Sunday, February 8

Everyone we think we know, but do we? really??

I'm having a contemplative Sunday...
Working on this sketchbook project has been quite gratifying, and I'm not done yet!  I've been learning quite a bit about myself, and some about my audience, perhaps.
The feed back I've been getting from everyone is uplifting.  I am especially moved by hearing how something I've put out there has touched another, or reminded them of something within themselves.  Over and over again these experiences help me to remember how interconnected we are.  
To truly know ourselves is to 'know' everyone!  
I have heard from several people (beyond comments here) that the tone of my work has become more positive, more spiritual, that it has changed recently. This gave me pause, and for the past few days I've been thinking about it, and wondering - has it, really?  

I started to feel like a bit of a fraud - because this past week has been, well, one of my worst.  To start, I have only been out of the house 5 times since my surgery on October 21st, and this is beginning to make me near crazy!  I also have rashes spreading their burning rage across my torso, joints screaming at me, my back feeling like I just had the surgery a week ago- spasms echoing sharply down my legs and into my feet, the relentlessness of tinnitus which sounds a bit life having 400 cicadas living in my brain, waking from the 3-4 restless hours of sleep I get, to ice pick piercing head aches... and then I make my art, which happens to have a deadline.  You see, the Sketchbook Project piece must be postmarked by February 15th.  I have to finish it, to be included, and I'd really like to be included!  So I wondered - if I were working solely in my journal now, would it look anything like this little gem of a book?!
I had thrown in a little balance (in my eyes) to all the reflective, calming, peaceful imagery, and included images depicting the experiences of life that we tend to judge as 'bad'.  I admit, they got a bit lost in the subtle mix, and perhaps they were seen, just not mentioned
- but I'll point out a few...  
 This young woman had suffered greatly, and was featured in the NYTimes as a "needy" case, due to the poverty and abuse she had been through so far in her short life...
...and these men, hard to see, in their scarf covered heads, 
are living in the midst of war... 
here we have a cultural hero -
 a basketball star.  
He probably has it all, right?  Well, maybe not, 
given what we see nearly daily in the headlines about our sports "heros"...
... another mourner, 
another war...
 ... and then there's the dying of starvation and disease in Africa, not to mention in much of the world...  
I realize that you all are aware of these life experiences - some of you may be in the midst of many yourselves.  I'm just sharing where my brain's been going.
I have also become aware that my art is a place people come to for that lift - for a break from visions of suffering and pain, or for something deeper than eye candy.  Though eye candy has it's place - I surround myself with lots of it!  And yesterday's critter images filled my need to just be goofy and play and take a break from my self...

So, what's this all about Karin ? What's your point?! and why tell us??? 
1 - the Sketchbook Project is art for the masses, not my personal journal, so I chose images that I hoped would appeal more universally.  I did not feel that putting my own suffering in these pages would be appropriate.
2 - In reality, this has been one of my personally most difficult weeks in a long time, even though my art isn't showing it - so maybe that's why the feeling of being a fraud is roaring through me.
3 - images of struggle, pain, and possibly less uplifting themes will be coming back, once I return to my personal journal.

I feel so amazingly fortunate that the one way that I can make my physical experiences become a shadow in my consciousness, rather than in the forefront, is through my art.  Even though this may be presumptuous of me, I need say, in case anyone out there is putting me on any kind of pedestal because of my art or what it expresses - take me off of it right now!  
What you don't see are the frustrations, tears, screams, and struggles.  It isn't all peaceful flow, especially starting out!  Thankfully, that is where it leads me.  I'd probably need a whole lot of drugs if it didn't!!  It also wouldn't be fair to compare - this is all I do.  I do not have children, I do not have a job outside of the home, and I do have a husband that has a job he loves that compensates him well.  I am extremely fortunate in all of this, which allows me the luxury to delve, deeply, into my art and self at this time.

Each of us has a history, a present, a journey, but all we truly know is a bit of our own - not even all of it, since much of it is shared with others, and only they know that bit, truly.
If you've read this far, thank you!  I know this blog is titled Beyond Words, and I try to speak through my art, but words came to me today, that I felt the need to express.  I hope they come through with the intent they are written.

I leave you with a sharing of my sister's blog, at
Her recent post about judging vs being (well, that's my interpretation anyway) strikes me as related.

With love and appreciation for you all,


  1. karin, i've written several responses and erased each one... it turns out that all i really want to say is a simple 'thank you'. thank you for your honesty... i appreciate it very much.



  2. Karin, loved your words.

    If I'm allowed to say, to me it doesn't look as a fraud. In the midst of your hard days, you have found a way to express the bright side of things. Darkness and light together. Without the one , the other can't exist.

    Take care

  3. You're welcome Lynne, I know we have many shared ideas on this topic, and I thank you for the support. love to you.

    And thank you Maria, I agree with yin yang of it all - we do need them both! I appreciate your insights and definitely welcome them.
    I hesitated posting these thoughts of mine, worrying people might fear scrutiny of anything they write to me, after what I wrote! (if that makes sense) but most of what I'm writing about is referring to discussions outside of blog commenters, and I just felt the need to share. The inner 'fraud' flashes through me when it seems like an unrealistic image of me has been formed, and I wanted to debunk that image, in case it was present! I'm plenty flawed, typically human, and my artwork and all it portrays is my coping system. I'm so grateful to have it, and that gratitude makes me want to share... so, on we go!

  4. Karin ... you? a fraud? NO. You? A complete and contradictory human being, yin-yanging through your days in shadow, sun, and every other gradient of light? YES.

