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.

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I usually use china marker.

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But we don’t always have the “right” material.

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We have to work with what we have. Below are OWL drawings by SFU Restorative Justice students using just dollar store felt pens.

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Working with what you have. Freedom within limits. That’s when magic happens.

See also:

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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 the day’s already dawning?

All the birds in the air fell to sighing and sobbing,

When they hear the bell toll for poor Cock Robin.


Thou cruel Sparrow

Thy pointed dart

Has robbed me of half my heart;

Ah! he is, no more,

Who us’d with me to fly –

He is slain, he is gone –

And I follow – I die.

Goodbye 2019. CHEERS TO A CREATIVE FULFILLING 2020!

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 what you ate for breakfast, who you ate it with, and what you were wearing. However, when someone writes with a raw vulnerability, expressing with exquisite clarity a thought or feeling that I recognize in myself, I tend to sit up and take notice. Truth has a way of getting my attention.

In my work with grieving clients, I find that one of the most helpful activities I can encourage them to do is to write. “Write about what?” they say. Write about what is on your mind. Tell your story. Share your experiences, the secrets that need to be let out. Open your heart, feel the love, anger, pain, joy, sorrow, gratitude, regrets – whatever is present in the moment – and put it on the paper. Write letters, notes, poems, rants. Anything. Just express.”

– Carrie Doubts, Finding Solace Through Writing

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 drawing’s ghost.  What happens on the other side of the page.  I am moved by how the resulting image seems to illustrate the concept of fading memory.

“Not only something, but also someone could be there and not there at the same time. And that someone: me.”

– Gerda Saunders, In Memory’s Last Breath

The importance of doodling…

Thank you’s to Tove Jansson for her “Lilla My” character that I can’t seem to stop 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 pieces of memories, bringing them to the present, and making the picture of our lives more whole again. With this greater sense of self and meaning, we may be able to feel more relaxed and concentrate more.

Srini Pillay, MD

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 on the other side of the room of ten thousand distractions and you will stay on the golden line.

You can also use this month for helping to clear, dissolve, and transform the things in your life that need to evolve to a higher state. We often mention that in order to fully step into something new you need to first create space for it.”

The Power Path July 2019 Forecast

I have been feeling a need to refocus on this blog as my personal place to get fresh perspective and rejuvenate my creative process – to get back to a purer creative process. And to take a hiatus from sharing my process in small spurts on Facebook and Instagram.

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 as I pull the cord for my stop.

The difference between what I imagine for the narrative and what I actually create is… indescribable. I am incapable of bringing it to life. Yet, the passion continues, the ideas simmer.

I draw pictures. I draw voraciously. I don’t care if it is shit. I breathe. I draw.

Yet, I want to write. To write well. To tell a proper story. I want to write then illustrate to it. But instead, I am stuck in the visual- I seem to always illustrate first. Then the writing tries to appear. But the result is an unsatisfactory mishmashed scrapbook.

Is drawing a type of writing? If writing on paper is mark making, and drawing is mark making- perhaps I am writing when I draw? Is the narrative I seek actually embedded in the image, unfolding if you follow the line?

It is the business of the dramatist to make good pictures, and whether it be done by the players or the painter, what matter, so they be effective, and the story worth telling; and how shall they be better told than as the author intended they should be represented?

… the eye is to behold, and the mind to be moved… ut pictura poesis. – John Eagle

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 than the machines surrounding us.

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China marker, watercolor, acrylic on newsprint, April 8, 2019

And at that moment, a lilting melody lifts to the moon as a single sparrow sings.
Lisa Ann Sandell, Song of the Sparrow

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.

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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)

To purchase:

PayPal or e-transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

(include mailing address)

 

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 of a Songbird

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Today’s lesson: Head Feather Groups

The head feathers can be divided into five main groups:

Other subdivisions of head feathers:

Resource:

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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 of a Songbird

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Resource:

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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) love my face, but instead pulled out a drawing pad and turned on Netflix (crime, French).

