Art Medicine Project: Dealing With Anger

I invented this project while on my recent excursion to another state where we became stuck without a car and almost became homeless.  I was laying in bed, half crying, feeling defeated about the way I was being treated by the person we were staying with, wondering "Is this it?  I left home to get away from people like this and here I am, right back in the thick of abusive behavior." 

I sat and thought "How can I use art to deal with this?  I can't change this person.  She is toxic in ways she doesn't even understand.  So how can I deal with her behavior or at least move past it in some way?"

And this is what I came up with.

My version isn't pretty.  You can make yours as elaborate or beautiful as you like.  I would have preferred to use acrylics on a huge canvas, but I had to work with what I own right now (which is barely anything, due to us leaving all our belongings in that state in order to get out quickly and get back home), which was a small piece of thick paper, watercolor pencils, Bic Markits, water, gelatos, and.....white-out!!  Yes, white-out!  I had no white paint, so I had to use gross white-out that was  partially dried out.  Well, it worked enough! LOL  So while my project is strange looking, you can make yours much more gorgeous.  And I will do this again when I get more art supplies and update the pictures.

So here is how to do it:

Art Medicine Project: Dealing With Anger 

When to do this project:

When you're dealing with someone who can't or won't change, and you can't get past your anger towards them for what they did to you. When you feel like a victim and you want to take charge.  Or when you're stuck in a situation that feels like there is no way out. Or when anything is making you angry and you want help to move past it.

Why to do this project: 

You can't change others, but you can change how you deal with others or how you deal with their behavior towards you.  By taking responsibility for your own feelings and the such, you can change who you are in the situation (to go from victim to survivor to controller of the situation). 

What you need to do this project:

  • Something to put your project on: paper, card stock, art journal, canvas, a board of any type, cardboard, etc.  
  • Supplies: paints, gelatos, pens, markers, etc.  Depending on what you're drawing on, use the right supplies for the project.  Anything will work!  Don't limit yourself just because you don't have much to work with.  You can do the entire thing in sharpies if you like 😉
  • Sharpies or something to write with. 
  • White paint or paint pens or silver/gold sharpies/markers, etc.  There are two pieces of writing in this project, the first is dark, the second is light or metallic.  

Step One: 

  • Create a background on your canvas (or whatever you decide to work on).  I doodled some zen doodly things on thick paper.  I have very limited art supplies right now, so it was all I had to work with.  I then colored them in with watercolor pencils and then painted them with water.  You could paint your background, or collage it.  Anything goes here.  If you don't know what to do, go to youtube and search "art backgrounds".  You can find some great tutorials on there.  Here is my background: 

Step Two:

  • Once your background is done, you're going to get out a sharpie pen, Pitt artist pen, or whatever you like that's dark against your background and write that person a letter.  If you are using a big canvas, you can write a lot!  But if you're using something smaller, you should choose your words to have the most impact with the least amount possible.  Write out your hurt, your pain, your anger, your sorrow, or anything that's bothering you about this person (or a situation).  You can be as angry or sad as you like.  The point here is to get out your pain.  Use profanity if you like.  Anything goes here.

Step Three: 

  • When you feel you've sufficiently got out everything you needed to say, blend the background and the letter together.  I used a gelato for this (I only had one, it came in my kit LOL).  You can use several colors of paint, or whatever you like.  The trick is to blend the two together as best as you can.  

Step Four: 

  • Now it's time to figure out your message and/or lesson to be taken from this situation.  Your message can be one of forgiveness, it can be a question for you to ponder about the situation this person has caused (or if it's a situation and not a person, just about the situation itself), it can be a statement, or even a mantra.  I chose forgiveness, even though I haven't fully forgiven this person yet.  But the message helps me to remember what I am working towards.  Letting go of my anger towards her is definitely something I want to do, as it's probably the most mad I've ever been at anyone in a very long time.  So I don't want to walk around feeling this way as it's only affecting me, not the other person. 

    And I wanted to find where I could take my own responsibility in all of this and when I really thought about it, I came up with the fact that I put all my trust in this person and this person just acted like they normally do.  So how is that their fault?  I should have known better.  So while my "act of forgiveness" isn't 100% taking the blame myself, it still makes me feel better to realize I learned a valuable lesson from the situation they caused, which is "Don't put all your trust into someone to get things done the way they need to be done" or in layman's terms, "If you want something done right, do it yourself".  So while this project doesn't heal all of my anger, it sets me on the right path towards healing so I can eventually let it go.  Art Medicine projects aren't a quick fix type of therapy (no type of therapy is).  They are meant to help you change your thought process in the right direction so you can possibly see things a little clearer.  And while I had very limited art supplies to create my project with, it did help me to see this situation was a lesson learned, rather than some type of karmic punishment, which it felt like in the moment when it was happening.

    My message medium ended up being created a bottle of old white-out that was partially dried out.  But this proves that these projects do not need to look good in order to be effective 😉 I drew over the white-out in pen so it was somewhat legible: 
"I forgive you because I have known better."

It's not pretty, but it doesn't have to be.  Art medicine is about healing, not creating art that will hang in a museum.  Your art can be beautiful, of course, but it doesn't have to be.  So don't be deterred if you aren't someone who considers themselves an artist.  These projects are not about creating something beautiful, but rather something meaningful.  

You can choose to hang your projects on your walls, or you can keep them private where the only person who sees them is you.  You can also choose to destroy them after they've worked their magic.  It's your choice 💗. I like to keep mine private so I can look back at them when I need to so I can remember why I did them in the first place.  I always need reminders so I don't get caught up in my old way of thinking again.  Which is why art medicine is so effective for me (as is journaling).  

As I hope it is for you, too 🙂!

If you choose to make this project, please come back and let me know how it worked for you!  

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