Meanwhile, nature enchants.

 

It is Sunday morning and I look out my kitchen window, alarmed at the silence. There are no bird songs. No pigeons cooing, no seagulls screeching, crows cawing, sparrows singing…

I took a walk into the park on Friday. Looking out over the ocean into the haze, eyes, stinging, feeling heartbroken for Earth.

Meanwhile, nature enchants.

A beaver glided by peacefully at the lagoon.

Continuing on past the ducks and heron.

Sparrows always make me gasp with delight.

 

Breathtaking. In very aspect of the word.

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

screen shot 2019-01-12 at 10.54.21 pm

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 published accounts.  I use mainly primary and secondary sources in order to build the story.  I have attempted to stick to the facts in the text and avoid assumptions, yet draw conclusions from the circumstantial evidence.  Visual scenes have been created for the purposes of dramatization.  This is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, physical evidence and historical research.  In the end, this is my artistic interpretation and nothing more than that.  

SAMPLE CHAPTER:

Page_1

 

This chapter is enhanced when accompanied by:

Page_2Page_3Page_4Page_5Page_6Page_7Page_8Page_9Page_10Page_11Page_12Page_13Page_14Page_15Page_16

© Katarina Thorsen 2019

DISCLAIMER:

Readers of this publication agree that Katarina Thorsen will not be held responsible or liable for damages that may be alleged or resulting directly or indirectly from the reading of this publication.

Model: Jocelyn Louise

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.

img_4820

I saw signs of early Spring.

And hope springs eternal.  What else did I see?  Well…

There is an unreasonable joy to be had from the observation of small birds going about their bright, oblivious business.
Grant Hutchison, The Complete Lachlan

Every bird at the marsh filled us with a little light. I wondered if I was just so simple that this was all it took. But then I thought, I’m lucky that this is all it takes.”
Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s own wings. – Unknown

She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.
Monique Duval

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 my hand on the ground- it rumbles.

I even seem to hear the planet turn over the sounds of traffic.

for-solvig

… your breath is locked forever in my ears where once the name was whispered, and I defy eternity to take from me what is mine! – Gwendolyn MacEwen

Push it. examine all things intensely and relentlessly.
― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

 

Allow nature’s peace to flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. – John Muir

“The Dead Heron.” #100Herons Art Project

I am between contracts– creatively hustling while applying for new contracts to survive and to be able to provide specially requested arts programming for refugee youth (at no cost to their program).  That is what my 100 Herons Art Project is all about.  

HERON’S MOST SIGNIFICANT ESSENCE: aggressive self-determination and self-reliance

Check out:

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 2.25.06 PM

I am focusing on the Pacific Blue Herons who are nesting just down the block from me in Stanley Park, Vancouver:

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 3.11.29 PM

THE DEAD HERON:

Recall that on June 15, 2017, I took a walk to the heron nests to look for some feathers in the grass for collaging… and I came across a LARGE pile of scattered heron feathers– obviously from a heron who fell or was pushed out of the nest and who likely lost its life to a predator.  A teen heron perhaps?  I gathered as many feathers as I could– thanking and honoring the heron’s life by incorporating the feathers into the art.

A feather from a heron symbolizes patience, grace and confidence…

Recall as well that I took the feathers home, soaked them in gentle detergent to clean and disinfect, and laid them out on newsprint to dry them.  I then categorized them and collected them into mason jars.

Photo 2017-06-14, 6 23 06 PM

Photo 2017-06-14, 5 44 34 PM

Photo 2017-06-29, 11 07 18 AM

I have been incorporating the feathers into the 100 Herons Panels.  For example:

img_6102

A week ago, I came across what was likely the body of that heron whose feathers I collected.  I felt so moved.  Compelled to examine.  (Yes, those are maggots and blow flies doing their work).

Photo 2017-06-26, 7 14 59 PM

In fact, I have been a bit obsessed.  I kept walking back to the spot witnessing the taphonomy process: the transition of animal remains from the biosphere into the lithosphere.

Biosphere: the regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the earth occupied by living organisms.

Lithosphere: the rigid outer part of the earth, consisting of the crust and upper mantle.

Photo 2017-06-30, 3 12 20 PM

Yesterday, I decided to sit down beside the decaying remains and draw the little thing- thanking it and honoring it.  I was, in all honesty, tempted to take the skull, but sitting there under the nests– the atmosphere strangely silent– I knew I was simply there to be a witness.  And to leave the heron to its process.

Photo 2017-06-30, 4 14 42 PM

I left a little flower and went home to incorporate the moment into, what is now, the 5th panel.

img_2033

$375.00 of the $2500 goal raised so far.  My goal by the end of this long weekend is to reach $750.00.  My first session with the refugee youth group is booked for July 13, 2017, and I hope to be able to bring not only drawing supplies for the session but art kits for the 26+ youth on that day that they can take with them.

