Your Picture Tells A Story  

Creative expression Invites people to explore their inner depths and unsightly recesses of their minds, their experiences and perceived reality that eludes them from the truth.  Why be so afraid to see what is hidden when really the mystery is tied up in fear and the unknown.  I give you permission to unlock the depths and explore the mystery and hidden depths of your soul’s expression.

Symbols & Images

 In exploring your images through active imagination, you find personal associations (meanings particular to you) with the environment or culture you live in through identifying with art, images, thoughts, and feelings.  These images represent symbols that provide meaning to you.  As you go about your day observe and become aware of the synchronicities that unfold.  Become aware of the associated links to your reality.


You reshape your inner creative source through paying attention to images around your environment and the things you know.  We are drawn to certain colours, shapes, forms, patterns and textures in our homes, clothes and nature.  We find symbols in the external world like animals, insects, butterflies, plants and environment including; the rain, hot desserts, fresh dew of autumn leaves changing colour before the decay of winter. We see and hear the fresh cool waters rapidly gushing over rocks in nearby rivers and streams indicating are we going with the flow.  We are attracted to the serene waters of lakes and the ocean waves to soothe the emotional body in times of stress when we feel uptight and in need of relaxation and quiet reflection.

  We find more symbols in the landscape such as hills and mountains with deep crevices and gullies laid out in valleys as far as the eye can see resonating strength and connection. 

An extension of the heart is like two swans intertwined to resemble the heart.  We see when the two swans separate. There can be distance and ill intent demonstrating conflict within the heart and mind. Another close favourite of mind is the bearded water dragon standing on a path that does not move until made to do so.  This symbolises staying true to your perspective and intent. Standing in rightful place and not backing down from your views.  It can also mean being very stubborn and choosing not to see another’s point of view.    All symbols provide us with an expression of ourselves, as we merge and get to know the symbols.  We develop dialogue and perspective that help us to look more deeply into our selves building on trust and respect within us.


Facial worry lines reveals characteristics portrayed by the face tell a story of the self and inner turmoil of ones journey on their life path.  This path you chose to walk is how the world sees you and is this how you wish to be seen by the outside world.  With the passing of time as people age many people see the youth they were of yesteryear instead of the coming grace of age.  Every line and spot has a story yet to be told drawing one to what lies beneath.


Symbols may reflect your neglected areas and bring attention to something you need to repair within yourself, or generate energy in need of change.  They tell a story about who you are, where you come from and where you are going to.  You never exhaust their meaning or healing aspects.  Symbols you dream unconsciously help you to find balance and give wholeness in your life. Tapping your interior self to create spontaneous imagery draws from an infinite well of symbols to guide inspire and inform our lives.  We follow these inner voices – sources of help and support, new opportunities and ideas.  Our deepest intuition and aspirations are like guides in our lives always present and we need to cherish them.  Dreams, visions, imagining, and art expression are all visual symbols.  They are messages of wisdom, beacons in the darkness, teachers and friends.


“Find your own myth you are the only source of your story.  The stories embedded in your images will deepen the transformative powers of your creative source and tap the innate wellness within you.” By Barbara Ganim


The projects we create and the images we project are reflections of our inner canvas. Dreaming into being demonstrates that we are creators of our own reality.  As we dream, we imagine and tell our stories through imagery and thought we create in the day to day world.  Symbols are seen as codes in which we translate our world into meaning.  It then appears that the world we call day to day is part of the inner dream. The journey into our inner world and psychic is the living dream.


The whole story

The whole story of someone’s reality lays in the plain and mundane structures; insignificant, perhaps gross, worn down neglected, and hints of beauty in their environment.  That they see around them in their day to day life.   We see objects around us that repulse us and draw us deep into ourselves indicating our shadows. That registers as dislikes, propaganda, intolerance, abuse and ignorance. They may include alluring depths into unkempt bush land, rusty forgotten machinery. Rubbish sweep road sides and rundown houses or cars hiding in trees after a flooded event and other eyesores.  These are the scary potential for imaginary dialogue with feeling and imagination exploring the depths of the soul. 


As we become aware of our thoughts and learn to understand them we develop a connection with our soul and shadow self.  The shadow self is where the depth of our existence lies and speaks the truth.  It is in the shadow or light you see the greatest reflection.  One of the quickest and easiest ways to find who we are is by engaging in feeling and emotional depth of our being and exploring the darkest and the possible despair of our existence.


The soul might prefer tearing apart

You might need chaos rather than order, depression rather than happiness, ugliness rather than beauty, destruction rather than creation and aggression rather than tranquillity.  The things that we don’t see or find repulsive like shadows, dislikes, intolerances, inattentiveness, and sense of superiority – carry potential for imagination.


These images are like children physic offspring, we shape them, nourish them but they will never be the mirror image of us.

We are interested in the things that come to us, move through us, and reflect us and the part that constantly changes, transforms and creates new life.


All you need to do is allow the motion of the hand to draw something on the page without any idea of what it is.  Just start with any shape any colour, any squiggle that comes to mind.

Take yourself into a dream like state and feel yourself beginning to float and glide through the air.

  Now focus on how you feel what is that you want to say, let the emotion, the stress, the message pour out of you just let it all go till you have exhausted the paint brush, fingers or pencils you are working with. 


When you are feeling really emotional and upset or feeling overwhelmed and at lost this becomes your intent.  It is the emotion and how you are feeling that becomes the intent and in these times it best to go with how you feel. By selecting the colours, tones and shades, shapes, lines and squiggles. Picture what feels right and begin to create without thinking. 


