creative Therapy

Catalyst Thirty-Five
November 9, 2008, 7:53 am
Filed under: catalyst


As always, thank you to all of our visitors and all the encouraging comments you left for us. For those of you who did, thank you for playing along with us. We will do a drawing for the RAK and announce the name mid-week. And if you didn’t join us before, we hope you do this time.


Ok! Here’s catalyst number thirty-five:


What’s your philosophy of life? (Tell us a quote that conveys it, show us photos from it, express in your own words.)


We’re extremely thrilled to have Ali Edwards as this week’s Guest Artist.


When I first started creative therapy, I made a list of all the guest designers I would love to have. My dream list. These were all artists I admired and I felt they were the embodiment of the vision behind creative therapy. Ali was at the top of my list. To me, her art has always been meaningful, visually pleasing, and in many cases therapeutic. There are so many examples of this all but here are a few that spoke to me: Peace be with you Grandma, word of the year, and Courage Through Hope. I could easily go on and on. What resonates most with me in Ali’s art is that it’s personal; you can see a piece of her in each finished product. The authenticity is always there.


Ali’s accolades are too many to list here but I will give you some links to explore on your own. She has several inspirational products. Fantastic books, beautiful stamps, and versatile digital products. She is also offering a new class with Big Picture Scrapbooking. You can see details on her blog and register at the BPS site (registration open Nov 13.) If you haven’t ever been to Ali’s blog, you’re truly missing out.


I can easily go on and on about Ali’s work and how much it speaks to me and how generous and kind she is and how much of her life she shares in her art, but I know that if you’ve been following her art, you know this for yourself and if you haven’t, all you need is a few minutes on her blog to see what I mean. I cannot tell you what an honor and delight it is for me to have her share her art with us.





Ali’s art with this catalyst is below and you can click it to see a bigger version.




Ali Says:

“Live Simply.”


I have lots of different philosophies that I aspire to in my life. Tthe one that seems to rise to the top most often these days is “live simply.” It is what I aspire to and I find that it manifests itself in different ways in various parts of my life.


To me this philosophy is about whittling away the excess and getting to the heart of the matter;

it is about living with less and being content with enough (which is different for every person);

it is about simple whole foods and really hot coffee;

it is about choosing to live in the present moment and not getting distracted by silly dramas;

it is about taking deep breaths;

it is about neutral sheets and white towels;

it is about keeping things as uncomplicated as possible;

it is about the pure joy in little moments;


Here’s one of my favorite related quotes from William Henry Channing:

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”


Technique Highlight:

One of the things I care about deeply is learning. I love to learn new things – especially new creative things. For this canvas I referenced Kelly Rae Roberts’ book “Taking Flight” (pgs. 56-57). I enjoy reading step by step processes and then adapting them to what I have on hand and my own visions for the finished piece. I knew that I wanted to try the layered pattern + paint look that Kelly Rae is so great at and I really like the process of being able to read along as I was creating.


Here’s my process inspired by Kelly Rae:


1. Start with a blank canvas. I used a 12 inch x 9 inch canvas. Paint a single layer (I used a beige paint).


2. Cut up pieces of random pieces of paper and adhere to the canvas using gel medium. Pick ones that have different textures and dimensions for a more interesting finished piece. Place a layer of gel medium on top as well to seal.



Here’s a look before paint on top:



My random pieces (including tags and other bits that had some dimension) came out of this stash:



3. Following Kelly Rae’s advice I mixed two paint colors (yellow + cream) and rolled them in a brayer to spread the paint and then directly on to my canvas. Let dry. From there I used some random pieces I have gathered along the way as templates for the painted circles.




4. Rub on title. I used rub ons from American Crafts. Print out additional text, ink edges, and adhere to the background canvas.




Thank you so much Ali; we’re so very honored.



Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team. Click on the photos to see the bigger versions. As you’ll notice, we have a new team member, Katie, whose art is displayed this week. We have a few new team members and I will announce them next week but I wanted to welcome Katie since her art is first this week!



Katie Says:

I am a quote person….in my head at least…I always say stuff to little prompts or pick me ups. My husband is on deployment and it’s been rough. I have a quote from my Grandmother that goes through my head all the time…it’s “I complained about having no shoes until I met a man with no feet”. I repeat this to myself over and over….when I’ve just had it and think that I am the sorriest sucker on this earth…I think, “well, there is always someone who is in a worse situation…Katie get over it!”


So, as I started this catylist…quotes that I use or things that I think just starting coming to the surface…and pretty soon my original vision of what I was making for this assignment…went right out the door. This became more of a symbolic piece.


