I have a large library of inspiring expressive art books and I share some of my all-time favourites with you here. In my opinion, these books come from the depths of the artists/writers/therapists who wrote them. These books will truly inspire you to create, heal, and express yourself honestly.
1. Living Into Art - Journeys Through Collage by Lindsay Whiting. "Collage like life, is an improvisational art form. Living into Art reveals the candid and often profound thoughts of ten artists as they explore the rich and diverse ways in which the practice of collage cultivates their creativity, and spiritually engages their lives."
2. Visual Journaling by Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox."Most people who journal use words. But as this breakthrough book demonstrates, there is a more effective way to journal - using images. Simple drawings, crayon art, even doodles and stick figure, can help anyone - even those who believe they "can't draw" - move into deep reaches of feeling and intuitive knowing."
3. Drawing from the Heart by Barbara Ganim. "You do not have to know how to draw to benefit from this user-friendly guide to healing from even the most painful events. Split brain research shows that imagery penetrates more directly than words do to the deep levels of the unconscious, where true healing occurs."
4. Drawing as Sacred Activity by Heather C. Williams. "In our materialistic society, many people are not encouraged to embrace their creativity. So they quietly shut down that part of their inner lives. Even people who embrace their creativity may find themselves blocked by past emotions. Heather Williams has developed playful, yet profound exercises to teach not only the technical but also the emotional skills that artists and nonartists alike need to create and heal their lives."
5. Life Paint and Passion by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley and Point Zero by Michele Cassou."In Life, Paint and Passion, Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley show readers how to recover the magic of childlike, intuitive expression.
In Point Zero, Michele takes this refreshing process further by providing an original method of self-inquiry that can be used in the face of doubt, conflict and lack of creative inspiration."
6. Painting from the Source by Aviva Gold. "Imagine yourself painting with no hesitations, no conflicts. Your brush dips into pots of vibrantly colored paint; inner inspiration guides your hand into lines and shapes that find their perfect place on the paper."
Intuitive Free-Form Writing
7. Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg. "Natalie Goldberg, teaches a method of writing that can take you beyond craft to the true source of creative power - the mind that is raw, full of energy, alive and hungry."
Journal Writing for Self-Awareness
8. Writing the Mind Alive by Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon.
“Proprioception” comes from the Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own,” and this writing method helps synthesize emotion and imagination, generating authentic insight and catharsis. Proprioceptive Writing® is not formal writing, nor is it automatic or stream-of-consciousness writing. Requiring a regular, disciplined practice in a quiet environment, the method uses several aids to deepen attention and free the writer within
9. The New Diary by Tristine Ranier. "It is for everyone seeking concrete methods for dealing with personal problems. It is for women and men interested in acheiving self-reliance and inner liberation, for artists and writers seeking new techniques for overcoming blocks to creativity."
10. At a Journal Workshop by Ira Progoff. "To keep an intensive journal is the most creative and feasible way of mythmaking in modern life. It is a landmark in the history of psychology."
Journal Writing as a Way to Spiritual Experience
11. The Practice of Process Meditation by Ira Progoff "Teaches the use of profound, self-integrating diary feedback techniques - a creative way of working beyond analysis to remove inhibitions and blockages and clear the way for the next step in life."
12. The Fiery Muse by Teri Degler. "The Fiery Muse weaves the stories of the impassioned lives of great visionaries such as St. Hildegard of Bingen, Rumi and Walt Whitman, together with those of everyday people - who range form teachers and homemakers to artists and actors - to show how the creative spririt can transform your life."
13. The Artist's Way and the Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron. "Julia Cameron links creativity to spirituality by showing in non-denominational terms how to tap the higher power that connects human creativity with the creative energies of the universe."
14, The Inspired Heart by Jerry Wennstrom. In 1979 Jerry Wennstrom, a rising star in the New York art world, destroyed his paintings, gave away his posse s sions and money , and began consciously to empty himself of his identity. By letting go of his resistance to whatever life would bring, he was led to the heart of the miraculous."
15. The Mandala Workbook by Susanne F. Fincher. The Mandala Workbook offers a complete guide to mandala work, based on the Great Round - the twelve archetypal stages that represent a complete cycle of personal growth. Each stage offers a new way to connect with yourself and to discover the transformative powers of the mandala.
16. The Soul's Palette by Cathy A. Malchiodi. The Soul's Palette reveals art's transformative powers. Exercises for working with materials for drawing, painting, sculpting, and collage; simple drawing and journaling projects; self guided meditations and affirmations; ideas for cultivating intuition, inspiration and spontaneity; exploring personal symbols; and making art a spiritual practice.
17. Focusing Oriented Art Therapy by Laury Rappaport. Focusing provides an effective way of listening to the innate wisdom of the body, while art therapy harnesses and activates creative intelligence. This Focusing-based approach to art therapy integrates the two concepts so that the client can deepen their relationship with their inner self, allowing their mind to provide images that helpfully reflect their emotions and enabling them to express and understand these feelings in a meaningful way.
18. Mandala - Luminous Symbols for Healing by Judith Cornell. Mandala will guide readers of all levels through simple mandala exercises and easy-to-follow drawing techniques, incorporating meditation and guided visualization with lavish illustrations. By exploring the tradition of the sacred circle, readers will learn how to create their own unique and powerful works of sacred art and use the mandala symbol as a self-transformative tool that manifests and enhances their own spiritual consciousness.
19. Poetic Medicine by John Fox. Beyond poetry's elegant linguistic qualities lies a healing power of enormous beauty, and intensity. With Poetic Medicine, readers can gain access to this natural healing force, become productive poets , and feel the joy of using their own creative energy to make a difference not only within themselves but in the outer world as well.
20. Finding What You Didn't Lose by John Fox. This book is the key to finding what you never lost: the natural inclination to express yourself through the incomparable language of poetry. Readers will be reintroduced to their poetic voice and its unique ability to heal psychological wounds which may have held it captive.
21. Recovery of Your Inner Child by Lucia Capacchione. The inner child is within all of us. It's the part of us that feels emotions and is playful, intuitive and creative. Usually hidden under our grown-up personas, the Inner Child holds the key to intimacy in relationships, physical and emotional well-being, recovery from addictions, and the creativity and wisdom of our inner selves.
22. Sweat Your Prayers by Gabrielle Roth. In Sweat Your Prayers, international acclaimed movement and theater artist Gabrielle Roth offers the ground-breaking insights of her lifetime of teaching personal and spiritual development, guiding us to our potential for ecstacy. Roth's book is an expedition through five universal rhythms. These rhythms catalyze motion deep in the psyche. Each is a practical tool of awakening that will release us to dance on the edge, to be outrageous, to transform suffering into art and art into awareness.
Tarot and Creativity
23. The Tarot Activity Book by Andy Matzner - In this book, you'll learn how mixing tarot into the creative process is a fun and powerful way to stimulate your imagination. After all, each card is itself a mini artistic masterpiece, packed with symbolism and meaning. This makes them natural tools for developing self-awareness and personal transformation. This book will also be useful if you are a mental health professional or art teacher who uses the expressive arts in your practice. Inside, you will discover a wealth of creative and therapeutic ideas regarding how to incorporate tarot into the work you do with clients or students.
Expressive Art Prompts
24. Flow Story Telling Cards by Sari Eran Herskovitz - 48 illustrated cards of characters, objects and places to create a story together.