We just do it

What you will need:

  • A4 piece of paper

  • Material to draw and paint with pens, crayons, pastels, paints and pencils.

  • Clay for sculpturing/moulding

  • Notebook for writing in

  1. Allow your images to come into your field of attention and focus on them without giving them too much concentration, just observe, let them be there be with them, share loving space with them.

  2. Rest your attention on your breath and concentrate on your creative work content. 

  3. Be open to any body or mental imagery comes to mind, if no visual picture comes to mind try sensing through movement, sound, taste or smell

  4. Record what you have seen in writing, paint or mould into clay to give form to your experience.


The following section provides tools to explore going deeper into the pictures we draw and are attracted too.


Colours speak when we learn the colour’s qualities of strengths and opposites.  Colours are like emotions they are related to how we feel and what matters to us.  We can assimilate much knowledge from nature by observing the colours they portray.  Therefore we have a classroom outside waiting to be discovered in the language of colour.  We associate the blue colour of the ocean as cool, refreshing and vastness. When we place the emotional/mental association with the colour blue we see peace, tranquillity, quiet, and a space wanting to feel sad.  Warmer tones of blue will give an uplifting and revitalising feel such as an aquamarine pool in a tropical rainforest. Feeling into this blue radiates vast oceans of abundance and share heartfelt warmth in all communication.  The tone and shades are easy to work with rather than the intense colour.  Because shades and tones can be a variety of lighter, darker, murky, cloudy, hazy, deeper softer pastel hues revealing more to our emotions than bright orange splashed on a page.  The bright shade of orange calls for joy and partying while softer pastels represent confusion, needing space and boundaries which are blurred. 

We are all of spirit and we tend to find solace within the shadows and soft light, naturally uncasing a shadow that needs healing.


Through observation we see the physical qualities with visual aspects of say a tree or animal.  You note the colour, the shape and depth of marking and lines. As you become more familiar with the picture you may produce feelings about the image that represents symbols relating in your own life.


The questions we ask provide the stories and the feelings arouse the physiological engagement of the image exploring deeper into our subconscious and dreaming with meaning


Your Picture tells a Story


Stick to the image in order to tell your story by staying with the mood, scene, and context of the image to find its true meaning. Meanings come slowly and over time don’t worry if nothing comes to mind straight away.


Line & Colours

Let your imagination and sensory awareness slide into the presences of the lines, shapes and colours as if they are real. Merge with them and sense into what the lines and shapes represent.  How do they seem to you?  Become familiar with them and be as descriptive as you can, ask a question or two.

Practice a little shape shifting by mirroring yourself as a straight line; act it out, blend into how a straight line would be and get to know it this way.  Is it sharp, round edges, it is flat or slightly curved? What does that sharp line mean to you mentally, emotionally and in your spatial awareness?  

Don’t worry there are no silly answers. 


The lines and colours on your page have a lot to give you,

but you have to relax and pay attention to what they are saying.


  1. Immersing yourself in them

  2. What are you feeling?

  3. Talk to them about their textures?

  4. Their subtle movements?

  5. The way the touch and do not touch?

  6. What’s the energy they generate through their patterns?


Dialogue with the picture.


Dialogue with the image through imaginary conversation lets us see other perspectives.

  • Allow yourself to merge with the picture, then sense into the e.g. blue circle and ask what does that say? e,g I feel crowded, happy, passionate, playful.  Personify the elements in your images and use them to describe your experiences.  Slip into them as if they are an extension of yourself


  • If the image could talk back to you what would it say? Conduct an interview – talk to your images as they were people reflects meaning and the soul of its creator. e.g. I am a caged tiger and I feel trapped.  Spontaneous writing down whatever comes. 


  • How do I feel today? Shown in a sensory way ask how do your images each feel today e.g a line, colour, shape or figure within the image.  Look at for its emotional qualities? What are your initial impressions? Is the image happy, angry, sad or anxious? How do you use colour, line and form to express emotion?


What you see

For an example you see red in the picture? Through observation of the physical and visual aspects you observe the feelings you have about the image and how it relates to your own life.



  1. Allow yourself to merge or slip into the picture.

  2. Then begin to feel/sense/observe each character in the picture, the colour, lines, squiggles, dots and forms.

  1. What you can tell about it?

  2. Can you touch it?

  3. What are the structures, where is the doorway?

  4. What’s the space within the doorway?

  5. How Many trees are there?

  6. Which colour attracts your eye? What is its tone or shade? Feel into this colour? Do you like it? Does it remind you of anything?


These simple questions evoke a sense of presence. Feeling of oneness (tuned) to the environment and movement are a basis of art therapy.

Looking at the picture becomes a meditation, the more we observe influences our consciousness.

All the questions we ask, the stories we tell and the feelings the pictures arouse a physiological engagement of the image and beyond going deeper in our physic...

The picture takes on a life of its own as a personality with its different idiosyncrasies as an extension of the self. 

As the viewing increases with the piece of art work the story being told becomes entwined and more intrinsic with the reality of the person.  We begin to see that the imagery portrays the many forces and metaphors in their life.  These all take on lives of their own through the imagination and inner world, some in the imagination and others within the soul.


Please note this is a tool for people to explore their inner world and imagination to provide a different perspective and understanding. People with deep seated mental issues and trauma please seek medical advice before going any further.

For further reading please see - Visual Journaling going deeper than words by Barbara Ganim & Susan Fox 

Art as Medicine: Creating a Therapy of the Imagination by Shaun McNiff