Today we will investigate the gigantic topic of forgiveness. Holding any grudges these days? Often these feelings of anger and resentment tend to control us rather than us controlling them. Sound familiar? Anger, shame, and sadness are usually the common emotions connected to the grudges we hold toward others. Can you think of any that you might be able to tackle today? Please find some paper. Draw or write the thing or person causing your to feel has wronged you in some way. Once you have that image or word on paper, continue to write down more words and feelings associated with this. Once you have completed this exercise, please tear this paper up into many small pieces, imagining how forgiveness (even if they were at fault and you were the one hurt) might feel if you let go of the negative feelings. Don’t throw the paper scraps away just yet, because we might use the torn pieces for another art exercise later in the week. If this is topic is one that needs investigating, this art project is likely to stir up a lot of emotions. Before you begin, think of a positive form of self soothing that you can use when completing this project.
Yesterday’s project: Did you find it easy or difficult to say goodbye to something negative in your life? Acknowledgment is the first step to letting go of something that might be harming you. Did you find the letter writing technique helpful?
Do you have some extra baggage floating around? This week we began exploring our inner critic. Today we will continue to investigate parts of ourselves that we need to say goodbye to through a letter writing technique. Please think of something you need to let go of such as: a bad habit, negative attitude, addiction, inner critic, anger, a grudge, etc. Find some paper and a pen and begin your letter as, “Dear—-“filling in the blank with this particular thing you are letting go of. Say why it is time to say goodbye and discuss how your life will be improved without its presence. Say goodbye and wish it well. Ask yourself if you are controlling this or is this thing controlling you? How will your life improve without it. This type of exercise could hit home of something very profound in your life and again cross the line of where a limited blog such as this cannot be effective if you are in need of more help. If this stirs up some serious emotions, please share your information with a loved one or seek help from a local mental health provider.
Yesterday’s project: This was a challenging one. Where you able to “let go” and draw the rhythm of the beat? Congratulate yourself for trying, because an exercise such as this flies in the face of conventional and predictable drawing. Was this a relaxing activity or too stressful because it involved an improvisational element?
Can you draw sound? Why not? Please put on some music, find a pen and paper and let your hand move to the rhythm of the beat. Sound complicated? This art exercise is meant to follow the previous day’s idea of exploring our inner critic and hidden creativity. Would you like to challenge yourself? Please find a completely different style of music, put it on and try the same exercise again. No one will grade you, no one will judge you on this, and if you are uncomfortable, please tear up your final product.
Yesterday’s Project: How is your inner critic? Is it preventing you from being more creative? Acknowledging that there is an inner critic to begin with is the first step to squelching it in its tracks.
Have you ever told someone that you are not creative? Today we will explore the origins of that message playing in your head. Please find a piece of paper, and ignore the inner critic telling you not to go and find the paper. Find a pencil or pen as well, continuing to ignore that inner critic trying to talk you out of these activities. Draw something, anything, even if it is just a stick person or a doodle. As you draw, listen closely to the messages going through your head….The goal here is to find the source of the negative talk, explore it, then replace it with a more positive message encouraging you to embrace your creativity. This might not be an immediate process, but a stepping stone in a new direction.
Yesterday’s project: How does your tiny graffiti wall feel? Were you able to let go and free form “stuff” onto your page? Did you use more words or images? If you showed it to a friend, could they learn more about you? Did it convey any emotions? Did you find the process engaging and enjoyable?
Please find a small piece of paper. For today’s art exercise please use your doodling ability to create a mini graffiti wall. Graffiti and doodling share a similar style of being completely free form. Try to fill up your small piece of paper using this free form style, Think of words, shapes, phrases, moods and let yourself go. You might even focus on expressing what took place in the course of your day, or what kind of thoughts and feelings are floating around your head. Don’t worry too much about the final product, just try to enjoy the process!
Yesterday’s project: Were you able to think of mundane things in your mid January life to feel thankful for? Was this list different from the one created several weeks ago? Did creating this list elevate your mood? Sometimes shifting our focus can give us a new perspective on things. That was the simple goal of this exercise.
