creative Therapy

Catalyst One Hundred and Fifteen
July 7, 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 fifteen:


What was the saddest moment of your life?


We’re thrilled to have Mary Beth Shaw as this week’s Guest Artist.


Here’s a quickie self-bio for Mary Beth:


Mary Beth Shaw is a Mixed Media artist who teaches workshops nationally and exhibits at Fine Art Fairs and galleries in the greater Midwest. She has recently become a partner in a retail operation/workshop space, Wood Icing at Chesterfield Mall. She is in the final stages of her upcoming book for North Light Publishing, Flavor for Mixed Media, which will be released early in 2011. She and her husband moved from San Francisco, CA back to Wildwood, MO to live near family and they enjoy being active participants in the lives of their two grandsons. They share their home with two cats, or perhaps its the other way around.



Make sure to check out Mary Beth’s blog.




Here is Mary Beth’s art with this week’s catalyst. You can click on it to see a larger version.




Mary Beth Says:

The saddest moment of my life was April 24, 1991. With my usual sick humor, I tell myself its good I got it out of the way early cause now I’ve been through the worst that life has to offer. Although I have written about this moment many times, oddly, I have never made any art using it as inspiration. To say that I struggled with this piece is a mild understatement. It was extremely difficult, more than I might have expected as I just could not find a way to visually depict my thoughts. I actually ended up making several pieces before making one that felt right. The piece shown is Plexiglass with alcohol ink and foil. The transparent nature of this piece is symbolic for me because in the days following the saddest moment, I felt like I was walking around with my skin turned inside out. I was convinced that people could see right thru me. The phrase ‘state of grace’ is also pertinent because I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me because my kid died. Having him was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me and I cherish the year and a half he was part of my life. So please, don’t let this make you sad, ok? As I see it, the lesson here is to love absolutely every single moment of life. Nathan taught me that.



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




Opal Says:

It has been two years since my mom passed away, and still, that one moment when I said good-bye to her, holding her hand, and kissing her cheek, feeling the warmth of her skin, will forever be the saddest moment of my life.


I wanted my piece to reflect the sorrow of that moment. Yet, even in the profound darkness of death, there are unexpected wisps of light. The heart started out as a nest, and moving the bits and pieces around, I saw a heart, incomplete and seemingly growing out of the foundation.





Shelley Says:

The saddest moment of my life was the first holiday I spent without my children. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would be divorced and alone with three small children. Holidays are always time for family and this was the first time I had ever felt truly alone and incomplete without my children. My heart was broken! I remember keeping it together as they left the house and drove off but shortly after I completely lost it and sat on the stairs and cried for a very long time. That was 15 years ago and it has not gotten easier but I have my little cry and then tuck it away and look forward to their return.




Karen Says:

I thought about this one for a long long time. I know I’ve written about this before but (besides the deaths in my family) the saddest moment in my life was when I walked away from my commitment to Teach For America. I really believe in following my commitments to the end and quitting this one was the hardest, saddest thing I ever did. It’s something I still think of all the time and feel bad about, despite knowing it was the right thing to do. Quitting is not what I do.




Lia Says:

I lost my mum in 2004. She had been hospitalised for 6 weeks and on the night she left us, she kept asking to ‘go home’. I remember all of us – my dad, brother, sister and I – huddled around her, and my dad had his arm around my mum telling her ‘yes, Daddy’s bringing you home’. The signs were there the entire day, but I just refused to believe that she was leaving us. When she finally did, she was surrounded by those who loved her. Family friends, relatives, even my school friends. To this day, it’s difficult to think of that night without crying and feeling like my heart’s getting broken all over again. Although I know God loves her more, and that she was released from her earthly pains, I don’t want to remember my mum from that night. I can’t accept that we had to let her go.





Katie Says:

My husband’s little brother Ian was killed by a drunk driver during the Summer of 2008. It’s not been 2 years yet. He was only 19. I met him when he was 8.


Coincidentally, my own brother also died at age 19. How could that day have not been the saddest day of my life, you ask? Time has soothed the pain. Also once I got through the shock of losing my brother, I felt comforted with the feeling that “it was his time”. I had a feeling that the Lord called him home. Ben had blossomed and taught his lessons here on Earth. My brother Ben died of natural causes.


That is a much different type of ending then losing my brother-in-law Ian to a drunk driver. I don’t believe that it was his time yet. I don’t believe that he was supposed to leave us yet. Ian was just beginning. He never even got a chance. I’ll never ever forget that phone call, I’ll never forget the news reports, I’ll never forget the Memorial Service or the Funeral. I’ll never forget the plastic bag from the Coroner’s office with Ian’s belt buckle in it saying that they cleaned it the best they could. I’ll never forget picking my husband up at the airport, home mid-deployment to bury his baby brother. All are as sad as the last.


I hope to never have a sadder moment in my life, never. I’m not sure that my heart could handle anymore.





Karola Says:

Saddest moment in my life was when I was pregnant and my doctor told me that I have a serious infection of toxoplasmosis and that the pregnancy was high risk. Despair, rage, grief, depression – I remember these feelings very well! However, it soon was treated, the risk has not changed, but we had a big hope that we found the strength to survive this difficult and very sad time. Finally, I gave birth to a fully healthy daughter – and then we started to believe in miracles and the power of love. My layout is not sad, gloomy, because these difficult emotions were also associated with a great love for the child, for whom we waited so much and with great hope that all would end happily.


Technique Highlight:

I’ve made this layout without photos, but I put on it the result of my toxoplasmosis and I don’t want to destroy the precious document, so I put it in the pocket made from transparencies, at any time can remove it, or add something else.





Severine Says:

For me the saddest moments in my life were when i listen by phone that two persons that I love were died. It’s a bad remember because the die of course but also because it’s the end, the end of a part of my life, the end of a life, the end of goods moments with these persons, the end of enough things and the beginning of missing, the beginning of sorrow and because one day life is taking is course.



Now it’s your turn: show us your therapeutic art around “What was the saddest moment of your life?” 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.



5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very intense catalysts and the artists’ interpretations are all so moving.

Comment by Seth

Because of things that happened to me a long time ago, anger causes me overwhelming fear and sadness. To cope woth those feeelings, I often paint. The bright colors I use (you can see them in this painting) and the process itself comforts me and helps me put things in perspective. Perhaps that’s why I’m so fond of Creative Therapy!

Comment by Kathy McCullen

I don’t have an entry. I don’t have the courage to tackle this, but I am humbled by your willingness to share such an intimate project with us. I am looking forward to responding to these challenges as I know it can help me grow as an artist.

Comment by Leslie Smith

[…] That is the phrase that always comes to mind.  The Day the Angels Cried.  It was a Creative Therapy title and topic that I used for catalyst One Hundred and Fifteen. […]

Pingback by ~The Day the Angels Cried~ » Katie Bee Creative

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: