"When we engage in the creation of our own art forms, we receive big benefits to our minds, both physically and mentally. When we produce art with our own hands, there is increased neural connectivity in the area of the brain that deals with introspection, memory, and self-monitoring. Therapeutic Art can be done in mentoring, However, the healing potential of art is not only effective in a counseling or psychotherapy setting. Therapeutic Art techniques and approaches can be completed at home, work, or school without a therapist."
"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life"
Sounds a lot like Jesus, right?
He will reveal more to you in abstract imagery than written language
It’s no surprise, then,
that many people around the world use Art
as a vehicle to Find greater Peace and Meaning
"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life"
Sounds a lot like Jesus, right?
He will reveal more to you in abstract imagery than written language
It’s no surprise, then,
that many people around the world use Art
as a vehicle to Find greater Peace and Meaning
The TRUE Gospel of Jesus
is more than a life coach!
is the greatest Painting of all and you're apart of it!
Benefits of Therapeutic Arts;
Promotes self-expression of feelings, and emotions. The activity of making art makes people more grounded, relaxed, and lighter. It promotes a feeling of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
Helps children work through their emotions, family dynamics and difficult experiences.
Encourages healthy coping mechanisms and strategies through problem solving through art.
Facilitates insight, empathy, and acceptance of other’s life challenges.
Explores, manages, and provides insight into traumatic experiences such as traumatic childhood events and motor-vehicle accidents. It helps people to identify their various fight-flight or freeze reactions to their triggers.
Helps people integrate complicated concepts such as cultural identity, reaching a harmonious sense of self.
Empowers and gives a voice to those who receive coaching. Once integrated with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, it can foster a more positive perspective on life by facilitating the processing of grief and reaching a positive perspective on one’s life. (It is important to know that you don’t have to be a talented artist in order to try therapeutic art. Human beings are innately creative, and all you need to do to complete an art therapy activity successfully is, to be honest with yourself and your emotions. Once you unleash your creativity, your inner artist will quickly wake up to the healing process of art creation).
What are Therapeutic Arts with integrated concepts?
Art is a relaxing and inspiring activity for many people. However, the particular benefits of artistic expression go much further than relaxation and enjoyment. Studies suggest that therapeutic art can be very valuable in treating issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and much more. It is a great way to express your emotions without words, process complex feelings and find relief. Art has been used throughout human history to express the depths of human experience because our minds understand the abstract or symbols at a deeper level than language.
I am a certified therapeutic and integrated arts specialist with a background in conceptual, visual and expressive art, and integrated art education. The arts are more than visual, they are therapeutic, conceptual and communicative- a universal language that has been in existence since cave-drawings through expressing emotion and communicating concepts. Integrated art is an important approach in teaching diverse and overlapping concepts while the process of creating art is a useful tool in fostering mental well-being. I have found that my diverse background in visual and conceptual art has been instrumental in the quick and adaptive, innovative and diverse lesson planning to best reach learners of multicultural, ESL, special needs and neurodiverse learning styles and spectrum of diversified needs. I have found that through the creative process of art making with students, that the creative process is an instrumental outlet for fostering confidence, positive self identity and discovery, belonging and interaction, and creates an atmosphere of calming self-expression that may heal unresolved inner tension.
Therapeutic art coaching is an integrative health and services field that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience. Therapeutic art techniques have been used to help individuals, particularly young children, develop social skills and raise self-confidence. It’s a noble addition to positive psychology, as at its core, it seeks to help individuals overcome emotional or psychological challenges to achieve a greater sense of personal wellbeing. A certified therapeutic art life coach is not a clinical therapist and will not give medical advice (Art therapists have advanced clinical degrees in psychology), but is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy paired with therapeutic and expressive art techniques that benefit those suffering with anxiety, depression, trauma, adhd, addiction, ptsd, and much more.
