The Language of Color and Imagery

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Have you ever thought about how your daily life is filled with spoken and body language? We talk, our way through our interactions at home, work, and in the world around us. We also use facial expressions, hand gestures, and our posture to communicate what we’re thinking and feeling.

But what about when there’s something you have to say and you just can’t find the words? How do you express a feeling you can’t define or explain?

Tapping into the wordless part of your experience is not just powerful but necessary. We are not just thinking and talking beings. There is a whole part of our consciousness that yearns for expression beyond spoken language. We don’t often give that piece of our consciousness enough of our time and attention, but we should! We are feeling beings and feelings—our felt experience—don’t always have words that fit them easily.

Creative expression can give your heart a voice. It doesn’t require words or understanding. Color and imagery are two rich and meaningful creative languages you can “speak” instead, using them to explore, discover, and uncover your emotions. In the process, you’ll likely notice pent up feelings release and the inner healing that comes from an open heart.

One way to explore the languages of color and imagery is through intuitive art making. Using paint, old magazines and glue you can follow your intuition to new understanding.

I almost always start with paint on paper. (Acrylic paint or watercolors are fine.) I look for the colors that are waving at me: “Pick me! Pick me!” and choose them. Finger painting is so much fun, and brushes are also great tools for playing with color. There are no scientific standards on which colors relate to which emotions—though there is a lot of conjecture. It seems to be quite personal, but many psychologists agree that colors influence us emotionally, psychologically, and physiologically. Some colors raise our heart rates, some calm us, and some improve our mood. Notice how colors make you feel and use your favorites in your art making.

A picture is often the best way to express the feelings I have no words for at all. An image of broken glass tells more about my heartache than a sentence could. Using images as visual metaphors in my paintings, collages, and other art is my favorite way to express the seemingly indescribable. Flip through old magazines and cut out images that speak to you, even if you’re not sure why. Play with putting them on the page you just painted. See how they interact with each other and the colors you used. Glue them down. Use stencils, stamps, or even draw your own images on the page, for more imagery.

When you’re done, step back and let your art speak to you. What do these colors and images bring to the surface? There are no right answers, only new ideas to consider, especially about how your inner voice yearns to speak—and can—through color, visual metaphor and your inner wisdom.

Susie MillerComment