Spontaneous Drawings to Release Stressful Emotions
Years ago, when working full-time, immersed in the heavy politics of health care, I needed to find a way to release the stresses and injustices of the day.
I found that if I did not have an expressive outlet everyday, my unprocessed emotions would gather speed and accumulate in my body by the end of the week.
If I did not release my emotions each day, I would feel heavy and thick with by Friday. My weekend would then be spent processing the unsettling emotions from the week.
I started my series of expressive pastel drawings as a form of daily release, and it took only 5 or 10 minutes a day. I created my pastel drawings in bed each night before falling asleep with the intention of releasing my conflicts and upsets from the day. In the morning I contemplated my drawing over tea before going to work.
If your life feels uncertain or tumultuous, I invite you to view my expressive pastel drawing process below:
Spontaneous pastels are a meditative exploration of color, feeling and gesture. The drawings I am sharing with you are my exploration of color, gesture and line to express an unknown feeling inside. A good way to start a spontaneous pastel drawing is to feel into your body for any sense of unease, and to intuitively create a drawing that expresses your discomfort.
If you cannot find any discomfort, tune into where your body is feeling well-being or joy and set an intention for what you would like to understand about your life right now.
A good reference for this kind of expressive drawing is Barbara Ganim's and Susan Fox's book Visual Journaling.
If you want to draw your image for the day and set it aside for self-reflection at a later date go ahead. Or, you could ask your drawing some questions.
Dialogue questions from the book Visual Journaling can profoundly increase your understanding of your drawings, which I will share with your here. It is also helpful to set a specific intention before you draw and then dialogue with your drawing to give direction and meaningful structure for your spontaneity. You could ask before you draw, for example, "What is this heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach?"
After your drawing is finished, imagine your drawing is coming alive and speaking to you. You are literally asking the deeper part of you questions from your conscious mind. Writing out the answers with your non-dominant hand is often a helpful way to access your subconscious thought system.
Dialoguing With Your Drawing to Clarify Emotions
1.) As you look at your drawing, how does it make you feel?
2.) How do the colors make you feel? For example, if the colors are dark, you could you be feeling alone and isolated. If the drawing is playful and bright, is it telling you that you are feeling happy and full of fun?
3.) Is there anything in your drawing that disturbs you? If so what? Write a few sentences about why this part disturbs you.
4.) What do you like best about your drawing? Write a few sentences about why you like this aspect of your drawing.
5.) What have you learned from this drawing - about how you feel?
6.) Are these emotions related to a particular current issue or concern? If so, what is it?
7.) Does knowing what you feel about this issue or concern help you deal with it? If so, how?
30 Day Expressive Drawing Challenges
Try 30 days of expressive drawing and see if it helps you to feel better emotionally. If you want me to follow me along on Instagram tag me @shelleyklammer. The hashtag is: #30dayintuitiveartchallenge
And, if you complete the challenge I will send you a free 30 day morning pages journaling course to support you to release even more stress!
View the challenge HERE.