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This is the set of art therapy cards that I drafted for Shiv's session in "Drawing Out the Feelings." It is posted as the bonus material for the January 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl making its $300 goal.


SADNESS

Feelings: sad, gloomy, sullen, depressed, frustrated, conflicted

Associations: oppression, crushing, divided, fighting back, hope, contrast

Purple: ambition, penitence, wealth, anxiety, drama, extravagance, grief, introspection, justice, mystery, responsibility, secrecy

Blue: authority, balance, calm, cold, despair, truth, dignity, loyalty, obedience, security, control, contraction, trust, water

Yellow: happiness, prosperity, alertness, light, extroversion, communication, confidence, fear, ideas, order, playfulness, power, summer, uncertainty, youth

Orange: energy, action, assurance, change, creativity, independence, humor, visibility, expansion, heat, sunset, warning, disorder

Curved lines: change, nature, rhythm, life, soft, fluid, unpredictable, feminine

Soft edges: uncertainty, openness, nature, variation, blending

* * *

HAPPINESS

Feelings: happy, safe, awake, excited, perky

Associations: love, friendship, help, day, sunshine, summer, giving, receiving

Yellow: happiness, prosperity, alertness, light, extroversion, communication, confidence, ideas, order, playfulness, power, summer, uncertainty, youth

Blue: balance, calm, cold, truth, dignity, loyalty, obedience, trust, water, peace, cooperation, maturity, flexibility, freedom, tenderness

Green: comfort, environment, plants, abundance, freshness, friendship, spring, renewal, generosity, good luck, growth, health, life, nature, relaxation, safety

Straight lines: stability, earth, masculine, predictable, regular

Crisp edges: confidence, division, civilization, repetition, boundaries

* * *

ANGER

Feelings: angry, stressed, aggressive, assertive

Associations: hard, sharp, explosive, dragon, mountains, flight, crime, city

Red: courage, danger, rage, desire, determination, firecrackers, rebellion, dominance, excitement, fire, love, hate, intensity, life, pain, power, prohibition

Yellow: alertness, light, extroversion, communication, confidence, ideas, power, activity, caution, expansion, signal, stimulation, warning

Black: death, evil, darkness, mystery, power, fear, strength, authority, prestige, grief, loss, forgetfulness, boundaries, absolutes

Thick lines: bold, strong, stable, stubborn, rigid, permanent, confident

Diagonal lines: change, unbalanced, restless, motion, energy, tension, drama

Jagged, pointy shapes: warning, threat, speed, tension, defenses, dynamic

* * *

FEAR

Feelings: scared, worried, anxious, uncertain, nervous, insecure

Associations: threat, stalker, monster, shadows, attack, lurking, claw marks

Black: death, evil, darkness, mystery, power, fear, strength, authority, grief, loss, forgetfulness, boundaries, absolutes, night, hiding

Brown: practical, dull, predictable, wholesome, cheap, loathing, dirt, reliable, warm, approachable, protection, sincere, comforting, confident, structured

Jagged, scratchy lines: turmoil, anxiety, claws, damage

Blotchy patterns: haste, disease, decay, incomplete

* * *

SURPRISE

Feelings: surprise, anticipation, wonder, confusion, doubt

Associations: jumping, tumbling, overlapping, intruding, expectations, mistakes

Pink: love, friendship, compassion, romance, immature, warmth, hope, calm, sweet, weak, feminine, intuitive, emotional, needy, positive, tenderness

Red: alertness, beauty, courage, danger, desire, firecrackers, excitement, fire, love, hate, intensity, life, madness, power, prohibition, eccentricity, circulation

Orange: exuberance, action, assurance, change, creativity, independence, fall, humor, visibility, expansion, heat, sunset, warning, disorder, celebration, fun

Yellow: happiness, prosperity, alertness, light, extroversion, communication, confidence, fear, ideas, order, playfulness, power, summer, uncertainty, youth

Green: comfort, environment, plants, abundance, freshness, friendship, spring, renewal, generosity, growth, health, life, nature, relaxation, safety, envy, laziness

Blue: balance, calm, cold, despair, truth, dignity, loyalty, obedience, security, control, contraction, trust, water, winter, culture, depth, technology, masculine

Purple: ambition, penitence, art, wealth, anxiety, drama, extravagance, grief, introspection, justice, mystery, responsibility, secrecy, homosexuality, pride

Straight lines: stability, earth, masculine, predictable, regular

Curved lines: change, nature, rhythm, life, soft, fluid, unpredictable, feminine

Soft edges: uncertainty, openness, nature, variation, blending

* * *

DISGUST

Feelings: disgust, revulsion, dread, depression

Associations: crawling, nausea, bugs, rotting, death, withdrawal

Pink: nurturing, compassion, immature, warmth, sweet, weak, feminine, intuitive, emotional, cautious, needy, tenderness, nonthreatening, uncomplicated, internal

White: plain, critical, completion, stark, unimaginative, simplicity, openness, empty, isolated, skeletal, ghostly, beginnings, cautious, cold, death, mourning

Brown: practical, dull, predictable, straightforward, cheap, loathing, dirt, genuine, warm, earthy, protection, sincere, comforting, confident, natural, decay

Black: death, evil, darkness, mystery, power, fear, strength, negativity, grief, loss, forgetfulness, boundaries, absolutes, exclusion, containment, pessimism

Thin lines: fragile, delicate, ephemeral, elegant, narrow-minded

Curved lines: change, nature, rhythm, life, soft, fluid, unpredictable, feminine

* * *

CONTEMPT

Feelings: contempt, disdain

Associations: mockery, rejection, arrogance, dislike, sneer, beneath

Red: courage, danger, rage, desire, determination, firecrackers, rebellion, sin, dominance, excitement, fire, hate, intensity, pain, power, prohibition, sexuality

Black: death, evil, darkness, mystery, power, fear, strength, authority, prestige, grief, loss, forgetfulness, boundaries, absolutes, exclusion, aloof

Gray: detachment, indecision, compromise, dignified, conservative, reserved, indifferent, boring, mature, intelligent, depressed, lifeless, lonely, calm

White: purity, wholeness, completion, sterile, stark, cleanliness, unimaginative, simplicity, openness, fussy, empty, isolated, cautious, plain, critical, innocence

Blotchy patterns: haste, disease, decay, incomplete, painterly, sophisticated

Thick lines: bold, strong, stable, stubborn, rigid, permanent, confident, fast

* * *

NOTES:


Art therapy and art therapists have many benefits. Here are some art therapy exercises and tips on how to use art therapy with clients or for yourself.

Colors have symbolic meanings. This list explains lots of colors. There are also pages for brown, pink, gray, white, and black. Each color has many possible interpretations, which can vary from one culture, time, or person to another. Once you have memorized a bunch of meanings, you can use other contextual clues to figure out which of them best fit a given image. Here are some ideas on using colors for artists.

Lines also form part of the visual grammar with their own meanings. Shapes are created by closed lines. Textures make a picture more realistic and interesting.

You can make your own art cards in various ways, and put whatever you want on the backs. It helps to use a proportion wheel to figure out the size of large or small cards.

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