The Pain Exchange


Please scroll down to find art exercises, our latest art exercise, Blog 6 is just below 


Some of us are still in Isolation!

Although restrictions are more relaxed for some people, for most of us the uncertainty  is still around. 

Some of us haven’t  been able to be close to family members, friends, or people who we used to meet and share an activity or a cup of tea!

For some having the routine of meeting someone is still not near yet.

Visitors In My Garden

Some people find solace and companionship through pets  and for some others like me who don’t have pets, we may  have had  uninvited visitors to our homes.  In my tiny garden I get visited by squirrels, cats and birds……At times they brighten my days.

Franz Marc a German expressionist made a beautiful painting ‘the white cat’

Insert Image below – Franz Marc ‘the white cat’



I invite you to join me in a journey of having fun and experimenting a bit with art!  

Art Exercises Warmup!  

What do we need: 

·      Ideally water colour paper or alternatively use printing paper?      

·      Watercolours 

·      Green food colouring (little bit, it’s very thick)

·      Two paint brushes (round and a flat one)

·      cup with water 

·      kitchen paper towel


Image 1A

blog 61a

Wet the white paper with the flat paint brush first, if using printing ordinary paper be careful not to flood the paper.


Wet the flat paint brush in water and dip into any watercolour you like


Make  a soft background, I used two different hues of blue.



Image 1B

blog 61b

Start adding drops of paint with the round brush


Keep on adding colours, occasionally sift the paper gently, contemplate the drops, wait and see what happens!



 Image 1C

blog 61cInsert Image (left)

In this sample the result is an organic abstract underwater scape?








Art Exercise 2 Experiment And Be Patient!

What do we need:

·      Water colours set

·      Food colouring

·      Any easy paint water base if you have some not essential

·      Paint brushes (one flat and round ones)

·      A candle 

·      Masking tape not essential

·      Ordinary printing paper for drawing

·      Watercolour paper essential 

·      Ordinary pencil

·      Kitchen paper towel

·       A pair scissors

·      A sponge not essential

·      Leaves twigs or alternatively small pieces of paper string or sticks be resourceful.

·      Plastic cups or any container to mix colour with water

the white cat


Image 2A

blog 6 2a

Basic sketches of a cat


Start with 3 circles; small one for the head, slightly bigger ones for the body, continue adding small circles for the rest (paws legs and tail)  follow the steps.






Image 2B 


blog 6 2b

Planning and composition


On the watercolour sheet  start playing with a composition, place the cat (stencil) where you want it to be, block the edges of the stencil with masking tape.


Think about distance, proximity, left or right etc.  I made some soft lines with pencil to create a darker area as a guide to where I was going to use the darker colour


I made invisible traces with the candle, where I wanted the light to come through, it could be  the opposite to the dark area? 


Start making small marks randomly with the candle.



Image 2C


blog 6 2c

Be bold and experimental!


Look for twigs, leaves, dried flowers, dried herbs, anything you can find to leave marks and block areas of colour. If you don’t have any of those, replace them with torn pieces of paper instead.



Image 2D

blog 6 2d

Ready to paint!


Wet the watercolour sheet first, use the  containers to mix watercolours with water 


Have one bright colour and cool colours  to create contrast.


Pour some of the colour on the paper, use the brushes, using the sponge you can press the leaves and the twigs to imprint marks, 


Time to leave it to dry and have a cup of tea.



Image 2E

blog 6 2e

Remove the cat stencil and start painting


Make sure you remove the twigs , leaves etc


If you like paint or add some lines to create perspective.







Final Image

Final image:

final image blog 6

Cat coming out to the light, I hope!









What can I see through my window?

Lots of feelings and thoughts came to me about windows

I have been contemplating a lot through the windows in my house recently, as well as spending time “killing time”, cleaning the windows in my house, that were so dirty, the perfect excuse to peep outside!

Is it just me that got a bit preoccupied with cleanliness or was it the collective movement of spring cleaning?  What is the desperation to use my time productively? or did I unconsciously want to get rid of  the nasty dirt that came and try to touch us all?

I wonder if some of us, still mainly indoors for whatever reason, are perhaps spending more time near the windows to feel the light, the sun or to get a sense of feeling of others who are far from us right now.

Windows have offered many possibilities for artists like Bonnard or Matisse who dreamed of colourful, beautiful, bright places that he imagined looking out of his window.  Early Matisse Lived in an industrial town in France, from his window he saw bricks and grey hues, not a very vibrant view.  He didn’t seem to be content with what he saw through his window so he started to imagine  scenes that transformed his reality for ever.

 Windows mean a lot symbolically, for instance  looking ahead, beginnings, protection, a fresh start, looking through, or simply yearning for something or someone outside.

Windows bring so many possibilities , what can you see or what can you imagine…

What do I need?