Therapeutic art coaches understand the positive psychology, CBT, and art techniques behind how to use therapeutic art to access the subconscious mind and change limiting patterns and beliefs. These techniques help clients increase the subconscious state of flow, manage their emotions in a positive way, and feel more centered. Coaches use their therapeutic art training to assist clients in reducing stress, resolving emotional barriers, and increase self-awareness, intuition, and creative self-expression. Free form art expression is used to encourage people to talk about the images and look for meaning and insight. Along with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), therapeutic art can increase self-awareness and decrease anxiety through many forms of therapeutic art including drawing, painting, coloring, sculpting, clay molding, mandalas, positive affirmations, and vision boards to name a few. Now more than ever, therapeutic art is a beneficial tool used with children, adolescents, adults, seniors, groups, families, veterans, people suffering with anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional problems (substance abuse/addictions, family and relationship issues, social and emotional difficulties, trauma and loss, physical, cognitive, and neurological problems).
Christ-Centered Therapeutic Art: Expressive Art, Spirituality and
Integrated Biblical Principles;
Psychology and spirituality are often kept in separate boxes, lessening the power of each to work effective changes. The truth is, God is present in art and the process of creation. Clients who need foundational grounding will benefit from the psychological and spiritual dimensions of Christ-Centered therapeutic arts. My Christ-Centered therapeutic art technique is a blended field of expressive therapeutic practice that combines art and psychology, spirituality, utilizing the creative process, artistic techniques, and external artwork to support individuals to develop self-awareness, explore emotions, and address unresolved conflict or trauma by fostering a meditative environment centered in biblical truth.
If you think about it, God, as Creator, is an artist. We read in Gen. 2:9 that “the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” There was both beauty and usefulness. The stars, sunsets, snowflakes, flowers, mountains, bunnies, butterflies, etc., were not just created for our survival, but for our enjoyment and to reflect His glory. In Ex. 25-31, Yahweh lays out detailed plans for His tabernacle, a portable sanctuary where He would “dwell among them” (Ex. 25:8). These holy specifications for the tabernacle, its furnishings, decorations, and attire for the priests included all kinds of artistic materials or mediums such as precious metals and stones, colored yarns, fine linen, goat hair, ram skins, hides from sea cows, and wood. This communal art and construction illustrates the power and purpose of excellent expressions of creative artwork that enhanced the Israelites’ ability to experience the very presence of God. John, in Rev. 21:18-21, gives a detailed description of the New Jerusalem, which includes gold and precious stones adorning its walls.
For centuries, ancient art designs have been used for meditation and self-exploration such as mandalas, as well as modern day artistic approaches for goal setting and scriptural manifestation, such as vision boards and bible art. Mandalas are a therapeutic art tool, spiritually symbolic, and found in Christian art since the beginning of Christ. As in other cultures, the round shape in Christianity represents the universe, and therefore, is seen as a way to connect the earthly and spiritual realms. Whether in the form of windows in a church or as a rosary, mandalas are used to take the time to contemplate the self and the divine. Once again, we see a link between excellence in art and architecture and God’s presence. The more we meditate on scripture during the creative process, the more we invite the Holy Spirit into our existence.
Art, like any other created means, is a vehicle for the presence of God to move in and through. It functions almost as a stealth language by which God can commune with us as Kingdom artists, as well as speak to the viewer in beautiful ways that bypass the cognitive, left-brain processing of information. Art speaks directly to the emotion, beauty and desire portions of our brain. It goes deep and can be used to affect significant change. Every artist has been given an invitation to co-create with the Creator of the Universe. As we cooperate with Him, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can reveal, reflect and release his image, nature and presence into the world through our creative expression. It's simply mind-blowing and yet, that's His invitation to us.
The Bible is the Word of God and is powerful to transform people’s lives. Christ-centered activities using Scripture memory and meditation in cognitive behavior therapy techniques can help those experiencing feelings of guilt, demonstrating anxiety, suffering from trauma, stress, or depression, experiencing interpersonal conflicts, and more. The use of prayer and scripture in combination with CBT seems to be a very effective technique to help clients make sense of their difficulties. Christ-centered therapeutic art approaches can achieve long-term change and freedom from memories that are affecting people’s lives. Supplemental psychology processes are used for helping clients unlock the power of their minds by Changing their thoughts and beliefs, Using affirmations to increase their confidence, and Using visualization to rewire their brain and transform their life. (“Christ did not come to condemn the world, he came to save it. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).” Spirituality and psychology go hand in hand;
Scripture as a transformative tool;
First, the Bible plays an experiential role in our lives, providing a rich resource for wisdom and personal maturity.
