Here I divide four A1 sheets of paper in four A3 panels. On every sheet I am expressing a different emotion, using a different media for every panel.
For the top left panel I use charcoal, top right black oil pastel, bottom left ink painted with brush and bottom right a felt tip pen.
I really feel into the emotion, evoking memories and images to go deeper, and then draw quickly and spontaneously expressing the emotion. Usually I like to draw small drawings with a lot of detail, especially if it is an abstract pattern, so here I push myself to be more expressive and less controlled.
After drawing, I wrote what I felt through expressing these emotions , also very spontaneously and free-flowing.
Anger is dark, its black , no red, it is burning, it kept mixing with sadness and was hard to tell apart, but now anger has more edges and sharp corners, more spikes and screams and flames. It is hard and loud and bold. I let it out- it is bigger and darker than I thought, exploding from a dark center. There is freedom in this explosion, expansion.
For so long there was only sadness and a feeling of hopelessness thinking of this man that I love, but now anger is there too, it is getting louder. I can feel its strength and power. It is empowering me. Yes, step back fear and sadness, anger is beautiful!
Calm is quiet and soft, it is the space between the sounds, between the lines and colors. It is light and slow, maybe not still but with a sliding effortless silent movement. It is white or light and transparent, flowing, breathing. Can it be black? Yes, it can be a soothing , calm, black nothingness- nothing to do, nowhere to go, falling softly into peace. A safe black, a cave to rest.
My drawing looks like an eye, this is unintentional, the lines flowing together to see. The calm emptiness between the gentle lines, the calm dark in the safe center, a seed, a cave.
Joy is a dance, it is swirling, bursting, pearling, flowing, spreading. It’s the quiet warmth of gratitude welling forward in small crystal waves, it is colors and bursts of laughter , it is sharing and connecting and quiet again. It is white and light and exploding with colors . It is kissing and whispers and smiles and screaming and jumping and dancing , it is splashing water but also quietly watching the clouds.
Joy is a whole universe of magic planets and our secret love language. It is sketching, splashing, smearing and forgetting everything else.
I know joy, but I will have another go at drawing it. Why is it difficult to draw joy? I try to find the right music to go with it and realize how serious, calm, fearful, angry , sad my whole musiclibrary is.
Now joy is more quiet, more internal, it is gratitude, it is flowers and the sky, it is sand between the toes and listening intently kind of joy, it is walking barefoot and being alive.
Fear is a dark beast, stiffening, engulfing everything else, it is the cold creeping in from the outside, and the dark furry caterpillar welling up from the inside.
It is empty and acid, it is too full and suffocating , it is spreading and compressing, repressing , holding back, closing in . Then stiff and rigid, cold, marching on towards the next dark spot, pulling strings to memories and pains stored deep.
Of all the emotions, I think “fear” is expressed the best. The visual outcome really reflects my emotion of fear. Calm is also close by, as is anger, although my daugter would name both “confusion”. I struggled the most with “joy” and had two attempts, but both ended up more swirly than I feel. I feel joyful, but in a way closer to calm, grateful, centered. For “Calm” I felt tempted to leave the page more or less blank at first, but then I felt all the movement in calm and also the fullness.
It was interesting using different media. Charcoal and oil pastel allow more or less similar movements, but with ink I felt less control of the outcome. With the felt pen, I felt maybe too much control and had to restrain myself from getting lost in symbolism and detail and force myself to really keep spontaneous.
These are the separate panels I would choose to best express emotions: