Creative Notions


(This was originally going to be a photo blog entry of the CATHARSIS, but decided to write something about the mask first. My blogcatalog friend Jayme suggested I write about my avatar, so here it is…not exactly a poem but it’s a full-length “BIO” of my creation–LOL!)

The mask was originally part of my Halloween costume from last year. (I went as the tooth fairy from the movie Darkness Falls.) Recycled with the help of my imagination it became my avatar and Canvas Poetry blog “mascot” if you will..or muse.

Though you can barely see/read them, the face of the mask is covered in a collage of my poetry and smothered in vintage brick red ink. The arrowhead resembles a cross in my eyes, was a birthday gift from my best friend. The heart “nose ring” was added because I felt it needed something else. The bottle through the eye was meant to resemble an ink bottle holding a “quill” pen rising from the eye socket. The mask, bottle and pen are situated on a book of poetry with written verse scrolling across it.

I call my mask Catharsis.     The definition of Catharsis according to my computer desktop dictionary is:1. emotional release:an experience or feeling of spiritual release and purification brought about by an intense emotional experience 2. emotional purification through Greek tragedy: according to Aristotle, a purifying of the emotions that is brought about in the audience of a tragic drama through the evocation of intense fear and pity. 3. psychological purging of complexes: in psychology, the process of bringing to the surface repressed emotions, complexes, and feelings in an effort to identify and relieve them, or the result of this process. 

There are many mediums to release undesirable emotions. Writing is my chosen Catharsis. Whenever I’m feeling blue I run to my pen and notebook. Or when I’m happy. Or to capture a moment. Or capture a thought that tries to flee. When I can’t scribble any verse I try to sketch or use photoshop to transform my photos. Once I finish the project, I feel restored, refreshed and a wave of relief washes over me. Art is a great CATHARSIS!At the time of the mask’s conception I wasn’t exactly thinking of what each piece would necessarily represent past the red ink covering the face. The mask represents the “purging” of negative emotions. The arrowhead on the forehead chips away exposing the soul for all to see. The quill scribbles and brushes away the dust. The black lips was colored as such to represent ink. Which reminds me of a quote by Mark Strand, “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.”

I have been told that my mask is “creepy” and I don’t exactly disagree. However, I think my mask represents those emotions in which we often repress because we are afraid to feel them and express them. Though when I created my mask I wasn’t in any “dark” place, I hope this can become a symbol to remind us all to find a way to channel and express our feelings in a healthy way. Many of us have probably felt what it is like to hold our feelings in and what occurs from it. I think that is much more scarier than really feeling and expressing them. Isn’t it worse to keep them tucked inside us? They are tugging at your heart strings to see the light of day. To be known and understood. Let’s find a healthy way to channel our emotions.

CANVAS=CATHARSIS:  Feeling Good? Express It, Embrace It! Feeling Bad? Express It, Release It!

Love Write, J.ajabad




About onecanvasonesoul

I'm an artist of the poetic persuasion yet I dabble in papercrafts, art journaling and scrapbooking!


10 thoughts on “CATHARSIS

  1. WOW! That is very interesting! I don’t know if you noticed the mask I have on my blog. It isn’t anything as complex as yours, nor does it have any deep meaning. It does have sort of a meaning to me, because I sold it to a musician from Philly for a LOT of money. The meaning? I did something artful!

    Someone recently gave me the dried center from a giant sunflower. It becomes convex as it dries and makes a terrific form for a mask. I thinking right now about just how I am going to treat it.


    Posted by Judie | July 7, 2010, 7:31 pm
  2. Thanks so much for sharing this fascinating story of the mask and the symbolism connected to it. I have participated in mask making workshops and have made several of my own but haven’t ever used one as an avatar. But your article now has me thinking about doing so …. hmmmm


    Posted by timethief | July 8, 2010, 4:38 pm
  3. I think it’s great that you created a mask and then used your internal thoughts and applied them to the mask. Really neat idea. Great post …thanks


    Posted by agapistudios | July 8, 2010, 5:00 pm
  4. That is an amazing back-story to the creation of your avatar, I kind of thought the mask was from a movie but I couldn’t remember which one and now I realise why, you have added so much more depth and meaning to it. I know a little about the problems that arise from keeping your problems buried deep within and the thoughts that can arise from this. I too write to purge myself of unwanted emotion and to also free my mind from my daily pains and believe just like you that this is the best thing to do, great blog post.


    Posted by Andrew G. Carson | July 8, 2010, 5:01 pm
  5. The Greeks used masks in all their plays to symbolize the emotions and different states of being. Some poets like Yeats believed that one could only be oneself while wearing a mask, because then one would not be afraid to tell the truth. Thanks for sharing your particular story; I found it fascinating.


    Posted by nothingprofound | July 8, 2010, 5:08 pm
  6. Loved reading about this, I am training to be a therapist at the moment and love all things creative and art therapy related. We did a similar thing with masks, when trying to portray the negative emotions that we hold within. It is something that I would love to do again, as we only had a limited time and obviously I didn’t go as much into as you have with this. It is brilliant and makes a great avatar, especially now knowing the story behind it.


    Posted by Claire | July 8, 2010, 5:19 pm
  7. This is such an interesting story and i am so glad I clicked the link from your discussion thread.

    I had made such a wrong assumption – I thought the avatar looked like peeled flesh, I still do. So I wouldn’t have checked you out as I don’t like horror blogs.

    As NP has said, in Greek theatre, the actors always wore masks to denote emotions and i like the way you describe the creation of this mask as an expression of release.


    Posted by Ladygoodwood | July 8, 2010, 5:32 pm
  8. Hi J. This is great, How interesting to see what the meaning behind the mask is.

    You said, about holding in feelings…
    “I think that is much more scarier than really feeling and expressing them. Isn’t it worse to keep them tucked inside us?”
    Very true…
    And I agree art is a great catharsis! =)


    Posted by jayme | July 8, 2010, 10:59 pm
  9. As a child, my oldest nephew always wore some sort of mask to all family gatherings. Actually, it told us nothing about him as an indivitual, because the masks were always of known characters. He could never be himself. Since you created your mask, we now know something about you that we did not know, and that makes you more real to us. We want to know more!!

    Thanks for leaving a message on my blog.


    Posted by Judie | July 8, 2010, 11:04 pm
  10. Thanks everyone for responding to my post, I appreciate the input. 😉


    Posted by onecanvasonesoul | July 21, 2010, 5:44 pm

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Canvas Contents


All photos, artwork, and text is the creation and property of j.ajabad (JACK”E”). UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED! ANY and ALL pieces contributed to Canvas Poesiart are the sole property of the author(s) and or artist(s) who have generously submitted their work(s) to the Canvas Poesiart blog. (Whenever possible Canvas Poesiart gives proper credit and recognition to those who contribute to the blog.) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED! No part of this blog maybe copied or used without the written permission of the author(s) and or artist(s). !CANVAS POESIART LOVES WRITE!


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