These 4 people represent ancestors…specifically grandparents…as they are always “wise” people. I thought..”what would they tell me?” Grandparents seem to be full of wise advice.


I put a few things that came to mind, some that I try to practice every day, on the back of some fair tickets. This piece that started as a layout, then almost became a box, eventually ended up as a wall hanging. Funny how that happens.


The Irish custom for “good luck” is to hang a horseshoe over your door way so I used a horseshoe charm to hang from the bow to symbolize that custom.


Technique Highlight:

Mask using a sheer page and Maya Mists. I also used a staple gun to attach the wire to the back of the canvas.




Karen Says:

I made this layout well before the election and I know that these three little words have such a bigger meaning now but this has always been my personal motto, so I wanted to put a note to let everyone know it isn’t politically intended. Regardless of which way you lean politically, I think believing in yourself and your ability to do anything you want is a very powerful message for all of us.


Journaling Reads:

There are many things I believe in. The power of love. The generosity of others. Kindness.


But one particular phrase has now become my philosophy of life.


“Yes, I can.”


Throughout my life, many different people told me about things I couldn’t do. “With those grades, you can’t get into that college,” “I’m afraid you can’t sign up for this class, you’re too young,” “You can’t get that job,” “You can’t learn Japanese at the age of twenty-six, you’re too old.” These are just a few of the hundreds of such comments people shared with me.


Encouraging, isn’t it?


Well, it turns out, for me, it is actually encouraging. It turns out I can’t stand hearing the word “You can’t.” I hate the idea of anyone telling me what I can or cannot do. So once I hear those words, I suddenly have all the energy I need to prove them wrong.


A few years ago, I stumbled into this Mark Twain quote, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” It immediately became my favorite quote. I totally agree with what he says.


Small people. I love to prove them wrong.


I believe anyone can succeed at anything they want to. Anyone. I believe I can do anything I put my mind to. I have. Over and over again. I believe life is too short to live amongst small people. I believe it’s important to surround yourself with people who are amazing and to let them encourage you to be your very best, as well.


Each time you hear that little voice inside you that wonders if you can achieve something you really want, hear this:


“Yes, you can!”


Trust me.




Fran Says::

My philosophy of life is simple: There is no obstacle that is insurmountable.


Journaling Reads::

Try to find the lesson and the strength to be gained by each challenge. Face it head-on and find your way past it. Whether health, money, job, or other people there is always a way to go beyond the obstacle.


Technique Highlight::

Collage on watercolor paper with doodling and writing using Sakura Souffle and Gelly Roll pens.





Leena Says:

Confucius said that “The more you know yourself, the more you forgive yourself”. These words of wisdom have stuck in my head for years and it has been the philosophy of my life ever since. I used to have high expectations of myself in whatever I do and I never realized and understood whether I could achieve something within my capability. And when I don’t, I felt so disappointed and think that I’m incapable or incompetent. I think I didn’t really have the chance to really get to know the real me and I couldn’t forgive myself everytime I failed in something I do. But, over the years, I have learned a great deal about being forgiving, especially to myself because I have taken time to know who I really am and what I could really do. This has definitely made me a better person and brought out the best in me.





Kris Says:

I’m always one obsessed with words. I had to look up ‘philosophy’ just to give myself some reference as to what I needed to create. My favorite definition (and one I most identify with the word Philosophy) is: the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group. Ohhh, now we’re asking the hard questions. The meaning of Life! What do I believe? Why am I here on this earth? I have lots of beliefs. Love one another, share, always be learning, don’t sweat the small stuff, be kind, rewind… The list goes on and on. However, there are 2 things I tell my kids and my husband over and over. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)” and “You can do anything you set your mind to.’ I think these are similar concepts and stem from a belief that if you are willing to try hard & work towards something enough and place your trust in God, you can do what he would want you to do. Sometimes you fail, but keep trying. My little one argues the most with me on this; saying “But I can’t set my mind to my math.” I tell her “You just WON’T. There’s a difference.” There are many philosophies like “Love your neighbor” or “Do unto others” and I can do everything much better when I gather my strength from Christ. I have trouble with this sometimes, always wanting to be the one in charge. Yet I can do anything when I just turn to him. I hope my children will leave my house someday knowing I love them but that Christ loves them even more.





KL Says:

it always, always , always comes back to love for me. so much of who i am revolves around that 4 lettered word. when i concentrate on loving, on being open, when i concentrate on being the best me i know that it impacts everything i do, everyone i come in contact with. i’m not perfect. i make mistakes, but that too brings me back to love, because if i love myself i can love others and be just as forgiving as i want them to be for me.