Second, Scripture plays a foundational role, providing a common starting point for understanding our basic assumptions and beliefs.
Third, it plays a contextual role that allows us to understand human nature, meaning, and purpose in life.
Fourth, Scripture plays an axiological role, giving us standards for what should be.
Fifth, the Bible plays an anthropological role, providing us an awareness of the historical narrative of human sin and divine redemption.
Sixth, it plays a canonical role, providing an unchanging standard of truth.
Seventh, Scripture plays a dialogical role, providing rich resources for discussion and comparison between psychological knowledge and special revelation.
Eighth, the Bible plays a creative role, allowing us to consider and explore concepts and ideas that might not be considered from a purely psychological worldview.
Therapeutic art gives tangible imagery to reflect upon abstract emotions and concepts. During the creative process focused on Christ, profound truths aligned in past experience or personal revelation may be discovered in a given passage. Most importantly, the visual element, and the repetition of studying and sharing, helps keep the passage alive in the student’s mind. That visual summary of Scripture stays fresh, is reflected upon, and is lived out in individual Christian lives. Christ centered therapeutic art invites the healing power of Christ into our lives, encourages biblical discussion, and celebrates Christ.
The means God has provided to enable this to happen is the Bible: for God’s words are powerful to change us, because they were written by God the Holy Spirit—and the same Spirit applies them to our lives today. This is unlikely to be effective with a read and forget approach to reading the Bible; which is why we need to do more than read, we need to meditate. It is in meditating on God’s teaching that fills our minds, hearts and lives with God’s truth. If God’s words manifest in our thoughts, then they will manifest in our life, speech, and actions.. And we will become fertile and fruitful, as Psalm 1 tells us: They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper (1:3).
Meditating on scripture along with the engagement through art making can lead to spiritual growth and changes in thought patterns in the brain, ultimately altering dysfunctional behaviors. Art making in a therapeutic environment can create changes in neural network connections as well as increase cognitive flexibility. As options for solving a “creative task” problem expand during the creative process, so do opportunities for neuroplasticity and long-term changes in neural networks in the brain. During the creative process, neurons are utilized and connected in new ways that were not previously connected, therefore increasing possibilities for change and increased healing opportunities.
During therapeutic art lessons, the client has an opportunity to express and externalize his or her inner thoughts and feelings related to the traumatic experience as well the opportunity to process these thoughts and feelings with an empathetic other, the therapeutic art coach. Evidence points to the benefit of not only recounting a challenging experience in the past, but also the importance of reframing those experiences as meaningful and connected to a core belief system. Art making can be a vehicle for the expression and externalization of deep and intense emotions and memories. Reclaiming the authorship and perceived meaning of past experiences through art making and biblical principles results in an increased sense of flexibility regarding reactions to external events. This increased flexibility and malleability transforms past negative memories from uncontrollably invading present functioning. Studies also show that creating art stimulates the release of dopamine. This chemical is released when we do something pleasurable, and it basically makes us feel happier. Increased levels of this feel-good neurotransmitter can be very helpful if you are battling anxiety or depression.
What is Christ-Centered Mentoring?
Jesus has come to provide us with LIFE that will bring healing and hope.
Spiritual/biblical principles are used that specialises in dealing with our problems by discovering who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. Our mission is to know Jesus Christ and make disciples who experience life in Him through the message of the cross.
Christ centered mentoring is not merely pyschotherapy that happens to be led by a Christian. It is a method of mentoring that utilizes spiritual and Biblical counseling principles to help understand how Jesus and the good news of the gospel will help you find freedom, contentment and life. For we believe the Jesus is our answer.
