A WELL DONE WOMAN – Carla Sonheim

We hope you enjoy and perhaps are even inspired by the series to celebrate women who, in our estimation, are “well done.  

What’s a “Well Done Women”?

  • She has weathered decades of life experience.
  • She’s navigated life changes – whether by choice, chance or necessity –  learns and continues to adapt.
  • She contributes to the world in diverse ways, small or large, sharing her values through social causes, charities, or caring for people, the planet & animals.
  • She is curious, creative and open to learning or having new experiences.

 Carla Sonheim, a WELL DONE WOMAN.

When her boys were young she taught art in their elementary school classrooms. Carla explained, “There I was tasked (happily!) with keeping the lessons both fun AND instructional, and when I began teaching adults a few years later, I continued this approach as I found that many people felt nervous about drawing especially… it helped to keep it FUN! From those two teaching experiences Drawing Lab was born.”

She and her husband Steve live in Seattle, Washington, just 10 minutes away from their three beautiful grandchildren.

Carla Sonheim helped jump-start my (judy) drawing.  Years ago, I took her on-line class “Silly” and have followed her on her blog and taken other classes since.

By Carla Sonheim

___________________

Here’s Carla’s response to the question of how she deals with feelings that “. . . art isn’t important and what the hell is art good for?”

” . . .My answer has three parts:

  1. The short answer, I think, is that the artwork I create isn’t really good for anything much at all. A few people might like it and enjoy it, but in the grand scheme of things, the artwork I make doesn’t matter all that much. Most of the time it just goes in drawers!
  2. On the other hand, it is ALL that matters.
  3. Or somewhere, anywhere, in between, depending on the moment and my mood.”

By Carla

* * *

Chinese writer and artist Gao Xingjian wrote (and this is from memory, so I might get it wrong): “An artist never changed the world; self-fulfillment is the best he can hope for.”

“I think this quote speaks to the first part of the above answer, where I feel that artwork I make — the actual drawings and paintings —  really aren’t that important.”

“It’s very likely that my work is never going to be collected by art galleries or museums, and most of the artwork I make is never going to be seen by more than a few people. So why do it?”

“BUT! We’re forgetting the PROCESS if we think that way.”

“The actual making of artwork provides me with three things:

1. “When I draw or paint, I feel better. I feel calmer, happier. I’m doing something I like to do, which makes me a happier person, which makes my husband and the rest of my family, happier people.”

2. “When I draw or paint, I am solving problems and challenging myself, and there is satisfaction in that… humans love to learn!! A side benefit… these problem-solving skills I can take into the rest of my world, such as running the business or navigating a friendship.”

3. “When I draw or paint, I either have something I like at the end of it that I can share or something that goes into the scrap drawer to be painted over later… a physical piece of work.”

“You can see that the artwork itself is just one of the three things above, just 1/3 of the benefits! The other two things are arguably ways that you would encourage anyone to spend their time doing — doing something they love and learning new things.”

* * *

“So that is what I mean when I say that making art is “ALL” that matters. It is something I love and it is the thing with which I choose to spend the bulk of my “learning” time. In other words, making artwork is my way of being in this world, interpreting it, trying to make sense of it.”

“Other people do it through sports or exercise, science, business, homemaking, cooking… we all have our things that we do that seem both frivolous at times (even cooking, does it matter in the grand scheme of things whether to use regular salt or sea salt?), but serve as the conduit through which we live our lives.”

“Therefore, it is “everything.”

“I learn from drawing and painting that life is full of paradox. There is duality in everything… we both love and hate, we both must be gentle and firm, etc.”

“For example, when I draw, I have to hold two seemingly contradictory things at the same time: I have to try and be gentle with myself and at the same time try and improve/get better (which means that at some level I know there is room for improvement, which is where the gentleness comes in).”

Collage Lady, by Carla

* * *

Finally, even though I know the above is true in my head, I get off track on a regular basis and feel dumb about all of the hundreds (thousands?) of drawings I have in drawers and what have I done with my life?!!

I find life wonderful, but I also find life very hard.

I do have clinical depression and, though it is mostly managed, it kicks my butt some days.  So sometimes I don’t do well at all with the feeling; I cast about.

Other days, when I’m feeling better, I can reach out to a friend and they can help remind me that I am okay just as I am, whatever I do with my time is my own business (as long as I’m not hurting people) and that taking an hour to draw a silly animal today is really okay.

Sometimes I read books by other creatives on the “why of creativity”… “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield and “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron are two that have helped me…

Mostly I try to remember that the feeling that I suck, my artwork sucks, life sucks… will pass. It always does (with the help of medicine and people around me… and drawing and painting).

