Father, daughter, Fenrir, Gleipnir and “Drawn Together”- the book: 6 years later.

Wow.  October 25, 2018 will mark the sixth year since my father passed away.  I am so aware of all the dates in October… so aware that he was winding down.

Interestingly, more October connections: on October 12, 2005 (13 years ago), my father drew for the first time after his life threatening stroke (September 21, 2005).


My father, the Viking, my greatest cheerleader, infused in me the joy of creating, the joy of hard work and the importance of never giving up.


And so we wrote a book together.  And on October 15, 2012, as he was navigating the fog of morphine, surrounded by reminder posters on the wall as to where he was and what year it was, we pressed send to the publisher.  We marked the occasion by signing the inside of our favourite book that inspired the project.



On October 25, 2012, the morning of the day he passed, I played this Swedish lullaby, sung by his favourite actor, into his left ear.  Over and over again.  Sleep, my little heart.


Six years.  Why does it feel so significant?

In our Viking heritage/ Norse mythology, the number 6 represents the leash Gleipner.

Gleipnir was the name of the super strong leash used to hold the dreadful Fenrir Wolf. The Fenrir Wolf was one the monstrous children of the trickster god Loki. The dwarfs had made this extraordinary leash.

The Fenrir Wolf only agreed to try the leash if Tyr put his hand in his mouth. The wolf bit off the right hand of the god Tyr. Tyr gave his name to Tuesday. Gleipnir consisted of six items:

1. The sound of a cat walkingTyr and Fenrir - John Bauer

2. The beard of a woman

3. The roots of a mountain

4. The sinews of a bear

5. The breath of a fish

6. The spit of a bird

The Vikings explained that the Gleipnir was the reason these six items no longer existed. The Fenrir Wolf will not break loose from Gleipnir before Ragnarok (the end of the world). source

I kind of see my father as Fenrir and the stroke as Gleipnir.  And my father has broken free now, and devoured Odin.  But there is so much significance to this myth that I will write about at a later date.

I am moved to share our book in full today:




































































































From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 14: Dying Contemplation

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

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Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

Part 12: The Moment of Death

Part 13: The Act of Dying

Part 14: Dying Contemplation

1. Journal exercise:

What makes you breathe in and breathe out in a full-hearted  way?

For me it is ART.

And so it was for my Dad.

I was so blessed to witness the healing power of art as my Dad thrived at his extended care facility, carving out a life for himself.  He had purpose, routine, passion.  He had reclaimed his emotional life through art.  And he created till the end.  With a full heart.  What can be greater than that?  Wow.  Deep breath of gratitude.

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

Our story opens with the last breath and closes with the first…

The last breath of life leaving the body behind.  The connection severed between the light body and the heavy body.  The end of this life…

Let yourself die.  Let go now.  Hold to nothing.  Trust the process…

Float free in your original spaciousness…

Watch as something slowly approaches.  It is the first breath of life.

– Stephen Levine

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

I was screaming into the canyon
At the moment of my death
The echo I created
Outlasted my last breath

My voice it made an avalanche
And buried a man I never knew
And when he died his widowed bride
Met your daddy and they made you

I have only one thing to do and that’s
To be the wave that I am and then
Sink back into the ocean

– Fiona Apple Source

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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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.

Photo by Cher Thorsen
Photo by Cher Thorsen

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 contains so much.  It illustrates the beauty of Roar’s post-stroke art.  It contains his intense attention to detail, his use of stickers to cover “mistakes,” his classic hands-in-the-pockets “gubbar,” his portrait of his beloved dog Tobey, as well as my cats, his love of the Swedish landscape, his joy that he felt creating his art inside a residential care centre, his pride.



I just love it.  And seeing little water splashes on the piece as my nephew (little Roar) stands at the sink and washes his hands, adds so much to my love of this piece.  For me, art has no end- there is no end product; art evolves over time.  And these water droplets are the continuation of the marks my father made.

A picture is a poem without words. – Horace


Roar Thorsen August 8, 1930- October 25, 2012


“Never forget you are Daddy’s girl.” Drawn Together excerpt series Part 4

 Drawn Together excerpt series Part 4:

My father always ended his letters to me with:

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Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art

Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke.


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Workbook/workshop series under development to accompany the book.