Thank you to my donors so far and for all of you spreading the word.

THE PROJECT: 

I am creating of twelve (OR MORE 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons between June 14 to July 31, 2017.  The panels will be exhibited and sold.

For every $25 raised I will draw a heron!

THE SPONSORED ART will allow me to develop and provide FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program. Funds go to program development and facilitation fee, art supplies, art kits for participants, travel costs.

DONATION BUTTON:

btn_donateCC_LG

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 2.25.06 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 10.01.22 AM

 

The Heron Feathers: 100 Herons Art Project

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 8.22.06 AM

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:

btn_donateCC_LG

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 2.25.06 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 10.01.22 AM

READ MORE AT: 100 HERONS

The art is drawn in my signature style–

 

 

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

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 10.45.18 AM
PANEL 1 IN PROGRESS

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

Photo 2017-06-11, 4 51 46 PM

Photo 2017-06-12, 12 50 16 PM

Yesterday, I took a walk to the heron nests with my friend Darcy to look for some feathers in the grass for collaging…

Usually I find one or two heron feathers.  Well, we came across a LARGE pile of scattered heron feathers– obviously from a heron who lost its life to a predator.  A teen heron perhaps?  Of course I had to gather as many as I could– thanking and honoring the heron’s life by incorporating the feathers into the art.

A feather from a heron symbolizes patience, grace and confidence…

I took the feathers home, soaked them in gentle detergent to clean and disinfect, and laid them out on newsprint to dry them.  I then categorized them and collected them into mason jars.

Photo 2017-06-14, 6 23 06 PM

Photo 2017-06-14, 5 44 34 PM

Photo 2017-06-14, 5 45 11 PM

Photo 2017-06-14, 5 51 33 PM

Photo 2017-06-14, 6 24 56 PM (2)

 

 

 

 

Photo 2017-06-14, 6 50 31 PM

 

100 HERONS Art Project

 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 FREE ART LESSONS for REFUGEE YOUTH from war-torn countries at a Lower Mainland program.

 

DONATION BUTTON:

btn_donateCC_LG

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 2.25.06 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 10.01.22 AM

 

The art will be drawn in my signature style– collaged onto 20″ x 30″ foam board panels and embroidered with additions of discarded nest sticks, found feathers, string, beads, and sponsor names.

Photo 2017-06-12, 12 52 01 PM
Sample drawing showing chinamarker on newsprint, embroidered, with additions of discarded heron nest stick, found heron and seagull feathers, recycled beads

THE BACKGROUND:

I have been asked if I can provide art lessons to a group in Surrey, BC, that provides support services for youth ages 16-24 who have experienced extreme trauma and life disruption.  The youth comprise of refugees from war-torn countries.

These particularly vulnerable youth face challenges and barriers that may include: lack of employment, experience of violence / trauma, lack of education /interrupted education, cultural shock, family size / issues, little or no English, social isolation, mental health/chronic health issues, lack of financial means, criminal justice issues, housing issues, alcohol/drug addiction, lack of support…

The group meets twice a week and the youth have expressed a strong desire arts-based programming.  

ART and creative expression breaks down the barriers, builds connection and resiliency, and strengthens the participants’ abilities in making healthy decisions about their futures.  Participation in therapeutic art programming provides participants with the opportunity for developing healthy relationship skills, learn stress and anger management, and build the confidence to be the best possible versions of themselves.  Art connects us beyond language.  We connect with the heart, within a safe space.  We express together and move towards healing.

The program staff, who I met during an inclusion focus group, are incredible and dedicated.  They provide extraordinary services on an extremely tight budget.  I have been asked me about my services and fees.  I am so honoured to be asked.  Creating art and helping others express themselves creatively is what I am on this planet to do.  This is EXACTLY the type of work that makes my heart sing!  But there is no way I could/would/should charge a fee for my services and supplies to this group.  

THE NEED:

Unfortunately, I am between contracts and currently not in a financial position to be able to volunteer my time to develop and facilitate the program and nor provide supplies.  And the need is urgent.  This is not the time to wait for months and months for grant opportunities.

What to do?

I took a walk into “my backyard” the other day– Stanley Park.  I stood for a long time under the heronry wondering about my own life, my work, about my desire to provide free programming to youth, at a loss as to what to do next.  I bathed myself in the sounds of the heron chicks.  I continued on a long walk into the trees, around the lagoon, listening.  Walking with the question.

Photo 2017-06-11, 4 02 54 PM

I dreamt that night of 100 Herons, walking among them.  A mixture of being up in the trees with them, under the trees, in the water.  I had a peaceful heart, feeling this was a message about the healing power of art– about my need to make personal commitment to my true path:

TO CREATE, to focus on my gifts.  To stop searching elsewhere.

THE ANSWER LIES IN MY ART.  In my heART.