In this kind of counseling, the Holy Spirit, not the counsellor, is the ultimate therapist and healer. God becomes the agent of change, provided the counselee cooperates with Him. Our goal is to convey a way of freedom from mental and emotional symptoms, family and marital conflict, as well as other difficulties, utilizing exchanged life principles.
In Biblical meditation, our aim is not to empty our minds and consciousness, but to fill them with the words and works of God. For meditation on the words of God see Psalm 119:15,23,27,48,78,97,99,148; for meditation on the works of God see Psalms 77:12, 119:27, 143:5, and 145:5. And we can only meditate on the works of God as we read of them in the words of God.
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.
It is important to emphasize that advances in CBT have been made on the basis of both research and clinical practice. Indeed, CBT is an approach for which there is ample scientific evidence that the methods that have been developed actually produce change. In this manner, CBT differs from many other forms of psychological treatment.
CBT is based on several core principles, including:
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on faulty or unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Psychological problems are based, in part, on learned patterns of unhelpful behavior.
- People suffering from psychological problems can learn better ways of coping with them, thereby relieving their symptoms and becoming more effective in their lives.
- Learning to recognize one’s distortions in thinking that are creating problems, and then to reevaluate them in light of reality.
- Gaining a better understanding of the behavior and motivation of others.
- Using problem-solving skills to cope with difficult situations.
- Learning to develop a greater sense of confidence in one’s own abilities.
- Facing one’s fears instead of avoiding them.
- Using role playing to prepare for potentially problematic interactions with others.
- Learning to calm one’s mind and relax one’s body.
CBT places an emphasis on helping individuals learn to be their own therapists. Through exercises in the session as well as “homework” exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients are helped to develop coping skills, whereby they can learn to change their own thinking, problematic emotions, and behavior.
CBT therapists emphasize what is going on in the person’s current life, rather than what has led up to their difficulties. A certain amount of information about one’s history is needed, but the focus is primarily on moving forward in time to develop more effective ways of coping with life.
Mental Health Benefits of Therapeutic Art Activities
Therapeutic art can be used as a complement to traditional mental health treatment. The aim is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
Self-discovery: Creating art can help you acknowledge and recognize feelings that have been lurking in your subconscious.
Self-esteem: The process will give you a feeling of self-accomplishment which can be very valuable to improve your self-appreciation and confidence.
Emotional release: The greatest benefit of art therapy is giving you a healthy outlet for expressing and letting go all your feelings and fears. Complex emotions such as sadness or anger sometimes cannot be expressed with words. When you are unable to express yourself, but you desire emotional release, making art may help you to do it.
Stress relief: Fighting anxiety, depression or emotional trauma can be very stressful for you both mentally and physically. Creating art can be used to relieve stress and relax your mind and body.
Who Should Try Therapeutic Art?
Anyone who feels overwhelmed or pressured by the hectic world we live in. Creating art will give you a chance to slow down and explore any issues you may be having.
Therapeutic art techniques improve the mental health of people who are dealing with addictions, anxiety, attention disorders, grief and loss, dementia, depression, eating disorders, physical illness, PTSD, trauma, relationship issues and much more.
Since the creative focus is on the process and not the final product, therapeutic art is not about becoming a great artist but about finding meaning and connection in your life. All you need is a a willingness to experiment.
To participate in therapeutic art, you do not need any prior experience with art or a ‘natural’ artistic ability. The process itself is one of exploration with no ‘wrongs’ and no ‘rights.’ The practice allows each individual to use creative activities in ways that support them best without judgment.
You don’t necessarily have to see a therapist in order to experience some of the therapeutic benefits of artistic expression. There are many simple activities you can try from the comfort of your home such as art journaling, sketching, making collages, sculpting with clay, etc. It doesn’t matter what media you choose. The only thing that matters is that you feel comfortable using it.