To address self-esteem issues in neurodiverse individuals, service/care providers and families utilizing art and journaling exercises and to provide innovative, collaborative and reproducible connection-building tools through the book Drawn Together, accompanying workbooks, workshops, speaking engagements, art events and book launches.

Helena, the film. A script idea by my father. Drawn Together excerpt series Part 3

Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art

Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke.


My father drew inspiration from many sources.  His newspapers, his readings, his scrapbooks.  Films like Hemsöborna.

He not only drew, but wrote and wrote and wrote.

 Drawn Together excerpt series Part 3:

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Inspired by the story of Helena Langenhed.

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 Till sist inser man att skapandet är det högsta i livet. – Helena Langenhed

In the end, one realizes that creativity is the highest calling in life.





Workbook/workshop series under development to accompany the book.


To address self-esteem issues in neurodiverse individuals, service/care providers and families utilizing art and journaling exercises and to provide innovative, collaborative and reproducible connection-building tools through the book Drawn Together, accompanying workbooks, workshops, speaking engagements, art events and book launches.

Change comes upon us, not slowly, but suddenly, abruptly. Drawn Together excerpt series Part 2

Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges With Art

Roar’s art provided him with a much needed connection to the world after a devastating stroke.


 Drawn Together excerpt series Part 2:

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 Roar’s journal entry:

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Workbook/workshop series under development to accompany the book.


To address self-esteem issues in neurodiverse individuals, service/care providers and families utilizing art and journaling exercises and to provide innovative, collaborative and reproducible connection-building tools through the book Drawn Together, accompanying workbooks, workshops, speaking engagements, art events and book launches.

DOCUMENTARY: Drawn Together- Roar Thorsen’s Recovery through Art

Thanks to my backers on our Indiegogo campaign, Drawn Together, I was able to fund the making of the documentary short, Drawn Together: Roar Thorsen’s Recovery through Art, directed, edited and filmed by Julian Bowers.  And I am honored to have original music created by J. Lastoria and Julian Bowers, members of the band, Sleuth.

I will forever be grateful for the extraordinary gift of being able to visit with my Dad by watching this video, hearing his voice.



 Be sure to check out SLEUTH:

Sleuth: Oliver McTavish-Wisden, J. Lastoria, Julian Bowers, Jesse Easter



Gratitude and other scenes from the ER. #DrawnTogether

Thanks to our backers and all our supporters for helping our Indiegogo campaign, Drawn Together!  


On Sunday, Dad got a chance to watch the documentary his grandson, Julian, made.  He was very moved.

Unfortunately, Dad’s health has taken a turn for the worse as he battles bladder cancer.  We spent Monday in the ER and here is Dad’s essay (he asked me to record the events):

When it came, the wreck left me alive.  It flung me on the coast with a warning that what I had to look forward to now was no longer the maximum but the minimum with which I could begin my life afresh… I began to forget what life could not offer and to appreciate what it could…

– Frigyes Karinthy

Thank you family and friends for all your kind words on Monday on Facebook, on Twitter, on phone, in person!

Our dear friend, Darcy, spent the day with us.

Dad is back in his room and it’s all about making the moments the best and most comfortable they can be.

I am now going collect all the material into the manuscript!  Our mindmap is the guide!

Thank you for supporting our project

Much love, Katarina and Roar


A legacy for the next generation. #DrawnTogether #strokerecovery #artheals

Henrik and Roar by Roar Thorsen

Our book is about art and a father/daughter story, but it is also a legacy that we are creating for Dad’s grandchildren- Anna (27), Julian (24) and little Henrik, who turns 1 next week and whose middle name is “Roar.”

Grandpa and grandson. Photo by Fredrik Thorsen
Photo by Fredrik Thorsen
Photo by Fredrik Thorsen


Please consider supporting our project.  Much love, Katarina and Roar

THANK YOU to all our supporters!

Scenes from Level 2 #DrawnTogether #strokerecovery #artheals

My father draws inspiration from books, television, newspapers, his life… including residential care.

Excerpt from Drawn Together:

Dad, how do you stay connected?


A shot of whiskey.  A cup of black coffee.  My pens and my paper.  TV on in the background.  A view of Grouse Mountain.  That’s all I need.  

I have now been in my room for five plus years.  Roommates have come and gone.  Most of them have died.  And the last one will be shot.  