          1.     Time to contemplate

          2.     Basic set of colours pencils to sketch

          3.     Any White Paper size A4 and A3

          4.     Water colour paints

          5.     Small paint brushes and a big paint brush.

          6.     Make a view finder:

A viewfinder is used to remove lots of fussy details so you can focus on one particular area that you want to copy.

For example, sight a chair within the centre frame. If it helps, close or cover up one eye when you look through the hole.

Things to consider:

Check the colours that you can see and start thinking about your pallet, taking into consideration bright colours , cool colours, light and dark.

Think about your composition,  do you want to use only a fragment of the whole scene that you see through your window?

Let your imagination take you on a journey, remember there is not right or wrong 

You can imagine what is on the other side of the window if you like



Image 1 (a,b,c)

Making a View finder 2 long stripes of paper to make a frame to focus on a particular object

image a

image 1b

image 1c


Image 2,3 & 4

I made a “red orangey” wash background with lots of water and a little bit of watercolour pigment. I used a big paintbrush I painted it very quickly. You can choose any colour choice. On my first draft I had to concentrate a lot to draw the wash line with details. 

I used colour pencils.

image 2

image 3


Image 4 final version

I simplified the wash line for the “final” piece I chose a smaller piece of the whole composition. I used water colour and oil pastels.

image 4


Images 5 and 6

Sketch of me cleaning the window and final piece 

I used water colour and colour pencils


image 5


 image 6


What is in the shelves and cupboards, what is in the kitchen…?

After the frenzy we experienced from weeks ago maybe from watching the news or going to buy food in the supermarkets.  For some people experiences of cooking began, whether inventing new dishes or trying to improvise with what we have in the cupboards.  To fight boredom or for others like me getting caught into the trap of, baking, eating, munching, snacking.  I never baked before ….I wondered what was going on with me. I think the anxiety got me and the boredom too.

I thought, what about making a bit of art with what is in the cupboard.  Looking at the colours of the food I enjoy cooking or eating what about spending a bit of time just looking at the shapes of a fruit bowl and vegetables for a few moments and start drawing or painting and forget about the world for a while.

still life

Image 1

Making fritters with carrots, egg, cheese for example.   

The things we need to make a still life :

Making a composition with any food you have, looking at the bowl of cereal, perhaps looking at what we are making for breakfast e.g. eggs on toast. Eggs could be a good topic, Salvador Dali painted those why not me? 

1. Start by making a soft drawing with pencil of your chosen composition

2. make a soft colour background, paint the paper with a big brush very quickly and let it dry.  In this sample I used pink, any colour is welcome, just experiment and see what works for you.

Main colours; blue and the complementary orange, the idea that  opposites attraction works well.

Look for  the light and the dark areas, are there any reflections……?

3 begin to use watercolour paints, just give it a go!

Materials: Paper for Watercolour (A4), watercolours or food colouring and a pencil. 

blog 4 2

Image 2

Following the same basic steps as above

Experimenting with simple resources I found in my cupboard food to colour with

e.g. red wine, soya sauce, turmeric, food colouring, tea, coffee, among others. You can see the small colour chart on the picture.

food paint

colour chart

What else do I need :  Paper for watercolour (A5), pencil , 2 brushes and a candle stick to block areas where the light is being reflected.

paper and food paint

These 2 are examples I did but you can have fun making your own arrangements


by Leidy Moreno


As the weeks pass most of us seem to be experiencing the unknown, uncertainty, overload of negative news and constant online socialising.  It is very likely that we are feeling overwhelmed  perhaps tired and very busy in different ways that are new to us.

I’m inviting you to continue exploring a bit of art 

Art offers a space where we can separate ourselves a bit from the negative thoughts and help us to focus on something positive and creative and in that way we  have self- compassion and we are looking after ourselves.

Looking around my kitchen I noticed that I’m not only feeding my tummy and the ones around me but I’m feeding my  sense of sight  and perhaps my soul too.

Observing the colours around me  definitively cheers me up and makes me feel happy!

I rediscovered the art of Maya Kopitseva - colouring the everyday!

She was inspired by colours ,textures of fruits, dishes and objects found around the kitchen.

Shall we give it a go!

What do we need:

Watercolour or colour pencils, or felt tip markers, oil paste. image 1 

For paper if you use watercolour better to use watercolour paper and paint brush

Ah of course a bowl of fruit or vegetables

image 2

First drawing of basket of fruit, I used pastels with a bit of watercolour A3 landscape format.

Don’t be precious about it spend only 10 minutes max.

Look for dark and light areas.


Image 3  

I used watercolour portrait format this time. Spend a little bit more time look more closely.  A3 size paper.

