Monday, May 24

all encompassing


I hesitated posting today, wondering if some days work
would be better left unseen.

I've never been a sugar coater, but this image
was disturbing for me to work on,
so I imagine it's perhaps disturbing to look at.

however, it is what I created today,
and depicts the essence of ruthless pain.
pain that can only be endured by letting go...
surrendering into it.

and this is what I do,

I journal what I'm experiencing
and then share that here.

(click on images for closer view)

Are some things better left private?


  1. Well, I'm not really the best person to ask about this because as you know, I write about almost everything. Including very painful things that perhaps others would not share.

    I think physical pain and emotional pain overlap, especially when the physical pain is chronic and extended. Especially when one's life is in the balance.

    And I also think this - that we all suffer. Some more than others, true, but we all carry pain of some description. I've learned through experience that while it's possible to look away from it, or attempt to cover it up, that strategy never really works out.

    So I think we need to share pain so that others can say: "me too". If that helps you or another person(s) feel less alone, then a great service has been rendered.

    Sure, your art for today is hard to look at, but only because we are used to looking away from pain. I say that it is brave and passionate for you to share this with us. I say we need to see these things because it's impossible to explain how much you're hurting with words sometimes, just like the name of your blog. xo

  2. I find it very powerful.

    Then, my personal aesthetic tends toward a lot that's outside of what most people consider "pleasant." And I certainly don't think "disturbing to look at" necessarily means "not worth looking at."

    Sure, when an artist's oevre consists entirely of work whose message is "life is pain and misery," I tend to go beyond aesthetics and think "this person needs to quit wallowing and get help." Then, when someone's work is nothing but flowery feel-good sentiments, I think "this person needs to quit repressing." But, of course, your work, Karin, doesn't fall into either of these traps, but explores a broad palette of experience, and I see no reason why you shouldn't, as Joni Mitchell sang (about Beethoven) "strike every chord that you feel"...

    ...even when, like me above, you end up mixing metaphors...

    word verification: "pithi"...I'll take that as a misspelled compliment, I think...

  3. i'm not the best person to ask either, dear karin, because i blab about my feelings until the cows come home.

    but my opinion, since you asked, is that it is GOOD to share your truth with people who care, and that is certainly who you will find here. i am sorry this damn treatment causes you pain, and i pray it passes as soon as possible.

    damn cancer! not fair!

    you are brave and wise and those are two very good tools in your toolbox. and you are creative and insightful. two more.

    love love

  4. I try not to share my feelings, but yes I think you should share, for those of us lucky to be relatively pain free, we should know what you are going through.
    My heart goes out to you.

  5. This is a very powerful evocative image.

    I think things should only be kept private if You don't want to share them.

  6. I appreciate the trust you show in sharing.

    It's a powerful picture.

  7. I think sharing can open up the subject and make things - even if only a tiny bit - but a tiny bit better and less pressure...because it's out in the open. There's something about release! I hope you feel better and thanks for sharing!

  8. Your depiction of pain is heart-stopping Karin and, the fact that it is your own, and that you are prepared to share it is a generous act of spirit. Pain is real and your art acknowledges that with grace. I send you well wishes and thank you. Penny x

  9. Dear Karin,

    I think your sharing makes us all more human and makes us look inside and realize how fragile this existence is and how we should cherish each moment.
    I am sorry you are going through so much pain and I can only sympathize and not empathize but I appreciate your being real and being willing to reveal who you are. The image is something we all need to see. Thank you. xox Corrine

  10. dear karin, if each of us who care about you could physically remove a small wedge of that pain perhaps you could have a better day! perhaps in sharing the picture we are doing that. I hope so.

  11. Karin, thank you for sharing this journal page - it is raw with emotion - it is only you who can decide if this should be shared or not. Hoping that you get some relief from the pain xxxx

  12. All of the comments to your post are beautiful and thoughtful.

    I am glad that you are sharing your most intimate thoughts with us about pain via your creative journal page. It is so easy to glide along in our own little worlds and not think about what others may be experiencing. Having it brought to my attention this morning, I will appreciate the day a bit more. None of us are entirely free from the agonies of life, whatever they may be. I guess we must revel in the good whenever possible.

    Thank you for your honest posting.


  13. truth needs to be shared. you shine a light on it.

    we are in this life together and we need to be here for one another in anyway we can.

    by sharing your pain, you give me the opportunity to rock back and forth, breathe deep and pray for your/my release from suffering.

    you are a wonderful artist spirit, Karin, and you bravely take us with you on your journey to surrender.

    May you find this release today.
    Big Love to you.

  14. gosh sweetie, I think if I can share that my bro shot himself in the heart, you can share your pain too. it isn't always pretty but historically artists have always done this ... I think Picassos Guernica is a perfect example of artists sharing our pain

  15. Hey K...You are the real deal...and your purpose is to show us that pain happens and suffering is optional...this piece is honest, open and sincere...that's what few artists can show us and what you do so well.

