My passion as a psychotherapist and expressive arts educator is to encourage people to love all parts of themselves - especially the places inside that have felt ignored, rejected or ridiculed in the past. In my own wellness journey, I have developed many creative processes that encourage emotional healing through self-loving honest self-expression.
Expressive art is honest and spontaneous art. It is emotionally healing to express aspects of yourself that might not get a lot of "air time" in your conscious awareness. Your socialized personality might be afraid of honest self-expression. And, while it has helped you to fit into our family, school and culture, it fears any kind of social disapproval.
In the process of socialization, you learn how to hide essential aspects of yourself from others. Yet, to heal the anxiety, sadness and anger of social and self-alienation, you will need to give yourself permission to express and love every aspect of who you are.
I have discovered many benefits in maintaining a personal daily expressive art practice such as decreased anxiety, the release of difficult emotions, and better self-understanding. I have also learned that sometimes we have to "trick" ourselves into creating spontaneously because we might be in the habit of following the rules, fitting in and "making nice."
Here are some fun ways to get started with a spontaneous art practice.
7 Spontaneous Art Exercises
1. Image and a Word: Choose one image and one word from a magazine and glue them onto a piece of paper or in your journal. Ask yourself, "How do this word and image reflect how I am feeling right now?"
2. Found Poetry: Tear out a page from an old book and circle words and sentences that activate you emotionally - positive or negative. Colour, doodle or paint around the words. Read your "found poem" out loud to give voice to a more subconscious part of yourself.
3. Scribble Drawing: Quickly draw a random scribble on your paper. Turn your scribble drawing around until your imagination sees a recognizable shape. Develop your shape with lines, patterns and colours. Give your scribble drawing a spontaneous name.
4. Magazine Face: Tear out a magazine page with a large face on it. Using felt pens or oil pastels, doodle, detail, and spontaneously draw within the face. Ask yourself, "How does this face reflect a part of my inner life?"
5. Healed Heart Collage: Draw or paint a heart while contemplatively asking yourself, "What would heal my heart today?" Spontaneously choose 1-5 words from an old book or magazine and glue them on your heart.
6. Draw a mandala: Trace a circle into your journal and draw detailed patterns from the inside-of-the-circle-out or the outside-of-the-circle-in with a black pen. Concentrate on the repetitive patterns and give your anxious thoughts a rest.
7. Colour a mandala: Using coloured markers, meditatively colour the mandala you have spontaneously created. This a great way to gather focus and energy when you feel exhausted or scattered.
Explore Expressive Art for Self Therapy HERE.