Name Exercise - The activity here is about understanding personal identity. I thought about my name and drew images I felt were relevant to who I am at this moment. The things that go in to making up me - The thoughts and feelings I have. I've also put in some elements of the past which I think affect who I am now.
Mandala One - Me
Mandala and You Exercise - This is the first time I've made a mandala. I've seen them before but didn't really know about them. This activity in the book introduced me to the concept. In the first mandala the aim was to think about specific aspects in my life at the moment. Choosing colours and shapes to represent these things, thinking about their size and the way they affect one another in the circle. Again this is a positive mandala for me all about creativity, optimism and resilience.
Mandala Two - Problems
Mandala and Problem Solving - Here I've used the mandala to look at areas in my life that I feel need attention. I chose to concentrate on one particular aspect of my life in which I feel unsatisfied at the moment. Wanting to move out of my current house and set up my own home. There is also the desire to forge my positive yellow path through all the doubt and confusion, one which will hopefully lead me into a happier place.
Dream Exercise - I chose to draw a nightmare I had the night before. I'm often troubled by nightmares and I hate them. I hate the awful feeling of unease and distress that hangs around me all day when I get up. I feel like I can't shake off the feelings I had in the dream. So twice now I've painted dreams and I've so far found it to be quite helpful in getting rid of that feeling. I feel that by putting the images down on paper I can get them out of my brain and forget it. I'm going to keep trying this.
I hope you found the exercises I've written about interesting and maybe you might feel like having a go at some of them. I also think it is a great introduction to the topic of art therapy. If it is something you are interested in, you can't go wrong with this book.
The exercises are interesting and not too daunting to experiment with. The activities gently ease you from your comfort zone and before you know it you've made some really insightful, personal and meaningful art. The book is really successful in doing what it claims - promoting personal insight, growth and problem-solving. Its a great way to take stock, do something refreshing and positive. Great too if you're having a creative block.
The exercises are easy to follow and there are examples in the book of other student's work with analysis. This really helps you to look at your own work in an insightful way, picking out feelings and thoughts which concern you at the moment.
The only criticism I would make is that I feel it is unlikely people will do some of the exercises - like the full body mask, carnival costume or making a medicine wheel.
Overall though I would highly recommend the book. I think it is well worth purchasing. I've got so much out of it - even in just the exercises I've shown here. I also think its a book I will keep coming back to, if I feel the need to loosen up or do a bit of mandala problem solving!