All posts by weboflifeartstudio

2016 Is The Year For Patience and Tolerance

I apologize for not blogging in a while. I have been working hard on a fellowship application for the Tory Burch Foundation that supports women entrepreneurs. I never thought I was or could be an entrepreneur, but here I am, and 2016 is the year to kick it into full gear. I have heard that entrepreneurs are doers and not just dreamers. So here I go. When I was in 5th grade I learned about art therapy and followed that dream right into a masters program at NYU with some of the founders of the movement. I lost that dream to drug addiction and domestic violence.

Today, I am building a business called Recovery Art Studio™ to bring comprehensive art for healing projects and programs to those recovering from trauma and addiction. My dream didn’t die, it just took a detour while I healed and recovered from my own stuff. My dream is big and will hopefully help a lot of people to strengthen and support their recovery through the healing power of art. But it takes time and baby steps in making this happen. I am rebranding from Robin Gilliam’s Art and will release a new webpage and logo for Recovery Art Studio in the spring of 2016.IMG_2089

I have already taken some baby steps. We now have a Recovery Art Studio™ closed FB group that is growing stronger every day.  Art is a generic term for any type of creative expression and being an artist is not a requirement.  Everyone benefits when we share our creations and how it helped us to deal and heal.

I have been using intuitive painting to help deal with my own anxiety, and I hope to be chosen as a Tory Burch Fellow to gain some necessary resources to help build this business.

So my New Year’s resolution is to be patient and tolerant with myself as I build Recovery Art Studio™ one baby step at a time.

What was your dream when you were little? What baby steps can you take in 2016 to make it come true?

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What Gifts Do You Have That Can Help Others?

Writing is a very powerful creative tool for healing. I use it to process life and share inspiration. To help me, I have a couple of  friends I go to for their expertise in writing, ideas for my art for healing and recovery business, and ability to help me stay calm and not get overwhelmed. The other day I wondered  if I was helping them in return and got worried that I was just taking without giving.

Being that I grew up in a bartering environment, where I do for you and then you will do for me. It was very natural for me to feel like I needed to give back to those specific friends.

Then I had an ahaa moment! I was helping other people, different people with my gifts. When people find out that I have written and published my recovery/art for healing novel, Gift of Desperation, they often tell me that they want to write something too! But their next sentence is, “But I can’t seem to do it ’cause there is so much to write.” I was blessed with the gift of writing and organization. So I pass on the techniques that I have learned to help others untangle their creative thoughts so that they can start to write.

I realized that I was paying it forward instead of bartering.  A new skill I am learning, like a new pair of shoes that I need to break in before they feel comfortable.

What gifts do you have that can help others?

Heart present-di-legno-vecchio
Robin Gilliam is an artist and author in long-term recovery. She has over two decades of using art and the 12 steps to recover from addiction and heal from sexual assault. For a powerful story of inspiration and hope read her recovery/Art for Healing novel, Gift of Desperation. She is an inspirational speaker and art for healing workshop facilitator. To book Robin for a presentation or workshop, please send an email to robins.art@verizon.net or PM her on FB.

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Robin Gilliam Featured on #WSATV Women Leaders’ Interview

I am so excited to share my WSA-TV interview with you. In less than 12 minutes you will hear from myself and three other women leaders who are following their passion to help others reach theirs.

As an artist and author in long-term recovery (2/6/91), I am grateful to help change the conversation about addiction  through my novel, Gift of Desperationand by working with facingaddiction.org and promoting #nightofconversation scheduled for November 19 2015, through drugsoverdinner.org and Dr. Oz.

Thanks for taking the time to watch my interview and for sharing this with your friends – just think, what you learn might just help someone else to recover! Robin

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Robin Gilliam is an artist and author in long-term recovery. She has over two decades of using art and the 12 steps to recover from addiction and heal from sexual assault. For a powerful story of inspiration and hope read her Recovery/Art for Healing novel, Gift of Desperation. She is an inspirational speaker and art for healing workshop facilitator. To book Robin for a presentation or workshop, please send an email to robins.art@verizon.net or PM her on FB.

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No Sailboat Paintings for this Artist & Person in Long-Term Recovery

Hi! I am an artist and person in long-term recovery since February 6, 1991. I began creating art around the same time to deal with my anger, pain, shame, and guilt.

From 2000 –  2004, I tried to get into shows and galleries  to sell my artwork which I really thought  would validate me as an artist.

During this time I joined an eclectic group of women artists – The Wylde Women – and we set up and curated our own shows in public venues, like the dock at Solomons Island. We even owned a gallery that was creatively set up in an antique and tea shop in Leonardtown, MD.  But no one wanted the funky, abstract, 3-D collages that got my creative juices going and lit up my heart.
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(See the Gallery page for details of Out of the Ashes)

I quickly learned that people living in the Chesapeake  Bay area preferred paintings of sailboats.

Then one of my fellow artists recommended that I make something functional with my collages. So I used beautiful rice papers and found objects and collaged them onto glass flower vases in a similar style to my fabric pieces. Now those sold! But now I was manufacturing to sell and still did not feel validated as an artist.

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In reality, validation did not come until much later when I catalogued my 20+ years of collages for my novel, Gift of Desperation. It was then that I really came to understand that creating those collages was my way of using art for healing to put myself back together after domestic violence that ended in rape and from almost dying from a drug overdose in the mid 80s.

Creating to help me deal with and heal from trauma and addiction in order to strengthen and support my recovery is my validation.

 

Robin Gilliam is a person in long-term recovery, an artist, and the author of the recovery novel, Gift of Desperation.  She has over two decades of using art and the 12 steps to recover from addiction and heal from sexual assault. She is an inspirational speaker and art for healing workshop facilitator. To book Robin for a presentation or workshop, please send an email to robins.art@verizon.net or PM her on FB.

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Color Away Your Stress

Coloring has become all the meditative rage. Books and special pencils are popping up in Barnes and Noble, coloring groups are gathering in FB, and coloring sheets are being pinned in Pinterest. I have always loved to color. Taking a picture only outlined in black and bringing it to life with colored pencils or crayons helps to focus me on the bright shiny colors and not on any challenges in my life.

Since I am working on creative expression tools for your recovery toolbox, I got the idea to turn my artwork into coloring sheets. My artwork is inspired by nature, found objects, symbols, is usually abstract and sometimes funky. It is always sincere as I created it  to help me work through my anxiety and fears, or to help me stand up and claim my personal strength.

For my first coloring sheet I chose Out of the Ashes, on my Gallery page which is  a very large mixed media piece that inspired the cover of my recovery novel, Gift of Desperation. It has a lot of symbolism about rising out of the depths of addiction and into hope; it is a great coloring page for UNITE to face addiction, where we will stand together on Oct 4, 2015, to break the silence and release the shame in letting the world know that addiction is a disease.

Now, All I had to do was draw it nice and clear for you. HA – that sounds easy, but drawing has never been one of my artistic strengths. I sketch better with lots of flowing lines to capture an idea, but clear strong definitive lines – not my style.

So, what to do? Well, I could let fear take over and forget about my idea, but I know that it’s not about me, it’s about helping others to use creative expression to heal and recover. So, I faced my fear and anxiety and added some prayer to ask the universe to provide me with the skill and resources to create this drawing. I got a message that the coloring sheet was based on Out of the Ashes and did not need to match it exactly which gave me permission to have some fun with it. I then imagined myself drawing it clear and strong, practiced for over a month, and here it is.

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I will be handing them out at my book signing of Gift of Desperation at UNITE to Face Addiction on Oct 4th, 2015, www.facingaddiction.org  After UNITE, I will post a PDF that you can download (once I figure out how to do that) onto my new Color Away Your Stress Page.

Once you have colored it in, post it to my FB page to share with others, including any thoughts or feelings you had while coloring. On the first day of every month from November – December 2015, I will pick someone to  send a signed copy of my recovery novel, Gift of Desperation to.

Robin Gilliam is an artist and the author of the recovery novel, Gift of Desperation.  She has over two decades of using art and the 12 steps to recover from addiction and heal from sexual assault. She is an inspirational speaker and art for healing workshop facilitator. If you would like to contact Robin, please send her an email to robins.art@verizon.net or PM her on FB.

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HOW A WET T-SHIRT GOT MY CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING

When you opened this blog you might have expected to see big boobs straining against a wet t-shirt. Sorry to disappoint you, but this is a blog meant to inspire others to also use creative expression/art to heal and deal with life.

With that said, one day I was walking my dogs and found this lost wet T-shirt suspended in a bush.

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It reminded me of the abstract collages I used to make before I started to quilt in 2008, using sculpted fabric as a base to embed found objects. It gave me an idea for one of my art for healing workshops. The problem was that I was spinning in frustration from trying to figure out how to adhere different materials to a blue jean background. I really wanted to use blue denim as a background because it reminds me of being strong and sturdy, yet the color blue reminds me to be fluid like water.

