Art Letters Activities
There is a vast amount of material and resources about art and writing being used separately or in combination in therapy. Here I would like to introduce you to 2 activities combining the power of writing a letter to self or others in therapy and then using it in combination with visual artistic representation. These activities are simple yet present many opportunities to work creatively with written material and process feelings with the aid of visual material. These activities are based on 2 parts: first working on a personal letter (letter to past self, future self, letter to significant other, letter to inner child etc) and then taking this physical letter and using it as resource in the art piece (second part). I am presenting here just the second part of using letter in expressive art piece as many counsellors would already know how to work with letters in client’s work.
Paper, paints, inks, brushes, markers, pens, collage papers, images and actual written letter.
Landscape with fragmented letter
This activity encourages you to fragment the original letter into random parts and re-create it in the form of new landscape with paints. Work is based on abstract concept and horizontal visual orientation. There is no need to add images of trees, buildings to the landscape unless clients wish to (this can be done in collage way as well). The activity encourages you to explore the concept of re-framing letters, creating new reality and re-using the letter into a new way. Start with the application of acrylic paint in different colours in a way resembling landscape, when paint is still wet (acrylics) add fragmented pieces of the letter into it (it works as glue). Carry on with painting covering partially some letter pieces, leaving some more visible. The process may be repeated again. Final touches include adding drawings with marker/pen (make sure paint is fully dry) or various elements of landscape as drawings or collage.
Letter to lost Self
This activity uses the letter to self and the outline of human figures. For human figures use the images from the magazines that when cut out leaves the outline. Under that, cut out the letter to be placed and glued – this way it fills in figure with words. This can be done in one or multiple figures. Depending on body language of chosen figures outlined, it can communicate different visual messages. Also this can be combined into collage and mixed media work with use of ready images, paint, colours and other materials. The next step is looking closer at words that stand out from the text included in the figure. This can provide additional source of reflexion for the work with the client.