 You are being called to take courage and follow your true path, which will be discovered through exploring your inner self.  Find what draws you to action.

[Message of the HERON]

And so the 100 HERONS art project is born!

THE FUNDRAISER:

Funds raised go to:

• Art Supplies 

• Creation of the twelve panels

• Program development (will include drawing, painting, journal exercises, sock monkey therapy)

• Facilitation

• Transit fees

• Free ART programming at the Refugee and Immigrant Specialized Experience Program (RISE), Surrey BC [Youth ages 16-24]

Donation Button 

btn_donateCC_LG

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.

18808928_864488630370897_8877552879477456896_n

THE TIMELINE:

CREATE twelve 20″ x 30″ panels depicting a total 100 Herons between June 14 to July 31, 2017!

IMMEDIATE GOAL: RAISE $2500.00 CAD by June 30, 2017

Art classes with youth will occur: JULY 2017 and AUGUST 2017

Art lessons include: drawing, painting journaling, sock monkey therapy, one on one and group projects.

Completion of the panels July 31, 2017

Art exhibit and sale: AUGUST 2017

THE ART:

Thumbnail list of panels plans

  1. Nest and heron silhouettes (The Stanley Park Heronry)
  2.  Heron portraits
  3.  Heron portraits
  4.  Heron portraits
  5.  Heron portraits
  6.  Herons on West End buildings
  7.  Herons in ocean
  8.  Herons at Lost Lagoon
  9.  Herons at Beaver Lake
  10. Eggs and chicks in a nest
  11. Heron nest with eagle in background
  12. Heronry trees

Total of 100 Herons drawn!

Each panel will include surprise additional Stanley Park characters: racoons, mice, squirrels, sparrows, chickadees, owls, insects…

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 3.20.49 PM

10268948_1119551291418399_589306444_n

Each panel will also contain additions of discarded heron nest sticks, found feathers, string, beads…

Photo 2017-06-12, 12 49 41 PM

Photo 2017-06-12, 12 50 16 PM

Photo 2017-06-12, 12 50 35 PM

Photo 2017-06-12, 12 50 50 PM

PRE-PURCHASE

Interested in pre-purchasing panels?

$375.00 CAD per panel [plus $40.00 shipping fee if panel needs to be mailed]

btn_donateCC_LG

Photo 2017-06-11, 4 51 46 PM

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

UPDATES:

June 13, 2017

The first four out of 100 ready for embroidery and embellishment!  (The donor wishes to remain anonymous)

19148984_10213598405736637_2167249482230146709_n

No. 5 out of 100:

19148982_10213601724939615_2137006014062794769_n
Sponsor: Terry Cowan

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 hands.  I described the feeling as angel whispers.

IMG_8744
Drawing: March 28, 2016. China Marker on Newsprint 16″ x 24″ 

img_1655

 

Stanley Park is truly one of my favorite places.  Living only a half block away from the park, working on Molly– whose central theme is set in the park- is such a satisfying creative process.  My treks, notes, sketches and bird observations find their way into the project at unexpected times.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 10.08.30 AM

Excerpt from Part 2A- Why Me?

Page 22

Page 23

Excerpt from Part 2B- A Child is Born

Page 18

Excerpt from Part 3A- The DNAPart 3A- The DNA

Page 11

As I cocoon in my apartment this morning, working through the to-do’s and prepare for upcoming workshops as well as the next episode of Molly (Part 8A- A Child’s Shoe), I am longing for the warmth of Spring sunshine, the gentle breeze and sounds and colors…

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 10.22.12 AM

 

 

Celebrating 95 pages with a vulnerability hangover…

I am workshopping my graphic novel through a weekly online serial.

cover-test-b

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-8-17-12-am

So far…

we have been witnessed a crime:

page-1

Looked at the original headlines:

page-2

I’ve introduced my involvement (more to come):

page-1

And travelled to Ireland to get our first glimpse at the main character:

page-2

Molly’s and The Babes in the Wood timeline are now starting to twist around each other.

page-31

So I need to celebrate

I am 95 pages in— 95 pages in 4 weeks!  Or looking at it another way, 95 pages in 13.5 years.  Yes, I must celebrate this.  But instead, I am struck with creative insomnia!  A buzzing, busy brain.  Is it excitement to keep going?  Is it fear?  Is it a

Vulnerability Hangover?

Of course it is.  Holy shit.  I am putting it out there, doing it for me, for Molly, for my supporters, for storytelling.  Holy shit.  I am doing it.  And accurate to the way the creative process works and the inner critic whispers, I am struck with nervousness.  I have been struggling so long after so much life change to just live a day a time. And now here I am, planning 46 weeks of instalments.  Planning my life.  Professionally, creatively.  Thinking ahead… thinking past tomorrow…

I’m past patiently waitin’. I’m passionately
Smashin’ every expectation
Every action’s an act of creation!
I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow
For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow

  • – Lin Manuel Miranda

After years of 5 minute living, a way to get through the rollercoaster of life-

page-17

I am sitting here with a full calendar and giant lovely to-do’s and I admit, I am a little bit scared.  But loving it.  Deep into it.  Experimenting.  And trusting Molly.

img_3947

THE FIRST 95 PAGES:

img_9758

Part 1A: The Crime

Part 1B: The Headlines, 1953

Part 2A: Why Me?