Viola – after seeing the wet T-shirt, out came the fabric stiffener glue by GOLDEN, and I made the following sample. Oh it felt so good to get my hands messy again. The fabric stiffened up into the hills and valleys that I love and the torn magazine and found objects are also nice and secure.

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Now that my creative juices are flowing and I am getting more clarity on my projects, I feel that I am moving the ball down the field – even if slowly – it’s progress, not perfection.

If you are interested in making an inspirational wall hanging using this technique, please let me know.

Robin

Robin Gilliam is an artist and the author of the recovery novel, Gift of Desperation.  She has over two decades of using art and the 12 steps to recover from addiction and heal from sexual assault. She is an inspirational speaker and art for healing workshop facilitator. If you would like to contact Robin, please send her an email to robins.art@verizon.net or PM her on FB.

To read more about Gift of Desperation go to the menu  at www.robingilliamsart.com  and look for the page: Novel – Gift of Desperation.

Thanks and blessings for a creative, serene day!

 

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How the Iron Girl Inspired my Art for Healing Business

When my sister, Lisa, told me she was going to do the Iron Girl triathlon [1/2 mile swimming, 16 miles biking, 3.7 miles running]  I was amazed, impressed, and a little envious, knowing that I just do not have the physical stamina, patience, or time to complete such an accomplishment.

But instead of circling down the rabbit hole into that dark pit of self-disgust, pity, and hatred, I realized that building my art for healing business is very similar to training for an Iron Girl.

While  Lisa was planning and training for endurance to complete each leg of the Iron Girl race, I was slowly gaining courage to tell my story and fill #theemptychair – a term coined by the New York magazine  in their July 27, 2015, issue about the women sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby that have not yet come forward to take their seat.

Where Lisa is helping to raise money to fight cancer, I am developing a business to help survivors of sexual assault to heal through art. Rape was like a cancer  constantly strangling me with pain, grief, shame, and guilt for something that was not my fault. It wasn’t until I explored domestic violence and sexual assault in my novel, Gift of Desperation, that I started to understand the reactive and self-destructive behavior that can happen if we keep these traumas inside.Lisa crossing finish line

As I expressed myself more and more through art, the less hold the rape had over me.

Just as my sister used her physical endurance to raise money to help cure cancer, I used my artwork as a foundation in Gift to weave a powerful story of healing, recovery, hope, and inspiration, the beginning of my art for healing business.

Congratulations to Lisa – I am very proud of you!

Lisa at finish line

 

 

 

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Welcome back from the Sturgis 75th Motorcycle Rally

Welcome back to my blog. I have returned from my 2 1/2 Week vacation to the Sturgis South Dakota 75th Motorcycle Rally with my husband, Dirk, and two dogs, Chopper and Duffy.

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I am in the bottom right hand corner.

Aside from our bike breaking down at the beginning of the trip and our campground losing electricity for about an hour, which shut down the AC for the dogs (they were fine after we raced back from Custer State Park), we had no other major drama.

There were tons of beautiful bikes, wonderful mountain scenery which was unusually green this year due to extraordinary rain, and hot days /cool clear nights. We were also lucky that any nighttime storms passed us by without incident.

I was hoping to post my pictures here, but I am dealing with an old computer that can’t manage the space or processing necessary for such a post. So please stop by my Facebook page to enjoy pictures from our trip. I am saving up for a Mac which I hope to get by the end of the year and then retire my current laptop.

I hope you will visit my blog again next week when I will be talking about the Iron Girl my sister is in to raise money to fight cancer and how it inspired me.

Robin

Robin Gilliam is the author of the novel, Gift of Desperation, a story of hope and inspiration woven around her 24+ years of artwork that helped her to heal from PTSD and addiction.

Growth Happens

growth happens 7.12.15

GROWTH HAPPENS:

*When I recognize the right opportunities

**When I plant seeds

***When I trust the process

Robin Gilliam is the author of the novel, Gift of Desperation, a story of recovery, art and healing, and hope and inspiration.

She has +25 years of using art to heal from PTSD and 24+ years of long term recovery

RELEASING MY SHAME TO HELP OTHER ADDICTS

Image a jumbo jet full of passengers falling out of the sky every day, killing everyone. airplane-flying-5958526

That is how many people we are losing DAILY to the heroin and opioid addiction health crisis – 350 people are dying daily across our nation.

