Why Paint and Then Journal?
While technically you can “create” your inner voice with any art materials or media, there is a reason why I do recommend paint. According to “The Expressive Therapies Continuum” by Lisa Hinz, paint gets us into an affective state and thus out of our heads. Also, because paint moves fluidly, it forces us to move quickly and more spontaneously, which gives us less time to second-guess our creative urges that emerge rapidly as we paint.
In our day to day lives, we are constantly in our heads. Whether it’s using social media, watching Netflix, reading or listening to the news, working, sitting in Zoom meetings, or worrying about finances - we are not often in our bodies, and I would argue, fairly cut off from our emotions. When we DO have a feeling, we quickly get distracted and move on to the next cognitive task or worry.
As I described above, painting takes us OUT of that left-brain, hyper-cognitive state, puts us more in touch with our affective/feeling side, and our perceptual side. Paint is a yummy, gooey, visceral material. It’s runny, the colours are vibrant, and it’s easy to get messy so we have to pay attention to what we’re doing. In short, it brings us into our senses, our bodies, and into the now. Our inner voice exists in the NOW, so we must come into the present in order to meet it. Painting helps us do that.
Once our painting is complete, we step back from the affective state to get reflective distance, contemplate the expressive experience we’ve just had, and the artwork that has emerged from our hands. For this, we need a journal to write in, and we follow the Paint Your Inner Voice prompts that help take us into a more reflective, cognitive, and symbolic state of mind. We start to capture in words the messages we were receiving and responding to rapidly from our inner voice while we were painting. Now that we’ve shown and reassured our inner voice that it has our attention, we are slowing down and drawing out its words and messages as we listen deeply and write them in our journals. As we look at our painting and write about it from a reflective distance, we harvest in our journal the rich meanings, messages, and answers we see and hear.
Painting and journalling are two quite different states of being. Painting is rapid, instinctive, visceral, immersive, perceptual, and affective. Journaling is slower, reflective, cognitive, and contemplative. They compliment each other well and now you know why they are used together in the Paint Your Inner Voice process.