Part 2B: A Child is Born

What Lies Ahead?

Next week (Feb 12) we dive into the 1998 DNA test results.

On Feb 19, Molly’s mother is front and centre.

static1-squarespace

© Katarina Thorsen 2017

Molly- a true crime analysis, a visual serial goes online January 15!

How do you escape from a convincing story?  After enough repetitions, the facts come to serve the story and not the other way around.  – Errol Morris

cover-test-b

I began working on this PASSION PROJECT in 2003 when I was a volunteer criminal profiler on the Babes in the Wood task force in Vancouver, Canada.  And I have been working on it ever since.

But I have come to a crossroads.

 Recall:

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-2-22-34-pm

That tap on the shoulder was a message.  I knew I needed to pay attention.  And I have been.

But hovering.  

Waiting.  

Feeling lost— thinking hoping the message was:

“Await the magic moment when a publisher responds, or that phone call comes from that lead down south…”

Sitting on the dock with lines in the water…

But no- I knew in my heart that my HOPE was actually blocking my ability to truly listen.

So I sat down with my main character the other day.

I asked Molly- what do you want from me?  

I raged at myself- walked the lagoon, again and again-

… sitting with the questions, still awaiting news from publishers, producers.

Awaiting the signal to restart the manuscript- its parts all laid out and ready.  Yet- feeling a nagging churning in my heart and gut that this is not how I naturally work.

Then- AH HA!  

Molly pushed me off the dock into the water.  

I AWOKE from my stupor!

Molly- who was an ACTUAL LIVING BREATHING HUMAN between 1924-1947, who reached out across time and space and grabbed my heart, asking me to tell her story, whose life I have pieced together from research, who seems to guide the show if I am willing to let go of what I thought it should look like- has made it so clear to me that—

 I need to start telling the story in my way.

AND NOW.

It wasn’t the right time before.  I have uncovered new things.  

But it is also no longer OK to wait.

Narratives are ubiquitous.  They are part of the way people see the world, part of the way people think.  All of us.  Myself included.  Without them we would be overwhelmed, with undigested, raw facts.  But that doesn’t mean that all narratives are created equal.  There is fiction, and there is nonfiction.  And one of the differences between fiction and fact is that a fictional character is controlled by its creator.  It has no reality off the page…  It is easy to confuse a search for revealing plot details with a search for evidence.  But there is a difference.  In one case, we are wandering through a landscape of words.  In the other, we are in the physical world. – Errol Morris

And so, me, the creator am controlled by the non-fiction character, Molly.

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-10-01-00-pm

Molly- a true crime analysis visual weekly serial

goes online January 15, 2017!

23 sections (two parts per section) released over 45 weeks.  

January 15-November 5, 2017

The work is presented in an experimental graphic novel form.

… a crime analysis to determine the general characteristics of the most likely suspect for the crime. – Henry Lee, Crime Scene Investigation (1994)

Vancouver’s ultimate cold case…

– Eve Lazarus, author of Cold Case Vancouver: the city’s most baffling unsolved murders

mulligan-report

Katarina Thorsen’s work Molly weaves empirical discovery and her own imagination. While many people know of the tragic deaths of the two children from the Babes in the Wood case, Thorsen introduces another tragic death in Vancouver history near the same time, that of a young woman named Molly, whose demise was a brief and lurid headline back in the day. It is a story about history and mystery, and how these two tragic stories intersect- or don’t- as the case may be.

–  Pamela Post, journalist, 2015

IMG_6064

test-nurturant

THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND I WILL INCLUDE YOU IN MY JOURNEY.

AS MY MANUSCRIPT UNFOLDS, I WILL SHARE THE PROCESS WEEK TO WEEK STARTING WITH WEBSITE LAUNCH JANUARY 15, 2017 

THE 5-ACT SERIAL WILL INCLUDE TEXT, PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES, ILLUSTRATIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEO AND AUDIO.  (AND MAGIC)

Anam Cara

It will unfold as it should in the only way I know how.  It will be workshopped, if you will.

“History is so subjective. The teller of it determines it. – Lin Manuel Miranda

img_8054

“Don’t figure it out. Create it.” – Maryam Hasnaa

Related:

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-11-50-22-am

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-11-52-12-am

… 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 mind maps, big mind maps, on ripped pieces of paper, a bit of here and there, including doodling and collecting artifacts, while walking, while sitting on a park bench, in a coffee shop, in the tub.

