Jun 15, 2010

Creatively Processing 'Darker' Emotions

I am a person with tendencies towards deep depression at times and have found creativity to be one of the few things that can help get me through those times.
Sometimes the 'darker' emotions are strong enough that I feel stuck creatively.
Those are times when I pull out magazines and go through them to find material for collages or art 'journal' pages (a bit of a misnomer since there is often very little journalling... but I'm not sure what else to call them).

Often, the images I will be drawn to cut out reflect my emotional state.
By the time I have cut out images for a while, I've been brought more into the present moment and reconnected with my creative juice - and am then able to collage or art journal.
Sometimes, this process actually lifts me out of the difficult emotions.  It feels healthy and healing - like the emotions are actually being processed, not ignored or shoved inside to hurt me.

Here are a few pages I did a while ago - adding to them each time I was in a dark place.  Sometimes these pages get journalled on later.

I give  myself permission to be messy :-)
In the above page, the background was done, in part, using this technique I came up with to create a  random/chaotic look on thin papers that would warp with wet mediums.

In the above piece, I wanted a messy stamp and didn't have one so I carved one from an eraser (stamp carving is another thing that can totally absorb me and bring me into the moment).

Are there certain creative things that can help you when you feel sad, angry or down?


  1. writing definitely helps me process any emotions. whethr it's blogging or art/visual journaling. tearing pages works really well :)

    i also get absorbed in carving stamps. must do another soon.

  2. Thanks for commenting Monica.
    I haven't tried tearing pages before but it feels like something that may be good for me. Thank you for mentioning it!
    Stamp carving is wonderful. Do you have any posts on your blog showcasing ones you have carved? I love seeing what others come up with :-)

  3. I agree creating is a wonderful way to heal and process emotions esp the kind we can't quite pinpoint or express easily in other ways. My sisters still remember me angrily drawing a birthday cake and ripping it up on my 13th birthday when I was grounded. So even back then I felt strongly about creating to release emotion. I'm glad you find it helpful as well. It's a very healthy way to work through challenges.

  4. Wow I love your blog. I have some background in art therapy so I am loving this post!

  5. I came across your blogspot while searching for a new ecojot journal...they are the bees knees...and so is your art. Your blogspot spoke to me...in fact, it spoke to me across the atlantic - all the way to Finland. Do you sell any of your art, or can you make reproductions? There is one piece in particular that I have been thinking about. It's the one that says "uproot all beliefs that diminish you."
    Cheers, Michelle (Ihana HYVIN) a beautiful like is expressed in your work!

  6. Liberty, thanks for stopping by my blog via the 'blog hop'. I have enjoyed looking through your site, and love your tutorials. I'm pleased to hear that you are winning your battle with MCS and wondered if you had come across the following company - http://ecogreencrafts.com/
    Julia Andrus, one of the founders developed a range of non-toxic paints after being diagnosed with Cancer. She had a background in chemistry and pigments, and was dismayed when she had to clear out her artroom having decided to clean up her environment after her diagnosis. She then decided to develop a range of products that would be safe to use, they are good value too. I hope this is useful.

  7. oh my! thank you every one for your comments!

    -Kristen that is really neat that even at 13 your intuition led you to a healthy way to process your feelings!

    -Lori - thank you! I love yours too :-)

    -Michelle thank you! your comment gave me the most wonderful start to my day! How exciting to have reached you in Finland! I think you are referring to this piece: Joy Drawing I have been wanting to sell prints of my art and am still trying to find somewhere local that makes good quality ones. Please feel free to email me to chat more about this
    healingfrommcs @ gmail . com (but remove the spaces)

    -Gill M... wow! thank you for that awesome link! I hadn't heard of it, or of Julia! I will be spending a lot of time there, I'm sure. Thank you for your kind words on my blog and my healing journey :-)

  8. isn't it interesting how those dark moods can feed us creatively! i guess that's an upside of being down. i love shaping things into existence when i'm bummed out - art is amazing therapy!

  9. hi Aimee, I feel the same - art is amazing therapy. some of my favourite paintings and writing have come when I was in a deep, dark place!

  10. Oh yes, are it a powerful healing tool. it lets out the emotion in a tangible way, focusing the mind and heart and letting it find peace.... sometimes. Or more creative release.

    I am thankful to have found both writing and art to help me through these last couple of years since my son's death. And writing helped me years ago after my mom died. The deeper the pain the more desperate I need to write and now create art too. Sometimes the words flow from my hands as if they are a force of their own. The paintbrush moves itself at times too.

    Your pieces are both powerful and moving. Thanks for sharing them.

  11. hi Amy,
    I apologise for the big delay in posting your comment! my hard drive died (covered under warranty:)
    I find the way you write so eloquent. The way you described the words flowing out with a force of their own... I loved that :)
    Writing and art are indeed powerful tools. do you ever share writing on your blog?

  12. Hi Liberty, seems like we have much in common :-) I too use art mainly as therapy, through writing, dancing, claying, collage-making, ... And I too search connection to the wisdom within, through nature-experience, dancing, writing, meditation :-) Nice to meet you!! I'll hop by now and then! Maybe we can have some tea and chat ;-)

  13. Hi Nele, we do seem to have a lot in common! I'm glad I found you through CED :-)
    I enjoyed browsing your blog.

  14. That is wonderful that you are able to acknowledge and understand yourself through the creative medium when experiencing the darker side, as it's a very healing method. Like you I tend to have tendency to fall back into a depressive state quite easily and for me, nature brings me back to earth and instead of using the creative medium like I used to, I just have that time to myself to re-connect. (I used to turn to writing poetry during my darkest hours as a youngster, and it really helped me to understand what was going on underneath the facet) My light tends to bring out all of my stronger creations and I see that is how I truly am and like to work towards, rather than the negative, but I appreciate these moments like you as each has a lesson and brings us closer to who we truly are. It is wonderful to be back on your blog again, we seem to share a greater connection. On a side note, I have created a separate blog dedicated to my Arts and Crafts progression, insights and inspiration. Hope you drop by. Would be love to see you there. :)

  15. hi Trulyana,
    I, too, find that time in nature can bring me back into balance.
    I just checked out your new blog and look forward to seeing more of your creative journey!


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