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To feel, or not to feel? That is the question.

Capturing Emotion in Your Art – Creating Art that Speaks Volumes

Art is born from self expression.

It’s essentially an outlet used to make sense of your thoughts—especially when you’re feeling just a tad neurotic. It’s a form of storytelling. Of telling your story. And it’s a way to express your love of fictional characters via “fan art”.

Okay, so that last point didn’t exactly fit with the rest, but fan art is totally a valid form of self expression.

In some cases, art can guide you through your emotions. A painting can tap into what you’re feeling on a subconscious level and tell you things that you didn’t even know about yourself.

And a lot of this comes out intuitively. But how exactly can we channel this side of us when we create art?

It’s hard to let go of your emotions and tap into them at the same time; but, some of the best art I’ve created has be done during times when I just let myself feel. When the goal isn’t to create an aesthetically-pleasing piece with planned composition and color harmony, but instead create something that captures the state of my mind in the moment.

Life is messy—no truer words have been spoken.

But art is also messy. And sometimes when it feels like the world is closing in around you, and you’re trying to find your way out of a thick, looming fog, it might be worth it to linger for a bit. To stop fighting those feelings of impending doom, and instead use them to create something. . . anything.

Scribble on your page. Throw paint all over your canvas. Let your emotions out through your craft. We are artists after all, it’s kinda what we do.

And when you look back at artwork that you created during a time of emotional turmoil, you’ll remember the exact thoughts and feelings that brought you to a piece.

And hopefully in retrospect, the emotions that you once felt won’t be as sad, upsetting, or frustrating—instead, they’ll be just another page of your life’s story. One that you look back on in a melancholy fondness.

In a world of creating art formulated for optimal recognition, sometimes it’s easy to forget that drawing and painting can be used to navigate this scary thing called “life”. So, dive in headfirst. Feel. And create something that speaks volumes.

This post is inspired by a few pieces I created while feeling bogged down. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but we’re sort of living in the midst of a global pandemic. And in working at an A) non-profit B) community center, that’s C) focused on the arts, you could imagine that we were hit pretty damn hard.

So I began to panic. I, along with my department, were placed on a rolling weekly schedule. And not knowing what the next week had to offer—whether it be reduced hours, or none at all—started to get to me.

I turned to art.

Acrylics of all things. And this is what I painted:


I created the underwater piece first. At this point, I had no idea that I was even feeling tension through my work place. But I knew that the artist in me was trying to tell me something.

The scene featuring a city on fire was painted after I was temporarily laid off from my job—about a month following. This was when I had more clarity over the way I was feeling; hence, the painting itself is much more grounded, despite still showcasing the inner turmoil I felt at the time.

These two paintings remain some of my favorite pieces. I relive my past thoughts through them. And they mean a lot to me for this sole reason.

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