Saturday, November 16, 2013

Diving into Wax Again-- withering on the post page- here goes

I am so remiss in posting on this blog, that I wonder about the value of keeping it going.  I have been busy to say the least, and time flies by.  

This particular post was sitting here waiting for me to publish it during the summer.  So rather then let it die on the vine, wither on a post page, I am posting it tonight, better late then never.  So I can move forward and re-engage with this creative writing process, of documenting my creative journey.  So here goes. 
 What have I been up to besides enjoying the summer.  Well lots of things...Ongoing SoulCollage® groups, making mandala pendants and cards and collaged journals, and more.
But up until this past weekend, it has been like a block of resistance on doing encaustic which I least until this weekend.  
I can list the reasons that stop me, but that doesn't serve me here...

 The spell has finally been broken, I have had the idea in my mind of taking one of my soulcollage ® cards and using it as a jumping off point as a direction for one of my encaustics, and I have finally started that process.  I am sharing some process photos here.
Into The Deep
 I decided to work with one of my favorite cards, which I call Into the deep..
She is the one who is able to transform any situation with her imagination.
Often when I swim at the YMCA, I imagine the water to be healing pools, warm water in Hawaii, crystal clear river swimming holes with waterfalls around me.  My imagination takes me away from the box of water in a larger box of a building, into my memories of places I visited, to dreamy healing water sanctuaries that only live in my inner world.

By taking a photo of my card and making a zeros copy of it, I was able to transfer it on the wax.

Carrying me away on the waters of my imagination and transforming this space into a natural watery healing memory that lives deep within my unconscious and more youthful adventurous past.  

 I am the one who dives into the waters of my imagination 
and is able to transform any situation 
with my vivd  imagination.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Circle - Square - Triangle - Spiral and Equal Distant Cross- Shapes Mandalas

 I am remiss in posting here, so here are some photos from the 
Illuminated Mandala and 5 Universal Shapes Workshop that I did last month. 
 Held at ARTLIFE Gallery in Sebastopol, there were 11 of us diving into the wonderful experience of creating mandalas, that day.
We worked with Angles Arrien's, fascinating Shapes Preferential Diagnostic Tool, which she developed through her research on Storytelling, Fairy Tales, and the Universal Shapes that are  found in the artwork of all cultures and their cross cultural symbolic meanings.  

These 5 shapes are based on Angees Arrien's book, Signs of Life.  The circle, square, triangle, spiral, and equal distant cxross are found in all art globally.  Doing this test reveals where you are in your own psycho-mythology and gives you a direction as to where to place your energy to support your spiritual and personal growth, during the next cycle of your life. 

 Your  preference for the shapes determines the position and meaning for you
in this moment of your life. 

 The 5 positions of choice were developed out of cross-cultural anthropological research, based on the five choices that occur consistently in fairytales and myths, giving a clue to through the shapes meanings, for right direction in life.

 We often stopped to put our work in progress up on the walls, to step back, stretch, rest our eyes, and to witness the amazing mandalas that emerged throughout the day.
 Here are the mandalas that came through for us that day.

 First we created the white on black mandalas, using the scale of light drawing process, that makes these mandalas appear illuminated, from within, glowing with the essence of each persons touch.

                      Then they are overlaid with brilliant color using only 6 prismacolor pencils
                                                      a rainbow spectrum of colors

                             aquamarine, magenta, violet, yellow orange and true green

                   Each one a shining star, a vibrant energy of moving life force.
                                               Until next time, keep drawing........

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Busy, Busy , a Bee

With the coming of the summer, many new opportunities and directions are opening up for me, and I find myself busier then I have been in a while.  This week has lots of exciting things happening for me, but also alot of preparation.  I am excited to be doing a two person encaustic class with a woman and her friend I am connected with from past classes and work, who will be in Calif. and want to dive into wax work.