I was going to write tonight about how strange it was finding my house filled with people last weekend working on my passion project and discussing crime and science, but instead pulled out china markers and white acrylic paint.

I was going to write tonight about how the wind storm swept in as spirits started swirling on Sunday evening, but instead made some eggos with fresh strawberries and honey.

I was going to write tonight about coming across a 1940’s fur coat strewn over a park bench by the Hotel Sylvia.  But instead put my drawing board across my lap.

I was going to write tonight about navigating anxiety, but instead tapped into my subconscious.

I was going to write tonight but my hand just drew and drew and drew.

Spirit Guide. 18×24″ (china marker on newsprint)

Lore has it that a fox sighting was thought to be a signal from the spirits of the deceased. Fox animal symbolism takes a turn of intelligence in the Celtic realm, as the Celts believed the fox to be a guide, and was honored for its wisdom. The Celts understood the fox knows the woods intimately, and they would rely upon the fox as their guide in the spirit world. [source]

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 vision for 2018 using creativity.

In an intimate setting in my art studio, I will guide you through multiple exercises to enable you to focus on YOUR SELF– and to come away with a unique very personal vision board. This vision board will be YOUR SAFE PLACE.

We will use processes such as:

• Journaling

• Drawing

• Collaging

• Mindmapping and Action Planning

• Big Vision Visualization

• Right Brain Tools

• Whole Brain Engagement

In order to bring my creative adventure to fruition, I will visit this fortress, this safe house, many, many times. Gradually I will assemble the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle I have stored here. Finished, it will provide the ideas, moods, and ingredients that will feed my dream.

– Phillipe Petit

LENGTH OF WORKSHOP: TWO HOURS

NO PREVIOUS ART EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!

ALL SUPPLIES INCLUDED

Some pre-work will be encouraged.

Love, Katarina

Contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com for CUSTOMIZED CLASSES 

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Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way.

– Jennifer Lee

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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 freedom to draw whatever makes me meditate and hear in the distance that buzz approaching.  I just do.  It is not the buzz that is essential.  Commitment is.

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I get up, I plan and write.

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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. It is sometimes done in a trance state.  Other times the writer is aware (not in a trance) of their surroundings, but the actions of their writing hand. [source].  

Automatic writing is sometimes referred to as psychography– a claimed psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words purportedly arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source. [source]

Automatic drawing is a method of art making in which the artist suppresses conscious control over the making process, allowing the unconscious mind to have great sway. [source]

If I find myself in need of (re)entering the flow of the creative process when the flow has been interrupted by life markers, I don’t wait for inspiration to hit me.  I don’t allow “writer’s block.”  I put china marker to paper and allow what needs to be expressed, be expressed– without judgment.


As long as I take the time for the daily step to unroll the paper, clip it to my drawing board, grab my box of china markers and just automatically move my hand across the page, I stay in discipline.  It can take as long as it needs or however large my window of time is.  5 minutes… hours…

There is something quite tangible and lovely about allowing the magic.  No matter what (dis)beliefs we hold, the process can be quite universal for any project.

Check out:


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1. Start each automatic writing session with ‘My Spirit Guides or My Higher Self’ or ‘My Angels’ as the first line.

2. Just start writing and don’t worry about what you’re writing at first.

3. Setting a timer while you do it can be helpful

4. Create the right conditions so that you can lose your inhibitions about what you’re writing

5. Don’t allow your mind to interpret the information while you’re getting it

Related:

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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 Amy Stechler. Kahlo adopted a 1910 birthday so that her birth would coincide with the Mexican Revolution and the start of a modern Mexico. [source]

Today’s Frida Study:

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Frida’s Diary

(2005) The Diary of Frida Kahlo- an intimate self-portrait.  Abrams, New York, in association with La Vaca Independiente S.A. de C.V.

Thank you LAURA MACK for this profound and beautiful gift.  It means the world to me.