    I bow in your direction as you walk the
    gloriously/wretched trail.

  16. because we wish it weren't so isn't a reason to stay quiet; because it is difficult to soak in, try to share in a friend's pain also isn't a reason to keep it private. your art is such compelling evidence of the suffering that so many know nothing about, not that we wish it on them, but like mental illness, any type of abuse, it is real. your post is for those of us who choose to read your blog, study the amazing art, try to understand where your path is taking you, and empathize, keep you in our hearts and minds in the hopes that somehow it will ease your pain, if only a tiny bit. and maybe most of all, if it helps others acknowledge and speak about their own pain, your post is necessary.
    there, umph, that's me getting off the box:)

  17. Damn you cancer, damn you!
    This must be awful. I am visualizing you in warm clouds completely wrapped, loved, and soothed.
    Thank you for sharing. May it make your heart lighter.

  18. hi karin,
    when i was going through some really hard psychological stuff years ago, i had a show in my studio in frenchtown called, "raw around the edges" with two other people, one who was abused as a child and one who was able to make some really intense self studies... and i was told by a viewer at the opening, "that was too much information". i was also told that there are certain things for your "personal file" that doesn't need to be shared with others. if so, we would not have the amazing stuff of kiki smith, or louise borgeous, or other amazing strong artist expressing themselves out there!
    YOU GO GIRL! express it all - and share it. if someone doesn't want to look, no one is forcing them too.
    love you,

  19. HUGS. I care so much about you and wish you didn't have this pain. Also, I am grateful that you have the strength and courage to be so honest. The fullest picture of what it means to be human can only come at that intersection of light and shadow.

  20. No matter what the subject matter your artistry always sends me into raptures of admiration and wonder. that you can even create such marvels while feeling less than 100% baffles me- just WOW! I LOVE this image! Reminds me of the time I took the night ferry to France- some Krishna folks told me the way it is with their belief, that when you die some horrid scary god comes and removes your soul with meat hooks...YYIKES!Anyway, I do love your image and artistic sensibilities- It is beautiful LOVE! IT!

  21. Oh and thank you for posting this ! It is perfect!

  22. Love and Light to you Karin. Your art, ohhhhh your beautiful art, yes please, always share what you are feeling and going thru. You can believe we are all here for you. You are in my prayers dear one.
    Blessings, Sandra in AZ : )

  23. Hugs to you karin .. a scented jasmin to soothe every point of pain

  24. What the heck made me hesitate?! How could I not have known that all you amazing people would be there fully, eyes wide open, to support me where ever I am? Must have been my weakened and beaten down state - and frankly, I'm glad I did say what I said, because receiving each of your messages has brought a lift to my heart, a releasing of a hook, and an affirmation to remind me that I can trust that expressing truth is the path that works for me. I know there is no need to shy away from it for myself, and now i know that same is true for all of you who have written.

    One of the reasons I originally used so few words was to that my images could be related to, without my story being overlaid too strongly - whether it be about beauty, sorrow, joy or pain. The pain I depict covers many forms; while I am experiencing treatment for cancer it may be seen as about that process alone, but it merely defines one facet. As a survivor of child abuse, assault, rape, and numerous aspects of suffering, when I create I recall the pain of each, and tap into them all to help express universal pain.
    So I thank you all for assisting me as I experience, move through, and release this phase of pain...

    Today I had blood drawn to find out whether or not my liver can handle any more chemo. Before the last round it was showing signs of strain - so I'll find out in the net couple days, if chemo #7 will happen this friday, as scheduled. If not, radiation will begin soon. Will keep you posted.

    Again, I think you thank you thank you all, for your compassion, caring, and thoughtful sharing with me. This is love, Karin

  25. It's your space to post what you like, what you need.

    I feel privileged to read it and some days your art leaves me catching my breath.

    Sending a pink bubble of love.

    (an admirer)

  26. Yes, this is love- and we all are in love with YOU!

  27. I'm crying for you! I'm so sorry you are going through such pain!

  28. This is what art is... communicating, documenting, sharing, expressing, processing our experiences, our lives. Art can also be healing, and therapeutic. Look at Frida Kahlo- she didn't hold anything back! I admire her for being so brave, and I feel the same about you. Thank you for being so brave, and for trusting us with this. Sending you much love and many hugs.

  29. Oh Karin...I am crying because I want to reach out and hold you up against the pain...cradle you in arms of loving acceptance. You have such courage and trust and I will be there for you anytime. Hugs and white healing light coming your way...see your new studio...this is hell but it is temporary. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen fernandez Stewart

  30. karin, i feel your pain and at the same time i know i can not even start to imagine what you are going through.. wishing you strength, love, light & blessings..

