Monday, February 26, 2018

the significance of time and numbers

the significance of time and numbers

by paula timm feb 25, 2018

7 years ago since I left the hospital to start the very laborious healing process!! Just look at what 7 years can do... 
For the first time in 7 years, I haven't cried, as the date in which I fought to live, approached. 
I have normally found this day (February 15, 2011) to be significant and traumatic. This year, it approached, and I let it go, then thought of it, and then it would pass. I definitely recognized the day and it's intrinsic meaning. I recalled the struggle it took for me to rebuild my body after such a violent surgical accident and ensuing recovery. I thought of asking you to donate blood because there is always a shortage, and it took so many donations to save my life. However, I didn't and I didn't cry either. I quietly celebrated and felt grateful that I, perhaps, have finally, completed this chapter. 
I have been really intrigued by my anniversaries for these massive milestones. They have helped me see my progress in healing and the distance from these traumatic events. They have also helped me celebrate the steps that I have had to take to get to the eighth year of this profound journey.
Perhaps this new revelation is due in part, that recently, I was able to finally complete the third massive surgery. And after seven years since the first two, I also embark on a new chapter of my life and my pursuit of wellness through creativity. With less fear and illness in my body, I am sleeping better and feeling better, (with the exception of two massive falls which have set me back a few months!!).
I am also really intrigued by the connection of my lack of sadness to this anniversary and the potential connection to the number 7. The number 7 holds much meaning to differing cultures, the body, math, religion, metaphysics and more. The few that ring strongest which I had knowledge of were: The educational milestones of a 7 year old child. The physiological transformation to conscientiousness at age 7. The time it takes for the body to completely replace itself. Nerves are significantly healed after 7 years.
I have shared my thoughts with a few friends and learned of more. So I thought I should do a google and share:
-There are seven days in a week.
-The opposite sides of a dice always equal the number seven when added.
-seven continents
-on the seventh day.. and bazillion other religious meanings
-tangram is a puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes
-7 colours in the rainbow
-There are seven notes to the diatonic scale.
-There are seven letters in the Roman numeral system.
-The seven dwarfs
-breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck
-Number 7 is the number of perfection, security, safety and rest.
so.. I am really happy that this is alllll behind me. I am grateful for the knowledge, time and space that I have been given or that I have earned... this year is going to be amazing as I (crosses fingers and touches wood and throws salt and signed the cross) am healthy!
happy new year bitches.