And I’m pretty sure that the fact that I feel bad about all the art sitting in drawers is just a substitute for feeling bad about myself IN GENERAL, and that if I can continue to work on that (paradoxically, THROUGH making my artwork), the rest will take care of itself.

Collage Bird, by Carla

Monkeying around

As YOU ALL know my favorite things to draw are nudes . . .

Swing from the trees

by your knees

On a whim

go out on a limb

Monkey see, monkey do

I dare you

Celebration, Confession and Happy Anniversary*

Noticed the new header?  The critters are creations from CATNIPblog and the magnificently, masterful, murky minds of Peggy & me.

Love group

Tweeter, Woofer, Meowie, Squeakie & Grunter the Worm

Prisoner of Love

Here’s whatsup:

After retiring I have more and more time but, as you’ve noticed, there have been fewer and fewer posts on CURIOUS.  I have a “tendency” to accomplish things when faced with deadlines and commitments.  My other “tendency” is procrastination when left to my own devises.

Peggy, my co-collaborator on CATNIPblog, has provided both – deadlines & commitment.  She sets up the posting schedule and my commitment to her provides the impetus.

Because Curious to the Max is my first love – been posting since 2009 – I’ve asked Peggy  to help me schedule more CURIOUS posts.  She agreed (without completely knowing what she was getting into) to help, although I have not relinquished editorial control.  CURIOUS to the Max will stay true to:  “Curious STUFF that makes me love, learn and laugh”

CATNIPblog will stay true to:

“Self-care tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile”

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Meowie

*P.S. Peggy and I, grateful for all the support and positive responses we’ve received, are holding a one-year-anniversary drawing from the list of all CATNIP’s subscribers.  To get in on the drawing click here:

CATNIPblog.com

FAITHfully Yours – Courage to Love

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength…loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Taoism

Courageous Love is the Gift, by Peggy

The Baha’i Faith is the world’s second-most widespread religion after Christianity, spanning the globe and working to unite it. Baha’is have no clergy or churches, gathering together in democratically-led communities and welcoming everyone.

The millions of Baha’is in the world come from every ethnicity, nationality, tribe, age, racial group, religious background and economic and social class. Diverse Baha’i communities exist just about everywhere. 

http://bahaiteachings.org/bahai-faith

www.bahai.org/

During the month of November, Baha’i Blogging is hosting a post-a-day (or so) something related to or inspired by Baha’i Faith.  Because so many of you follow both this blog and CATNIPblog Peggy & I will post our “dailies” here and Sunday “retrospectives” on CATNIPblog.com

the hashtag #bahaiblogging

Inktober – Run Rat Run

Occasionally, we ALL need a head start.

Oct 11 Prompt RUN – Head Start

Posting a drawing a day on Curious to the Max with a once-a-week Sunday-7 Day Retrospective on CATNIPblog for those of you who just want to click- off the dailies!

http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Suburban Sketches

There’s a phenomena going on in the sketching world called Urban Sketching.  People, from all over the world, gather in public places and sketch whatever is in front of them .  

You sketch fast, just trying to get an impression rather than an exact likeness.  Coffee shops are a favorite place for Urban Sketchers because the people aren’t moving quite as quickly as on the street or a football field.

I live in the suburbs where life is a bit slower and so is the sketching. Here’s a few of my

suburban sketches.

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Students in my drawing class

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Woman waiting and waiting and waiting . . .

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Whoops, wrong suburb

Why Santa never gets caught

https://doodlewash.com/2016/12/22/how-do-reindeer-fly/

Doodlewash is a blog I follow – both for Charlie O’s great water-colors but even more for his wonderful stories and descriptions about each drawing.

Today’s Doodlewash post inspired my pome.

Pome by judy

No one catches Santa on the roof

or in the snow sees prints

of tiny reindeer hoof

for Santa’s no bigger than a fly

and reindeer all the size of ants

ferry him through the Christmas sky

I don’t think it silly at all

to imagine reindeer quite so small

and know 

how Santa slides down chimney flues

with nary much soot on his beard or shoes

So make your cookies the size of peas

and leave the milk in a thimble please

Limit the weight of gifts and such

to crush an ant

 it doesn’t take much

   *     *    *

To read Charlie O’s inspiring story click here:

How Do Reindeer Fly?

Mess’n Around and Cutt’n Up

I know, I KNOW, you’ve missed me this past week (I do NOT want to know if you didn’t).  In my life long effort to be better focused I tried to cut down on my computer time . . . browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos, reading the news . . . AND posting.  It really worked except for browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.

