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How ART reveals emotions

By September 26, 2018October 16th, 2018Student Art projects

There are NO mistakes in ART !!!

I have this saying written all over my art room.
My students hear it in every class.
In order for them to believe it…  I must continually remind them.

Art is not like math or science, where you need to be exact.
Art is free and moving and different for everyone.

Many of my students have difficulty separating their feelings.

Perhaps they use anger when they are really sad. Or maybe they laugh when they are afraid.

When I ask my students to paint “What ANGRY looks like”… they choose the color that feels mad to them. It might be red or black or yellow.
All are correct.
Angry is subjective.


I not only look at the colors they use but the manner in which they spread the paint.
Is it smooth or jagged?
Is it spread with the palm of their hands or did they use their nails?
Were the colors vivid and precise to begin with and then they pushed them all together to make a muddled mess?
All of this becomes apparent in this finger painting class.
Not only to me, but to the student as well.






In this artwork above I asked the student to frame a small part of their confusion to see it clearly and to understand it better. Once they saw just a small part, they could see it was several different emotions all mixed together, and that’s where the confusion comes in.
“I feel disoriented because I can not feel ALL my emotions at once. So, I shut down and feel nothing”


Assignment: Pick 3 feelings to paint. (angry, sad, fear, happy, hope, guilt, etc.)
I lead them to choose the emotions they have a hard time expressing.

When my art student sees the difference in their paintings they can begin to separate each feeling.
Once the feeling has a visual to go with it, there is…


PS. Many thanks to my students, over the years, who have given me permission to use their artwork
in my books (and now, blogs).
PPS. The female pictured is Maria, a therapist I worked with who always wanted to do the assignments with her clients Thanks, Maria. You are an outstanding person & therapist.



Author Tamlin

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