One of the first posts on this blog requested that readers create a thankfulness list. That directive was done close to the New year, and following vacation time for many people. Now that we are deep into January, please think about how your day has unfolded today, and create a small list observing the things in your day for which you are thankful. Please take a few minutes to think of the seemingly mundane aspects of your day which can be appreciated if viewed from the right angle. Write or draw about these on a paper and tuck it away somewhere.
Yesterday’s Project: Did you think of something you would like to share with your loved ones? This topic of communication is one we will cover extensively over the year, because lack of communication is often the source of most conflict in relationships. How did it feel to write your statement on the page? Did you feel the urge to hide this art or destroy it? Could you share your information with somebody? Is there a fear of disappointment? Could the information you are withholding enhance your relationship, even if it is not something positive? Sometimes honesty is appreciated even when it is painful. It can deepen a relationship and be a relief for the person who has been withholding their feelings.
In honor of today’s focus on freedom of speech and the internet, many large websites are protesting by blocking their sites. Wikipedia has gone blank, and Google has covered up their name for the day as an outcry to the discussion taking place on Capital Hill about setting limits on the internet. For today’s art project, we will explore our own freedom of speech through a small art exercise. Draw a stick figure ( or a more elaborate version if you are feeling creative) of yourself and a word balloon above it. Can you write something that you have wanted to share but haven’t felt comfortable doing? Feel free to write it and then tear the sheet up if you are still not ready to share this information, but please be aware of your feelings as you write the words you would like to share.
Yesterday’s drawing: A Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle, but incorporates an idea of wholeness and our connection to the world. This brief paragraph is not enough space to truly define the meaning, and if you are interested, please research Mandalas on your own. The powerful symbolism of creating art within a circle can be found in many cultures. What did you create in your own circle? What kind of mood does the image convey? Were you able to add words to the outer part of your Mandala to make better sense of what you created on the inside?
Today we will continue with the Mandala created yesterday. Can you add one words on to your piece that describe it? Can you give it a title? Do you like it? Do you want to make more Mandalas? Was the process relaxing? Did you spend a lot of time on it? Were you surprised by the image you drew or the colors you added? Take a few minutes to add these extra things or even to place your circle into an environment on the page. We will check in tomorrow with some question and more ideas to analyze it.
For today’s art exercise, I will give you very little instruction, but only ask that you draw a large circle on a piece of paper and fill it in. It might filled with just color, just words, just images or something simple. Please don’t think to hard or get caught up in the word “Mandala” as you create your art for today.
Yesterday’s Project: Were you able to recall any dreams? Were you able to put it on paper in the form of an image? Sometimes putting it aside for a few days and then going back to it might be enlightening. Sometimes our dreams might be trying to tell us something that we are neglecting in our lives or it might be a way of for our brain to process events that took place in the days leading up to your particular dream. This dream interpretation is a topic that definitely deserves more than a paragraph of attention. If you feel like this topic needs to be explored further, please continue to investigate through your own drawings and/or sharing your thoughts with people whom you trust.
Can you think of any dreams you have had recently, even last night? Can you draw this dream? When we try to share a dream through speech, it is often quite difficult, due to the limitations of putting elaborate pictures into words. Our dreams often have so many elements to them that a drawing, even a simple one with stick figures and rudimentary forms, can help us make better sense of them. Dream analysis is an activity that spans many cultures and many thousands of years of our collective human history. Keep it simple if this sounds intimidating, by even just writing words for images if you don’t feel comfortable drawing. Sometimes seeing the whole dream on a page can be enlightening.
Yesterday’s project: Did you enjoy creating an Artist Trading Card? Did you find the size enjoyable? Can you identify an emotion connected to the card you created? Did you make more than one, and give one away? Would you make more? Sometimes we need permission to create, and can find a million things to do before we allow ourselves to just sit down and experiment with a new activity. If you found Artist Trading Cards enjoyable, please consider using this medium again!