Art and PTSD:
During the process of art creation, you will be taking yourself on a journey of self-discovery that will help you eliminate emotional roadblocks, and learn how to communicate with yourself and others. Through studies encompassing neurobiology, neuroplasticity, and differing functions of the right-brain and left-brain hemispheres, as well as the uncovering of the mirror neuron system, it is now possible to provide scientific evidence for the claim that therapeutic art is effective in treating a variety of disorders and symptoms including trauma. Traumatic memory is not inherently verbal. It is felt physically. It is known emotionally. It is re-experienced visually. Yet, to prevent serious mental health issues from taking root, the brain must learn to analyze and understand the trauma as it does other events. As such, there is hope for healing in the sensory and visual experience of art making during therapeutic art.
“TED have recently uploaded a talk by art therapist Melissa Walker. She describes her work with war veterans, helping them to recover from PTSD through the use of visual arts.
See, art allows veterans to embody their trauma, turning it into something they can relate to, something that exists outside of them that can be safely left behind at the end of each day. And it’s a long, hard process, but art – particularly the creation of masks – seems to enable and empower those suffering with PTSD to find healing.
In Exodus 35 we read of Bezalel. He’s God’s craftsman, an artist responsible for decorating the Tabernacle and building the Ark of the Covenant. Bezalel has a clear spiritual gift, and we often see that in terms of worship – he’s making God’s throne and God’s dwelling place as a way of honouring and worshiping his Lord, and obviously that’s vital, but Walker’s talk got me thinking about how art is a spiritual gift with wider applications
For one, it seems to be a gift that can heal. PTSD is, I guess, an invisible wound, but a real one nevertheless, and art can serve as a vehicle by which healing can enter into a situation. It may be a long and difficult process, not the flashy, miraculous story we’d like, but there are people who have endured terrible trauma who, by painting and drawing and creating something with their bare hands, have been able to move on with their lives. That’s healing too, and in a world where mental health needs to be taken a lot more seriously, maybe Bezalel’s legacy incorporates art that can heal. The Holy Spirit is a healer after all.
Then there’s the idea of peace. Walker works with veterans, servicemen and women who’ve been to war and are still carrying the trauma of their experience. Now that trauma needs to be reckoned with, and if there’s opportunity to do that through art, if taking a situation, an emotion, an image and coming to peace with it through creativity and art, then that’s another facet of the gift, one that has echoes of shalom.
We have many artists in our churches. We need to be creative in how their gifts are used, but more than that, maybe it’s time for a wider vision of art as a spiritual gift. Maybe Bezalel’s legacy is more expensive than we think.”
More Examples of Therapeutic Art Lessons:
Examples of Christ-Centered Art Lessons:
Bible Sketching: Sketching the Bible is a devotional resource for anyone who likes to draw. It doesn't matter what level of artist you are because this will be your set of personal drawings. Many people learn by reading, listening, and many others learn by drawing. Each book of the Bible offers a couple words describing the book, ideas for pictures to draw along with a key verse for each book. The picture that is drawn will help the artist remember what that specific book of the Bible talks about and remind them of the stories and Biblical principles in each book of the Bible.
- Words from the Bible combined with art are a powerful duo for healing and growth.
- God will speak to you in the process.
- Blessing is guaranteed, if you don't quit.
- Time spent in Biblical Art Therapy is time well spent.
- More than a satisfying activity, this can be a life-transforming pursuit.
- God's word, the foundation for Biblical Art Therapy, never fails.
Art Journaling; Something that can be found useful in art therapy and for personal wellness, is art journaling. Art journaling is pretty much what the name suggests: a journal made up of your own art. You can include words, too, either a few words here and there or full pages of written thoughts. I mean, it’s your journal, you can include whatever you want. But art journaling allows you to be creative and expressive not just in line after line of text like in a traditional diary, but with pictures and designs of your own making. Expressing yourself freely, as you are encouraged to do with art journaling, is a very powerful part of art therapy.
Emotions; Deal with emotions like anger and sadness through these helpful exercises.
- Draw or paint your emotions. In this exercise, you’ll focus entirely on painting what you’re feeling.
- Create an emotion wheel. Using color, this activity will have you thinking critically about your emotions.