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Alas Rotas [Broken Wings]
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Letter to Surrealist painter, Jaqueline Lamba

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Jaqueline Lamba

Journal entry re: Frida:

Frida and the 7 chakras

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Seventh Chakra CROWN: Spiritual Centre, Enlightenment– central nervous system, muscular system, skin. I am; I understand.

Sixth Chakra THIRD EYE: Wisdom, intuition, visualization– brain, neurological system, eyes, ears, nose. I know; I think.

Fifth Chakra THROAT: Communication, inner voice, truth, creativity- thyroid, esophagus, trachea, mouth, jaw, teeth, neck, vertebrae. I speak; I express.

Fourth Chakra HEART: Love, compassion, unconditional love, hope, forgiveness– circulatory system, ribs, breast, thymus gland, lungs, shoulders, arms, hands, diaphragm. I love.

Third Chakra SOLAR PLEXUS: Power centre, manifestation, self-confidence, esteem– stomach, pancreas, adrenals, upper intestines, liver, gall bladder, middle spine. I can; I do.

Second Chakra SACRAL: Creativity, sexuality, money, career, power, joy– sexual organs, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, hip area, urinary bladder. I feel; I want.

First Chakra ROOT: Survival, security, family, connections, instinct– spinal column, rectum, legs, bones, feet, energizes body, increase overall health. I do; I am.

I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.

– Frida Kahlo

Today’s angel card[s]:

Rivera, Guadalupe, Colle, Marie-Pierre (1994), Frida’s Fiestas- recipes and reminiscenes of life with Frida Kahlo, Clarkson Potter: New York
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#SKiP 2017 was amazing!

Recall:

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I had the pleasure of presenting and facilitating at the SKETCHING IN PRACTICE 2017 SYMPOSIUM on June 23 and 24!

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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:

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It felt great to speak about Molly!

Check out: AMY BURVALL

June 24:

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Check out: GRAPHIC HISTORY COLLECTIVE

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Check out: LORRAINE WHITE-WILKINSON

I have so much I could write about the two days.  But for now I will list just a sample of words I scratched furiously into my SKiP sketchbook…

Radical imaginations, weaving process, verbal to visual, resist, politics of care, intersectional framework, history can be a weapon/tool, mutate change, visible thinking, metaphorical typography, critical creativity, Gutenberg Parenthesis, porous pedestrian, kennings, serendipidoodle, fringed oddity, spurned desire, Sanburgian synthesis, scheduled creativity, the way out of the box is the shackles, pareidolia, storytelling ethics, mark making

I am so excited to build on the connections made at the symposium.

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Some photo highlights from my two days:

 

A huge thank you to Jason Toal and the entire team for including me!

 

 

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.

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I am so grateful for their generous bake sale donation towards the 100 HERONS project!  I’ll be drawing more sponsored herons this week!

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THE PROJECT: 

I am creating of twelve 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons [between June 14 to July 31, 2017].  

For every $25 raised I will draw a heron!

THE SPONSORED ART will allow me to develop and provide much-needed FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program in July and August.

DONATION BUTTON:

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I will be drawing a heron for every $25 raised!

Any amount welcome!  Donors of $10.00 CAD or more can choose to have their name and/or a special message woven into Heron nest imagery in the panels.

You can donate via PayPal or email transfer britakatarina@gmail.com.  I can provide receipts.

Check the panels at:

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I currently have several 20″ x 30″ panels in progress.  They are being embroidered and embellished.  They will be exhibited at various community events in August!

INTERESTED IN PRE-PURCHASING PANELS?

The panels are being made available for pre-purchase on my ETSY site:

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READ MORE AT: 100 HERONS

The art is drawn in my signature style–

– then collaged onto 20″ x 30″ foam board panels–

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PANEL 1 IN PROGRESS

– and embroidered with additions of discarded nest sticks, found feathers, string, beads, and sponsor names.