I’m supposed to be nice, but I can’t!  I have no patience!  And I’m sorry to say, I cannot look forward to being “one of them.”


Please consider supporting our project.  Much love, Katarina and Roar

THANK YOU to all our supporters!

My father makes an impact. #connections #DrawnTogether #strokerecovery #artheals

My father inspired a friend to accept help by showing how his life is rich in a residential care facility.
Roar inspires youth-at-risk with his art and with his youthful humor!
The staff are KEY to making Dad’s life as happy as it is. I could not be more grateful. He gives back by lending an ear, providing snacks, and being his feisty inspiring self.
“Stay connected.” by Roar Thorsen

Some comments we’ve received regarding DRAWN TOGETHER:

“My grandma is suffering from early Alzheimers. I write her letters and she writes back. Her letters end up being so poetic because she repeats herself a lot. I’ve been transcribing them as poetry. Might send them to some Lit mags.

I think we forget the huge cache of knowledge and experience the old folks have, and it gets trapped inside their aged and deteriorating bodies. It’s important to keep them talking as long as possible.”

“In honour of my Dad who is also an elderly stroke victim and artist and is slowly drifting away from me too. Though he fades he never stops laughing and smiling, a constant inspiration.”

“Fantastic project and inspirational. Makes me wanna start an art project with my dad .. just because!”


Please consider supporting our project.  Much love, Katarina and Roar

With new technology, #DrawnTogether will be a full-color paperback! #strokerecovery #artheals

In our original planning stages with Influence Publishing we were considering the idea of producing

a. an affordable black and white version and

b. a full color expensive coffee table book.

This seemed the only option but I worried about not being able to present the art in full color to a wider audience.

Influence Publishing has informed us that new technology has solved that problem.

From Ingram Makes Color Print-On-Demand More Economical:

Ingram Content Group has announced a new standard color pricing model for print-on-demand technology that has reduced costs by roughly two-thirds, making color POD an economical publishing option for the first time. Achieved through advancements in inkjet technology, the price drop means that a greater range of book content can be printed in color and done faster around the world…

We will be utilizing this latest technology to produce a full-color paperback of Drawn Together!

Dad organizing his pens!
We spent the afternoon cleaning his workspace. I scrubbed spilled coffee off the walls, scooped up old wrappers, lost pen caps, dried up grapes and scrubbed the sticky floor! We had a good laugh! Creativity is messy!


Please consider supporting our project.  Much love, Katarina and Roar

Legacy. What does that mean to you? #journal #arttherapy

I put out the following question the other day:

Q: What does the word “legacy” mean to you? 

The responses were thoughtful and beautiful:

Creating something that will outlive you. A permanent mark. A lasting impression. – Peter B.

Creating something that can definitely withstand the test of time. – Evelyn W.

Epic love. – Lindsey H.

My mom use to send hand written cards to everyone. She did not text or email. She would call and follow up with a beautiful card. She had a drawer full of cards she collected Since she has passed away I carry on her Legacy and send cards and hand written letters to people I meet and care about. It creates a beautiful energy and emotion when I send it. It reminds me of the beautiful love and spirit my mom had. – Paula C.

Legacy? Hmm. To be immortalized in stone. Sounds about right to me. – Dustin W.

The endurance of values, qualities and ideas. – Jen N.

A memory that one person shares or passes on to another, creating an image for the other to always remember the memories creator by. – Mike B.

What a great question!… Legacy is a kind of medicine… the more endearing it is the more it will endure… – Andrew I.

The imprint of our life that we leave for others…..how we are remembered, cherished and carried forward for others to embrace or heal from. – Cheryl B


is the illusion people create for himself/herself and/or others that they are victorious in the eternal fight against a meaningless existence during our brief stay on earth. 

But if the illusion is strong enough, practiced by people, something greater and beyond yourself,

It might just transform into reality. 

Becoming something more than you could ever imagine in your lifetime.

Melting into the cycle, and though you wear away, your essence remains.

– Justine T.

I’ve wondering about the word legacy these days as I work on the book with Dad.  Is leaving a legacy the drive behind the work we do as artists?  Is the drive to leave a mark our strive for immortality?

A page from Dad’s journal

What does legacy mean to you?

Write or draw about it.  Share it.