In 2013, Maryland alone lost 464 people to heroin-related overdose deaths .

That is why I am getting involved as an ambassador for UNITE to Face Addiction (UNITE) www.facingaddiction.org UNITE Card Log 7.5.15and decided to send an email to the Maryland (MD) Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force (TF)http://governor.maryland.gov/ltgovernor/home/heroin-and-opioid-emergency-task-force/ to tell them about the big recovery movement led by UNITE that will rally in DC on Sunday, October 4, 2015. As a wonderful surprise, I got a call from Richard Tabuteau from the MD Lt. Governor’s (Boyd K. Rutherford’s) office inviting me to testify at the PG and Montgomery County Heroin and Opioid TF Summit on July 2, 2015.

This is the first time I have told my story outside of 12 step rooms. I have always felt protected by our anonymity principle, but at the same time felt a lot of shame about addiction and never celebrated my long term recovery in public. Because of this crisis and my calling/passion to teach others to use art for healing  and recovery, I asked for the courage to put down my shame.  Here is my –

TESTIMONY AT THE MD HEROIN AND OPIOID TASK FORCE SUMMIT JULY 2, 2015

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Thank you for the opportunity to join you today. My name is Robin Gilliam, a native Marylander.  I have been recovering from drug addiction since February 6, 1991.

Today, because of 12 step recovery, I am the author of the novel, Gift of Desperation, a recovery story of hope and inspiration; art and healing. Today, I am, also a CPA, a project management professional (PMP), and I develop  and write accounting standards for the United States government.

But my recovery goes beyond the 12 steps, as I also used art to heal from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) associated with domestic violence that ended in rape by my ex-husband.

Creating abstract collages helped me to process my trauma and get out the related anger, fear, depression, and anxiety.

I then used my two decades of art work and 12 step experiences to write and self-publish, Gift of Desperation. A gift of desperation is when an addict is so desperate that it is a springboard to make positive changes and recover. My novel explores this through my main character, Claire Sebastian, and what it takes to hit such a deep dark place and what she is willing to do to recover.

My goal and vision is for Claire to become a role model for recovery. If Claire can survive the traumas that she has experienced and recover, then so can I, and so can you.

I believe that  trauma is at the root of a lot of addictions. I believe that as addicts we do not know how to express ourselves and instead we use substances from the outside to deal with life, and numb out. When in actuality we are self-destructing, and now, dying at an alarming rate.

I believe that we need to cultivate creative expressive programs, like art, dance, and music, from elementary school through high school, college, and in our recovery organizations as a preventative tool to provide our youth and those in recovery with positive outlets for emotions.

We are only as sick as our secrets. I should know, for the secret of rape kept me locked into my addiction for years.

During my recovery journey, I also got caught up in the opioid crisis, when my husband had an accident and was prescribed Percocet and was NOT told how to get off of them.  As a result, he suffered for many years from rebound pain, severe withdrawal symptoms which landed us in the emergency room a number of times , and almost died. Today he is living a recovery lifestyle.

I believe that doctors should be educated in the addictive qualities of opioids and understand how to properly prescribe them, how to educate their patients, and help wean them off safely.

Addiction is a chronic disease that is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Did you know that as we recover our disease is marching along keeping up at a steady pace? That temptations and thoughts can pop up daily.

For example, about 9 months ago, I found  a bag of pot on the street that lit up my mind like a Christmas tree–after 24 years in recovery! It was scary, but because using is not an option anymore, I was prepared and picked up the many tools of recovery that I have learned over the years – the Big Book, the first three steps, the telephone, the pen and paper, my sponsor…

Therefore, to manage  my thoughts on a daily basis, I need to make recovery my number one priority and be very vigilant and continue to develop my spiritual condition to keep a quiet and calm mind in order to prevent me from taking that first hit.

Because one is too many and a thousand are never enough.

Since recovery is my first priority and helping others is essential, I signed up to be an ambassador for UNITE to Face Addiction. This is so I can spread the word in Maryland that we will come together and UNITE on Sunday, Oct 4th, 2015, in DC to let our nation know that addiction is a disease that is preventable and treatable, that far too many of those affected are incarcerated or die, and that people can and do get better and can become productive members of society.

Thank you for this opportunity. Again, my name is Robin Gilliam, and I am proud to say that I am a person in long term recovery and I look forward to joining this effort by providing communication support as a writer and developing art for healing as a tool for recovery.