Simple OWL drawing lesson using kid-grade felt pens

[Film by Anna Thorsen] I teach OWL drawing for most, if not all, of my creative engagement workshops.  I use the OWL image as it is easy to break it down into simple geometric shapes on which to build form. I usually use china marker. But we don’t always have the “right” material. We have…

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…

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…

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

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.

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…

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…

The sparrow is mightier than the machine

This morning, at the 23 bus stop in the West End, I heard the overwhelming LOUDNESS of humanity– cars, buses, construction, garbage container being dumped into a truck, a plane overhead, motorcycles. Cutting through all that noise was the song of one little sparrow. One little sparrow with a song so much mightier and awe-inspiring…

SOLD: “I saw the angel in the marble.” (Drawing on marbled paper)

ART SALE: I received some gorgeous Italian paper from Terry and Kevin Cowan recently.  I let the marbled sheet guide my mark-making. No planning. Just unfolding. It’s my form of meditation. I saw the angel in the marble. (Katarina Thorsen, 2019) 20″ x 27″ China marker, acrylic, water colour on Italian marbled paper ART SALE: $85.00 CAD (including shipping)…

“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:

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…

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…

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)…

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…

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….

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…

#SKiP 2017 was amazing!

Recall: I had the pleasure of presenting and facilitating at the SKETCHING IN PRACTICE 2017 SYMPOSIUM on June 23 and 24! It felt so great to be around such like-minded, like-spirited, enthusiastic, inquisitive, creative people!  I was invigorated! And being able to participate in three fabulous workshops as well was such a treat! June 23:…

Drawing Herons and Hummingbirds with Grades 1 and 2’s!

I had the pleasure of visiting with my dear friend Teri’s grade 1 and 2 class today in a Vancouver school!  (Teri is a SUPERSTAR teacher and her classroom is a creative paradise).  These incredible young artists created a beautiful heron mural as well as hummingbird studies.   I am so grateful for their generous…

Special low portrait price ends May 31!

 THIS WILL BE MY LAST SALE AT THIS SPECIAL PRICE!  PLACE YOUR ORDER NOW! Expect 2-4 weeks for delivery  Custom drawing in my signature style 11 x 14 China Marker on Newsprint $45.00 (plus $5.00 shipping)  How to purchase! 1. Place your order by May 31, 2017 midnight: $45.00 CAD (plus $5.00 Shipping) [Mailed in a…

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…

Special BLOG Portrait Sale! Only $35 CAD until Dec 15!

SALE ENDS DECEMBER 15, 2016 MIDNIGHT! Your fave subject interpreted in my signature style. How to: Make payment (see below) Email photo plus mailing address I mail you original! (turnaround is usually one week from placing order to me mailing it regular post- if you need express post, we can discuss) Sale until December 15,…

The 48 hr 12″ X 12″ portrait sale! Only $48 CAD!!!

IT’S BEEN AWHILE!  TIME FOR A PORTRAIT SALE! 48 hours only! September 1, 2016 12 noon to September 3, 2016 12 noon Only $48 CAD (approx. $37 USD) per portrait!!! China marker with acrylic highlights on newsprint NOTE: DIMENSION OF PORTRAITS 12″ x 12″ ONCE YOU PLACE YOUR ORDER, SEND PHOTOS OF YOUR SUBJECT CHOICE TO…

Same tools, same instructions, all equal, all different. O.W.L.

The OWL is a POWERFUL image and I use it all the time in my work. The form of the OWL itself is very conducive to teaching the principles of drawing. The direction quickly create an engaging and intense gaze, drawing both the student and the observer in. By Aug 24, I’ll have led approx 225 people…

Williams Lake/ Punky Lake Summer 2016 Art Camp Diary- Part 6: the photographer

Recall: Preview Part 1: Preparation Part 2: Travel Part 3: Art Camp Day 1  Part 4: Art Camp Day 2 Part 5: Art Camp Day 3 — Part 6: Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society Summer 2016 Art Camp- the photographer What a treat it was to be joined by photographer Rick Magnell of Magnell Photography on Days…

In place of death there was light.

I am preparing myself to draw my mother’s “death mask” from the photo my son took after she passed on November 8, 2008. I have been preparing for awhile. I know the process will be an important and necessary one for me personally.  I think about it often.  It’s not about needing to work on something…

The permanent analogy of things by images which participate in the life of truth.

  “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar What am I trying to convey in my work?  Is it of value?  Does it matter? I remind myself that it doesn’t, that it CANNOT MATTER how I “fit…

Special sale: Dead Bird Collection- embroidered drawings

I am a BIG BIG fan of symbology, imagery and metaphor.  I feed on it like some kind of voracious vampire.   As I was collecting a few books from my personal library to donate to our local community mini library, I pulled out an old book I had forgotten about.   Oh, how I love…

… it goes deep, deep down into its burrow…

I was organizing my notebooks and loose papers and to-do lists at a coffee shop this morning.  I love to organize, but I am strangely disorganized.  Creative chaos is my middle name, but so are organizational skills. My mind runs a 1000 miles per hour, and so I write bits of quotes, make lists, tiny…

DRAWN TOGETHER. Survey re: my private art sessions!

You are invited to take a survey so I can get a sense of your needs and preferences regarding private sessions! Click on the following link: SURVEY   Stay tuned for DRAWN TOGETHER art lessons!  

I would encourage you to meditate upon the squirrel…

I’ve been obsessing about squirrels of late, knowing that my encounters with them hold a deep meaning- one I haven’t really understood yet. In time. Meanwhile, I am head-over-heels in love with @this_girl_is_a_squirrel . I can’t stop looking at her IG feed. MUST DRAW. So I did. I would encourage you to meditate upon the…

Custom Hand-Drawn Pet Portraits.

