Imagination is the act of simulating realistic events. Research suggests both art and imagination as a useful treatment for anxiety and fears. There are many ways to stimulate our imagination, one of them is to paint with pastels.

Pastels are an incredible tool to paint because you can smudge your traces. You get in contact with your creation and you have a physical sensation on your fingers. This is an indirect way to also get in touch with what you want to express. In this post, I am going to show you how easy sketches of pastels can enliven your imagination. Use your creativity to create heartwarming compositions for your soul. Get your hands dirty and enter a meditative state of mind.

An Artist that May Trigger Your Imagination

Firmin Baes was a Belgian painter (1874-1943). He made works in pastel, as well as prints and posters. Primarily, he painted still lifes, portraits, landscapes, nudes, and interiors.

His work is distinguished by his fine lines and thorough observations. He creates an amazing contrast between an object and a person. You can observe that with luminous colors and sizes he highlights objects within a painting. I was amazed by this gigantic cabbage. I imagined how he painted it. Leaf by leaf, touching the different greens and making it in huge proportions. It is a contrast that makes you wonder, observe, be in the moment with the painting. It is a reminder that art makes us more aware.

Firmin Baes girl and the cabbage
The Young Girl and the Cabbage by Firmin Baes http://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.com on Wikimedia Commons

What else can you notice from the painting? Make the exercise to imagine a life for the girl. Is there a meaning behind her expression? I like for example her short hair. It is a contrast between a big vegetable with a rich and corrugated texture, and a small, fine, smooth hair.

Firmin Baes nude woman
Symbolist Portrait of a Nude Woman by Firmin Baes – http://www.millon.com/lot/84991/7518315 on Wikimedia Commons

Firmin Baes was also proficient at charcoal and chalk. All are materials that involve direct contact with the canvas. This form of painting is proven to be an excellent stress-reliever. When you paint with pastels, you improve your concentration and your imagination. There is a direct connection with the medium you are using to express.

How to Use Your Imagination to Improve Your Health

Using your imagination for your well-being relies on the fact that you can transform your pain or you can visualize manageable steps that will help you move from a bad situation. For example, in cognitive-behavioral therapies, one imagines a scenario and thinks about it differently. With this approach, one can defeat some fears, or move forward, helping the brain perceive threats and solutions differently and clearly.

This is how it works. Begin by asking yourself what feeling you treasure. For example, consider you want peace. Now, think about how you can be in that state with achievable steps. It is important that you recognize if these steps are possible. It is very different from imagining positive outcomes. The outcomes often don’t depend on you. It is about imagining your choices and the possibilities that will help you get to a peaceful state of mind.

This kind of imagination relies on possible doable actions. It is also about imagining and remembering people and hobbies that you can rely on. For instance, an art session full of vibrant colors. To go a step further draw something that you are grateful for. For example, the comfort of your home, or being grateful that you have something to eat every day. Also, let your imagination flow and paint with pastels. Be inspired by Firmin Baes and get in touch directly with your creation.

paint with pastels banana on couch
Banana on Couch by Sepia Flora

Observe Rooms and Objects like Firmin Baes

Another way to stimulate your imagination is by being present and noticing actions or objects that give you comfort. For example, a plant in your house, a pet, or even a warm shower. By being aware, you can stimulate your imagination and you are choosing to focus on positive aspects rather than on negative or hurtful thoughts. Remember, it is not about imagining outcomes, it is about stimulating our imagination to be curious and notice that we can choose our steps to improve our health.

It is about imagining how we can help ourselves by making the right choices. Accept the ups and downs that life sometimes brings, but also, use your imagination to permit yourself to make choices that will move you from negative points you may linger to. You may need to change some expectations or perceive things differently. This is where imagination can be of tremendous help.

Photo by Joël de Vriend on Unsplash

Paint with Pastels Using Your Imagination

Imagination is about curiosity, finding ways to adapt to difficult times. It is a way to find motivation and observe that we sometimes can adapt and evolve from certain situations.

Next time you feel the need to change your perspective, consider painting with pastels. You can get in touch with your feelings to create possible scenarios that might help you restore your balance. Think about hypothetical situations that give you a wider outlook by incorporating colors that you enjoy. This is proven to affect your mood.

paint with pastels a plant
Plant and Pastels by Sepia Flora

Being creative can take our attention completely. This has the amazing outcome of preparing us with a better insight into what is good for us. We can perceive things differently, and we might know how to handle some situations better.

This process of imagining situations and painting them with pastels can be an insightful process to know ourselves. With this opportunity, we might get a glimpse to interpret our decisions better. This is an opportunity to modify some situations into opportunities for growth.

How to Paint with Pastels

Firmin Baes applied the powder of the pastels with the tip of his fingers. This was an invention that helped him create a velvety texture in the compositions. Not only the texture was a nice touch, but this also allowed him to play with the tones. He was able to modify the aspect by making it more vigorous or reserved. Primarily he applied the pastels on canvas rather than on paper. This contributed to the velvety and rich texture.

Pastels glow with a luminous color because they are pure pigment. Painting with pastels is very similar to drawing. It is about making a sketch and filling it with rich and pure colors. If you want to learn more about them read here. It is a great art site that will help you decide the right pastel according to your taste.

There is another material that you can use to play with the textures, that is charcoal. It is a solid pigment as well as the pastels. You can have a velvety texture by applying it or rubbing it with your fingers to make it more or less strong.

paint with pastels Spanish limes
Sepia Flora with Spanish Limes by Sepia Flora

Be aware that both of these materials are easily displaced and/or smudged. Both of them require a fixative to adhere them to paper.

Some Ideas to Paint with Pastels

Paint shadows with pastels. There are techniques for this, but what I love about this activity is the benefits. In art therapy, shadows are sometimes considered as parts of us that have been rejected. When you paint shadows with pastels using your imagination you are uncovering your thoughts. It can be a practice of self-love and acceptance. Here is an interesting art activity. It even helps you notice if you are neglecting some emotions, hence you are displacing them onto someone else.

Paint portraits with pastels as Firmin Baes did. I love his portraits and admire the expressions of the faces. Look at the incredible features on the face; the wrinkles, the different shades of the beard. It is truly a masterpiece. There are some art activities where you make a self-portrait and have a better glimpse of yourself.

the mover by Firmin Baes
The Mover by Firmin Baes https://www.kaifineart.com/firminbaes
Public Domain on Wikimedia Commons

Besides the art therapy activities, consider the parts of a portrait that you can observe. Think about the eyes of different people, their shape, and color. Think of different hairs, mouths, and ears. This is a great activity for awareness. You have to concentrate to notice this kind of detail. This is a way to integrate your imagination into the process. When you paint with pastels, you can make a rich texture of the skin, for example. You can blend different parts of the face and create a unique interpretation.

Firmin Baes also painted a lot of still life representations. I thought I didn’t like this kind of painting, but I think that his view on the subject is somehow refreshing. His most famous one is with mushrooms and a pitcher. While you observe the painting, let yourself imagine what was like to be a painter like Firmin Baes. Let yourself enjoy the next soundscape and imagine a world where people appreciate a slow life full of art and creations.

Soundscape of Firmin Baes by Sepia Flora

The Importance of Imagination

After you read this post create something. Imagine something and draw with your favorite colors. This will let you feel what is like to be mindful. Use your thoughts to imagine more, and don’t judge them as good or bad. They are part of the experience.

color of the mushroom like Firmin Baes
Paint Mushrooms like Firmin Baes by Sepia Flora

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

Albert Einstein

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