Art Journal Therapy Activity # 14 - Expressive Still Life Drawing

Expressive Pastel by Shelley Klammer
Expressive Pastel by Shelley Klammer


This art journal directive will support you to draw quickly and instinctively, so that your drawings become more alive, dynamic and expressive. This exercise supports the practice of seeing the essence inside of form.




- Timer


- Still life - your choice of fruit, vegetables and/or flowers


- Oil pastels


- Art journal page




Each thing is unique - animal, vegetable, or mineral. Each thing is precious, irreplaceable, fragile, mortal. Each thing has a personality - try to find what that distinction is and express it. Not its outward appearance - but its internal meaning."   ~ Nancy Doyle


When I was a gallery artist in my twenties it took me at least a month to complete one painting. In my early years I was extremely self-conscious as an artist. I fretted about perfection. Each art piece was rationally thought out, patiently designed, and painstakingly composed.


When I was in my 30's, I started facilitating expressive art groups for seniors and I was able to work with a passionate artist, who long after her death, still inspires me today.  In her early 90's, she had dementia, and had long forgotten that she was an accomplished artist and sculptor.


Yet, when I gave my client a box of fresh pastels and an inspiring still life to look at, she would begin to draw quickly and passionately with her whole body arching over the paper. I was in inspired by how she seemed to quickly "digest" the essential nature of her subject matter and move it through her hands onto the paper...