- Make a stress painting. Choose colors that represent your stress and jab, scribble and paint your problems away.
- Put together a journal. Journals don’t have to just be based around words. You can make an art journal as well, that lets you visually express your emotions.
- Make sock puppets. Sock puppets aren’t just for kids. Make your own and have them act out scenes that make you upset.
- Use line art. Line is one of the simplest and most basic aspects of art, but it can also contain a lot of emotion. Use simple line art to demonstrate visually how you’re feeling.
- Design a postcard you will never send. Are you still angry or upset with someone in your life? Create a postcard that expresses this, though you don’t have to ever send it.
- Create a sculpture of your anger. For this activity, you’ll make a physical manifestation of the anger in your life.
- Paint a mountain and a valley. The mountain can represent a time where you were happy, the valley, when you were sad. Add elements that reflect specific events as well.
- Attach a drawing or message to a balloon. Send away negative emotions or spread positive ones by attaching a note or drawing to a balloon and setting it free.
- Paint to music. Letting your creativity flow in response to music is a great way to let out feelings and just relax.
- Make a scribble drawing. With this activity, you’ll turn a simple scribble into something beautiful, using line, color and your creativity.
- Finger paint. Finger painting isn’t just fun for kids– adults can enjoy it as well. Get your hands messy and really have fun spreading paint around.
- Make a mandala. Whether you use the traditional sand or draw one on your own, this meditative symbol can easily help you to loosen up.
- Draw in the dark. Not being able to judge what you’re drawing or having to worry about whether or not it’s “right” can be very liberating.
- Draw something HUGE. Then something very small. Getting your body involved and moving around can help release stress as you’re drawing.
- Use color blocks. Colors often come with a lot of emotions attached. Choose several paint chips to work with and collage, paint and glue until you’ve created a colorful masterpiece.
- Let yourself be free. Don’t allow yourself to judge your work. After all, there’s no way to fail and no right way to make art. Just draw, paint or sculpt until your heart’s content.
- Only use colors that calm you. Create a drawing or a painting using only colors that you find calming.
- Draw in sand. Like a Zen garden, this activity will have you drawing shapes and scenes in the sand, which can be immensely relaxing and a great way to clear your mind.
- Make a zentangle. These fun little drawings are a great tool for letting go and helping reduce stress.
- Color in a design. Sometimes, the simple act of coloring can be a great way to relax. Find a coloring book or use this mandala for coloring.
- Draw outside. Working en plein air can be a fun way to relax and get in touch with nature while you’re working on art.
- Draw your vision of a perfect day. Think about what constitutes a perfect day to you and draw or paint it. What about this drawing can you make happen today?
- Take photographs of things you think are beautiful. No one else has to like them but you. Print and frame them to have constant reminders of the beautiful things in life.
- Make a drawing related to a quote you like. Take the words of wisdom from someone else and turn them into something visually inspiring.
- Create a drawing that represents freedom. This activity has you think about the concept of freedom and what it means to you, creating a work of art that showcases just what it means to you as an individual.
- Document a spiritual experience. Have you ever had a spiritual experience in your life? Draw or paint what it felt like.
- Make a stuffed animal. Soft, cuddly objects can be very comforting. Use this project to create an animal that means something to you.
- Work on a softness project. Using only soft or comforting objects, create a work of art.
- Build a “home.” What does home mean to you? This activity will have you create a safe, warm place– it doesn’t have to be practical– that feels like home to you.
- Document an experience where you did something you didn’t think you could do. We all have to do things that we’re scared or unsure of sometimes. Use this activity as a chance to commemorate one instance in your life.
- Think up a wild invention. This invention should do something that can help make you happier– no matter what that is.
- Make a prayer flag. Send your prayers for yourself or those around you out into the universe with this project.
Portraits; Often, a great way to get to know yourself and your relationships with others is through portraits.
- Create a future self-portrait. This drawing or painting should reflect where you see yourself in the future.
- Draw a bag self-portrait. On the outside of a paper bag, you’ll create a self-portrait. On the inside, you’ll fill it with things that represent who you are.