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. James Herriot To honour pets and to celebrate the joy we receive from them, I am offering 18″ x24″ pet portraits for only $57.00 CAD ($40 USD) Chinamarker and acrylic highlights…

72-hour pledge drive to revive the 119 East Cordova Street Art Wall!

I need to raise some funds quickly and what better way than to dive right into my 2016 commitment to reviving the joy of street art in my personal community of students, colleagues and friends! Announcing: My 72-hour pledge drive to revive the 119 East Cordova Street Art Wall! 2 PM December 30, 2015- 2…

For me, art has no end- there is no end product… A drawing by my father.

I was staying over at my brother and sister-in-law’s place the other day, spending delicious time with my niece and nephew. I went to the downstairs washroom to wash my hands after Halloween costume mayhem… … and came across a drawing my father, Roar Thorsen, had  done in 2011: Oh, how I adore this piece.  It…

One day super sale! Hand-drawn portraits in the spirit of the Calavera

To raise immediate funds for art supplies as well as for coffee and snacks, I am offering hand-drawn Calavera inspired portraits for only $55 CAD [$43.40 USD] (includes shipping) 18″ x 24″ china marker, dry pastel, felt pen, acrylic paint on newsprint until Midnight PT July 13, 2015. I will email you photos of the portrait before and…

Update- SOLD: Art sale to celebrate Frida’s birthday! One of a kind package. 

FRIDA KAHLO BORN JULY 6, 1907 To celebrate the woman who inspires me everyday- I want to spread the love, so I am releasing these 4 original interpretive portraits of Frida as a package deal for only $135 CAD ($106 USD) includes shipping. First come first serve. Email me to purchase. UPDATE July 7, 2015: SOLD…

IXQUEL: interpretation through drawing and embroidery. Deeper portraits.

 Certain people in your life– even though you may not have met them in person- only through the ether- get right into your heart. Ixquel is one such person. What a pleasure to dig a little deeper and to interpret her exquisite beauty and spirit through drawing, embroidery and symbolism. To let the process unfold…

ART SCHOOL: Special HOW TO DRAW A PORTRAIT package

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. – Oscar Wilde Special HOW TO DRAW A PORTRAIT (in my style) home art school package- at special price for limited time!      LEARN AT YOUR OWN PACE! Package includes: 1. Introductory exercise to my drawing technique 2. 3-D…

“Crime Scene” creative process #graphicnovel

   — “CRIME SCENE” Testing chapter heading visuals for: Molly, my graphic novel. Creating on nickels and dimes. ‪ “… even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.” – Pablo ‪Picasso‬ I can’t stop despite money worries and fatigue-inducing insecurities… Can I pull this off?…

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Art Blog Event. Frida No. 3: The Chakras

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…

Personalized One-of-a-kind Paper Dresses

Personalized paper dresses in MY signature style and YOUR chosen theme! HAND DRAWN HAND SEWN ORIGINAL ART WITH EMBROIDERY DETAILS UPCYCLED/RECYCLED — CONTACT ME at britakatarina@gmail.com TO CUSTOM ORDER Expect 6 weeks until delivery Many of you have seen my paper dresses come and go on the blog here. SAMPLE LINKS: THE BYPOSTSTREET LAUNCH PAPER DRESSES THE BYPOSTSTREET PUNK…

3 part Frida Kahlo interpretation.

At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can. – Frida Kahlo —         — Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away. – Frida Kahlo —   

Pay attention to the birds: Part 3- Pigeon

Delighted that my dog has entered some kind of remission.  One week after believing it was time for that “family meeting,” he is well enough to eat and walk again. He runs like a, somewhat lame, puppy after his bath- so it’s all good for now. I savour every minute with Tobey, knowing he has…

Pay attention to the birds: Part 2- American Robin

I never keep walking when I see a robin.  I stop and observe.  I love their attentiveness.  The way they listen to the earth.  The way their torsos look like eggs. The robin brings a fresh new perspective to situations that are otherwise foggy and unclear. Try calling on robin energy for clarity when your…

Pay attention to the birds: Part 1- Kingfisher

On February 27, 2015, I observed a Kingfisher at the Spruce Harbour Marina. I was mesmerized.  Birds hold so much meaning to me.  And they always feel like messengers, telling me to pay strict attention.  I pulled out my composition book and made a note to remember the moment. Also known as the Halycon, the…

Valentine’s portrait sale! Hand-drawn portraits ONLY $40 CAD until Feb 8 midnight

Valentine’s Portrait Sale! ONLY $40 CAD per portrait Regular price ranges from $100-$300 ENDS MIDNIGHT PT Feb 8, 2015 Drawn in my signature street art style using Chinamarker approx 18×24 on newsprint The portrait will be mailed by Feb 11, 2015.   FREE SHIPPING! NOTE: Drawings are folded and mailed in a large manila envelope. — Let me…

I know in my heart though, this is healthy grieving. I am processing.

I dreamt of my parents last night. On awakening, I was drenched in that deep sweat of walking through symbolic dream time. My mother passed away November 8, 2008 and my father October 25, 2012, but in this dream my mother was still alive as Dad was nearing death. I was in my parents’ home…

The dying crow.

The other day, I observed, in humbled silence, a vigil being kept by two crows as they watched over their dying companion- holding sacred space as the dying crow lay nestled in the grass.  I was so moved by their attentive eye and compassion.  The two sat high in the trees, taking turns warning and attacking any…

Sacred Contracts Journal Exercise Part 5 of 8: Throat Chakra

  SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES PART 5 OF 8 THROAT CHAKRA We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along. Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took…