“The Healthiest Form of Projection is Art”
(Fritz Perlz – Gestalt Therapist)
Here is a popular internet list of art therapy activities originally posted up several years ago by the Nursing School Blog, and as time has gone by over half of the links have become defunct or out of date. I have researched current links that reflect the inspiring art therapy directives on the internet today, while aiming to keep them as close as possible to the original list:
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 meditative painting. Looking for a creative way to relax? Have trouble sitting still to meditate? Meditative painting might be just the thing you’re looking for. No painting skill or experience necessary – only a desire to relax and become more creative.
- 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.
- Explore puppet therapy. 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 family sculpture. For this activity, you makes a clay representation of each family member– mother, father, siblings, and any other close or influential family members to explore emotional dynamics and roles within your family.
- 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.
- Collage a heart. Collage your childhood memories in a heart formation.
Art therapy can be a great way to relax. Consider these exercises if you’re looking to feel a little more laid back.
- 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 with your eyes closed. Not being able to see what you are drawing intensifies fluidity, intuition, touch and sensitivity.
- Draw something HUGE. Getting your body involved and moving around can help release emotion 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. If you think your paintings are too tight and controlled, this collection of tips and techniques to try should help you work in a looser style.
- 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.
Art can not only help you deal with the bad stuff, but also help you appreciate and focus on the good. Check out these activities all about reflecting on your personal happiness.
- Collage your vision of a perfect day.Think about what constitutes a perfect day to you and collage it. What about this collage 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 collage 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. The Surrealists embraced automatic drawing as way to incorporate randomness and the subconscious into their drawings, and to free themselves from artistic conventions and everyday thinking.