Can You Make A Mistake?

Can you make a mistake? Today’s art therapy exercise might be challenging on many levels as we explore our emotions connected to making mistakes. Please find some paper and a pen (not a pencil-no erasing for this art project). Now find a mirror and station yourself close to this mirror. Please look only at your reflection and not at the paper, and attempt to create a self-portrait. This technique is known as “contour drawing.” Finding a starting point on the paper and work your pen across the page as you imagine where things should go. Try as hard as you can not to look down as you draw.

The results will be surprising, and nowhere close to perfect. Please be aware of your reaction or feelings as you draw, and take note of these feelings. Any voices in your head telling you that you can’t make mistakes or that your image isn’t up to par? Can you identify the voices (maybe a parent or teacher from your past)? Can you write down some emotions you observe in the drawn image? Contour drawing can be a powerful and cathartic art form to allow one to confront hidden emotions, especially when doing a self-portrait. Walking away and coming back several hours later also might be a helpful technique to make observations about the emotional state of the image.

Yesterday’s project: Did you find a huge difference between the inside and outside of your mask? This mask making exercise can be a great tool to explore these hidden feelings. People often claim they feel more at peace when their inner and outer masks are aligned. if you found a divide between the two sides, is there someone you can share this information with whom you trust? Revealing these secrets and discovering that our loved ones still love us with all of our flaws can be a powerful experience.


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