Painting out your stories

painting writing our stories

We all have stories that are begging to be explored with paint and words...

In my post the other day, I shared with you some of the feelings that have surfaced for me since our son has been diagnosed with high functioning autism (aka Asperger's).

I'm still processing everything but really felt a need to explore my emotions so far - you know the pictures, images and stories in my head, the words on my heart and then putting them on paper by 'painting out' my story as it stands at this moment in time.  Someone who does a great job of this is Tim's Sally.

I didn't have any pre-conceived idea as to how this might turn out - this was purely for my own exploration and the great healing benefits of painting out our stories.

joseph journal diagnosis 4 Jun 2014 11-29.34

Every time I do this, I learn something new and profound.  Often when I look at these pieces much later, I'm still learning.   For me including words in the piece makes it more relevant still because not only can I set down the story visually, I am processing the words in my head surrounding the story too.

close up painting out our stories

I don't know why I had us by the sea - we don't live near the sea but I do find the sea very healing though, so maybe that's why.  I like the fact that I've painted bunting - it has a positive and happy vibe to it.  The bunting is about finding answers and feeling empowered at long last.  There are birds flying, the sun is shining and we're standing close next to each other.  I realise that we're both smiling.  The last detail was adding the star - just because he is 'a star' and it fitted in with how I felt at the time.  A little bit of washi paper always works - don't you think? ;)

I like how the strokes are haphazard, messy and spontaneous because with this piece, I didn't want to take ages getting it just right - I'm painting what's on my heart, not a perfect composition.

painting our stories

I then added these words:

'Autism - it's just words.  It doesn't describe who Joseph is - his gifts, his talents, his personality.  It's not who he is - it's just an aspect, not a definition.  He's so much more. 

So, I will stand close by him.  Cheering him on and holding his hand if he needs it.  I'll catch him when he falls.  I'll help him spread his wings and tend to him when he calls me. 

Joseph you are loved, always have been and always will be.  And when you feel alone, it's at those times that you're carried on the wings of love'.

***

It might be that you have a story on your heart that needs to be painted out.  I encourage you to give this a go, even if it's something you've never tried before.  All you need are some paints (acrylic, watercolour or coloured pencils), a journal, brush and a little bit of time.

Then think about your story - is there an image that comes to mind?  What colours do you feel or see in your mind's eye?  Any words?  Or, is there an abstract shape or series of shapes that better reflect your story?  Whatever it is, it's just right - after all, it is your story.

If you want to try this for yourself, I find the following tips are helpful for me and might be for you:

- I tell myself that it WILL be messy and imperfect but that's okay (and actually quite freeing).

- Sometimes it may spark other emotions too - I've learned to welcome that.

- I am gentle with myself - if I don't like something, I paint over it - try not to listen to your inner critic, just keep going.

- I 'gift' myself 20 mins or so of uninterrupted time and ignore the voice saying I don't have time...

- I try to be as honest as possible - responding to my emotions as best as I can either through colour, imagery, words or all of the above.  Nothing is off limits.

- Sometimes the imagery is positive and sometimes not so - that's okay - it's life, my life.

- I know that if I need to have a good chat with a friend, I can.

painting out our stories

Let me know how you get on and let me know if you need any help...