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Express Yourself!

Hello Lovely Peoples,
Today I went to an expressive painting class held by an Art therapist. I think I was expecting to learn ‘HOW’ to paint expressively, but I suppose that sort of defeats the purpose. Instead we first took a few deep cleansing breaths, and cleared our minds of the distractions of the day. We were then asked to listen to the music playing and choose the first colour that came to mind and that would be the colour/s of the background of our painting.
Mine was purple. I had a flash of purple and green so that’s the way I started heading, but soon it started looking like seaweed or fish or something that I didn’t want it to be. One lady there said, ‘oh it looks like little fish swimming through the seaweed’  (I had no preconceived idea what I wanted the painting to look like – I just didn’t want it actually looking like something – I was going for a purely abstract sort of result) 

So I then dripped some water onto it to blur the lines a bit, and I kept turning the canvas around so there wasn’t an  up or down, and smudged the lines a bit with my fingers – I did a lot of finger painting today  and playing with different tools; the green bits were done with pallet knives  🙂 
 I then tried a different tack – I splashed some yellow across it in an attempt to get away from the ‘under the sea’ theme.

art therapy abstract painting
This was the point when I really started getting into it (about an hour and a half into the class – what can I say – I’m slow to get going), trying to get as many different layers as possible into the painting – It was starting to take shape in my mind; the purple and green background were to be the first in (hopefully) many layers in this work.
Now, I just can’t seem to complete anything in one sitting – especially a painting. It needs to develop at its own pace , and just as I had a clear vision, the class ended.
So – here’s what I’ve got so far:
I love the curve in the yellow red and orange dots (flowers???) and I’d like to do some writing / collaging around that curve, with an inspirational quote. I’m in an art journalling / collaging kind of mood at the moment.
The question is which way is up?

So did I get any therapy out of it?
I suppose in some way I did. The overwhelming feeling I had throughout the afternoon was that of frustration. I was frustrated that what I saw in my head didn’t translate exactly onto the canvas; Frustrated that I wasn’t getting as ‘into’ the class as some others were; Frustrated that some of the other paintings were amazingly beautiful and pretty much completed by the end of the class, whereas I’d hit a creative brick wall and just stared at the canvas for ages waiting for it to tell me what to do next.
But all that in itself taught me so much about myself.
I was painting with my head and not my heart;  I wasn’t just letting it happen. I’m used to making a painting look like ‘something’ so in this class I was all about making sure it wasn’t looking like anything, when the natural flow of what I was doing lent itself to looking like fish or seaweed or whatever, and I should have taken that as my cue.
I was also looking around at what everyone else was doing to gage how I was going in comparison (and to be truthful, looking for ideas), when some people got so ‘into the zone’ that they later said they didn’t notice the people around them or how long they had been paining.
Anyhoo, it’s Art: there is no right or wrong way. It was just interesting to see myself in that light, AND I’ve got the beginnings of a very cool painting.
I’ll keep you updated as it progresses.
Let me know what you think of it.
love,
Jacqstar xx