Without Emotions, Art is Just a Picture

Art therapy is just art unless you are allowing yourself to truly integrate your emotions into your art. Hopefully, you have been reading this blog with the intent of exploring your emotions through art. Sometimes this can be complicated because you may have subconsciously created something that may be hard for you to comprehend. So you should always take time to reflect on what you have created.

Upon reflection, you may find that your creation has a pretty straight-forward meaning, dominated by one emotion. Or you may have found that you created something just to relax through the process of creating it. Some pieces may have a more complex meaning that you must discover.

This is the stage of art therapy that is most helpful to have assistance from an art therapist. However, you can deduce some things on your own. First, consider how you felt while creating the piece: was there a certain emotion or set of emotions that you felt while you worked on it?

Most art has symbolism built into it. Art created for a therapeutic value is no exception. If you look hard at your art, you may find that you have integrated symbols into the images and colors that you have chosen. These symbols are extremely important, but can be hard to see easily. Some symbols are universal, but others are difficult to interpret because only you can see what they mean. Creating a personal color wheel can be extremely helpful in this step! Instructions can be found here.

Some other questions to consider while looking at your art:

  • What did you like most about the picture?
  • Did something take up a disproportionate amount of space in the picture?
  • Is there one color that you used more than others? What does that color mean to you?
  • What do you feel when you look at your picture? Maybe you should take a day to consider this question after some time away from the piece.
  • Is there a part that you are most drawn to? Focus on the symbolism that this particular piece may have for you?

These suggestions are in no way a replacement for a certified art therapist, but they are a good starting point. If you have started thinking that you may want to consider working diligently with an art therapist, there are many places that utilize art therapy in your area. A quick Google search is sure to pull up some qualified therapists in your area. If you do not feel like putting out the money for individual art therapy, there are many groups as well.

If you do not feel comfortable working with an art therapist and you wish to continue working on your own, you should continue to diligently keep an art journal. Good luck my friends!


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