With all the time I’ve gained by not posting I’ve been gardening and messing around with sketching.  I tried (tried being the operant word) to use my new pastels to do a realistic portrait.

The lady I drew (using a famous portrait as a reference) was so ugly I was embarrassed to show her in public.  So I just had fun and gave her a cosmetic make-up.  The background got to be so ugly and muddied I just cut it away.  She’s no beauty either but I had nothing else to post . . .

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 Now that I’ve posted I’m on to browsing the internet, reading blog posts, watching videos and reading the news.

chimpanzee-covering-his_~320626

“More proof she’s losing it . . .”

If a first grader can draw portraits so can I and . . . so can YOU!

I’ve been taking a portrait painting class with Peggy Nicols and it’s very difficult.  Now I’m inspired to work harder because Carol Cormier taught her FIRST GRADERS to do portraits!  You’ve got to check out more great drawings of Picasso, Warhol, Dali and Kahlo! 

Click here to see ALL the first graders portraits at:

MamaCormier

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

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Freda Kohlo

Freda Kahlo

 Peggy Nichols, Studio C Gallery

Three Heads are Better than Two

 I am not a split personality I’m a “thrip”.  There are three me’s.  
Didn’t consciously intend this drawing to be a self-portrait but I believe that any form of creative expression, whether it be visual art, dance, music etc. is reflective of who we are.
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My first thought is the middle head is being squished which is  reflective of  how exhausted I’ve been lately.   
On second thought,  I wonder if the little head is the glue holding together the other two???

 

Therapeutic Creative Expression – Jumbo Journals, Week 6

The journal process is a metaphor for layers and layers of experiences, feelings and thoughts of our lives; Some things covered up;  Bits and pieces of others showing through;  Each layer enriching the next; Forever creating who we are.

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The pages are layered more and more with stacked writing, collage, spontaneous poetry, faux sketching, paint, stencils, torn paper, tissue paper, magazine images, words, tissue paper, stenciling, markers, foil, torn paper, cut paper, scribbles, scratches, doodles and all things creative.

(The colors in the slides are not as rich and deep as the originals — I’m having trouble with iphoto)

What Do Your Tears Represent?

Here’s a wonderful expression of feelings. The drawing was done several years ago  but it can be looked at again and again.  Each time it will “speak”, deepening the understanding of both the past, present and the connection between the two.

AND even though it is someone else’s drawing YOU will be able to find meaning for YOURSELF.

  See what it says to you about your life, your circumstances.  What do the 4 tears on the cheeks represent to you.  Where is she looking – outward?  inward?  past?  future? What is she looking AT.  And how does that pertain to your life?

Here’s what Maureen said about her picture:

“This drawing was actually done a few months before I got on disability (3 years ago) and shows all the various things I was sad and worried about at the time.

Doing a bit of drawing was one of the different ways I used to help deal with the unknown. The teardrop at the bottom left has an hourglass in it. I’m looking at it and it seems like and old, eaten apple.”
Maureen Ryan

http://sunshineandchaos.wordpress.com

Thank you Maureen for sharing

this wonderful example of creative expression.

Give Wendy Support and Get Yourself Inspired!

http://createtoheal.blogspot.com

Check out Wendy’s new blog!  Here’s what she’s doing in her own words and a few of her scribble pictures. She explains the exercises that YOU can try too!

P.S.  Check out the polka-dotted fingernails that coordinate with the bikini top on her blog.

Why Create To Heal?

“Art can be therapeutic.
I am not an Art Therapist, I am simply someone who uses art to help deal with the day to day trials of living with a chronic illness.
My goal is to create something every day! Draw, Paint, Make a Collage, Take a Picture, Create a Recipe…anything.
I may not be able to post every day. However, I will try to post every thing I’ve created. (so some days you may get one day’s worth of creation, other days you may get many.)
When one lives with a chronic illness some days it can be hard to accomplish anything. Having this goal to create something every day, gives me something to strive for. It also gives me an outlet to share how living with a chronic illness affects me.”
 Subscribe to her brand new blog!

Silly is as Silly Does, My Ant

 

The Squeen's new Pet

 

I just finished a drawing class – The Art of Silliness. Having fun is my #1 drug of choice!

The instructor, Carla Sonheim known as the Squeen = Silly + Queen, gave an assignment to find her a new pet.  Since she often had tiny ants on her assignment sheets I decided a Pet Ant was just what she needed.

She gave us an assignment to draw her a new pair of glasses.   I decided that what the Squeen needed was a pair of Pet Glasses. (Actually I didn’t have time to draw anything new!)

We got extra credit if we posted a picture wearing the glasses.  I ALWAYS want extra credit!