me stories about my great grandmother– my name sake, Brita.  Brita raised so many children with little money.  She’d walk to town and check out the…

Slithering pancreatic serpent. #griefprocess

In November 2007, Dr. Ebrahim sat knee to knee with my mother.  I was on the other side of the little examination room.  I recall it was a sunny day.  I think it was.  Grouse Mountain shone in the background.  I think it did.  The room seemed turquoise.  Friendly.   We found a mass in…

Here’s to us crawling to the finish line…

Touch me life.  Not softly. – Maya Angelou And my GOD, life has touched us this year. Here’s to us crawling to the finish line, scraped, bruised, hoping.  Here’s to our successes and our fucking failures, to finally resting and to re-entering labour. Here’s to the vigil keepers, the rent seekers, to the quiet and the loud…

Eliza’s Story

“210 years later, Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage — now a family services agency called Graham Windham — is still helping kids get their shot.  Graham Windham serves over 4,500 kids and families each year.  Just like Eliza’s husband, these kids survived a tough start in life.  Graham Windham provides services like family counseling and treatment, after…

The creative life putters on with audacity and hope.

China marker, pastel, linseed oil on wood. Based on Edvard Munch’s “Puberty.” (author of quote unknown) I have been quiet on here for a while. But somehow- the creative life putters on with audacity and hope.  I sometimes question what my drive is and why I carry on despite at times crawling forward on my…

Art Sale: Frida and the Wounded Bird #fridakahlo

ART SALE: A special panel from my DRAWING ON PAIN Frida Kahlo is an icon and muse that I return to again and again.  I am infused by Frida and I consider myself a Kahloist.  She epitomizes the artist and woman in pain.  As I was going through my divorce, I was driven to draw Frida…