Embodied Art isn't supposed to be pretty
I find myself in a season of emotional unfolding.
You may as well.
This season isn't asking for a deep analysis. It is asking for time, space to just be, and deep compassion for all of who we were in the past... or who we thought we needed to be.
This season is asking for a turning inward.
Embracing a new way of being can often bring forward years of blocked or repressed emotions, thoughts, and patterns of living so deeply embedded in our neurons that they freely run in the background as we go throughout our day.
When you're find yourself in a familiar pattern, reaction, or emotional response, I invite you to join me and try a simple embodied art exercise.
The creating of swatches (simply adding color to your page), is a gentle way to meet your body right where it is, when you find your nervous system activated. It takes away the need to find the right words, the perfect collage image or sketch to capture your dysregulated moment.
For this embodied art exercise all you will need is a piece of watercolor paper or mixed media paper and paints. I prefer watercolors or inks (see full resource list below for products I use) for their flow, but acrylics work just as well if they are your preference.
Note: You are welcome to try this exercise with any art medium that allows you to place color on paper. You'll see as I demonstrate the fluidity of paint and for me this represents the movement of emotions.
- Begin with a moment of quiet breathing and focus on relaxing your body. Begin to sense the messages your body is sending.
- On a piece of paper, add your first color.
- Choose the color that you feel most drawn too.
- Notice the brush that feels right to express the color on paper. Is it a fat or thin brush?
- Which shape of the swatch feels most aligned? Square, rectangle, circle, and so on. You get to choose...
- Notice if the swatches need to touch and bleed together? Or stay separate? There is no right. There is no wrong.
- Keep going as long as you need. Start a second paper if that feels right.
Okay now gather your supplies and create alongside me as you watch the video. 🥰
Questions to ponder as you create:
- Which color calls to me first, second, etc...
- Which color calls to me now? This question embraces mindfulness.
- What swatch shape feels right with my body as I add color to my paper?
- As I lay down this swatch of color, what do I notice within my body?
- Which other color feels like it needs to go next to the color I just placed on the paper?
- Are they asking to blend? Touch? Be in a square? Circle?
- Notice your breathing as you place each color on the page?
- Notice your heart rate as the colors naturally expand into one another. What if they don't blend and you expected them too? How does that feel in your body?
- Do you need more movement on the page? Less movement?
Any color missing as you feel your art coming to a close?
Allow yourself time for curious reflection and integration as you stay with your art. Jot down some notes if words are present.
Thank your Inner World for expressing and your Art for being the holding space for your Inner World and body to express.
Remember... embodied art isn't supposed to be pretty art. It may not "look" like anything. Embodied art is felt inside. Notice the response of your Inner World. Maybe a stirring. Maybe a settling. Welcome them all.
I'm so grateful you're here.
- Canson, Mixed Media Art Journal, 98 lb., 9 x 11 - This journal is a go to of mine. It is big and allows me to doodle with watercolors or do bigger embodied art projects such as the one above.
UCreate Watercolor Paper 140 lb., 9 x 12 - I use this watercolor paper all of the time. It comes as a pack of 50 sheets and holds enough water for embodied art demonstrations and doodle lessons.
- My favorite watercolors are by Art Philosophy. They come in small containers the size of an iPhone and although it's an investment to get each of the palettes, they last forever. I have had mine over 2 years, use them all of the time, and they have a good 2-3 more years left... at least! These are the palettes I work with:
Princeton Neptune Watercolor Brush Set, Synthetic, 4 piece brush set - These brushes hold a lot of water and offer a wide range of lines
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