Excerpt from Lynda Barry’s PICTURE THIS

My Dad and I certainly aren’t about leaving a financial legacy.  Haha!  What both of us bring in each month is less that what goes out.  You know how it is.  Our life is not glamorous.  But we live so richly, so fully.  Our family, our art, our connection… that is the wealth.  So much wealth.

My journal page this morning.

My visit with Dad last night was magical.  Laughing till it hurt.  Excited about the future. Excited about the moment.  And now all our work is really congealing, ripening.  I sense the work we do is taking a life of its own and will reach people in a new and profound way.  It’s exciting and invigorating.  It’s an adventure larger than the two of us.

And if the legacy is this simple book, inspiring one person, that is a great legacy indeed.

Please consider supporting our project.  Much love, Katarina and Roar

Sometimes you just have to laugh!. #drawntogether #artheals

As you know by now, Dad and I have been working on our book for several years and it looks like it will be released in November!  I had a great meeting with Influence Publishing on Monday night and excitedly ran to Dad on Tuesday to let him know the latest news!

Dad, I have great news about our book!

His response:

Book, what book?

Photo by Fredrik Thorsen

OMG, what?  I might have cried if it wasn’t for my Dad’s humor and self-awareness.  I breathed, realized he needed time to process it and once we settled into our workspace in the cafeteria, we got back on track and he remembered the project!

Dad has more difficulty finishing a drawing these days.  He has been working on the same piece for over  two months.  He complains that he loses his way.  He applies stickers over his “mistakes” and keeps at it.

It pains me, yet I am elated at his tenacity and focus.  And we have so many good laughs!

He’s building a magical masterpiece.

I will be working all weekend on layout etc.  I am gathering endorsement, testimonials, foreword etc.  It’s exciting and somewhat daunting and humbling!  Dad’s already on to the next book!  Maybe that’s what he meant by Book?  What Book?

We appreciate your support! 

Dad, discovery, drawing and Disney. #drawntogether #artheals

Roar, 1956

My father, Roar Thorsen, on starting to draw:

I have drawn all my life.  

As a small boy in Kindergarten, in Sarpsborg, Norway, many stories were read to me.  As far as I remember, I entered Kindergarten at age 6.  Quite often the teacher was reading from typical kids’ books.  

I started with pencil and paper from instruction and ideas by the teacher.  I remember her optimism and creativity.  She taught in a simple, natural way, often by reading from books.  As I slowly graduated from… as a six year old, often using animal books- the more I read and looked at the pictures, I tried to draw like that myself.  

By flicking through picture books, I got a better understanding of creating art.  The books inspired me.  I remember that first year after Kindergarten, at age 7, that one day, mom and dad told me that we were going to the cinema to see a typical children’s movie- Disney’s Three Little Pigs.  This was after I had flicked through the pages of childrens’ books, which had already given me inspiration. 

So one day, my Mom and Dad told me that we were going to a movie theatre.  In the beginning, I was scared.  What the hell is this moving on the big screen?  As I was sitting with Mom and Dad in the theatre, I was starting to ask Dad, “Where do the pigs come from?”  Since I was sitting in the aisle seat, and I was told that the film would show moving pigs, I asked if the pigs were going to come running in the aisles.  I kept asking until they shut the light off and we saw all the pigs running around on the screen.  

All these impressions got me to think. “How do you do this?”  At that time, I did not understand how.  Dad bought a book about the three pigs, which Mom and Dad read to me and showed me the pages.  Sitting in the theatre, looking at the screen, I was curious to see the pigs running on the screen.  I remember when mom and dad took me to the theatre, and I saw the pigs appear on the screen, I was frightened and asked if the pigs were loose. 

After the movie when we came home, I was asking, “Where else can we see these pigs?”  I remember the first time we came to my uncle’s farm and since I had never been to a farm, I wanted to look at all the animals- and suddenly in the middle of these animals there were three piglets- so I asked, “Are these the same pigs we saw in the movie theatre?” 

I asked Mom and Dad to buy me books with drawings. 

These became my first personal library.  Little did I understand that by looking at these pigs, on the movie screen and in reality, I was inspired to draw. I started spending more and more time at my uncle’s farm.  