Friday, January 12, 2018

#REALTALKFRIDAY – “I WILL BE OKAY”- originally posted

SOP: Your name is Paula Timm and you are a great artist. Explain your background.
PT: That is very kind of you to say, thank you. I grew up around creativity, both at home and at Waldorf school. These early influences ensured that creativity was in my bones, though once in public school, institutionalized art instruction gave me art scars’ to last a lifetime. The Teacher(s) gremlins of comparison, judgement, and ridicule made a profound impact on me which kept me from pursuing art as a vocation. This feeling, of not good enough, prevailed in every facet of my life. 
Not one to give up easily, I pursued employment that complimented my interests but grew my confidence with on the job training. My early resume was filled with roles such as Event Coordinator, Graphic Designer, Purchaser, Retail Manager, Bartender & Caterer.
In my mid twenties, I found myself chronically ill, I was diagnosewith two auto immune diseases – ulcerative colitis and celiac disease. I was already entrenched in the ‘too busy’ routines which intruded on my creative pursuits
Fortunately, while convalescing at home, art was what I turned to in order to pass the time. 
It was then, during the ebb and flow of sickness and health, that I saw my pattern emerge. While sick I would make time for art and would allow my dreams of pursing a creative life to bubble up. While healthier, I would slowly allow the grind of work to wear down my creative dreams for the security of regular pay check.
SOP: What happened recently that truly gave you an experience of a lifetime?
PT: My illness took me through 15 years of unsuccessful drugs and remedies and I continued doing jobs that sometimes gave me a glimmer of a creativity. It wasnt that I was unhappy; it was that I wasnt living the life that I had secretly dreamed of having.
I had no other drug options and I was frail, I was scheduled to have my colon removed and to be fitted with an ostomy bag. A surgical mistake occurred and my life changed forever. I was in ICU, on life support, and just waking from a drug induced coma; but with the knowledge that I had to live my life with creativity or joy
Seven years have past and have been a culmination of physical recovery, integrating an ostomy, intense Post Traumatic Stress exposure therapy and developing my career as an artist.
As if this wasnt enough, I did this all with the awareness that I would someday require an additional surgery to remove my remaining colon. I, and my doctors, gave me as much time as possible to allow me to prepare myself for this major surgery. 
I am now just 5 weeks post op from this much anticipated surgery. Made possible with years of therapy, art making, dream pursing and of course all with my supportive awesome husband, family and friends at my side.
SOP: How did the situation change your perspective about life?
PT: Through this, literal and figurative rebirth, I came to learn just how much of my life was spent suppressing emotions and its inherent cost to me physically. Although cliche, life is precious and fleeting, my near death experience emphasized the necessity to heal my fear and shame beliefs through self expression.
I started to make decisions through the lens of creativity and authenticity’ to make certain that I make wise decisions which developed my dreams into reality. I started by connecting with the community, sharing my work and facilitating art classes. Immersed in the arts community, the next logical step was to open my own studio. Not only a place for me to create, but a space for me to inspire others to help find their own creative voice. I now operate my dream studio at Calgarys art hub cSPACE King Edward.
SOP:  How did you use your passion of art through this experience? (Will include some of your fresh raw artwork you did during recovering times)
PT: In short, without expressing through art and writing, I might not be here today. I definitely expressed out’ how I was feeling through the meanderings of art making or the of cathartic process of writing. 
I make (art) depending on my ability to create. When physically limited, I make art on my iPad or in contemplative moments with my sketchbook.
When in the depths of therapy, my emotions have found safety in detail, layers and surreal collage. Most recently, in preparation for the most recent surgery, my art took an abstract turn – providing its own healing with expressive marks and comforting colour.
Still in recovery at home, I am creating on an iPad Pro, testing new boundaries of marks, abstraction and colour. With the worst behind me, I am both anxious and curious to see the next phase, yet to reveal itself.
SOP: What lessons do you have for our readers to learn about this story?
PT: I am sure each person will take away what they need from my story. However, if I had a message to impart, it is for you to know that your story can be rewritten too- and hopefully without all the drama and trauma of mine! 
We have such tough inner critics which hold us back from expressing – be it art, words, or emotions. I hope that I can inspire others to consider attempting the journey to connect with their own self expression.
SOP: Will you do a series of art about this whole experience as a story? If you do, we will keep update with you 🙂
PT: I will do a series/book on my life..and something which I have contemplated and attempted with some apprehension. My guess is until the book is experienced fully the book cant be written. Thanks for staying tuned! 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

happy new year and new me!

Just a quick note to say that I am healing super well and I am back at the studio for 2018!

classes start January 9th! hope to see you there.

oh.. and did you notice the new digs? we switched to WIX.. which is uber exciting because that means five years has passed since I committed to an creative+ joyful life! I recall wondering if taking the sale on the five year domain and hosting was crazy! well it might still be.. but I just signed us up for a few more yet again! so we are in it for the long haul! 

here's to conquering fears and seizing the day!

happy new year.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

how did it all get started?

I am approaching the ninth month since having my first studio and my first business. This is a dream come true and one that I have been cultivating since my teen years. I wanted to help people through creative play. I had a rough idea of the plan but I lacked confidence and belief in myself.

Instead, I opted for careers and/or activities that were both creative, personally rewarding, and fulfilling my desire to continually learn. Pretty resourceful for a girl that thought she wasn't good enough. Sadly, my own health became the focus of healing, I was diagnosed, in my mid 20's, with two auto immune diseases.  Even at that young age, I was already entrenched and the 'too busy' routines intruded on making art. Fortunately, while convalescing at home, art was what I turned to to pass the time

I repeated this pattern into my late thirties:
Get well at home and make art to pass the time 
Return to work and get too busy to integrate art into daily practice

Nearing my 40's, working in corporate Oil & Gas, which could not be construed as a creative job, yet I tried to infuse creativity, playfulness and fun into my work. I questioned if I was fulfilled and knew the answer but, still, lacked the confidence for my early entrepreneurial dreams.

My health continued to plague me, winding up for month long stays in hospital, I was getting more frail but didn't know how to turn the bus around. Another stay in hospital, this one was almost my last, I had opted for major surgery, a true last resort choice. Tragically, a surgical error during my operation almost ended this story here.

The best news to come from this trauma, I knew that I had to pursue my dreams regardless of my fear, confidence or know-how. I knew that I was given a second chance at life to live it with creativity and joy. I knew that I was meant to live; to share my passion, knowledge and joy with others. 

Skip past the next six years, they were rifled with pain, sadness and physical recovery, therapy, art making, a solo art show, and art teaching. Which brings us to last year, I started to see that my childhood dreams were nearing reality. 

I submitted a business proposal to be a tenant at cSPACE King Edward, a historical building, operating as an arts incubator, their mission: to ignite creativity, community, collaboration. I proposed that I would run a public interactive art studio which would offer art class/workshops, retail space and pop up gallery space. 