Image 4

Image 4 

The two images together different formats and different materials.

image 5

Image 5  

Spend more time making the next image, prepare the background with a colour wash, I used pink! Can be any colour…

Draw your bowl of fruit gently

Image 6

Image 6 

Once you are happy with your drawing start painting or colouring the image. I used makers and watercolour. I mainly used yellows and the  complementary colour purple, Try different combinations.

Enjoy making yours!


By Leidy Moreno

I found something quite relevant from the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)

“The Arts Matter.  Now, More Than Ever.  In times of disruption, isolation and anxiety, the arts comfort us, connect us and keep us well”

Also Thinking of some of the tips from what the NHS Every mind matters recommends STAY CONNECTED WITH OTHERS & KEEP YOUR MIND ACTIVE 
By looking at a Henri Matisse postcard, I thought of his amazing cut-outs work that he produced in his late 60’s until his death, what he called his second life!

As one of his friends said “If he couldn’t go out into the world, he could recreate it in ART, colour and beauty”

Why don’t we give it a go!  

Here is an exercise we can do to be in touch with members of the PEX group or in general with family, friends and of course with nature!  

Stay inspired while staying at home, when you go for a little stroll, look around and rediscover nature, or even looking through your window…
Here are some images that show the sequence of the process for making these postcard images



pic 1pic 2                        pic 3pic 4

    pic 6pic 8pic 1a

pic 7



image 6pic 1a

        pic 9          

pic 10


Here are the Steps to follow to make a post card if you want to try

1. collect some flowers or leaves for inspiration
2. if there is no access to a garden look in your cupboards and fridge for bay leaves, coriander, basil.  They work nicely too.
3. Press the leaves or flowers; put them in between 2 sheets of newspaper, let them dry for 3 days.
4. Start making some quick drawings, don’t go into detail, look at the overall shape and colour.
5. Be playful, think of light and dark and composition. 
6. After drawing some leaves or flowers with different colours, cut out the ones you like 
7. Find old magazines or pieces of coloured paper and cut out different shapes (circles, straps etc)
8. start arranging, making your composition, gluing all the pieces/shapes you want to include, shapes onto a piece of coloured paper background (or paint a coloured background if you only have white paper/carton (think cardboard) to choose from).
9. Be as playful and free as you want

ART Blog 1 by Leidy Moreno

We have been using art to help with wellbeing and pain in the sessions.  By offering an open space to invite people to journey with their imagination we share a space in a creative way.  We create an environment where we can share ideas, memories, be creative and be playful.  Art and the creative processes can bring focus and help us to be mindful. We can think in the here and now by observing the shape of a leaf for example.  

As mentioned in the International Journal of Art Therapy 

"art-based activities  had a positive impact on cognitive processes, in particular on attention, stimulation of memories, enhance communication and engagement with creative activities."  International Journal of Art therapy, volume 24 June 20019

We have enjoyed working together and doing art in a in a community setting.  Let us try and continue with art during this time of isolation.  Even though we are physically isolated we can feel the strength of our community through our faith and art.  Art can be a great companion for life , especially when feeling isolated.  

As the TATE commented: 


Using art is one a way to exercise our brain by finding new ways of thinking new  ways of looking  and finding new discoveries. By sharing our art work we feel valued.

Here is one idea about what we can do during this period

If we have a garden or a chance to go to a park.  Why don’t we look at some branches or twigs.   If we have a smart phone take some pictures, for example: zoom up, look at the shades, look at how inter-twined they are.  Or even you can pick some, take them home. 

Find a piece of paper (A4 for example) place the twigs on top of the pieces of paper and arrange them and make one or various compositions.  You can be adventurous and creative and playful

Be ready to draw, try to copy this image on another piece of paper by using graded pencils, inks or food colouring.  Remember there is not a right or wrong way to be creative,  have fun and keep your mind distracted and your brain  working.


Look out for lines, rhythms, directions: vertical, horizontal, dark, light and shadows

When drawing the shadows don’t spend too much time be quick, 5 minutes the most.

Attached are some photos of images I have done

Images 1 and 2

image 2

image 1Collect twigs 

I arranged them and make a compositionI placed them on colour paper. In this picture, I painted a colour background by using 2 hues of blue watercolour.

Images 3, 4 and 5

image 3image 4

image 5

I found  more interesting and  complex set of twigs , 

Playing with the twigs, the light and shadows , I found the right angle  to draw the effect of the shadow of the twig on the paper

using a marker I made a quick drawing, don’t be too precious about it, experiment making                      different marks and lines .

Images 6, 7(some of the materials used) and 8

image 6image 7image 8

Arranging  thin twigs I make a composition on a piece of watercolour paper. I placed the paper vertically this time.

With a pencil I traced softly where the twigs are, now take the twigs off  and start  painting over the traced lines with the food colouring (yellow and blue), use a thin paint brush. 

 Using the big brush I painted the background (red, blue and white watercolour).

Adding  little blossoms and viola!