In the school class, I remember that one of the teachers always made chalk drawings on the blackboard.  Later when I got more books from Mom and Dad, I started studying the drawings of Walt Disney.  Little did I know that this guy created a desire in me to do the same.  After reading these books, and flicking through the pages of the Disney books, one page showed me these three pigs.  That becomes my favorite book, which I constantly looked at.  

Although I was only 8 years old, I started with a pencil and paper to see if I could draw something like that.  In the beginning I did not like what I did, so I threw everything away, until I saw another book made by Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse.  I could see that he had made many books with different animals.  Disney became my first idol.  That is my start in art.  

Roar on writing to Walt Disney:

Snow White and Seven Dwarfs was a big influence on me.  I got really interested in the Disney style and I would copy the noses etc.

I think I went to all the Disney movies… 

By copying, suddenly I got into the Disney style of making characters, with their noses etc.  In fact, in school, I always made Disney style drawings.  I do not remember exactly, but I recall being the only one interested.  During my stage of copying Disney’s style, I had the courage to send a letter to Walt Disney Corp telling him about my interest in his movies and books.  

I wrote a letter when I was 12 and wrote something like:

      To Walt Disney Corp

      With greatest interest, I have seen many movies made by your company…

To my astonishment a couple of weeks afters I got an envelope in the mail from Disney headquarters in Los Angeles.  It contained a letter and two original drawings by Walt Disney’s artists.  They have unfortunately been lost over the years.  

The walls in my room were covered with magazine cutouts and drawings.  In the middle of these were the two Disney drawings.

Roar’s bedroom, 1956, Sarpsborg, Norway (the 2 Disney drawings bottom left).  All the other drawings are Roar’s.

Roar on the making of Drawn Together:

 It’s too goddamn fun.  If I may say so, doing the work gave me a kick in the ass.  The art is my hobby and my life.  As it has been since I started copying Disney.

We appreciate your support! 

Creating, and collaborating… and other great C-words #artheals #drawntogether

Creating, collaborating, commenting, contributing, conversing, communicating, caregiving, community-building, committing, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, campaigning… some of the great C words.

As many of you know, I have been working with my father, Roar Thorsen, on our book for several years now.   Joyously, we have shared a corner of the cafeteria at Lions Gate Hospital, building a collection of his work and dreaming of producing a book.  As my Dad shrinks in physical size, his esteem grows taller and taller through working on his art.

Well the time has come.

The next step is for us to reach out to our online community to ask for help.  One minute before midnight, last Friday night, we launched our Indiegogo campaign!

Please share our story!  Your financial contribution is greatly appreciated!

Roar and Katarina, April 2012
Roar, 1956, Sarpsborg, Norway

Dealing with bullies, 1937 Norwegian style. My father recounts. #vintage #photography

Recall that I’m writing a book with Dad, about how he uses art to find purpose and meaning after his stroke.

I’ve pulled out old photographs and albums for him to peruse and the stories coming out are remarkable.

Me, on the left, my brother ,Anders, on the right, in Grums Sweden ca 1964.

I found Dad’s baby album.  Wow.

One recurring story that Dad has to tell me every time he is reminded of his childhood home (Sandesundsveien 43, Sarpsborg, Norway)…

… is the day when he was followed home by bullies from his class.

I always get reminded about the bullies when I think about that house.  I was about 7 years old.  Bullies followed me home after school.  I walked through my front gate and all of a sudden a rock landed beside me.  I saw red and ran after them and threw the rock and hit one of them in the back of the head.  When you get attacked you forget you are a nice little boy.  I was in a blind rage and it was a dramatic moment.  The kid had a huge wound on the back of his head and I recall that he was bleeding.  

I was called in to the school principal.  “What happened?” he asked.  I explained the whole incident and how I didn’t expect the rock to hit the kid bullseye in the back of the head.  The principal listened and understood.  I was not punished.  The bullying stopped after that.  

I found a class picture and Dad immediately pointed “them” out.

The tall one on the left was called “Big Red” and his little sidekick was a plump little shit whose name, I think, was Arne.

This photo was taken before the incident.  It’s like turning back the clock.  I remember that we were told to stand along the wall in the back of the school.  We were standing on blacktop.  

Dad, age 7

Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.