Then every once in a while, I take some focused time to examine each note, each doodle, each object and write a fresh to-do list and/or start a new journal.

Here are some random remnants (seemingly important when I wrote them) that I found today in my pile [no dates]:

Quote: The writer takes the reader’s hand and guides him through the valley of sorrow and joy without ever having to mention those words. – Natalie Goldberg

10418493_10208562501482178_132737445642133040_n

Sightings at the lagoon: raccoon digging close to me, crows, goose, ducks, robins, gulls, magnolias, camellias,  hyacinths, daffodils, rhododendrons, lagoon, ducks on branches, sunset, dark clouds northwest, ducks in reeds, seagull with a duck egg, swallow flying eating bugs, cherry blossoms, people walking, golfing, running, riding, skating, driving, lone heron in a tree, another flying right by me with a stick, dandelions, dogs, pigeon, robin singing, Beaver Lake, ducks, geese, herons dancing in the air, squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees, nuthatches…

Forensic taphonomy: typical coyote activity in Stanley Park?  October?  Cold weather?  Skin damage (tissue) –> sternum/clavicle/ribs –> disarticulation upper extremities –> thorax, pelvic region, thighs (muscle tissue) –> detachment of limbs.  If weather is below freezing?  Clothes keep bodies intact?  Mandible intact?  If buried slightly beneath fur coat plus cold weather?  P. 372 Protective circumstance, partial burial- Typical scavenging sequence subject to modification when portions of the body are in sheltered circumstances or positions which protect the body from scavengers.  Heavily clothed, partial burial, wrapped, frozen.

QuoteLove . . . is like nature, but in reverse; first it fruits, then it flowers, then it seems to wither, then it goes deep, deep down into its burrow, where no one sees it, where it is lost from sight, and ultimately people die with that secret buried inside their souls.
― Edna O’Brien

img_7482

Question to self: How to you want to bring in revenue?  Visual facilitation until or along with Molly.  How do you want to serve the community?  Monkeys.

QuoteLearn to write about the ordinary.  Give homage to old coffee cups, sparrows, city buses, thin ham sandwiches.  Make a list of everything ordinary you can think of.  Keep adding to it.  -Natalie Goldberg

Quote: Extend your boundaries.  Live on the edge for a while.  We act as though we were immortal, and are comfortable in that illusion.  We don’t actually know when we will die and we hope it will be in old age, but it can be this next minute.  This thought of mortality  is not droll; it can make our lives very vital, present and alert right now. –Natalie Goldberg

Poem exercisePushed by the breeze, Orange! Yellow! Indigo! Sheltered by unfurling ferns.

Notes re Molly: It is a fascinating female story/history.  It tells the story of a society that created tragedies.  It was moralistic and there was no place for single women (unwed mothers with children).  (foster services, Astrid Lindgren’s personal story)

The wasp: observe the wasp that just landed on my book and waited patiently, just lone enough for me to draw it.

QuoteNo matter how large a thing is, how fantastic, it is also ordinary.  We think of details as daily and mundane.  Even miracles are mundane happenings that an awakened mind can see in a fantastic way. – Natalie Goldberg

IMG_7315

Thoughts at the park bench at Bidwell and Burnaby: Observing human/animal/bird/insect/nature/weather activity in the West End is very much like reading a book of little short stories and one big one at the same time.  Sounds are OBSERVED.  Visually.

Don’t tell me.  SHOW ME.

Quote: In order to write about it, we have to go to the heart of it and know it, so the ordinary and extraordinary flash before our very eyes simultaneously.  Go so deep into something that you understand its interpenetration with all things.  Then automatically the detail is imbued with the cosmic; they are interchangeable. – Natalie Goldberg

 

 

Stanley Park. Birds. Angel whispers. And Pledge Drive.

I walked around Beaver Lake today.  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 hands.  I describe the feeling as angel whispers.

I took a few photos.

 

And drew my collected observations:

IMG_8744
Drawing 1: March 28, 2016. China Marker on Newsprint 16″ x 24″

Stanley Park Scenes 72-hour PLEDGE DRIVE!

Until March 31, 2016 9 PM PT.

I am raising funds to renew and upgrade this blog and to purchase art supplies!

For every $20 pledged, I will draw a new scene from my daily observations of animal and bird activity in Stanley Park.

Pledgers of $20 can choose to receive the upcoming e-book version of Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art by Roar and Kat Thorsen!

img_9525

You can choose to purchase a drawing for a $75 or more donation.  

The rest of the drawings will be donated to EVERGREEN HOUSE residential care facility, Lions Gate Hospital, North Vancouver to celebrate my father, Roar Thorsen (who lived at Evergreen House 2007-2012 and who loved drawing and being outside in nature) and to thank the staff who made our lives so happy.  

