How are you feeling right now? Happy, excited, angry, bored, sad? Let's say you're feeling not so well, perhaps you're sad. Accept it, don't fight it. Don't try to deny your sadness by trying to talk yourself out of it (oh, I don't really have a good reason to be sad) , cheering yourself up , looking for distractions or sedating yourself. Allow yourself to be sad even if it feels like you shouldn't be, even if it's completely irrational (irrational moods and emotions are not any less real or valid).
Go even further, embrace the sadness and feel it in your body. How does it feel like? Where do you feel it in your body? Does your body feel heavy and burdened with emotion, does everything you do feel difficult and challenging like attempting to run in lead boots? Is your sadness damp and sticky and dirty and it won't go away no matter how much your try to wash it off, scrub it off your skin? Is your sadness dark and black and it makes you feel like you will never see any light ever again? Or is it blood red and feels like swallowing a thousand razor blades that cut you from the inside? Is your sadness blue and infinite like an ocean, does your body feel like a body of water as well, boundless without a vessel to hold it all in? Maybe it's deep purple like a mystery, like trying to solve a puzzle or decipher an ancient, long forgotten language? Is your sadness grey and boring, does it feel you are stuck repeating the same old story over and over again while craving fresh, new beginning?
Describe it, don't analyze, don't rationalize it, don't look for solutions. Instead pick your color, intuitively, give your sadness a color then load your brush with paint or ink and put in on paper. Let you hand move with emotion, let lines and shapes and stains happen as they need to happen. Whatever appears, it's exactly what needs to happen, it's perfect. Don't criticize yourself. Add another color, give your sadness more depth, more meaning, let it manifest on paper as it wishes. It's all good.
What is the texture of your sadness? Is it grainy like old black and white film photographs that make you feel nostalgic for eras you never experienced? Is it smooth like hard, polished metal that feels cold to touch and makes you feel uncomfortable? Give your sadness some texture. Then go deeper...add some details, what else do you feel? What images come to your mind next? Something from the past, from your childhood maybe? Maybe you've remembered something really unpleasant or scary or too sad to even want to think about it. Something so upsetting you can never imagine yourself speaking it out loud or so painful just an idea of it paralyzes you. It's ok, whatever it is you can paint it out , let it go. If it's too painful to deal with it directly choose a symbol for it and draw or paint it instead. It can be anything as realistic or as abstract as you wish. You can choose to paint a flower to stand as a symbol for your vulnerability, a deer to symbolize your sense of helplessness, starry night to represent your longings or something fully abstract like plain red circle to represent your desire to be whole again. You can choose whatever you want, there is no right or wrong, it's your call. Don't think about it, just paint, let the process fill you up, to give you what you need.
Allow yourself to fully feel whatever emotion comes to surface without fighting it and keep on painting and creating. Paint it out, draw it out, let it go. You will intuitively know when you had enough, when the piece is finished. Once you're done, put your art aside, don't analyze the results and never criticize or diminish your work. It's all about the process not the final result anyway. Instead say thank you for allowing yourself to feel and face your emotions no matter how negative or dark they might appear. Congratulate yourself for dealing with them, working with them, letting them teach you something on intuitive level and then letting them go, releasing them through process of making art.
Congratulations, you've just experienced a wonderful catharsis, you're amazing and I'm so proud of you:)