I am keen to create a framework of activities that inspire dynamic change and raise self-esteem. I am also interested in combining art with narrative writing as part of a ten week journaling project, which participants could then continue with in their own lives, moving forward. I always welcome feedback and suggestions from people who use this resource.
1. Turn over a leaf for happiness
The symbolism for a leaf is 'happiness'.
1. Go with your group to a park or wooded area to collect a batch of leaves. You might want to introduce mindful walking as part of the activity, which will help people focus on their search for the right leaves.
2. For this activity spread black acrylic paint on the vainy side of the leaf and then burnish/press it down onto a sheet of white A4 paper. Use newspaper to press down on and burnish the leaves.
3. Do exactly the same but this time using white acrylic paint on a sheet of black A4 paper.
4. On the black piece of paper, write down all the thoughts that are troubling you around the leaves you have printed. Do the opposite with a black pen around the black leaves on your white paper, writing down all the positive/happy thoughts you have about your life.
5. As a group discuss what you have created and which thoughts you might want to focus on more from this point.
As an extension activity we used pine cones to mark-make on A4 using black acrylic paint. You could also use coloured paper and paints. Here's my example below:
2. A modern palette-knife piece
For this activity you do not necessarily have to use a palette-knife. You could cut up some square sections from a cardboard box and use these to put the paint on your surface. I used some pieces of wood, normally used for stretching canvas on a box frame.
To build up the effect below scrape on one colour of acrylic or poster paint, let it dry and then do another and repeat until you are happy with the result.
This has been created using colour pens/markers. Instead, the group could use oil pastels, wax crayons or use finger paints for a more sensory experience.
1. Consider what emotions you would like to represent and write them down, as illustrated. What colour do you instinctively feel goes with each emotion?
2. Create your own moodscape within the heart provided. There is nothing to prevent people working outside the edges. Is there something on the outside that you would like on the inside?
Inspired by Kevin O'Connor.
3. What's in your Heart?
A great way of getting any group - adults or children - to move beyond our creative preconceptions.
You will need to tie some long paintbrushes to longer sticks for this exercise.
This could be done outside on a nice day if the weather is calm. If you do this activity indoors, I recommend covering the floor with a protective sheet.
I would use A2 paper for this.
* Alternatively, you could get some rolls of lining paper that painter/decorators use and cut these up, which is a cheaper option.
To extend this 'action art' activity you could do some 'splat painting'.
3. Crazy Art
For this activity, you will need pantyhose, rice (one or two scoops), scissors (to cut legs off pantyhose), washable paint and masking tape to secure paper to the floor. Tie off the legs with a knot to keep rice contained.