Drawing and Painting Emotions


Here is an activity for ages 5 and up. You will need:
Water proof pen, crayons or oil pastels, watercolor paint, paint brush, thick paper (preferably watercolor paper), small container of water (for wetting brush and maybe a rag to dab it on). This can also be modified to use any materials you have available. You could try using a paper grocery bag for paper.

Sit comfortably with your spine straight and feel your body on the chair and your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, release any discomfort. Tune into the rhythm of your breath and allow it to draw you into the present moment. Notice the main emotion you are currently experiencing without judgement. If you judge, take a breath and let it go on the exhale.

Choose a crayon or use the water proof pen to make a dot on the page. ‘Take a dot for a walk” what does it become? A line. Let the line represent your main emotion.
Notice what kind of line you are drawing. It could be a continuous line with a variety of elements like curvey, angle, straight, thick or thin… Shapes may appear from the line overlapping. When you are done drawing, use the watercolor paint to paint over, around or inside the shapes of your drawing. See the tips for watercolor painting below. If you don’t have paint, color in with crayons or use whatever supplies you have. Leave some shapes free of color as you wish. Continue to use the colors to represent your emotion. Have fun, continue to inhale deeply and exhale releasing tension. When you are finished notice how you are feeling. Did the emotion change? Did you learn something about yourself by paying attention to your body or from your creation?

Emotions are not good or bad.  How can we have happiness with out also experiencing sadness?  Emotions are simply a form of communication from our body.  If we listen and respond, we may take better care of ourselves.

*Tips for using watercolor:  Dip the brush in the water and then roll it in a color of paint.  You can also create a puddle on the palette or mix colors there.  When the brush is loaded with paint use the side of the brush to fill in shapes,  gently move the brush across the page in one direction where you want that color and pull the color down by lifting the brush and catching the wet bottom edge of the part you just painted and moving the paint across the page again in the same direction. This is called a watercolor wash.  Clean the brush in the water before changing colors. Reload the brush with water and paint when it stops flowing smoothly on the page or becomes dry.  Use the rag to blot the brush only if you need less water on it.  You can also play with mixing colors on the page by letting them overlap.


 “A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.” “A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Paul Klee,

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