  31. The image breaks my heart, but you always lift me up. Thank You

  32. I am still here..... You are still here....we share our energies...we are a photon of light traveling together in this Universe. I am sending you more hugs and I am praying today is a wee bit better. If not do not hold in the festers and robs us of our needed strength needed to get you that new studio at HOME! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  33. this is not taboo, getting positive vibes, prayers and good thougths sent your way is not a bad thing, and besides if we can't put on our blog pretty much what we need to get out then why blog

    interesting that there are fish hooks caught in the skin and they are tugging up and you have expressed pain in very visual way-that is a good thing

    feel better

  34. Hi Karin. I was just packing a few bags to go back to San Jose to take care of my mom when I seen your post and had to read it. What can I say. I feel your pain coming through this painting. It sort of reminds me of Frida Kahlo and what she had to endure with her pain. Her paintings reflected that. I think you should share your pain with us because in doing so we are elevated in our senses as to a little of what you are going through. At least I feel that way. When I saw that painting, I actually felt pain all over and my heart reached out to you. Share as much as you want, your friends are here for you. I have to go now, but take care.

  35. All art is worth sharing. Your art speaks volumes. I love the way you do a close up and then a full view. When I looked at the first image I truly understood and related to your visual of pain. Pain that holds you and controls you. So true your statement that sometimes you have to just let it exist and ride it's waves. Thank you for posting this.

  36. yes, this is love.

    i am glad to be part of that love. i offer it gladly and i receive it gratefully. if there is anything i can do, karin, please know i welcome you letting me know.

    i know the alternatives dictate your decisions, but i think you are brave and gutsy.

    with love


  37. Well, my opinion, art can only be authentic when an artist lays ALL of his/hers into it. So, happy and beautiful moments, but not without the pain. Your image may not be one that brightens your readers' day. But it does add a value to their day in another way. You give intimacy in sharing your hardest moments and thus you reach straight to our hearts. I'm sure there will be lots of people who won't have that. But of those I wonder what they're hiding under their own masks. Your image doesn't make us unhappy. I think your image expresses your pain so much better than any words could have done. It makes us understand a little better. And also...your image may be consoling to some of us who will be in pain in the future. To know someone else went through it, endured it and made art of it. It shows strength and intimacy at the same time and I want to thank you for that. I admire your decision to post this image. And if I were the judge, then I'd hope you'd keep on posting worst moments like these. It is inspiring to see you delve inspiration from the lowest of lows and it teaches us that art is to be found even there.
    Only if you don't feel comfortable being so intimate with your readers, you should keep it to yourself. But if it feels all right for you, then please continue.

    I sincerely wish you feel better. And also that art may be by your side.
    ~ Mandy

  38. karin, its now wednesday .I keep thinking of you and wondering how I can make you feel a little better. close your eyes and picture a BIG HUG! lyle

  39. I've not been blogging lately as I take a little time to find renewed focus but I regularly check my favourite blogs to see what is new.

    Karin, my Utopia seeking self keeps hoping I will go to your blog and read that you are completly healed...Why? Because I know that day will come. In the meantime, I am totally convinced that sharing your pain through words and images is vital to your healing process.

    In addition to your healing, your pictures and your words are like a salve to many other people who suffer as they capture what many of us feel.

    Reading your comments. I see you and I have endured similar past experiences which explains why I always felt you to be a kindred spirit.

    Namaste, my friend, Namaste!

    xox Sonia

  40. What's curious to me is that from the thumbnail, I thought that the image was a stylized lotus above dark water...which is somewhat appropriate, given the symboogy of the lotus (rising above filth/darkness/pain/etc)

  41. I am so very sorry that you are suffering so much. Always share your truth here. That is what your blog is for. And I have to say that this is one of the most powerful images I have seen.

  42. I am sorry for I have not had my computer on. You are so brave to share your pain. Your pain is so strong when I looked I felt the pain in my heart for you and at that time I wanted to stand up and raise my arms to the sky for you, my dear sweet friend. So I did and then I came down into the child's pose to bring you back to a more comforting time.

  43. OMG! This is what the Mandan Indians used to do as a rite of passage for their young men. They suspended them by their skin with hooks hung from poles. Aaargh! This is so painful and I can only imagine your pain. Take care my dearest Karin.

  44. dear, dear karin...I think this is the perfect place and way to express your pain, your joy, your fears, your loves, your stunning, healing art. thank you for being yourself and sharing your sacred self with us.

  45. All i can say is thank you so much for sharing Karin. This is your own little space on the web and you can share whatever you feel to share. I am grateful you have trust enough to share this with us. It's a strong, intense, heartfelt drawing.

  46. Oh my goodness, oh the pain. Clicking for bigger made me gasp at all those horrid hooks. Your image is more powerful than words could ever be. Express it, shout it, do not let it hold you captive. Letting out your pain helps others let theirs out, too.


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