Looking for a new way to illuminate your potential and connect to your inner self? Find your voice with color.
From the time I was a kid, art and color have assisted me in my healing journey in ways I didn’t realize at the time, but I can now identify. Looking back at how my art and paintings evolved over time, I can see so much of what I was going through just by looking at them.
Art, it seems, was telling my story even before I could find the words.
The Healing Power of Art
During the most painful days of my grief, I remember trying to talk things through with counselors, clergymen and friends.
But no matter who I spoke to, the words “hurt” and “pain” and “loss” just never felt sufficient. They couldn’t encompass everything I felt: the weight inside my body, the fog in my mind, the heaviness around my heart.
Nothing, it seemed, could alleviate the feelings of grief – until I picked up a paintbrush again.
While I was painting, I didn’t think as much about the pain. Instead, I focused on communicating it on the canvas. I used every aspect of the process to say something that words just couldn’t convey.
The thickness of the paint communicated the weight I felt inside me. The tenebrism of my brush strokes communicated the panic and fear all around me. The colors and imagery depicted the intensity of the emotions that coursed through me.
I was using art as a way of communicating the pain I felt but couldn’t find words to articulate simply by speaking them aloud. I was trying to share things I didn’t want to say out loud, but I felt brave enough to put it on a canvas.
Color became my voice. And the canvas became my story.
More importantly, the entire process began to connect me with the part of my grief that I didn’t know how to face. And when I could paint it – I could start to release it.
How I Use Art In Healing
For me, art is oxygen.
While I still paint to this day, my relationship with painting has changed – just as my relationship with grief and healing has changed over the years.
You see, painting has always been a way for me to connect with my subconscious, to see what it has to share on any given day. Today, I often paint as a way of checking in with my creative side and allowing my subconscious mind to have a playground.
Art is about exploration for me now.
It’s not so much about unloading what I’m feeling – but about finding what I want to say with my creative expression.
But the outcome is the same.
Painting is a source of creativity where I can connect with my inner visionary and allow myself to create, communicate and explore using color and shape.
The Power of Color
Every color has a power, and every color has a voice.
It speaks to each one of us differently, and it also speaks to us collectively.
The key is to start by figuring out which colors speak to you – and then you have to listen to what they say.
Red, for example, could feel like anger or sadness or bewilderment, depending on who’s looking at it.
And your relationship with each color can change over time. When I first started painting, there were certain colors I didn’t even use because they felt so foreign to me. Not all the colors I chose were pretty or bright – but they made sense to me. And eventually, my colors did turn brighter and happier.
So begin to explore with color to see which ones you feel most connected to. Pay attention to what they bring out of you.
Ask yourself: If you had to pick a color to illustrate how you’re feeling right now, what would it be? If you had to put an image to that feeling, what would it look like?
And what can you learn about yourself by revealing your deepest feelings on the canvas in front of you?
How To Use Color In Your Healing Journey
To start integrating the power of color into your life, take inventory of where you already use color in your life.
Do you pick out your clothes with intention? Do you think about how color makes you feel when you decorate your home? Do you like certain color pens or cars or foods?
How often are you thinking about color and what it provides for you?
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, every time we choose a color, we’re choosing the emotion we associate with it. The trick is to become more aware of the process, so you can then use it to harness the healing power of color.
Then let yourself spend some time getting creative with color and see how it makes you feel afterward. You might be surprised about what comes up.
Still not sure? Here are three ways to begin expressing your relationship with color in a very intentional way.
1. Fine Art
Whether you like crayons, colored pencils, ink or paint, just start allowing yourself to create something without thinking about it. It can be abstract, realistic or interpretive. Even scribbles and paint blotches will eventually turn into something with meaning.
But it is a great way to focus our mind and quiet the external world and truly express how we see and experience the world – as well as what we want to say to the world – in a very focused and beautiful way.
2. Performative Art
Color can be infused in all forms of art, even those forms that might not seem out-right visual.
Music and songwriting, for example, might not seem like a colorful art, but all you have to do is bring in the color to open up a new level of creativity. Write about what the color blue means to you. Sing about the color of your favorite dress, and tell the story of who you are when you wear it.
Even dance can be performed in color. Choose colorful lights to dance under. Wear a costume color that symbolizes the meaning of your dance.
Figure out fun and creative ways to infuse color into your favorite form of self-expression.
3. Decorative Art
Along with color, environments have always had very powerful healing potential in my life, so decorating my favorite spaces with intentional color choices is a simple way to feel more in control of my inner and outer world.
Use color to give the spaces in your home different intentions. Your bedroom, for example, can be filled with calming and restorative colors that make you feel serene yet happy. Your kitchen can be decorated in colors that make you feel hungry. Maybe you want your home office to be filled with colors that inspire and energize you.
The Bottom Line
Art and color has given me one more way to be present and intentional with how I show up in my personal life – but also in the world.
When I started painting, it was the only thing I could do to release the emotions. I had no idea it would eventually lead to art shows and awards. But to pour my heart and soul onto the canvas – and then receive recognition for what I created – was extremely validating.
I finally felt seen.
It was just another way to reveal more of myself to myself. And it still is today.
That’s why I urge you to try it. Don’t judge the process. Trust it. If you want to play with play dough, do it. If you want to sculpt, do it.
Whatever it is – just start.