Try It! Draw an Emotional Landscape

Have you ever incorporated a landscape within your art journal pages? Quinn McDonald, author of Raw Art Journaling and Inner Hero Art Journal, invites you to do so. Her creative prompts will inspire you to find ways to create dreamlike views as well as what she refers to as “The Emotional Landscape,” which I’ve included here. This prompt invites you to let your intuition decide what your landscape should look (or feel) like.

Artwork by Quinn McDonald. Learn about her brand new DVD, “Monsoon Paper Workshop,” here.

The Emotional Landscape by Quinn McDonald

Give yourself permission to let your emotions choose the curve for your landscapes. They don’t have to contain rivers or mountains, a sun or a path. They can be about the colors you chose for your emotions earlier in this section. They can be soft and gentle or harsh and angular, depending on how you feel. Work intuitively. Let your heart guide your hands.

1. Start by drawing the first line that gets your emotion on the page. Use a pencil the first few times. A pencil allows you to erase when you want to cross lines or if you change your mind about the design.

2. Now draw another line that follows the first. You can follow it closely, or you can suddenly move away from it, rejoining your original line a little later. That geography in itself is an interesting comment on your life—moving away from what came before and returning. Of course, you can choose to strike out in a different direction entirely. Keep adding lines that go over and under the original ones until you are satisfied. Try not to overfill the page. An emotional landscape does not have to be big; it has to mean much.

3. You can add words between the lines. Write about what caused you to feel the way you did. Or finish these sentences:
• The place I think about when I want to be deeply happy is . . .
• If I could go to that place right now, I’d take these three things . . .
• The best part of the last movie I saw was when . . .
• My new favorite color would look great on . . . ~QM

Today, at this moment, the place I think about when I want to be deeply happy is the vineyard in my backyard. Recently I worked a full day as usual, then, despite the 94-degree day, I spent three hours pruning the vines. While there, I silently dedicated my efforts to a family that was in need of prayers; this gave the work even more meaning. Although it was a good day all-around, it was the time spent in the rows of vines that passsed most quickly. I’m looking forward to doing it again.

Regarding Quinn’s second prompt, if I could go there now I would take only my pruning shears. Equally important is what I would leave at the gate: my phone and my shoes.

Feeling inspired now, I’m looking forward not only to returning to the vines, but also to expressing these feelings in my art journal with phrases like “barefoot in the vineyard.” It sounds just lovely, doesn’t it? The grass is soft, and the leaves seem to whisper in the wind as they stretch skyward.

Which of Quinn’s prompts speaks to you the most? Feel free to finish one of her sentences in the comments section here, and let us all know how you might incorporate your discovery in your art journal.

Until next time,


Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques


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