It has been a while since I have taught others how to work with lovely delicious wax.  Since I was setting up my studio for others, i spent a full day making new encaustic medium, fine tuning the electricity and melting parrafin and cleaning brushes.  It has been hot here, and doing this in the heat is challenging.  Also the sweet smell of beeswax, brings round the bees.  I wound up getting stung by some yellow jackets in my right, dominant hand, which set me back several days.

I forgot how much work it is to do this and set it up for others,  which is why I haven't done any encaustic classes for over a few years now. 
If my studio was completely dedicated to doing this it would be one thing, but I set up for SoulCollage® workshops every 2 weeks, and then put it all away. So I have been busy.

Nonetheless, I am grateful. So grateful that people are coming my way to work with me. Grateful that my life revolves around art and artmaking in all forms. Grateful for my life. Grateful for the economy rebounding.
I am grateful
In the Light of Gratitude, I have been facilitating a pilot project at a place called the Living Room here in Sonoma County. A place for homeless women to to come and eat, and sit and be safe and have wonderful healing, and practical services provided for them.  I am doing a modified 4 week SoulCollage®  Personal Narrative group, which is very loose and acommodates a room full of women, sleeping, eating, talking on the phone, getting hair cuts and just being.  In the back of the room, myself and Celine an art therapist who just graduated from Notre Dame, set up the collage materials and invite the women to sit and make SoulCollage® cards.  I feel blessed to be able to share this, in spite of the settings challenges. 
 I am grateful.
On Sunday I am doing a Illuminated Mandala and the Five Universal Shapes workshop, at ARTLIFe Gallery in Sebastopol.  That along with SoulCollage® Open Studio, on Friday ends a full and art filled week.
Now just to breathe and take one thing at a time and trust the process. Whew~
Along with planning for a SoulCollage® workshop in Mt Shasta on July 13th,  at a stunningly beautiful Buddhist retreat center called Tara's Refuge.  I am full to the depths of my heart with ART and Life.
Photos from the mandala workshop will be posted here eventually.
Until then. 

Ciao Caterina

Monday, June 3, 2013

Guest Post by Rahima Warren - Opening the Floodgates

Hi Everyone,
I would like to introduce you to Rahima Warren.  I love how synchronicity plays into everything.  Rahima, went through the Person Centered Expressive Therapy program, training with my late friend and studio partner, Patricia Waters.  Out of the blue I receive an invite to share her new book here.  Take the time to read about the personal creative journey that led to her writing this  book.  If you want a chance to win her ebook, leave a comment here, and also let me know how you feel about my sharing this. Ciao. Caterina
Guest Post by Rahima Warren on Expressive Arts

An Expressive Arts Novel, or
How Expressive Arts Therapy Opened the Floodgates
By Rahima Warren
“If you write to impress it will always be bad, but if you write to express it will be good.” 
Thornton Wilder

