“Familiar” – a documentary short by Anna Thorsen

One year ago, my daughter proposed a project. I am so happy I agreed. It was a powerful and transformative experience. Familiar is a short documentary about my Swedish mother, Karin Thorsen. Her story is told through the letters she wrote to her best friends from 1968-2001. This project was my daughter’s Grad Film for Langara’s…

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…

“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…

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…

“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…

Connecting with the journal everyday. Even if just to copy…

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

The importance of doodling…

Spontaneous drawings may relieve psychological distress, making it easier to attend to things. We like to make sense of our lives by making up coherent stories, but sometimes there are gaps that cannot be filled, no matter how hard we try. Doodles fill these gaps, possibly by activating the brain’s “time travel machine,” allowing it to find lost puzzle…

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]…

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

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…

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:…

“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:

Relaunch and new look: my online graphic novel “Molly, a True Crime Analysis, the third draft”

Molly- a true crime analysis is my experimental graphic novel, originally workshopped online in weekly instalments between January 15, 2017 and January 13, 2018.   I call the current online version the third draft.   mollygraphicnovel.com UPDATE: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL IS BEING RE-WORKED AND THEREFORE SET TO “PRIVATE” WITH RESTRICTED ACCESS My work is based on extensive research, interviews and…

Bird spotting with a yellow legal pad and a walk in the park.

I walked around Lost Lagoon this afternoon. In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence. ― Robert Lynd I found a heron nest on the ground after a windstorm broke a large tree branch. I saw signs of early Spring. And hope springs eternal.  What else did I…

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…

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,…

60 years ago my mother became a mother. (Karin Kristina Orwald 1936 – 2008)

Decades are significant. 60 years ago my mother became a mother. 50 years ago we moved to Canada from Sweden. 50 years ago, my mother started to write letters home to Sweden.     30 years ago, my mother’s second grandchild was born. 10 years ago, I had my ear to my mother’s chest and listened as…

Tuesday November 6, 1947

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6, 1947 MOLLY, A GRAPHIC NOVEL– my now 15+ years passion project– continues at the drawing board and at the writing desk and in my heart, with new developments, insights and directions behind the scenes.  Some announcements in the new year. NOTE: this is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, evidence and…

Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 8- The Letter

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Instalment 4: Sex Education Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: The Audition Instalment 6: The Trip to Paris Potato Nose Diaries (1977)…

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…

Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 7- Grad and the Party

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Instalment 4: Sex Education Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: The Audition Instalment 6: The Trip to Paris Potato Nose Diaries (1977)…

A Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: Steven

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Instalment 4: Sex Education Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: The Audition Instalment 6: The Trip to Paris Today’s short: © Katarina…

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…

A Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short- The Audition

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Instalment 4: Sex Education Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short: I am 15 now Today’s short:  This instalment is enhanced when accompanied by: © Katarina Thorsen 2018

A Potato Nose Diaries (1977) Short- I am 15 now.

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Instalment 4: Sex Education Instalment 5: They Don’t Know What It Is Today’s short: © Katarina Thorsen 2018

Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 5- They don’t know what it is.

    Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Instalment 4: Sex Education Today’s instalment:     © Katarina Thorsen 2018

Potato Nose Diaries (1977): Instalment 4- Sex Education

Previously on PND: Instalment 1: Introduction Instalment 2: The First Entries Instalment 3: Do Tendu Jetés en Balance Today’s instalment: © Katarina Thorsen 2018

Saudade waves.

Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.  It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.   I have written about Saudade before.  For example: November 3, 2012 SAUDADE: THE EMOTION OF MISSING. #GRIEF…

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) Instalment 1: Introduction

  Subject to change Instalment 2 August 12, 2018 © Katarina Thorsen 2018

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…

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…

When public goes private, do I lose you?

When public goes private, do I lose you? I am so used to sharing my creative process openly– and now I find myself in a new state of being, where in order to discuss and develop the project further, I have to stop sharing it. This is all exciting and unreal– so why do I…

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)

New comic: Come Into Me, Issue 1

Creative process for me is not about the end product.  It is about the entire process.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate end products! And today I celebrate this comic: Come Into Me.  Thanks to my colleague/friend, I was elated to hold the final product in my hand the other day– that gorgeous smell of paper…

Friday night check in: effortless action.

Checking in with the Power Path at mid-month: My form of meditation is to mind map it out: My notes from reading the February Power Path show some amazing tidbits that reinforce my newfound practice of neutrality. Relationship with time and fear of not being enough. Ease, clarity, right timing, patience, alignment –> effortless action. Unfold…

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…

Thank you Salmagundi West and Anne Banner <3

On January 31, 2018, a beloved landmark and one of my most favorite places on the planet, Salmagundi West, will close its doors at its current location. No words suffice for my gratitude for this shop and for Anne Banner. The objects I have collected from the shop and have been gifted from Anne and…

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,…

WORKSHOP: YOUR VISION for 2018 through creative process

WORKSHOP: YOUR VISION for 2018 through creative process     LOCATION: West End Vancouver BC FACILITATOR: KATARINA THORSEN katthorsen.com SPECIAL LOW PRICE TO CELEBRATE THE NEW YEAR! ONLY $40 per person until January 31, 2018!  Contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com for CUSTOMIZED CLASSES  Start this new year on a creative note by creating your own evolving…