Journaling Reads:

be good. be true. love & be loved. open your heart. learn. trust. grow.





Amélie Says:

This table is ‘the charming spontaneity of children’ because that is something I admire. I still have that spirit in me, I take a lot of time to have fun and to play and to discover and I’m very expressive.
There are aspects of life and values very important to me like respect for others, fun to be with, create and share, humility, authenticity …


In French:

Ce tableau s’intitule ‘la charmante spontanéïté de l’enfance’ car c’est quelque chose que j’admire. J’ai encore en moi cet état d’esprit, je prends encore beaucoup de plaisir à jouer et à découvrir et je suis très expressive. Il y a des aspects de la vie très importants à mes yeux comme le respect des autres, le plaisir de jouer, de créer et de partager, l’humilité…


Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What’s your philosophy of life? (Tell us a quote that conveys it, show us photos from it, express in your own words.)” I urge you to give it a try. Embrace the healing power of art. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.


Leave us comments with your work and we will send a RAK to a random participant. You’ll have to link your art by Sunday night, November 16th, midnight PST to qualify for this week’s RAK. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.


To qualify for our weekly RAK drawing, all you have to do is do art around ANY of our catalysts. It doesn’t have to be the one from this week. We believe in the healing power of art and we want you to pick whichever catalyst inspires you the most.


For our RAK for this week, we are thrilled to be giving away a beautiful kit from A Million Memories:




Remember, this is not a competition. If your art makes you feel even a bit better at the end, you’ve won.


Until next week, enjoy each and every moment.




19 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It’s so fun seeing everybody’s very different take on this challenge! The quote that Ali posted is one of my favorites.

Okay–I did this very topic very recently and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a second one this week, so I hope it’s okay if I post it. You don’t have to include it for the drawing if people generally do their work AFTER the challenge is posted, lol. I just really want to participate.

Here is a link to my piece…

You Learn  1

and two close-up’s…

You Learn  2

You Learn  3

I did this in my water-color art book and then tore it out. Alanis Morissette expressed so poignantly one of my main life-philosophies with her song You Learn. I could never express it the way she does in that song. It says how I see life so totally and completely.

Comment by noell

amazing..i am definately trying to do this one!


Comment by Jenn

Breath-taking work by everyone! I am amazed and inspired by each person’s art…their heartfelt words are so encouraging and each piece makes me think about what is meaningful in my life as well.

Thanks to all of the artists for sharing their hearts and art with us this week!

Comment by Christine

I am loving the “love” project..SO PRETTY : ) Thanks for all the insporational art work, and words

Comment by Libby

Wow to have 2 of my “must-read” blogs working together is out of this world for me. love ali e & creative therapy!!!
haven’t played for awhile, might have to join this one :))

Comment by fiona y This photo has a link, and if you don’t see the link to my life’s philosophy.

Of all the videos I’ve ever seen on the internet, this is my favorite. I invite you to enjoy it. It’s worth the time.

Comment by Abby Lanes

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” Here’s my entry:

Comment by Alberta

fantastic catalys – here’s what I came up with

Comment by sandra collins

Thank you for this week’s catalyst. Here’s mine:

Comment by fiona y

[…] I post a link to this. Ali has a lovely blog over here called capture.create. and this was a nice reminder to slow down […]

Pingback by linky time « The Misadventures of Kelly and Kelly

Absolutely gorgeous work! Here’s my layout for this week, called ‘Carpe Diem’:

Thanks so much for the inspiration!


Comment by Anna-Karin

I come back on Creative Therapy with my layout, thank you for this catalyst !

Comment by Aude

I did this layout a while ago but I firmly believe in this quote: “Without fear there is no courage”.

I am trying to be courageous about many new things these days.

Comment by Peggy

Here’s my philosophy of life project. I had so much fun making it and thinking about what it means to me. I chose “Live with Gratitude” as my philosophy of life and you can see the reasons behind my philosophy and the process of me making this in my blog. Thanks for looking!

Comment by Amy Lighthall

Beautiful work ladies. Here’s mine.

Comment by buggjuice

Love these challenges!

Here’s my philosophy of life: persevere.

#35 your philosophy of life

Comment by MarieP Not sure if this link worked the 1st time I put it on..

Comment by Amy Lighthall

[…] is the one that I did a few weeks ago…this was for Catalyst #35….Ali is the guest artist…hmmm…nuff […]

Pingback by Creative Therapy Projects x 2 ! » Katie Bee Creative

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