- Choose the people who matter most to you in life and create unique art for each. This is a great way to acknowledge what really matters to you and express your gratitude.
- Draw a portrait of someone who changed your life. If someone has ever helped change your path, for better or worse, draw this person.
- Create an image that represents how you think others see you. Then, have someone in the class draw a portrait of you. Compare the results.
- Draw yourself as a warrior. Start thinking about yourself as a strong, capable person by drawing yourself as a warrior in this activity.
- Create a transformational portrait series. This project will help you to see how you’ve changed over time and represent those changes visually.
- Imitate Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Using objects that have meaning to you, create a portrait of yourself.
- Create a body image sketch. If you have issues with your self-esteem and body image, this can be an interesting way to see how your perceptions match up with reality.
- Draw a mirror. This activity is based around a Piet Mondrian quote: “The purer the artist’s mirror is, the more true reality reflects in it.” You’ll need to figure out what is still cloudy in your own reflection of yourself, drawing a mirror and depicting those elements on paper.
- Draw yourself as a superhero. If you could have a superpower what would it be? This project asks you to depict your own image as a superhero with these powers.
Trauma and Unhappiness; These activities will ask you to face some unpleasant aspects of life, but with the goal of overcoming them.
- Draw a place where you feel safe. The world can be a scary place but in this project you’ll create a place, draw, painted or sculpted, that makes you feel safe.
- Create a mini-diorama. This diorama can showcase an important moment in your life or some trauma that you’ve experienced.
- Create a collage of your worries. What worries you in your life? Cut out pictures from magazines to represent these worries.
- Draw something that scares you. Everyone is frightened of something and in this project you’ll get a chance to bring that fear to light and hopefully work towards facing it.
- Turn your illness into art. Facing a potentially terminal illness? Turn your illness into something beautiful by creating art about it.
- Paint a loss in your life. If you’ve lost someone you love or something, paint it. This will help you to remember but also to recover.
- Make art that is ephemeral. Sometimes we have a hard time letting go, but this project will teach you that it’s ok if something doesn’t last. Use materials like sand, chalk, paper or water to create art that you will destroy when it’s done.
Collaging; you prefer to cut and paste rather than draw or paint, these projects are for you.
- Create a motivational collage. You can hang this collage somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Filled with images you find motivating, it’ll help you keep pushing on.
- Create a face collage on a mask. We all wear masks of some sort. This project lets you showcase what’s in your mask and the face you put on for the world.
- Create a clutter collage. Are there things cluttering up your life? In this project, use words and pictures to show the clutter in your way.
- Create a calming collage. Choose images that you find soothing, calming or even meditative and combine them to create an attractive collage that can help you to relax.
- Collage a painting. To complete this exercise, you’ll first need to create a simple, abstract painting on paper. Then, tear this painting up and create another. Think about how you felt when you had to tear up the first painting and which you like more.
Self; Examine aspects if who you are and how you see the world through these amazing art projects.
- Draw images of your good traits. Creating drawings of your good traits will help you to become more positive and build a better self-image.
- Draw yourself as an animal. Is there an animal that you have a special interest in or feel like is a kindred spirit? Draw yourself as that animal.
- Create a timeline and draw the most significant moments in your life. This timeline will be the story of your life, with the most important moments highlighted visually.
- Put together a jungle animal collage. Choose jungle animals that you find the most interesting, draw them, and then reflect on why you’ve chosen these specific animals.
- Sculpt your ideal self. If you could make yourself into the perfect person, what would you look like?
- Paint the different sides of yourself. In this project, you’ll paint the different aspects of your personality, giving each a visual representation. You might only have one or two, or maybe even twelve.
- Make art around your fingerprints. Your fingerprints are as unique as you are. Use ink and paint to make art that uses your fingerprints.
- Draw yourself as a tree. Your roots will be loaded with descriptions of things that give you strength and your good qualities, while your leaves can be the things that you’re trying to change.
- Design a fragments box. In this project, you’ll put fragments of yourself into a box, helping construct a whole and happier you.