For many years, I admired the writers of fantasy and science fiction for the way they created whole new worlds, and amazing new creatures, while writing fascinating stories. I loved reading their stories, and still do. I never imagined being that creative myself. Expressive arts therapy changed all that, transforming me into an expressive arts painter and novelist. 
In 1995, I was seeking a new direction for my psychotherapy career. I had found that verbal therapy has its limitations. Since it uses words, we can stay stuck in what we know in our verbal/logical mind. Having specialized in dreamwork, Jungian psychology and sandplay therapy, I knew that the dreaming mind has its own language of image, symbol, nuance and color which are better expressed through art. So I attended the Person-Centered Expressive Therapy Institute’s 400-hour training in Expressive Arts Therapy, developed by Natalie Rogers. What a fabulous time we had, 20 or 30 women, studying and experiencing expressive arts! We learned to ignore the inner critic or judge, and any “art rules” we might have learned. Instead, we explored using all the art forms – movement, writing, art, music, clay-work, collage – only for self-expression, with no concern for technique or end-product. 
To my happy surprise, I found that with no formal training, I could paint, sculpt clay, write, make music, and dance. This experience helped me to own my true grace, strength, and wisdom as a woman. And it helped me to trust and open up to the creative flow. So when a dark fantasy story started to pour forth, I didn’t question it and went with the flow. For three years, I just wrote and wrote, letting the story go where it wanted, with no plan or outline. It’s the most passionately creative fun I’ve ever had! This is how I ended up writing what I call an expressive arts novel. 
What I had written turned out to be the first draft of my fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy. Perhaps you have heard the truism, “Write what you know.” From my own healing journey and my work as a psychotherapist, what I know is the difficult inner journey to wholeness. And that is what my story is about: the healing journey of the hero, Kyr. (More about how my hero turned me into a writer here.)  
The hero of this story was lurking in my dreaming mind (the unconscious) for years. I had many dreams and daydreams about characters like Kyr. I believe he represents an archetype, which I call the Wounded Masculine or the Suffering Hero. Early on, when I was less conscious, I kept falling for men who embodied the Wounded Masculine/Suffering Hero. (I doubt that I am the only woman who has fallen under the spell of this archetype!) Later, I did inner work with this archetypal character, hoping he would stop haunting me. But he always resurfaced in my dreams, even when I stopped falling for men like him in my outer life. 
There is a positive aspect to this archetypal haunting, though. In some sense, Kyr was always nudging me to develop the courage and skills for exploring the inner realms of psyche, soul and spirit, so that I could eventually write his story. But where he came from. or why he haunts me, or why he picked me to write his story is still a mystery to me. Perhaps he is my inner muse or daemon. According to an astrological reading of my natal chart, I am “a profoundly creative being whose desire it is to channel darkness through creativity, and dedicate that to the world…to articulate the truth and use words to take people on journeys…to use creativity as a tool of healing.” Perhaps that explains why I wrote this dark, intense but ultimately uplifting and healing story. 
With the inspiration, freedom and trust I gained from my training and experience with Person-Centered Expressive Arts, I was able to trust the creative process enough to allow Kyr’s story to come through me, without hindrance by the moralistic censor or inner critic. His story starts out with the darkest of human experiences, but the main thread is his journey of recovery, healing, forgiveness, redemption and love.
Even now, Kyr is haunting me, nudging me to be brave enough to get his story published, so that it can help others on their healing journeys. (One reader shares how reading Book One helped her here.) In 2011, Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer’s Prophecy was published by Rose Press. Now I am celebrating its e-book publication, with my blog tour and giveaways! I still have Books Two and Three to edit and publish. It’s been quite a journey, and my adventures with Kyr continue! 

Expressive Arts Resources

  • Be sure to see Catarina’s many wonderful offerings of classes, groups and workshops right here on her blog!

  • Visit my expressive arts website: for an exploration of inner mysteries through expressive art, writing and dreamwork.

“This art show is your deep inner journey in art, writing and spiritual work. AMAZING!” Natalie Rogers

Great website. It's such a good example of how expressive arts can be a vehicle for Soul to heal and guide us.” Shellee Davis

  • A Two Year Training at Sofia University in “Expressive Arts for Healing and Social Change: A Person-Centered Approach” led by Natalie Rogers and others:

ABOUT Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy by Rahima Warren
The “twin-souled dark innocent,” Kyr, is a youth born and raised to blindly carry out the Soul-Drinker’s brutal commands. At first, Kyr’s one desire is death, the only escape from the Soul-Drinker’s hellish rule. Just when he is about to get his wish, the secret Circle rescues him. Now he has to choose between the familiar easy path of despair and death, or the hard path of healing, living, and a greater destiny, about which he knows nothing. How can a slave who has known only evil, pain and obedience choose to become a man of courage and compassion, and fulfill the Star Seer's Prophecy?

Giveaway Info
Rahima is giving away prizes, including an e-copy of her book at each blog stop on her tour AND a Grand Prize Giveaway of a Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with your choice of fan art, chosen from here:, plus other goodies, including a signed copy of Dark Innocence for one lucky winner, shipped to anywhere in the world!

