The Voices Inside Your Head

The Voices Inside Your Head

I love the new Disney Pixar film, Inside Out!

I went to see this last week as a “field trip” with a client. We both loved it and it sparked some great conversation afterward.

Through the ups and downs of 11-year-old Riley’s life, we see the inner workings of emotions, subpersonalities, dominant and disowned selves. This is at the core of the Creative Journal Expressive Arts (CJEA) methods I use in my coaching practice. The animated scenes depicting the inner workings of the brain and emotional processing were very well portrayed and, if not 100% scientifically accurate, at the very least created a fabulous visual and metaphorical depiction.

During the course of the film, through Riley’s experience, we see how our “islands of personality”, dominant emotions/selves and disowned emotions/selves interact and respond to the situations in our lives. We also see how ultimately flexible these patterns are and how they shift over time.

Without spoiling the film if you haven’t seen it, my favorite thing about it was how the characters eventually come to understand that all of the emotions are equally valuable and necessary to full experience and wholeness. That is at the heart of the work I do.

This film is really well done. I give it a big thumbs up. I’ll be buying a copy when it’s available on DVD – it will be a great addition to my CJEA-related library.

Now, where’s the popcorn?



Here are some interesting links to other reviews and commentary on the film.

“Inside Out: Emotional Truths by Way of Pixar”, Psychology Today

Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out Brings Emotions to Life: How 5 Emotions of the Brain Govern Thoughts and Actions”, Medical Daily

“How Inside Out Nailed the Science of Kids’ Emotions”, Huffington Post

“Four Lessons from Inside Out to Discuss with Kids”,


Bloom as only YOU can Bloom!

The art prompt in the online art class I’m taking was to find a famous still life and paint your own copy of it, then play with digitizing and embellishing your painting.

Okay. Time for the Inner Critic to show up big time.

First, the voice tried to convince me that I don’t even like still life paintings as I spent hour upon hour browsing through the still life works of the masters (Cezanne, Degas, Picasso, Van Gogh, etc, ad nauseam).

What the voice was REALLY saying, though, was something along the lines of, “That one’s too hard. You’ll never manage all that detail. Find something simpler. Good luck! You’ll never be good at this. You can’t paint,” etc, ad nauseam.

When the really cool thing about this project is that whether or not the painting itself turns out amazing, you can completely transform it through all these fabulous ipad apps with filters and glazes and painterly textures. Now THAT is right up my digital alley!

So, I told the Inner Critic to take a hike. I picked a very modern abstract still life . . .

Monestier’s Autumn Blooms II – the original painting I chose to copy

and I did my best to paint it . . .

My version of Autumn Blooms – acrylic on gesso board.

Not fabulous, but not horrible. A kind of weird mix of abstract hard lines with a more impressionistic rendering of the flowers – certainly not the beautiful abstract crispness of the original art. But all in all, not bad. Now for the fun part . . . I scanned it in and got it loaded on my iPad for some digital play. Kept a number of iterations, but here’s the one I continued on with – a watercolor and ink version rendered through the Waterlogue app.

Painted in Waterlogue
Painting watercolorized through Waterlogue app with “Fashionable” filter.

I liked the way this was softened – it took on a nice glow. The black “ink” lines gave it a funky cool look, too. So, I printed this version out (on matte photo paper) and did a little embellishing with Caran D’Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons and Prismacolor paint pens.

Printed on matte photo paper and embellished with pens and watercolor crayon

Now, that washed out blank area to the bottom right was just begging for a caption, so one more time into the scanner for some final text editing in Photoshop. There are iPhone and iPad apps that can add text, like Over, but I’m more familiar with the options in Photoshop and I have tons of fonts there already.

The final piece, with caption.

So here’s the final piece: “Bloom as only you can bloom!”

I’m trying to do just that . . . by learning new tools and techniques, asking my Inner Critic to be quiet while I play, not worrying too much about results, trying lots of different possibilities and, finally, creating something uniquely my own.