2-back-cover-photo-of-roar-and-katarina
Roar and Kat at Evergreen House April 2012

Pledgers can choose to have their names included on the donor list!

To pledge:

Donate via email transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

or donate via PayPal

btn_donateCC_LG

If you are pledging to pre-order the e-book include a note/email address with your donation!

If you wish to purchase an original drawing (they will be shared here) for $75.00, include title of drawing and your mailing address with your donation! 

If you enjoy my art blog, please consider a small donation!  THANK YOU!

ART SALE: Graphic Novel Paper Dress and Update

So the theme of the month of May was, according to the Power Path, NEW ALIGNMENT.

We have been shaken, rattled, taken apart, and sideswiped by the unexpected. We have had to accept change and embrace the unknown. The eclipses of March and April affected us on a very deep level, with core issues needing to be acknowledged, forgiven and cleared. We all agree that this is a new time with new possibilities and yet the clarity of what’s to come is just beyond our reach. We have glimpsed the potential of more power, but how do we integrate it into our lives?

These times are amazing, unsettled, a bit overwhelming and confusing, scary but awesome at the same time, and full of new opportunities. What is needed now is integration and assimilation that will help create a new alignment serving as a new platform from which we can move forward.

– The Power Path

OK.  It’s the end of the month.  And that month was a bit of a shit show- it really made me question my abilities and directions and choices that have brought me to this point.

I am finishing up  other projects and redirecting my energy.

img_1897

Aligning.  I am aligning.

img_7755

I have dug back, dug deep, let go and released.  [Recall the metaphor of the slingshot.]

I am moving further away from the old patterns, and the old distractions, old hesitations.

Redefining what abundance means. [Recall: Abundance means less.]

img_7757

I am saying YES.  [Recall: Why no meant a yes.]

And so…

The graphic novel

I am working more and more on MOLLY.  My goal is to move to an 85% mode of living– i.e. that soon 85% of my time will be spent on her.  I am preparing to be shameless at making this work.  Ruthless.  Raising funds.  Contacting publishers.  Doing it right.

SYNOPSIS:

To escape the shackles of circumstance, she takes the darkest path.

img_3651

Initially this project was all about: Who were the Babes in the Wood?

I present a new angle to this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation.

The initial goal of my research was to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953, but Molly- a Graphic Novel is more a portrait of a city as told through the lens of one troubled young woman in post-war Vancouver.

I first immersed myself in the investigation in 2003 when I volunteered as a researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force.  I have remained dedicated to the case ever since.  Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, I will present my research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader.

NOTE: this is a work of creative non-fiction inspired by true facts, evidence and events.  It is an artistic interpretation and no more than that.


I am elated that I have a treatment with a structure that allows me to present the 12 + years of research.

This journey began in August 2003.  

It has taken longer that expected but is taking exactly the time it needs.

I am grateful to have the gift of creativity and I now need to push my artistic expression further, bigger, fuller.

And I am grateful for my support network of family and friends who literally kept me on this planet.  I’m still here and ready to DO THIS!  To tell Molly’s story.

She’s guiding and I’m following direction.  I am grateful she chose me!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Nobody creates a criminal profile on their own. – Brent Turvey

I want to thank the following people who have helped me in various ways to be able to research Molly’s story.

[details about their various involvements will appear in the graphic novel acknowledgments section]

Roar Thorsen

Karin Thorsen

Fredrik Thorsen

Babes in the Wood task force: Sgt. Brian Honeybourn, Dr. David Sweet, George Garret

Grant Rainsley

Paul Young

Brent Turvey

Staff at the following archives: Vancouver Police Centennial Museum, Pier 21 Society, BC Archives, Mountainview Cemetery, Vancouver Public Library: Special Collections, Vancouver Public Library: microfilm section, City of Vancouver Archives, Mission City Archives, Mission City Record, Toronto Children’s Aid Society, Japanese Canadian National Museum, Alberta Genealogical Society, Alberta Families Histories Society, City of Edmonton Archive, Provincial Archives of Alberta, Glenbow Archives

Helen Ritchey, Celtic Creations

Solvig Olsson

Cher Thorsen

Anders Thorsen

Charmaine Crooks

Julian Bowers

Anna Thorsen

Patti Henderson

Kickstarter backers including: Anthony Siress, Dustin Christensen, Paul Marquis, Laura Mack, Joanna Harks, Rob Bucci, Nelda Hinds, Victor Mendoza, Brad Slater, Selina Crammond, Henry Denander, Nancy Mortifee, Joseph Killian, Rebecca Rawlinson, Nathan Parker, Sandra Garcia, Sairah Hearns, Ian Powell, Steve Podborski, Warren Te Brugge, Brad Lawrence, John Demuynck, Robert Nadeau, Lynn Gosnell, Maud Kerzendörfer, Cecile Cowley, Eric Damon Walters

Jocelyn Louise (the model for Molly)

Jay Fisher (the stylist)

Rick Legal

Nancy Kirkpatrick

Pamela Post

Eve Lazarus

Anne Banner

Matthew Roy

Owen McEwen

Jen MacDonald

  —

Want to help me tell this story? 