Beauty in the struggle. Part 2. Dad keeping thoughts straight.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I notice Dad is struggling with keeping focused.  He finds it hard to keep his thoughts straight when he writes.  Today he struggled to make sense of and read from his notes he had written regarding his creative process.  He wanted me to share this with you in order to show how hard his scarred brain has to work to process.

I am so proud of him for wanting to bring us on his journey!  We get such important insight into brain injury and the aging parent.

He is presently working on a portrait of Gorbachev!  Stay tuned!

Dictated by Roar Thorsen:

June 15, 2012

Making of an art picture

Making a picture of art

I do not know how many art producers always thinks that “I don’t like this one” “my mistake” “start again.”

When I notice this I need to fix quick otherwise I will walk around thinking about my mistake. 

Having tried to fix all my drawing such as black ink, oil, water…

Many times when I am creating making an art product, any mistake makes me think I got to fix this now. 

There is many ways to fix an art product such as black ink, color crayons.

A simple mistake makes me mad.  My first thought is “I have to fix this quickly.”

Part of the tools for drawing: pencil, erasing…

Using pencils and crayons is relatively simple.  But to draw something and using the same material

When it is necessary to erase ink drawings, since I do not want to change the original product, my simple solution is to use white etiquettes or stick-ons. 

After this “repair” 

When it is necessary to erase, I do not want to change the original product. 

Using these so-called stickers to cover the mistakes, therefore I can continue with the basic idea. 

Sticking over the mistakes, therefore I can continue with the basic idea. 

When the drawings has been given new shape, in all this is a typical cover-up!

See links to Dad’s work at:

Roar Thorsen

Stroke Recovery

Roar on ETSY

Beauty in the struggle. My Dad’s “chaos” gives insight.

Lately, I notice Dad is struggling with keeping focused.  He finds it hard to keep his thoughts straight when he writes.  And his current project illustrates the “chaos” he describes.  The drawings give me clues to his internal struggles and reminds me to keep things simple and routine for him.

But he continues to LIVE FIERCELY and his growling never-give-up demeanour reflects a love of life that inspires me.

Roar with his Grandson, Henrik Roar

See links to Dad’s work at:

Roar Thorsen

Stroke Recovery

Roar on ETSY

Dad’s latest drawing: ART IS A SPECTATOR SPORT!

Dad keeps a piece of paper beside him to test his felt pens.  Instead of throwing out the paper, he was inspired to create a piece called “Roar Thorsen Art Studio.”

He also uses his sticker technique to correct, what he calls- mistakes.

Dad’s words:

When you make a drawing, you check colors and pens on a separate paper.  This test paper became the inspiration for this drawing and is a symbol for the explosive, creative process.

I started with the studio sign and made it look like a sign made up of multiple boards.  Big bolts hold it in place.  From there, I had to make steps for persons who like to climb up to see the art studio.  

The studio is simple and surrounded by spectators, with one climbing up the highest, standing on boards.  Another person stands on boards as well, underneath the first guy.  It turns out that this became a popular place with lots of spectators.  So much so that buses started coming in as well.  

All spectators have an international mix, as you can see from the flags hanging on the pole.  As you can also see, the bus is loaded full, which means that there is no more room for more spectators.  So after that, they had to shut the place down!   They were too impressed!  No room!  Chaos!  

On the drawing is shown a mixture of colors, which consists of all the colors being used- typical marks by an artist as he is testing his pens and colors before he starts working on his art piece.  

When I make my humoristic sketches- in many cases mistakes are made.  Instead of starting all over with a new drawing, I just simply use white stick-ons to cover the mistake and continue on.  This so called “repair” does not disturb the drawing.  It’s just a simple way to correct mistakes!

– Roar Thorsen

Dad’s sticker technique has truly become his signature style!

He is busy at work already with his next 5 drawings- with lots of new ideas brewing!  It’s the BEST MEDICINE!

Last chance! ART HEALS exhibit open today 11-5 or by appt until Feb 7 @RubbleGallery

In order to help with fundraising efforts, I will be extending the RAFFLE of my piece, MORFAR’S KLASS until my next art event in the Fall.  All current raffle ticket holders will be given an extra ticket as a thank you for holding on till then!  If you drop by the gallery today and want to purchase a ticket, please leave $20/ticket and your contact info with the gallery.

I’ll be dismantling the show on Wednesday and filming the process with students from Intersections Media.