  • To win a book: Leave a comment on this blog post about your muse(s) and what sparks your creativity to be entered to win a book. Be sure to leave your email address in the comments so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. This giveaway ends five days after the post goes live.

  • To win the Custom Jumbo Tote Bag with Rahima’s fan art of your choice, or a signed copy of Dark Innocence, or other goodies, click the link to go to Rahima’s website here: and enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the page. A winner will be selected on June 21st. 

Rahima Warren’s Bio:
Rahima Warren is the author of Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy, a deep, rich novel of the healing journey. With Master's degrees in Clinical and Transpersonal Psychology, she was in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist for over 20 years. In 2006, Rahima retired to focus on her expressive painting, creative writing, and spiritual studies.
In her work with clients recovering from abuse, she was awed by the human capacity to heal, and to reach new levels of forgiveness, wholeness and happiness. She also learned to trust the psyche's own process. This enabled her to allow a dark and mysterious story to flood forth unhindered: Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy
Rahima is a third-generation native of California and resides with her husband in Northern California, where she periodically chases squirrels off the wild bird feeders, and deer away from her roses. Her life-long love of fantasy is her parents' fault: they left sci-fi & fantasy magazines with fascinating cover art lying around the house.

Rahima Warren’s website-
Read an excerpt of Dark innocence:

Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy on Amazon: 
Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy on Barnes & Noble: 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Something Different - Memoire Mothers Day -Request- Referrals- Blog Tours- Aha

Well lately I have had several requests to share other people's work here on my blog.  I guess that must mean that this blog is being seen by other's as a platform to share their creativity.  Since this is new for me I am a bit hesitant to do this, but willing to give it a try.

The first request was a creative response to Mothers Day. I was approached by Teresa Jordan to embed the following video in my blog.  This poignant artist illustrated video about mother's, loss and the scent of memory, really touched me. Take the time to click on this link, it is really worth viewing.  Sorry that I couldn't figure out how to actually get the video on here. Oh well.

Teresa's video really struck a chord with me.
It brought back auditory memories of the sound my mother's high heeled shoes.  She always wore them, and wondered why I never wanted to wear them myself.  The sounds of her heels clicking on the sidewalk, on the wood floor, on the linoleum, live in my memory.

After she passed away I had a series of three very intense dreams, early in the morning on three consecutive days in a row.  I am sharing this dream, altered reality experience here. 

Day 1 - Footsteps on the sidewalk, from a long way off, the sounds getting  clearer and louder,
sounding close and very familiar.
Coming up the walkway to my house,
stopping at the step and then I awoke.
So familiar, so close, so real, my heart pounding,
I knew it was my mother.

Day 2 - Once again, footsteps coming from a long way off.  The sound of the clicking, click.. clack, click clack,  getting louder as they approached my house.  I knew it was my mom coming again.  This time, I heard the sound stop at the doorstep, but then the sound of the screen door opening, rustling sounds, like someone carrying bags full of groceries, in their arms. ...and I awoke. Once again heart pounding  panic, is this real?

Day 3 -  A repeat of the sound of high heels, in the early, early morning, heels clicking, on cement, quickly stepping closer, and closer, up the step, opening the screen door, lots of packages or parcels being put down and keys in the door, with the front door about to be opened.  I could hear the door knob turning and the door starting to open.   I awoke, my body tight, sweating.  I knew my mother was about to come in the door, but I was too afraid to see what would happen next.  I cried out "Please don't come in.  I am afraid". Then  I awoke, to a bright morning sun shining through the window and stillness.  After that she didn't return.  But I knew I had been visited.
I had the distinct knowing that she was coming to visit bringing presents, bags of gifts and blessings, and I was ready to both receive and release her.  I felt grateful and in the months to come I did receive many blessings and gifts in my life, that I attributed to those early morning visits from my mother.

