creative Therapy

Catalyst One Hundred and Eleven
May 5, 2010, 7:00 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 eleven:


Did you ever get into trouble?


We’re thrilled to have Penelope Dullaghan as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a quickie self-bio for Penelope:


Penelope Dullaghan is an illustrator and fine artist who started her freelance career after a five-year stint as an art director. She currently lives in the teensy town of Winona Lake, Indiana with her writer husband, 12 month old daughter, dog and two cats. She chronicles her artistic development at her website, Penelope Illustration. She also heads up and contributes to a weekly creative outlet and participatory art exhibit: IllustrationFriday. Penelope’s clients include Starbucks, Target, United Airlines, and Oprah Magazine.





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




Penelope Says:

I loved this topic of “Did you ever get into trouble?” because I think it can bend in so many directions. And because yes, I have gotten into plenty of trouble in my life. So this piece is a personal memory of mine from when I was about 10. We lived on a small lake, and one winter afternoon my brother and I were outside playing on the dock. I lied to him and said that I thought the ice was thick enough to walk on… and when he was leaning over to check with a toe, I pushed him off the dock and he plunged into the icy cold water! (It’s true!) Luckily, my mom was watching us from the window and came out immediately to save my brother and kick my hiney. (Since then I have reformed my evil ways. I swear.)


Technique Highlight:

The technique I used for this piece was a bit of a walk from my normal work (this is Creative Therapy after all right?!). I studied Picasso’s “Guernica” for inspiration because that piece is so strong and raw (understatement of the year) and has such great movement. I wanted to mimic Picasso’s simple drawing style (which is actually very difficult to get right) to suit this childhood memory. The medium was cut paper, oil, charcoal, and tape on paper.



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




Opal Says:

The first time I got into trouble, serious trouble, was in high school. I broke a rule…”You shall not be absent from school without…” And as I thought about that time, I knew I wanted to explore the ‘frayed’ edges between right and wrong, and good and bad. As we see in our children, the world is black and white. There are things that are true, and those that are not. There is good and bad. There is no in between or gray area. As our kids grow older, and their world view widens, they learn that the lines between good and bad become less distinct and defined, in fact, a bit frayed and sometimes unclear. Well, it was good to think this through, and know now, as I did many years ago, that what I did was clearly wrong, and I was knowingly breaking a rule. Skipping school to go surfing in no way fit into a gray area of that rule. Being in trouble meant that I lied, got caught, and was punished with more hours of detention than were left in the school year.


“Trouble” is composed of many torn strips of different off-white fabrics to represent the overlapping layers of good. Tied and braided into the white strips are bits of gray threads and frayed black and white fabrics and threads. All the edges are frayed and raveling. The bird is pieced from my scraps bin. All the stitching has been done by hand in very off-white thread.





Shelley Says:

I have only gotten in trouble a couple of times in my life and I can honestly say the key to coming out of it unscathed was….telling the truth! This is something I stress strongly with my children. No one is perfect, we are going to make mistakes….but ALWAYS tell the truth. If you don’t…it has a way of finding itself back to you…100 fold!




Karen Says:

I have always been the girl who follows the rules. Predictable and boring and never really did anything to get myself in trouble. Sometimes I wonder how it would have been if I weren’t but in the end I love the predictable, the safe, the reliable. Those are me.




Severine Says:

I do not get into trouble, or if I did, it was not terrible because I managed to get out without a trace or very small. For me life is beautiful, There are so many beautiful things to remember.





Lia Says:

After a month of working at my current job, my boss gave me the responsibility of compiling a report for the top management. I was of course, nervous but proud of the responsibility given to me. I went over the finished report over and over again, to make sure that all the information was accurate. When I was sure everything was compiled properly, I printed out copies and distributed them accordingly. The next day I had an urge to look over the report again, and imagine how horrified I was when I saw that one of the figures in the report was wrong! I didn’t know how that could happen, how I could have overlooked that despite my numerous checks the day before. I was so ashamed of my mistake. I dreaded disappointing my boss more than getting into trouble. But there was no avoiding it, I had to face up to my mistake and inform my boss about it.


With ice-cold hands and a thudding heart, I told my boss about what I discovered. Her response: “oh don’t worry about it! Just be careful next time.” I could have hugged her there and then! I escaped getting into trouble, and I knew then that Siew (my boss) would always have my back.





Iris Says:

When I was a child, I would always sneak outside our gate to be able to play with the kids on the village street. My parents were very strict and rarely allowed me to go outside without a guardian. Now that I am a mother, I understand how they felt. I try to be a little more relaxed with my 5 year old daughter but I guess it is always hard for a mother to watch her child go further than the gate of their home.





Kathryn Says:

I’ve always been the good girl. Really, that just means I was scared of getting into trouble; scared to take risks. Now, looking back, I regret that I didn’t get into trouble more! I don’t have those stories from high school about all the “stupid” things I did. I feel like I missed out on an important part of growing up.



Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “Did you ever get into trouble?” 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.




4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I want to say that I love this website, and as I see the works, I feel how much they inspire me and make me feel more comfortable of not being a perfect artist. Thanks a lot.

Comment by Maria Avila

[…] week I was featured as the guest artist for a wonderful website called Creative Therapy. The site is dedicated to the idea of using art, scrapbooking, photography, etc as a form of […]

Pingback by Penelope Illustration • Penelope Dullaghan : Creative Therapy, Guest Artist

i remember as a child always being in trouble! i was constantly getting into things, breaking the rules & driving my parents crazy! now i am a good girl 🙂 and try to steer my children onto the right path.
the following layout is me as a toddler casuing trouble!
catalyst 111~did you ever get into trouble?

Comment by Aia

Another interesting catalyst. I really love Opal’s piece. The frayed strips are a great metaphor.

Comment by Seth

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