This month for my blog series celebrating creatives from around the world who are Living Life In Colour I interviewed the very talented Kirsten Olson Malinee.  I am sure you will love this very open and honest interview with Kirsten where she talks about her journey and her ongoing battles with herself, she is one amazingly brave lady.



I was lucky to meet and hang out with Kirsten during my trip to the states earlier this year.  When I asked Kirsten to describe what she does and who she is, her response was “I love this question and the truth is, I might answer it differently on any given day because I consider myself a constant work in progress and always give myself the right to revise at will.”

Kirsten blogs and lives online at The Creative Freedom Project ( In addition to The Creative Freedom Project which is where her personal art exploration and my coaching biz reside, she’s also launching a new venture in storytelling called Verbatim ( She’s an actor and director by training and an “iPhoneographer” and digital mixed media fanatic in her spare time.

Welcome Kirsten!

Where do you practice your creative living?

I live in Columbia, MO which is right in the very middle of the United States in what we call the “Heartland”. In the almost half-decade of my existence I’ve lived in Texas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York City, Brooklyn, and Missouri again. I’ve never had the opportunity to live or spend an extended amount of time in another country, but someday…

What was your journey to becoming an artist?Whatif Kirsten

I was raised to be a performing artist. I grew up on the stage and in the ballet studio, but my journey to becoming a visual artist, which began about three years ago, was a complete surprise to me. I found myself incredibly attracted to the work of mixed media artists and I began buying books on art journaling. I’ve always had a journaling practice, but art journaling was new to me. I started absorbing artist’s websites and blogs, art magazines, and art journaling books and I was swept away by the possibilities. I have no formal art training/education – other than basic art appreciation classes from college, but I didn’t start creating what I call my “trial and error style” of art until recently.

What inspires you to create?

Curiosity and a strong desire for self-expression and connection. I see something I like and I want to try it. I always want to know how and why artists create their work. And I think I’ve become more interested in the ‘why’ than the ‘how’. The ‘why’ for me is to express something unnameable inside me that wants to be seen and shared. I think my deepest longing is to connect with others. There’s a big gap between what I desire to create and my skill to create and shortening this gap is also an inspiration. I love a learning curve.

I definitely inherited a love of learning from my Great Aunt, A.J., who at 82 years young told me she wanted to learn how to do energetic healing with animals. I ran out and got her a book on the subject right away. She was fascinated by so many things and never stopped being curious. Her natural inclination for growing throughout her life and her passion for life is a constant inspiration to me.

Kirsten artworkWhat do you love about being an artist?

I love living in the realm of infinite possibilities and I think artists of all kinds hold that door open for us. I also love the toys – glue, scissors, paper, paint … the list goes on and on. And I love meeting and connecting with other artists. The people I’ve met (online and in person) since I began this journey have all been incredibly generous and welcoming. It’s so much fun to spend time with people who have rediscovered the joy of play as adults. The lucky ones never lose that joy as adults, but I think most of us have to relearn how to be kids again.

I also love the metaphor of being an artist in life AND being the artist of your life. Creating something that didn’t exist before is empowering that’s why I think of creativity as a human superpower.

What essential mistakes have you learned from along the way?

The biggest mistakes I’ve made have been in my own head – when I judge myself or my art or deny myself permission to try something new or compare my art to someone else’s. Negative self-talk can be so intimidating and we (I) often take the words of our inner critic as fact. I try to stay aware of my self-talk and I’m continually learning how to get out of my own way. And, in contrast to that, is my big beautiful ego who thinks if it isn’t a Picasso it’s worthless.

I think the ego and the inner critic are often in cahoots. My ego loves to run way down the road ahead of me and invent intimidating scenarios that I will never be able to catch up with or live up to. What I’ve learned from this is: I can’t avoid these mental traps and rabbit holes, but I can negotiate them by doing my best to stay in the moment so I can take the next action – I can’t paint like Picasso, but I can dip my paintbrush in the blue paint and put it on my canvas and stay open to what happens. The inner critic and the ego live in a world where mistakes can stop you in your tracks – my task is remain in the realm of possibility and make the next happy mistake, and the next, and so on.


What is your favourite piece of equipment and why?

Oh, goodness. It’s not equipment, but I’d have to say – cardboard. I love painting on cardboard and making art out of recycled paper. The trunk of my car, my art room, and a good portion of my basement are full of cardboard that I’ve saved from the trash. Painting on cardboard was a big ‘aha’ moment for me. I signed up for an online class called Cardboard Crush (I’ve written about it on my blog) and I haven’t looked back since. I discovered that I love creating painted junk journals and books out of recycled materials. It really opened a door for me.

Do you have any tips for new artists?

Yes! Go for it and get messy. Don’t wait for a permission slip. If you’re curious to see if something will ‘work’, just try it. There are a couple of mantras that have really kept me moving forward lately. The first one isn’t mine. I found it on a yoga blog. “Always be a student of what you love.” Isn’t that wonderful? I read that and I felt like I had discovered THE sentence that sums up my life. There is so much permission in that sentence because even when you become a ‘master’ at something, you will always be a student – because the possibilities are infinite. And the second mantra came to me in the shower just this week, “Spend more and more time each day with the woman you want to become.” Just begin and spend a little time each day playing and exploring.

What is one thing about you which you think would surprise people?

Hmmmmm. (I suppose I should pick one of the least shocking things.) Well, I was just thinking about all the things I’ve just shared and I think it makes me sound like I’m this incredibly brave and adventurous woman and I’m not. I’m an introvert and I can be very shy at times even though I’ve spent a large part of my life on stage and as a teacher. Still, when I begin something new, I always have to move past my own fear and hesitation. It doesn’t seem to go away and the effort it takes to move past fear and hesitation is fluid – one day I can move on very quickly and the next I can spend hours dithering around afraid to begin – and those are the days when it’s most important to begin. So I’m an introvert who loves performing, loves art, and craves self-expression and connection. Does that make sense? I hope so.



Twitter: @KirstenOlson

Instagram: kirs10malinee

Websites: and


8 thoughts on “Creatives Living Life In Colour – Kirsten Olson Malinee

  1. So good to know you better Kirsten. Love your art style. Yes Cardboard looks like a totally fun medium. Thank you Angela for this series. I love reading about other artists journeys. So much to learn. And so many new friends to make.

    1. Hi Prerna

      Thank you for your encouragement I love finding out more about how artists got to where they are, plus the interviewees have been so open that they inspire my readers to give it a go!

      Lovely to see you here xxx

  2. Always be a student of what you love – that phrase opens up so many possibilities for creative people. Thank you for sharing this and the joyful work and life of Kirsten!

    1. Hi Christine

      Yes that phrase was sooo inspirational – it gave me goosebumps!

      Lovely to see you here xxx

  3. I love these interviews Angela. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us Kirsten. Keep on shining your light. <3

    1. Thank you Nadine

      Yes I love so much finding out about my fellow creatives journeys and showing my readers that they could all do something creative too!

      Thank you for commenting Nadine xxx

  4. Angela,
    Thank you so much for posting this! I really appreciate being connected with you and our Creatively Fit family.
    (((((hugs to you)))))

    1. You are so welcome Kirsten I am blessed to call you one of my creatively fit family xx

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