Expressing yourself through colour and movement

By Yasodhara Pathanjali 

It’s Sunday again, and Auntie Yasodhara is back to talk to you about art and creativity. How has your week been? Did you join us for our live session on Facebook on Friday? We had fun talking about using our imagination to explore how we can improve the world. We will be live again this Friday at 4 p.m., so come join us if you can. 

Today, though, I want to talk to you about expressing yourself through colour and movement. This is something that I’ve really developed in my work over the last five years or so, and it’s something that means a lot to me. I know that a lot of times people talk about how a drawing has to mean something, show something, or describe something. But that’s actually not the case. Art is actually more like a silent conversation between three things; the artist, the artwork, and the person looking at it. Sometimes what the artist was thinking about or feeling when they created their artwork is not what the person looking at it understands from it. And that is fine; not just fine, that is why art is brilliant. Because when you look at a painting, what you feel from it does not have to be the same thing that someone else looking at the same painting will feel. 

Have a look at this painting. This is one of my new paintings. I just did this about a month ago. What do you feel about it? What do you think I’m trying to communicate from it? Ask the others in your home what they feel about it and what they think I’m trying to say with it? Remember that no one is right or wrong; it’s about how each person feels about it. See how different people will have different things to say. If you like to send me an email about what you felt about it, I can have a look at it and add it to my article next time. The more different things that my painting can communicate, the happier I am, because it means that my creation can talk to so many people about so many things. It doesn’t have to be about the thing that I felt when I painted it.

So with that in mind, I want to talk to you about how you can create a very simple piece of art based on colour and movement; a piece that can talk to different people about different things. For this exercise, choose a few colours. To start out, it’s easier to try this with only two to four colours, and later you can expand the number if you like. To be able to create something with movement, you need to be relaxed and allow your hand to almost dance over the paper. Usually, when we draw something with details and precision, we hold our pencils and brushes close to the drawing end so that we can have more control, just like we do for writing. But to create a piece based on movement and emotion, we need to hold our pencils and brushes closer to the other end – the top end – so that the movement can come through. Try it; don’t worry about it not looking right, it’s not supposed to. 

Take your piece of paper and your pencil or crayon or brush or marker, whichever material you want to use, hold it closer to the top and then create a line on the paper. It is hard to describe here, but I can show you when we are Live on Friday on Facebook. Basically, you want to create a line that shows movement; it can be like a swish, it can be something that goes around, it can go up and down – all it needs to be is a mark on the paper that shows movement. Once you have this first mark, it’s easier to build on it with colour. Use colours to flow in a similar movement to the first line, use colours freely to explore how you are feeling. Take your time with it, and build it up so that you end up with a drawing full of life. 

I will create a painting like this on my Live on Friday (12) at 4 p.m. on the Little Stars Facebook page, so come join me and we will do it together. Then you can ask me any questions that you have too. Any drawings that you want to share with me, you can email them to me at