Spontaneous Collage is a form of daily play. Easy. Picking a few images that strike you as fascinating in some way and gluing them in your journal. Spontaneous imagery reveals you like a dream and lets you know what your unconscious mind is thinking and feeling.

Scribble for about 30 seconds, and open your eyes. Take a close look at your picture, and find an image (“a particular shape, figure, object and so on”). Be sure to examine your picture from all sides. You can even hang it on the wall, and step back to get the whole perspective. After you find your image, color it in and add details to bring “that image into clearer focus.” Hang up your drawing, and think of a title.

The more you do this, the more you’ll “begin to see similarities in a theme, colors or shape” and develop “your own unique way of working with materials and your own images and symbols.”

You can use images to “self-soothe and create positive sensations,” Malchiodi says in her book. For this exercise, you’ll need 10 or more sheets of 8 ½ x 11-inch paper, magazines, colored paper, collage materials, scissors and glue.

Then paste those images onto the paper. You can organize the images by composition or textures, the environment and other categories. Pull together all your papers, create a cover and figure out how you’d like to bind your book. (For instance, you can punch holes in the papers and put them in a binder.)

In her book, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, art therapist Cathy A. Malchiodi describes various exercises that readers can try at home. Below are three that I found especially helpful.

“Making images on a regular basis opens up many possibilities for understanding and expressing oneself,” Malchiodi writes. In your spontaneous images journal, you not only paste or create images, but you also write down a title and a few phrases or sentences about your work. (And date each one.) You can do this daily or several times a week.

Collage journaling is vivid and magical. It never takes long to gather a pile of images and words. Journals are a place to gather insights and inner directions on what to do next. Collage journal pages playfully sneak under your limited and conditioned ways of seeing my life and lead you to a higher vision for yourself.

To dig even deeper with these activities, Malchiodi suggests asking yourself questions about your work and art.

This is a series of mark making with pastel crayons. An innocent, intuitive exploration of color and spontaneity. A playing with crayons, much like a child, these drawings are a visual meditation which can draw you into mystery.

Ask your drawings what they have to tell you and they speak back through your intuition…guiding you.

So I was excited to learn more about art therapy, where clients create their own art to help them express emotions, better understand themselves and grow in general.

Expressive Art Inspirations Reflections on the Creative Path

Tape your sheet of paper to the table (or wherever you’re working) so it won’t budge. Pick a chalk color that you can see. Place your chalk in the middle of the paper, close your eyes and start scribbling.

Free form doodling can become an eloquent form of expressive art that just gets more and more refined over time. Doodling allows the subconscious mind to express itself. Much about the inner life can be revealed though doodling.

Each Self-Discovery card is an exploration into what you do not clearly see about yourself. Every collage card reveals an aspect of your soul and psyche. By visually seeing the masks that you wear and the patterns of thinking and feeling that help and hinder you, you become able to integrate all the fragmented aspects of yourself so that you can be more effective in life.

Start by thinking about pleasant sensory experiences, such as landscapes, sounds, scents, tastes, textures and anything else that makes you feel tranquil or happy; and write them down. Cut out images that match those experiences out of your magazines and other collage materials.

Art making involves a sense of play. Jung noted that, without play, “no creative work has ever yet come to birth.”

Intuitive drawing is an immediate way to tap into the mystery of your life below the everyday happenings. It is helpful to take time to quiet your mind and go into your body before you draw. Allow your pen to move without giving it much thought.

Ask questions. Listen for messages. They are always surprising and just below your conscious thought.

Afterward, write down your general thoughts and feelings. And specifically, think about how you felt while choosing the images. Ask yourself “Which sensory images did I favor over others? Why?” Continue adding to your book whenever you like.

These are small playful collages. 4″x6″. The aim is to experiment and play and to work quickly with color, composition, shape and pattern. These are an exploration of what you might find beautiful, joyful and delightful using paint and collage.

A contemplation on beauty to carry through your day.

True creativity requires great honesty if it is to be transformative. Paint what you feel, not what you think! The conscious mind has no part in this process. “Still mind. I don’t know.” is a mantra that you can repeat while painting.

Venturing into the unknown parts of yourself, pulls forth all of those feelings that have been locked up and tranquilized. A new freedom floods in. There is energy and passion in the unexpected.

APA Reference Tartakovsky, M. (2011). Art Therapy Exercises To Try at Home. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/art-therapy-exercises-to-try-at-home/

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. Associate Editor ~ 3 min read

Instead of thinking about what an image means, think about the feeling it communicates. She writes: “What are your initial impressions? Is the image happy, angry, sad, anxious and so on? Or does it have many different feelings expressed through color, line and form? How do you use color, line and form to express emotion?”“If the image could talk to you, what would it say?” Look at your picture, and give each part its own voice.

Malchiodi suggests speaking in first person. So if you have a tree in your collage, you’d say, “I am a tree and I feel …”Pick a part of your image that’s interesting to you or that you don’t like.

“Try making another drawing or painting of that section only, enlarging it and adding new details or images that come to mind.”“Explore images with images.” Create another image that responds to your original.

Interestingly, Malchiodi says that your images will have different meanings depending on the day. She suggests keeping an open mind and continuing to explore.

Play is important to adults, too. It is behavior that enables us to feel free to explore and express without self-judgment or inhibition, to participate for the sheer joy of the experience and to think creatively, flexibly and innovatively.

Last updated: 3 Aug 2011Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Aug 2011Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

According to Malchiodi, because everyone started scribbling as kids, this is a natural place to start with art therapy. Before you begin, she suggests relaxing for a few minutes, listening to soothing music or meditating. For this activity, you’ll need an 18 by 24 inch paper and chalk pastels (though if you ask me, whatever you have will work).

I’ve always loved art. Looking at interesting, unique, beautiful-in-their-own-way images and objects always has made me feel alive and happy.  As a child and teen, I also loved drawing, painting and creating everything from collages to greeting cards. And I loved losing myself in the work.

Do art activities help you express yourself and process your emotions? If you’re an art therapist, what are your favorite activities or ones that you’d like to recommend?

By the way, remember that this has little to do with artistic ability or the final product. Instead, Malchiodi suggests focusing on the process, your intuition and play. She writes:

100 Art Therapy Exercises – The Updated and Improved List 50 Great Websites for Counselling Therapists Art Activity – Intuitive Collage Top 50 Art Therapy Blogs

Art making is an intuitive process; that is, it does not depend on logical or rational thought, and it has no rules. When you use your intuition, you simply feel that you know what is right in a given situation…

Art journals are a form of devotion. They are experimental and a great place to explore new materials and techniques. An excellent way to record a creative and immediate life.

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