- Paint an important childhood memory. What was a pivotal memory in your childhood? This activity asks you to document it and try to understand why it was so important to you.
- Write and illustrate a fairy tale about yourself. If you could put yourself into a happily ever after situation, what role would you play and how would the story go? Create a book that tells the tale.
- Design a visual autobiography. This creative journaling project asks you to look back at your life and make a visual representation of it.
- Create your own coat of arms. Choose symbols that represent your strengths to build your own special coat of arms.
- Draw a comic strip about a funny moment in your life. Enjoy a moment of levity with this exercise that will focus in on a comical even that happened to you.
- Build your own website. Websites are very versatile ways to express yourself. Build your own to express what’s most important about you.
- Create a box of values. First, collage or paint a box the represents you. Then, place items inside the box that represent the things you value the most. Stuartcline.com has a blog to help you find your top ten values.
Gratitude Here you’ll find a collection of projects that will help you be happy about what you have and express your gratitude for it.
- Document your gratitude visually. What things are you grateful for in your life? Paint or collage a work that represents these things.
- Create a family tree of strength. This exercise honors those around you who support you. Paint those close to you who offer you the strength you need.
- Make something for someone else. Making something for someone else can be a great way to feel good and help someone else do so as well.
- Make anchor art. Who are the anchors in your life? In this project, you’ll make an anchor and decorate it with the people and things that provide you stability and strength.
- Draw all the positive things in your life. Everyone has at least one good thing in life, so sit down and figure out what makes you happy– then draw it.
- Sculpt your hand in plaster. Once it’s dry, write all the good things you can do with it right onto the hand.
- Paint a rock. This project is meant to offer you strength. You can approach it in two ways. One option is to paint the rock with things that empower you. The other is to paint it with struggles you overcome.
- Write on leaves to create a gratitude tree. What are you grateful for? This project asks you to write those things on leaves to construct a tree or banner of gratitude.
- Map out the connections in your life. Draw yourself at the center of this project, then map out how you’re connected to everyone else in your life. It will help make you feel much less alone.
- Create a snowflake out of paper. Write ideas about how you are unique on the snowflake.
Inside the Mind; Take a look inside your mind to see what’s going on with these projects.
- Create a blot art. Like a classic Rorschach test, fold paper in half with paint or ink in the middle and describe what you see.
- Map your brain. Make a visual representation of your thoughts to figure out how your mind works.
- Make a dreamcatcher. Having bad dreams? Create this age-old tool for catching your dreams with a few simple tools.
- Draw your dreams. You can learn a lot from what goes on in your dreams, so keep a dream journal and use it for inspiration to draw or paint.
- Use natural materials. Leaves, sticks, dirt, clay and other natural materials can help you get in touch with the natural world and the more primal side of yourself.
- Build an archetype. Check out this series of projects to build a set of archetypes, or ideal examples, that can help you explore how you see the world.
- Use your body as a canvas. You don’t need paper when you have you body. Paint on your hands and feet or anywhere else to feel more in touch with yourself.
- Sculpt spirit figures. Connect with those that have passed on or your own spiritual essence using these sculpted figures.
- Make art out of recycled items. You can reuse old items that have meaning to you or just re-purpose something you have laying around. Either way, you’ll get insights into how you can reshape and reevaluate your own life.
- Collage or draw on top of old photographs. If you’re uncomfortable using old photos you can make copies, but with this project you’ll draw out one characteristic you see in the person in the photos.
- Create your own interpretation of a famous work of art. How would you have painted the Mona Lisa? Using a famous work as your inspiration, create your own work. It could help reveal more about your lens on the world.
- Work collaboratively. Art can be better when two work at it together, so find a partner and collaborate on just about anything.
- Use a found or made object as a paintbrush. Whether it’s something sharp or something soft, make your own artistic tool and use it to express what you’re feeling.
- Make crayon stained glass. Reflect upon your spiritual side with this project that lets you create your own stained glass window.
- Paint a window. Windows let you see in and see out. Paint yours with things you want to hide or show to the world.