creative Therapy

Catalyst One Hundred and One
February 17, 2010, 8:00 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.


Ok! Here’s catalyst number one hundred and one:


What was your childhood like?


We’re excited to have Mati Rose as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a quickie self-bio for Mati:


Mati Rose McDonough is a San Francisco based artist and illustrator who grew up off the coast of Maine. Mati draws from the inspiration on both east and west coast lines like her pirate namesake. She is both treasure seeker and explorer in her art making, hoping to retain childlike wonder in her discoveries and re-invent color compositions.


Mati has had numerous shows and illustrations published in books, magazines and her own designs. On a daily basis Mati can be found painting in her studio behind her home in the sunny Mission district shared with other artists.


If you’ve never seen Mati’s art, make sure to visit her blog and her beautiful site. You can also buy some of her amazing art from etsy shop.



photo by Thea Coughlin



Here is Mati’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version and more detail.




Mati Says:

I believe I was a quiet, imaginative, dreamer of a child who always making forts, drew and cut up a lot of my mom’s socks to make puppets! I lost my biological dad who was an artist at 1.5 years old, so I think I made art as an escape from sadness and to connect to my artist father. In this painting I tap into that early imaginative state by transforming doilies into elephants and making circus forts and boats with rhinos! At age 7 my mom re-married my wonderful step-father and I gained a step-sister (my very same age) and we got into heaps of mischief together and balanced each other well!



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



Here are some interpretations of the catalyst from members of our team.




Amy Says:

I have very few memories of my childhood. It is something that has always bothered me. As a young adult, I associated an “age” with my lack of memories. “I don’t remember anything before the age of ‘x’,” I would say. As I got older, I realized that while there may, indeed, be a line of demarcation, the “x” became more and more fluid with each passing year. In reality and in totality, I seem to remember very little. As a parent, I know how hard that is for my mother. I watch my own children and am often surprised by things they already don’t remember, things that seemed so important in this or that of their early years. For this piece, I pulled out a quilt my mother made for me when I was young. The quilt, salvaged from my childhood clothes (many of which I know my mother sewed) has always been special and symbolic to me. When I got the quilt out of storage to draw this piece, I was shocked to find it is wearing thin in places and that there are edges which have completely given way. The passage of time is clear. And, again, I was surprised by the colors in this quilt. I grew up in the 70s, and I guess this quilt is perfectly 70’s with its shades of blues and browns and its yellow binding. Drawing it in black and white allowed me to focus on the feel of the quilt, the patterning, the wedges, the simplicity, and the lines of the child’s rocking chair over which it is draped. There is a fitting quietness to this piece that grew as I worked. Somehow, in this quilt, there are memories and many years locked away.





Katie Says:

Happy. I really would have to say that my childhood was pretty happy. My Mom was Supermom and made homemade playdough, baked cookies and helped us to make lemonade stands. I spent my early childhood in Florida, Idaho and California and have many different and happy memories of all 3 places. There are days when I just want to wrap myself up in those memories. I created this banner as a reminder of a simple and happy time. Everyone should have happy childhood memories.




Severine Says:

My childhood was a childhood of magic, magical, a paradise filled with love and beautiful things.


In French:

Mon enfance a été une enfance magique, féerique, un paradis rempli d’amour et de jolies choses.




Karen Says:

While I had a wonderful family who loved me very much, I was always a shy and lonely kid. I remember feeling lonely and sad. I didn’t have a lot of friends who liked me. I didn’t like them much either but at the time all that seemed to matter was that they didn’t like me. I am guessing that’s why I turned to books. Books were my salvation. All these years later, they still are. Though now, I know that I am happy and know that even as a kid, I had many more happy memories than most people.





Lori Says:

I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood, but what I do have I recall fondly. Mostly, I have an overall sense of happiness and joy regarding my upbringing.


Journaling Reads:

I have fond memories of my childhood. My Mom stayed home with us and she was always there if we needed her. I mostly remember feeling happy.





Lia Says:

Being the youngest child meant that I always had my way, always being bullied, loved immensely by all and spoilt to the max! 🙂 But it meant learning how to be kind, compassionate, a good person and play fair. My childhood was the best!!




Dina Says:

I had a great childhood. I grew up in a loving home with creative, intelligent parents and siblings. Did we always all get along? Well, no. But we always loved each other. My journaling on this art journal page is about some of the memories I have…weeding the garden and eating delicious home-grown veggies, traveling all over the US and the world, learning to cook and work, and being encouraged to be independent.




Christine Says:

As a child, I didn’t have very many toys and games, but the ones that our family had were well loved and played often. Since my brother and I spent a lot of time together after school, once we finished our homework, we would either choose to play outside with our neighbors or stay indoors and play games together. Outdoor fun consisted of roller skating or bike riding around the block, playing tag, and racing with our friends.


On days when the weather didn’t permit us to play outside, I remember spending hours playing Chinese checkers, all sorts of card games, building things with our Tinker Toys set and even playing marbles on the carpet! Computers were not available then so we were left to our imaginations and often made up our own games to play. What fun we had! I think about those times very fondly, and although we didn’t have much, we simply enjoyed them to the fullest!




Opal Says:

I was raised in a quiet home. My parents believed firmly in the adage that “children should be seen and not heard.” Thankfully I lived in a neighborhood of post-war tract homes with families with kids, and the kids all about the same age. I kicked the ball, ran the bases, and played hide-and-go seek with my friends until dinner time at 5 p.m. sharp! The public library in town was my most favorite place. I would walk there alone (no, there was no snow and I had shoes!) or, when I was older, I rode my bike. As I climbed the cement steps to the Gothic revival domed free standing building, my return books clutched under my arm, I walked into my make believe world. Even today, right now, I can close my eyes and smell that space. I loved the smell of the books (and still do). I loved the stained glass arched windows and the quiet hush of bustled activity. I loved pulling out the little oak drawers of the card catalog, countless cards with names of authors, titles, and subjects, neatly typed and in alphabetical order. Down the stairs there was the periodical room full of magazines of every sort. I’d walk the aisles and scan the shelves, pulling out as many books and magazines as was allowed. I’d find my favorite window seat, (I remember there was a red rose in the stained glass window) and read for hours. I read the Nancy Drew Mysteries straight through, and then every fairy tale collection I could find. I read all the volumes of Raggedy Ann and Wizard of Oz. I read “how to” books, and studied books about the body. I loved looking at the large Webster’s dictionary that sat on top of a pedestal, open to a page full of words to be read. It stood beside the check-out desk. I read anything that caught my fancy, and I learned much on my own. I read as I walked home. And no doubt, there would be a kick ball game happening in the street, and for the moment, my books would be forgotten.


My piece is a loose rendering of my library. The circles are the colors of glass in those amazing windows, The space inside is stuffed with books made from words cut from fabric selvages. The sun is made from remnant strips of that circle fabric, the quilting providing the rays of the sun. The little blue flower in the lower right is a bit of my mom’s embroidery work. There is much machine quilting, and a good amount of hand stitching.



Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What was your childhood like?” I urge you to give it a try. It can be any form of art as long as it speaks to you.


Leave us comments with your work so we can share in your creative therapy, too. If you don’t have a community or blog where you upload photos, you can upload them on our flickr group.



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.



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

[…] and had to add more gesso. Had to re-spray it with mist, too. Quite sticky page, really. Made from catalyst 101. The journaling was an explanation of the title, but it became “too […]

Pingback by Two more pages – or should that be four? «

Love this catalyst!

Comment by Yvonne Y

I love the way Opal described the library of her childhood. Dreamy…

Comment by Tammy

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