A feeling picture as creative practice / art therapy

My assignment this week in my class, The Healing Power of Creativity, taught by Priscilla Taylor, L.M.F.T., Ph.D. at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in their Creative Life MA program.

In your creative arts journal do the exercise from Natalie Rogers’ The Creative Connection: Take some time this week (10-20 minutes each day if possible) to doodle or scribble a feeling picture—strong positive or negative feelings, feelings of being stuck, or boredom—whatever.  They may be expressed broadly through color, line images. Try using your non-dominant hand sometimes, or drawing with your eyes closed. – Priscilla Taylor

As an artist I am really excited to explore art practice that increases emotion and feeling. I did several drawing sessions this week around the idea of ‘feeling picture’. I found that at first my idea was to draw from a strong memory from my past that was emotional. In drawing the moment I did not feel much actual emotion.

Feeling drawing – memory of strong emotion. Fireworks on New Years


Next it occurred to me that starting with the emotions I was currently feeling might be better – even if they seemed normal or less strong. In closing my eyes and focusing on how I felt while I was drawing, I was able to actually increase and intensify my emotions… I’m not sure if this had a healing effect or not on past trauma or in what way I have new information about myself. But I could see that there is a strong connection that opens up between drawing and emotion when I focus on it.

Drawing with eyes closed, focused on how I’m feeling in the moment.


This creative technique allows me to find a real emotional state that I can use to process any personal emotional self expression that might be limiting/blocking my ability to focus on the other technical creative aspects of my process. I found the best feeling drawing technique for me was drawing with my left hand, eyes open.

Left hand (not dominant), feeling drawing example.
Left hand (not dominant), feeling drawing example.

I did a little research in to Natalie Rogers and found this PDF adaption from her book, The Creative Connection. Her work focuses on art therapy, as does my current class. I find the information extremely helpful in my own creative practice, and I trust it also is helping me be a happier person too!  As she says,

Some writers, artists, and musicians are already aware of the creative
connection. If you are one of those, you may say, “of course, I always put on music and dance before I paint.”
– Natalie Rogers

Flowers collected on my walk 🙂