Please consider:

1. Purchasing my art.  I regularly post product and sales on this blog!

2. Donating (all donors and sales customers will be included in acknowledgments):

btn_donateCC_LG

TODAY’S SALE: The Molly Paper Dress

If you are interested in purchasing this one-of-a-kind double-sided item featuring ORIGINAL embroidered drawings (wearable art– size 4 to 6 A-frame or wallhanging), that will be photographed for the graphic novel, contact me at britakatarina@gmail.com

$675 CAD

(free shipping- allow 4 weeks for delivery)

Payment via email transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

or paypal LINK

btn_buynowCC_LG

  

  

  

 

I have no money, no resources, no hopes.  I am the happiest man alive.  A year ago, six months ago, I thought I was an artist.  I no longer think about it, I am.  Everything that was literature has fallen from me.  There are no more books to be written, thank God.

This then?  This is not a book.  This is libel, slander, defamation of character.  This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word…

– Henry Miller

Flu poem. 

Walking my old dog in Stanley Park today oh so slowly.  My body brutalized by flu. Every joint aching.  My head pounding with a migraine.  Can there be creativity in that?  If I can stay truly present- not deny it or be annoyed by it- what words come out?  Where does my mind go if I ride this?  I let the words flow and type them into my iPhone…

These ghosts and angels

These relics of the past

This hope and the hopeless

The gentle and crass.


The pterodactyl yawning

Sacred robust

Fragile precarious 

The weight of the bus


The root and the rooted

The foot of a tree

The story left buried

Released not yet free


Let me just lie here a little while on this dirt floor shh… shh.. at the foot of this tree with a root for a pillow shh… shh… let me just close my eyes and try to stop the pain and nausea, pull a leaf over to over my shoulder, curl my left arm around my old dog shh… shh… let me just lie here awhile in the shelter of the rhododendron bush.  I don’t ask for much just a few minutes of shh… shh… and the root can wrap around us and pull us deep deep down into the dirt floor and I’ll just shh… shh… be here forever…

Molly, my Molly, has acknowledged the past. #graphicnovel

IMG_1413

See there- my Molly, in death- so white

Coming clothed in flowers, entering the night.

My fate, through her eyes, is being foretold

My dreams, my wounds, my joys she holds.

Spirits, unpolished, stand back in aghast,

Molly, my Molly, has acknowledged the past.

“It’s not what I wanted! Not what I assumed!”

And with that, my Molly pronounces my doom.

My fate, it is sealed, lying warm in her breast,

Unless I chop off her head and eat up the rest.

20140220-094010

Molly preview

[Above poem reworked from a version I first wrote in April 1994, titled “Marianna.”]

January 15, 1953. Stanley Park, Vancouver. #coldcase

mulligan-report

IMG_8450

IMG_8452

 

Several developments since I last mentioned Molly. This work infuses my life in every way.  I am currently editing the manuscript and working on releasing instalment 1 as a broadsheet.

7ea0c076087441eb9e5a6abbe6ba472a-0-1

10924761_10205909602961373_8147183639137072037_n

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
China marker portrait of Jocelyn Louise as Molly.  Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

Animation test to commemorate January 15, 1953 created by students at Mountainside Secondary:

IMG_7085.JPG

IMG_7086.JPG

IMG_7082.JPG

IMG_7083.JPG

It doesn’t stop him. My death stops him. #graphicnovel study

Recall March 7, 2013, photoshoot at Salmagundi West for my graphic novel.

I am struck by the ability of my model, Jocelyn Louise, to convey, in a simple glance, the pain of my main character as she tries to escape the memories of childhood trauma.

Sins of the father
Sins of the father.

Asexual.

Living in church,

reading about God all the time,

getting callouses on my knees.

It doesn’t stop him. 

My death stops him.

– Maire MacLachlan

IMG_1216
China marker on newsprint.

IMG_0122

Jocelyn Louise as Molly.  Styled by Jay Fisher. Photo by Anna Thorsen.
Styled by Jay Fisher. Photo by Anna Thorsen.

COVER TEST

GRABLINE:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

img_6505

With a faery, hand in hand… photo shoot for the #graphicnovel at Salmagundi West!

On March 7, 2013, I was humbled at the generosity of Salmagundi West owner Anna Banner who allowed us to use her store as a back drop for our latest photoshoot!

IMG_0095

I was joined by Jocelyn Louise (who portrays Molly) and stylist Jay Fisher…

IMG_0073
Jay, Jocelyn, Anne

… and my daughter Anna Thorsen who took the main shots (to be shared in the book).

