Writing a letter that you will never mail is a great way to "dump" feelings, hurts, emotions. The first step is to choose a person, place, event that has been bugging you and quickly dump out a letter...to a specific person but no intention of actually mailing the letter. You can write on your favorite stationary, a plain piece of note paper, or straight onto your art journal page. The example here is my dump letter that I did as a practice/sample for an art session at a shelter for at-risk teens. I used only the art materials that I bring in my "art-on-the-go" travel tubs so the paints here are tempera. See below for the layers/steps.
|Freedom [Forward] is the theme of this reflection...|
1. Use a lead pencil and quickly write a letter to a particular person—dump out all your hurts, emotions, feelings. The paper here is construction paper. You can use stationery, notepaper, or write directly on the journal page. If you use separate paper then glue the letter into your journal are onto a more stiff type of paper which can handle the additional art materials.
2. Paint over most of the letter with acrylic or tempera. Use 1-3 colors as desired. It’s okay for some of the words to show through because you will add many more layers.
3. Identify symbols that express your feelings and stamp the symbols onto the page. I chose the symbol of a crab because I was feeling (literally) “crabby” toward the recipient of this letter.
4. Collage a photo or clips from magazines which relate to the experience/person.
5. Write or glue the Serenity Prayer onto the piece. Identify a word or phrase in the prayer that reflects your feelings, desire, hope. Paint or stamp a simple shape/symbol as desired. In the example, I painted a horizontal rectangle and a vertical window—both symbols of the experience I am reflecting upon.
6. Name the feelings you are experiencing. I used a list of feeling words as a “cheat sheet” and circled the words that related to my experience. The negative words might jump out at you first, but also include positive aspects of this experience. Use a graphite pencil and write those feeling words on the art piece.
7. Next, name what you want/desire—the feelings, resolution that you hope and pray for over-against the experience you've had. In this example, I wrote these words BIG and BOLD over the list of feeling words: POWERLESS, PEACE WITH GOD, PEACE WITH SELF, PEACE WITH OTHERS, FORGIVE SELF, FACE FORWARD.
8. Title your page. As I wrote the list of words (related to the 12-step recovery), I realized that what I really desired was FREEDOM FORWARD; not to be stuck in the past but FREEDOM FORWARD.
9. Add a verse of scripture that resonates with your reflection. Mine is “It is for freedom that Christ has set you free” (Galatians 5:1).
10. Embellish with additional symbols as desired. I put a cross over the photograph as a symbol of the freedom in Christ Jesus. The single butterfly represents the freedom I desire for myself.
|Identify your feelings from this reflection and write them on the page.|
|Bold words of what you want go on top of the feeling words.|
|The cross was the final element I added to symbolize freedom in Christ Jesus.|
|The pink rectangle is a symbol related to my reflection as is the vertical "window" shape.|