    I can't help but giggle over the question of whether or not any of us is a fraud. On one hand, we all are!! Know what I mean? ;-D

    I feel like a fake so much of the time -- and I realize that so much of my "fakeness" is self-inflicted -- You know, the ol' "If you *really* knew me ..." Oh, how we hide ...

    Somehow I'm reminded of a great quote (can't recall who originally said it) -- "Courage is fear that has said its prayers."

    Maybe "realness" or authenticity is fakery that's come of the closet ...

    Sending you waves and waves of gentle presence for the pain you are experiencing ...

    xo Jaliya

  5. Karin, you so are not a fraud. You are as real as it gets and it gets beautiful.

    You are stepping up to the plate and doing the job that you need to do. That doesn't take away that in your real world you feel like shit.

    Your work is beautiful and I see something whimsy below and it is fantastic. Nothing takes away that from me the viewer. I love all that you do.

    Your personal journal entries are another thing entirely and they are beautiful too. I guess it is what constitutes beauty for the individual. I find beauty so much in your work because I feel it and I connect to it, not because the subject matter is pretty.

    I never found your work happier, I just found it your work and I loved it. I loved the fun of it, the family part of it. The pictures you showed again above, I never even noticed I have to admit. All I know is that the part of me that saw all that humanity in the circle of earth loved it.

    I am so sorry for how shitty you have been feeling. I understand and it is not easy. Like all of us you have been blessed and on the other hand (my words) cursed too. Lupus is not for the weak of heart.

    I remind myself to breath sometimes when it is very difficult. So just breathe sweet lady.

    Love Renee

  6. p.s. I don't care what you say, you are staying on the pedestal. Push over, I'm climbing up. I think Lynne should join us too.

    Three cheers to us. Love Renee

  7. Oh no definitely not a fraud....just very courageous. We are now going into Wednesday and I'm hoping you are feeling considerably better than when you posted this entry. Sending you lots of healing light.

  8. Just came by to give you another kiss.

    Love Renee

  9. The sketchbook project has allowed you and us to see another side of you. Your journal...all about you is more personal and your pain is felt through the images at times...sometimes your journal is less painful. I don't think you're a fraud in any way. I enjoy your personal journal and this sketchbook project-each so different yet clearly made by the same artists hands.

    I'm glad that you are able to stay home and heal and how you realize how fortunate you are to be afforded this luxury. I am truly sorry for your pain and suffering and wish for you a HEALING from above and I lift you up now to our Lord through whom all things flow. You are a beautiful person for sure.

    Bless you,

  10. Karin I love you right back.

    When Nadalene got married I had to wear a wig (she didn't care but I didn't want when I'm dead for her to have to say, oh yeah Mom was really sick there.) I just wanted the pictures to be normal and more palatable for the people in the room. You understand me and know how people don't want to be reminded by the sick in the room. Anyway, half of the night I was fighting with myself because I felt so fake. I never wore the wig except for when Angelique had Josephine (my granddaughter), Nadalene got married, and at Nathan's university grad. And do you know each time I felt ridiculous and false.

    And I think a big part of it is because we feel sick too so we start second guessing ourselves all over the place. Wondering what we know about ourselves, is it real or not.

    Where the hell I am going with this I don't know. I just want you to know that you are awesome and I think it is normal to feel like this many times, especially when you have only left your house for 5 days in months.

    Anyway, love your comment to me. Now I wish I could give it back to you to make you feel just as good as you make me feel.

    I love you. Renee

  11. To everyone, I thank you, and bow gratefully. I truly do ~know~ I am not a fraud, but alas, couldn't stop the feeling of fraudiness from rearing her ugly head! Part of that human thing, I guess - and a shadow spread it's wings when it felt like some things were being seen that weren't in balance with my sense of truth. For some reason it felt important to clarify - a self grounding exercise!
    Jaliya, it's great to laugh at seeing that sense of fake we all share. I'm pretty sure you're right - I can't imagine anyone not having felt it at some point or another! Whether we label it as fake or fraud, or wearing many masks! I like the quote you shared - thanks.

    Hey Renee, yes - and stepping up to the plate is the best and most we can do, right?! And I have a platter of a plate I get to step up to,and take my fill of, covered with a wide variety of wondrous things!! Thank you for making me laugh out loud, picturing us climbing up onto a pedestal, and pulling every one else that comes by to say hi right up along side us!! You consistently help bring me joy here, and I'm definitely feeling the love!

    thank you Robyn, and yes, I have had some relief :)

    Hi Leslie, I agree with and appreciate your observations, regarding the differences between my journal vs the Sketchbook Project - you've described them well. Thank you for your prayer.

    again, I thank you all and appreciate your care and concern for me!
    ♡ Karin

  12. lol, renee, we're ALL stepping up on that pedestal!! : ) xo

  13. "Spiritual" is such a strange is, for that matter "positive".... I'd say that probably the most spiritual and positive thing I do is work with recovering addicts, who are in rehab, for the most part as a condition of parole. Most are mentally ill, have incredibly horrible pasts and highly uncertain futures. Sometimes they leave me really freaked out--not exactly a state of ecstatic bliss...but it's real, and it's a connection to the deep wells of other peoples' I said, spiritual and positive as anything else I do...

  14. you are the bravest person I know. war and suffering are woven into the fabric of human existence but your ability to even rise to the page at all blows me away. I pray for your physical being every day and appreciate your sharing so openly.
    your (lucky) friend,

  15. Each person is slowly deepening insight into the core self. You envision different emotions in the faces of people you incorporate into your collages. Similarly, you are drawn to different people for different reasons. You are forever learning that you exist, that you have intrisic value and that you will never exhaust your creative potential.


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