~ Another Request~

I have also been requested to participate in a blog tour and giveaway of a new ebook release of a fantasy novel, Dark Innocence: Book One of the Star-Seer's Prophecy, by author and therapist Rahima Warre.  I haven't read her book, but feel in affinity with her work, so I am agreeing to it.
She will be doing a guest blog post here on June 4th. 
Here is a link to her book, this should be interesting. 

Until next time. Ciao, Caterina

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I am a maker. I find myself making things, art, items, jewelry, figures, images, mandala's obsessively.  The form doesn't matter, but is dictated by feelings and the mood I am in, what does matter is the sense of joy and engagement and healing, I experience in  the making of things, one after another.

I often judge myself for not sticking with one things over time, or creating fine art, or developing skills in a progressive manner.  What I love to do is make things.
I just get on a roll, get called to create something and then make it in multiples. Again and again, until something else calls to me.  As you may know, I have been making pendants from my mandala art, and just recently started making pendants of one of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo.
Hence the multiples, begin again.  These photos are of the series of Frida Pendants that I recently made.
After I create a series, I realize I have so many of these creative products or items, that I have to do something with them. That is what has led me to doing craft fairs, and starting so many etsy stores.  Selling them is always the next step, along with giving them away to people I love.  I make until something else calls to me.

I love Frida for her honesty and bravery in sharing the truth of her inner world through images. Bold, brave and so ahead of her time, she was groundbreaking, and provocative. 
She is one of my inner artist guides.   
Bravo Frida!!!   
Each of these pendants can be found for sale, on my store 

Frida Kahlo de Rivera (born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón; July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, who is best known for her self-portraits, and her ability to paint her inner world and the bravery to share her pain with others through her art. 

Kahlo's life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House. She gave her birth date as July 7, 1910, but her birth certificate shows July 6, 1907. Kahlo had allegedly wanted the year of her birth to coincide with the year of the beginning of the Mexican revolution so that her life would begin with the birth of modern Mexico. Her work has been celebrated in Mexico as emblematic of national and indigenous tradition, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.  But what distinguishes her work more, and has made her the darling of art therapists, is how she was able to express her personal journey and pain,  from a brutal early accident that she had as a young adult, which affected her entire life, living with intense pain, from then on.  Art became her companion, guide and a deeply healing modality.

Bravo Frida!!!

Frida Kahlo SoulCollage® card - Community Suit
Inner Artist Guide

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mandala Complete - Process Photos

I recently completed the mandala I started at the Spring New Beginnings Mandala day that I recently facilitated at my studio.
I am such a sucker for show and tell, perhaps because, I loved it as a little girl, showing off my art to others. However, my training as an art therapists, enamored me with the stages of my process in creating as well, so here follows a series of photos of the stages of my mandala.

 As it takes form new directions are  showing as possible directions I can take the drawing. I love how the scale of light drawing, seems to sculpt dimension and form, through the contrast of the white on black.
 Although I could have taken more photos in the earlier stage, here is my mandala with just the beginnings of color coming in.  The central image of this mandala really stands out in this photo. The holding/ honoring of the iris in the center, which to me is about opening and holding a space within for the new the emerge and flower in my life.

And here is the completed mandala.  Often time in this drawing process, the image changes again and again.  I have a tendency to be a bit heavy handed with my pencil and it affects my ability to lay in more color, so I have lost some of the gradations in the center.  But I still love how the holding energy stands out admist the opening mandala.  Holding Possibility, Dwelling in the Possibility of New beginings, new opportunities, beginning again and again.

After spending quite a few days working on a mandala, I am almost bereft that it is complete, but I also am trying to stop sooner rather than later, to avoid over working and allowing the mystery of the black, the unknown powerful mystery of the procreative darkness, to be part of the image. Without the dark, the light is not as bright.
Now on to the next mandala, or???? Ciao.