Art Therapy: Introduction to Paints and Painting

art therapy

Visual Arts and Feelings

People have been expressing themselves through painting for thousands of years.  Even the cavemen showed great hunts or other events with paints made from berries and plants. There just seems to be an innate need to show others our thoughts, feelings, and ideas through pictures.  The phrase “ A picture is worth a thousand words” is so very true.

With colors and design you can express every emotion you feel.  Whether it is a woman in a garden waiting for her lover or an old barn set in a field of wild flowers, the subject bring memories and feelings to the fore front of the viewer’s mind.  All of this being accomplished on a blank canvas with paint.

There are some basics the beginning artist should know.  Although you may have been sketching and drawing for years, the first time you pick up a brush it will seem foreign to you. This is fine.  You will become very familiar with each of the brushes and the strokes they can make.  They will soon be as comfortable in your hand as the charcoal pencil you use on the sketch pad.


Paints can add style and creativity to an art piece. A single tear drop on the face can take on a totally new dimension by adding color.  Paints allow you to do this with ease.The types of paint you use will also allow you to be more creative.

Many artists use the oil paints for extend projects.  The oils do not dry as quickly and can be rejuvenated with a little turpentine or mineral spirits. This allows the artist to continue the project another day.The brushes you use with an oil painting must be cleaned extremely well.  If you allow them to sit in the cleaning solution they can loose their shape.  This means you may not be able to use certain brushes to achieve a particular brush stroke.


When the artist uses acrylic paints, the dry time is extremely fast. Many times, a project which is being done in half an hour or so will be done with acrylic paints because of the ease of use.  Clean up with soap and water is a quick task. The brushes wash up quickly and cleanly.  Allowing them to dry either on a flat surface or standing with bristles up will keep their original shape.

Explore and Experiment with Paints

The best thing to do when first beginning canvas painting is to experiment.  Try using oils.  Become familiar with acrylics.  You will eventually choose which medium you prefer to work with.  By playing with each, you can determine how the paints mix, get a feel for how they flow onto the canvas, and become familiar with blending.  These are all important for the novice artist to consider.

Another factor is the type of canvas you will want to use.  There are stretch canvases, rolled canvas, canvas boards, and canvas mats.  Each one can be used for different styles, artwork, and even paints.  Which one you use will be determined by which one you feel more comfortable painting upon.


The information can become overwhelming when you start painting on canvas.  Getting to know the terminology will help clear some things up a little bit. 

Abstract – abstract art depicts the subject by using form and color.  You may see a resemblance to the original piece.  However, the subject is generally represented in more geometric shapes than the natural setting. 

Accent – Giving exceptional detail to a certain object in the painting to bring attention to it.

Acrylic – A type of paint which dries quickly.  It can easily be cleaned up with mineral spirits.

Alla Prima – Meaning “at the first” in Italian, this phrase means the painting is completed with just one sitting.

Cool colors – Colors associated with the cold such as blue.

Color Wheel – Any full spectrum circular diagram which represents the relationships of colors.

Composition – The arrangement of the elements in an art piece.

Medium – The type of pain being used to create a work of art.  It can also mean the binder, usually an oil.

Palette – The painter’s board where colors can be mixed and and different hues can be created.

Perspective – Being able to reproduce the same height, depth, and distance perception in a two dimensional medium that the human eye would perceive.

Pigment – The colored substance created by natural elements and synthetic ones  which are mixed with certain binders to create paints.

Primary colors – A color which can not be created by mixing other colors.  The only three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.  With these three all other colors can be created.  (White is not a color. It is the absence of color.  Black is the combination of all colors.)

Secondary colors – Any color which can be created from mixing the primary colors, such as violet, green, and orange.

Warm colors – Hues which represent warmth such as orange, red, yellow.

7 Signs of Bulimia

Eating Disorder

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating then followed by efforts to avoid gaining weight by any means necessary. For example, a bulimic would eat large amount of food then they would feel guilty of the huge amount of calories they have just consumed. Feeling so guilty, they would try eliminating the food through purging, fasting, using laxatives, excessive exercising and crash diets. All this defines a bulimic. So what are the signs of binge eating, purging and the physical signs that a bulimic will exhibit.

Binge Eating

  1. There is a lack of control when eating. They are unable to stop eating. They are usually eating large amount of food with no obvious change in weight. Furthermore, they may consume large amount of food in a short period of time.
  2. They are usually alternating between overeating and fasting. After a binge eating spree, they would feel guilty and spend the next day fasting.

Purging signs

  1. Going to a bathroom after meals. There will be vomit smell in the toilet after they have used it.
  2. They might be using laxatives, diuretics or enema. So check your medicine cabinet if any medications are missing. Or they are always frequently going to the pharmacy to purchase these medications
  3. Excessive exercising. They are always working strenuously just to lose the calories that they’ve consumed during their overeating binge.

Physical Signs of Bulimia

  1. Discolored teeth from exposure to stomach acid. Their teeth might be yellow or ragged.
  2. Puffy chipmunk cheeks from repeated vomiting.

These are only a few of the signs and symptoms that you may see in a bulimic. If you do observe any changes in your loved ones, it might be time to seek professional help, before this problem escalates and becomes life threatening.

Bulimia Support Products

Bulimia is more than just a problem with your weight. An eating disorder isn’t something that’s formed on easy terms. And I don’t blame you, sometimes our circumstances such as our genetics, family background and social environments drive us into this self destructive pattern as a form of coping mechanism. And once we spiral into a maze of negativity, it can be very hard to get out of our self sabotaging ways of behavior. Discover how a hopeless bulimic freed himself from his uncontrolled habits and rid himself from life destroying addictions once and for all!

At the root of bulimia is a need to feel in control. While purging is a strategy for controlling weight, bingeing is an attempt to calm depression, stress, shame, and even boredom. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bulimia offers new and healthy ways to overcome the distressing feelings and negative body-image beliefs that keep you trapped in this cycle.

DBT and Bulimia
DBT and Bulimia