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Longtime readers know that I’m a big fan of both gratitude journaling and self-acceptance. As I wrote in recently, I was not at all surprised that a recent study found acknowledging your negative emotions is key to releasing them. Of course it is! In today’s self-acceptance art tutorial we’re going to use this to our advantage to name and then release self doubt and criticisms. I chose to use a rainbow because it’s easy to paint and because it has positive connotations in almost every religious, folk, and mythological tradition.
Materials needed for a self-acceptance rainbow painting
- A small pre-stretched canvas. I made painted my self-acceptance rainbow on a 4×4 canvas, but you could use paper or even a piece of wood. Just go with whatever speaks to you!
- A pen or marker to write on your canvas. An ultra fine tip Sharpie works well with gesso but takes about a million layers of craft paint to cover so you might want to go with something a little lighter if you’re using craft paint.
- White gesso, white acrylic paint, or even white chalk paint. Using an ‘artist’ acrylic paint will take you fewer layers to cover than using craft paint.
- A pencil. I use my Sumo .9mm pencil whenever I need a pencil because the wide lead makes it draw more like a non-mechanical, plus it has a good eraser.
- Acrylic/craft paints in rainbow colors. You don’t have to create a super realistic rainbow – just go with whatever colors you have on hand! You can use craft paints or ‘artist’ paints.
- Paintbrushes. I used a 1/2″ flat brush for the rainbow, a detail brush, and a foam brush to apply the white background layer. For gesso you could also use a plastic card (like an old credit card or gift card.)
- Paint pens, gel pens, markers, etc. for additional embellishment. Optional but fun!
Self-acceptance rainbow mini art tutorial
Begin by grabbing your pen or marker and writing your self-doubts and criticisms down on your canvas. Lay it all out there – don’t be shy! Remember that acknowledging your negative feelings is key to releasing them and that no one else needs to see this part of your painting. Please excuse my wonky writing – I did this while wearing my sleeping baby!
After your cathartic writing experience, take a moment to think about what you’ve written. Acknowledge your feelings and doubts, then consciously let them go. I find that thanking them is helpful. I know that sounds weird, but a lot of our negative thoughts are designed to protect us in a strange way. If I tell myself “I am bad at art,” then I don’t have to even try to create and make myself feel vulnerable in the process. I don’t have to feel bad when I do create and it doesn’t turn out like I want. If I make something and someone else criticizes it, then I have the fall back option of telling myself “well, I’m bad at art, so what did I expect?” Acknowledging this can help you let go of these negative thoughts and limiting beliefs.
Take your white gesso or white paint and cover it all up! Use multiple coats if you need to, until you can’t see the writing anymore.
When your paint/gesso is dry, use our pencil to roughly sketch out a cloud or two for your rainbow to live on. This is optional, of course, but I find it helpful. You can also make guidelines for your rainbow, if you’d like (I suggest it if you’re not highly confident in your rainbow painting skills). I took a photo but it was virtually impossible to see the pencil lines so I didn’t include it.
Paint your rainbow! Outline the cloud, if you’d like. I used an Inktense pencil and a water brush. The ink spread a little and I used it to create a slight “shadow” area on the cloud.
Add more embellishments if the idea speaks to you. I sketched out three hearts. You can just barely see them in the photo above.
Then I painted them in and added little dots with my extra fine white Posca Pen. Sharpie paint pens also work well. Micron pens theoretically work, but the nib is a little more fragile and they’re easier to damage on a canvas.
Keep your rainbow mini art somewhere visible and use it as a reminder to forgive and accept yourself!
Speaking of accepting and forgiving – I’m going to have to accept that blog posts will be a little more sparse while we’re getting moved in/before my crafting supplies arrive in South Carolina! I worked ahead as well as I could prior to our move, but didn’t get as much photographed as I would have liked. Our move was one hassle after another and had to take priority over blogging projects. That’s life, though, and we all arrived in one piece (how many of our household goods will be able to say the same remains to be seen!)
Have you ever made any self-acceptance art or practiced art or gratitude journaling?
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Natasha Núńez is a former classroom teacher with a Masters of the Arts in Teaching. She also is a registered yoga teacher & holds a certificate in natural skincare formulation from the School of Natural Skincare. She shares her passion for education, positive parenting, free printables, and recipes for DIY bath & home products. Learn more about Natasha and where she’s been featured.