Years ago, my daughter struggled with a lot of negative emotions. Home life was difficult back then, everybody walked on eggshells, so naturally there were a lot of emotions that needed sifting through. But emotions can get blocked in high-stress situations where you don’t feel safe to release them–which can make it difficult to address them. Talking isn’t always helpful. Sometimes it’s the least effective way to process things. This was the case for my daughter, so we tried a different approach.
One particularly bad day, I suggested she get out my acrylic paints and some canvas paper and paint her feelings out onto them. She did so. The resulting pictures were filled with lots of black and bits of red and grey all mashed together. She painted probably 4-5 pictures and kept painting until she felt better.
Over the years she has gone through periods where she paints abstractly to process her emotions. She doesn’t judge what comes out, and that is the key. She chooses her colors intuitively and goes with what her heart tells her to put on the page, even if it’s “ugly”. It has been highly therapeutic for her to do this.
We create for many reasons. One of those reasons can be release. You don’t have to show anyone your results unless you want to. Sometimes a creative block is an emotional block, and art can become the perfect therapy. Why not use your creativity in rudimentary form to release stuck emotions? It’s at least worth a try, right?
This Week’s Challenge–Paint Out Emotions
Try painting a strong emotion that comes up for you–either positive or negative. You can get cheap paper, a brush, and paints at Wal-Mart. Really, any creative medium will do, but paints flow and blend and mix on the page, like emotions.
Choose colors that feel like your emotion. Don’t judge your choices or second guess them. Don’t judge your work or have any expectation at all, just let the colors blend and mix and form. There is no skill required for this exercise. Think of the emotion and put color on the page with the intent to release it.
P.S. Really don’t want to try paints? Try a similar exercise using crayons.