See preview of my Graphic Novel, Molly, at the show!


Dad is facing a new challenge! So does art actually heal? @RubbleGallery Jan 21 #fatherdaughter #arttherapy

As Dad enters a new chapter, essentially a new battle for his life (cancer has reappeared), we are grateful that art  is helping us process this and is distracting us from the scary road ahead.  On Friday, after a scope, I loved watching Dad excitedly get back to his desk to get back to work.  We’re savouring every minute.  ART HEALS.  It doesn’t cure.  It doesn’t solve problems.  But it’s a tool.  And in the moment of creation, it does heal the spirit.

I hope you get a chance to drop in Saturday Jan 21 at the Rubble Gallery 7-9 PM.  There will be art displayed, on sale, and ready to interact with!

Roar, 1966 Sweden

Roar Thorsen

Me, 1967, Sweden.

See preview of my Graphic Novel, Molly, at the show!

Exhibit of Roar’s extraordinary post-stroke “outsider art” as part of ART HEALS @RubbleGallery #arttherapy #neurology

My father had a massive stroke 5 years ago and art has essentially saved his life by rekindling his spirit.  Check out his project The Old Apple Tree !  His post-stroke drawings fascinate me.  Dad’s perception was altered after his stroke.  Here he struggles to illustrate a figure looking out a window.  He wanted it to be inside the room looking out.  I love how there are no walls:

This photo of Dad from his late teens truly illustrates the joy he is getting from doing his art:

My dad, Norway, 1940's
Dad, December 17, 2011


Featuring dual art show/fundraiser of therapeutic works by father and daughter: Roar and Katarina Thorsen

January 21- Feb 7, 2012 at the Rubble Gallery!

Opening event (with an interactive art corner) on January 21 7-9 PM! Cash bar, snacks, music, art.

The show will be a collection of our individual and mutual work:
1. Dual journals:
Created 2001-2003 (we would take turns week to week) as I experienced the breakdown of my marriage.  The journals will be on display  and you are welcome to read and interact with them.
Examples from my series on grief and divorce (china marker on masonite board). [will be on sale]
3. Portraits: 
Roar’s current series of therapeutic post-stroke drawings, created in his long term care facility (pencil and felt pen on small foam boards).  [will be on sale].
4. Molly: 
Preview of my illustrations for my graphic novel in progress (china marker on newsprint). [NFS]
preview of Roar’s post-stroke illustrations and quotes to his book of drawings and wisdoms (pencil crayon on paper).
[some originals for sale]
6. Raffle:
My painting “Morfar’s Klass” (28″ x 40″) (acrylic on canvas) will be raffled ($20 ticket, 3 for $40).
Funds to go towards self-publishing costs of Molly and The Old Apple Tree.  Each ticket is a coupon for a 5-minute portrait by me.  Raffle tickets will be available to pre-purchase on this site starting next week and tickets will be sold during opening event.  Raffle draw at  8:45 PM January 21.
7. Interactive Art Piece:
Large piece on foam board started by me and added to by participants and gallery visitors.  The piece can be added to by gallery visitors for the remainder of the exhibit and will be donated to the Rubble Gallery.
See examples of my interactive art at: http://bit.ly/ofOWDe

Rubble Gallery

Evolution of a drawing by Roar Thorsen. The old man knows what he’s doing! #arttherapy

My father amazes me.  Despite being wheelchair bound and dependent on care aides for daily needs, he is empowered by art.  Today he even called to say he didn’t have time for a visit as he had to finish a sketch!  Amazing!

His process is fascinating.  I have learned to trust he has a vision despite my  sadness at times when he changes a sketch!  It’s HIS creative process and I’m trying to log the changes that he makes as the journey to the finished piece fascinates me.

Here’s the latest- where he struggled with a profile and glued white paper to allow for alterations [which adds so much to the look].


Possessing the secret of joy: Roar Thorsen #strokerecovery #arttherapy


Photo by Fredrik Thorsen

On September 21 it will be SIX YEARS since my dad’s devastating stroke.  We have gone through SO MUCH since then.  Ups and downs of life.   The blood and guts that makes it all so spectacular.

I continue to be amazed at the vibrancy and assertiveness and joy that my dad is experiencing since he rediscovered his art.

See: ROAR THORSEN- Stroke Recovery