A point of interest- during the (six post op) recuperation years, I watched cSPACE grow their public presence, I attended fundraisers, public talks, and art events. Yet, not once, did I dream that I would, or could, be a tenant within their walls. Not even a secret imagination or dream. NEVER! I underscore this point as I want you, dear reader, to understand the power that fear has on our lives, dreams and potential.

I am sure you are curious, what was the turning point? Sadly, if it wasn't for the misfortunes of a few, I likely would have never applied to cSPACE. I had been renting an art classroom from a local art supply store, and without warning, they went out of business. I was left in a lurch, about to start the next session of art class. 

This was the ingredient which my dreams needed in order to take root. I contemplated renting an art studio but it didn't have the activity of a public space, which I had come to enjoy at the art store. After months of hauling my students to temporary locations, I stumbled on the potential of cSPACE. I was visiting a friend, telling her all about cSPACE, and reading allowed their recent 'call for tenants'. It was still lost on me at that moment, until I heard myself reading aloud, the square footage price and their ideal tenant. Reality set in, my fear was taken over by facts. I was able to apply my past classroom expenses, capacity, and required square footage, and my ideology. 

What had gotten in the way of my dreams again? My fear. It wasn't that I hadn't considered cSPACE, it was that I could not even fathom the possibility. I share this painful admittance, because I know that I am not alone in allowing FEAR to run my life. 

The lesson:
Hear your fear and show it reality; Speak to your dreams and show them you can.

The Paula Timm Artist Studio is located at cSPACE King Edward! I have a perfect space with the most amazing windows, six of them actually, the light pours in from dusk till dawn. I am not just doing what I had dreamed of, but exceeding them.

I would love to show you around my studio and I have the perfect opportunity to do just that! 
Alberta Culture Days 
cSPACE King Edward
1721-29 avenue sw, #125

September 29, 30, Oct 1
Family Friendly & FREE! 
Beer Tents, Entertainment, Musical Performances, Live art making, Studio Tours and more...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


the day has come. and i am prepping for my next surgery.
harder words have never been typed. or wait, they probably have. and that was when the last surgery happened.

if you're just tuning in, the abridged version of the past 12 years:
we moved to calgary
I worked for 2 years with an oil and gas company
I quit smoking which made my ulcerative colitis flare for a year non stop.
I was hospitalized for a month.
I started to hold it together but work stress kept creeping
I got bronchitis in september 2010
My dad died october 2010
My illness got worse.
I submitted to hospitalization in January 2011.
February I had my large intestine removed.
there was a fateful accident during the surgery.
I recovered for many days and years.

I believed that my art practice was the only thing left to try that would give me another lease on life.

and now I am here.
awaiting another surgery, hoping and wishing that it won't fall apart.


WHAT? I am on the Cover?

August 15, 2017

Recently, on a really brave day, I wrote my Creative Life Story and submitted it to Blank Spaces, a Canadian Literary Magazine. With a focus on all things creative, Blank Spaces offers regular columns/features in the many categories. 

They not only said yes to showcasing my written submission in the category of Different Strokes, but they featured my art on the front and back covers!

Want to purchase your own copy?

We have two options, save a tree and download a digital version. If you must, get a print copy to hang on your wall, because my digital mixed media piece, Nomad is the feature art for their cover!

Monday, August 14, 2017


AUGUST 3, 2017

I have enjoyed some paint nights with some lovely artists in my studio. The overwhelming sentiment on having a witness to art making, is that it's intimidating at first but quickly releases and becomes super rewarding. 

The rewards come in support from fellow artists; 
-commentary on what they love (which boosts your confidence on your work), 
..having fun with my ladies at a recent Painting Meetup!
-seeing a direction that you could implement, be it in colour, technique or subject matter. 

I could go on. But you get the gist, the panic quickly goes away and the community support grows exponentially.

Which brings me to you, I bet you have always wanted to do art but for the reasons stated above, you have opted to find an excuse? It's so common but a very unique feeling that shouldn't be underestimated, and nor should your courage!

I invite you to consider attending 
one or two of the following options....

No art is made during the meetup..but we talk about each artist's process. You 'can' share a piece that you have previously created or just show up to see how it all unfolds.
$5 fee
2nd Monday of each month


Designed for your pocket book and your heART!! Drop in to make art in a creative environment. No formal instruction - just creative support from fellow artists! 

B.Y.O.S. (bring your own supplies)
$20 fee
Weekly on Wednesdays
4-9pm (drop-in for all or some)

Are you wanting to get your art on too? Let me know, I would be happy to host a special class for you and perhaps a group of your choosing!

Get a feels for my teaching style here and then give me a shout here!

...hope to see you getting BRAVE soon!!

Paula J. Timm