IMG_0070
Anna, Jocelyn

Here are some moments I captured.  The focus for me was to emulate Molly’s restless travels.

IMG_0485

IMG_0122

IMG_0157

IMG_0071

530963_10200789948733217_1034075543_n

P1040174

IMG_0483

IMG_0480

P1040192

P1040158

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s morefull of weeping than you
can understand.

The Stolen Child, WB Yeats

P1040155

IMG_0210

P1040176

IMG_0208

P1040188

IMG_0078

IMG_0099

IMG_0159

Screen shot 2013-03-16 at 9.57.52 PM

IMG_0129

cover-test

MOLLY- A TRUE CRIME ANALYSIS

WEEKLY SERIAL

AT MOLLYGRAPHICNOVEL.COM

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

IMG_0211

MOLLY- the graphic novel

img_6505

“Where white is black and black is white, I won.” #graphicnovel study #crowskull

IMG_9697

When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white.

He decided it glared much too whitely.

He decided to attack it and defeat it.

He got his strength up flush and in full glitter.

He clawed and fluffed his rage up.

He aimed his beak direct at the sun’s centre.

He laughed himself to the centre of himself

And attacked.

At his battle cry trees grew suddenly old,

Shadows flattened.

But the sun brightened—

It brightened, and Crow returned charred black.

He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.

“Up there,” he managed,

“Where white is black and black is white, I won.”

– Charles Bukowski

IMG_9700

Crow’s skull purchased at Salmagundi West:

IMG_9669

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

img_6505

Regarding Molly- importance of working titles and “acting as if…”

As I experiment with marrying text to illustration in my graphic novel, I am working from the end backwards, creating a working title and promotional mockup. Acting as if the book is completed, the project feels organized and allows me to create a skeletal framework on which to flesh out ideas. This framework can then be dismantled, contorted and altered as needed. It is not the final result by any means, but it is a great way to MOVE FORWARD. And I’m moving forward fast!

I have some exciting ideas as to how to present the finished work (format, paper etc) but first I will marry image to page and and image and pages to chapters and I am loving the creative process. Next up is ensuring all the permissions are in place for using primary sources, news articles, photographs and names within the work. And more photoshoots!

COVER TEST

GRABLINE:

He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

SYNOPSIS:

Who killed the Babes in the Wood? Artist, art therapist and researcher, Katarina Thorsen, makes her case as to the resolution of this historical Vancouver mystery through crime scene reconstruction, forensic taphonomy, historical archives, genealogical records, behavior evidence analysis, circumstantial connections and artistic interpretation. Katarina first immersed herself in the investigation in 2003 when she volunteered as a criminal profiler and researcher with the Babes in the Wood Task Force. She has remained dedicated to the case ever since.

Using a combination of text, primary sources, illustrations and photographs, Katarina now presents her research journey, equivocal findings and creative process to the reader. The goal is to identify the children whose skeletal remains were found in Stanley Park on January 15, 1953. Through rich and insightful imagery, Regarding Molly reveals a portrait of a troubled young woman in post war Vancouver. The reader is encouraged to draw their own conclusion as to the identity of the Babes in the Wood, their mother and killer.

TEST nurturant

Following Katarina’s lead, readers will be inspired to search out their own stories using intensive genealogical research.

74611_10200494838075635_624314696_n

AUTHOR’S BIO:

Artist/ art therapist Katarina Thorsen is passionate about the power of research and collaborative approaches to create solutions. She specializes in providing therapeutic art to at-risk youth and young offenders. Her own art work includes drawing, painting, crafting, journaling and street art and can be found in private international collections and on the streets of North America and Europe. She believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of art and its ability to build connections. Katarina resides in Vancouver, BC.

Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Photo by Nancy Kirkpatrick
Jocelyn Louise as Molly. Styled by Jay Fisher.

MOLLY- the graphic novel

img_6505

The Babes in the Wood study #graphicnovel

The Babes in the Wood [1]

IMG_8233

My dear do you know,

How a long time ago,

Two poor little children,

Whose names I don’t know,

Were stolen away

On a fine summer’s day,

And left in a wood,

As I’ve heard people say,

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?

 IMG_8235

And when it was night,

So sad was their plight,

The sun it went down,

And the moon gave no light!

They sobbed and they sighed,

And they bitterly cried,

And the poor little things,

They lay down and died.

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?

 IMG_8238

And when they were dead,

The robins so red,

Brought strawberry leaves,

And over them spread;

And all the day long,

The branches among,

They mournfully whistled,

And this was their song;

Poor Babes in the Wood! Poor Babes in the Wood!

Oh! don’t you remember the Babes in the Wood?

IMG_8236


[1] “BABES IN THE WOOD”, retrieved September 14, 2006 from http://www.rjohnwright.com/babesinthewood.html

Mother Goose’s “Babes in the Wood” was first published as a ballad by Thomas Millington in 1595.