discover your created self

Perspective: Day Fifteen

. . . let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (Romans 12:2 NLT)


How I experience change is directly related to my expectations. My expectations are often rooted in the way I think. Change can be exhilarating, or it can be devastating. I cannot really change how something impacts me, but I do believe I can shift my perspective.

Through this series we have been experimenting with perspectives using writing prompts and sometimes exploring how a creative activity can illuminate our point of view.

This past week, I facilitated an art class, where we played with color and the concept of positive and negative space. I readily confessed that my experience with color theory hearkens from elementary school. I can tell you the primary and secondary colors, but beyond that I have to look at a glossary to recall the difference between tints and tones, and analogous and complementary colors. And I kept confusing myself and my students by trying to describe the difference between positive and negative space.

The interesting thing about all of this was that these students still enjoyed my class, and followed along with me because I set the expectations up front. If I had pretended to know all this stuff, then all of us would have been really lost.

To me the purpose of positive and negative space it to look at an object from a different perspective.

I still can’t properly explain positive and negative space, but while I was teaching, I realized why I like to use an approach in my journal, which I am now going to call the positive/negative prompt combination.

Instead of just responding to a prompt like, I think . . . or I feel . . .

I try using the negative form of the prompt alongside it.

I think/I don’t think . . .

I feel/I don’t feel . . .

I can/ I can’t . . .

Responding to both responses in the same space, often reveals insights, which I may not have noticed, if  I only write from the positive or negative perspective. I invite you to try this technique. See what surfaces or surprises you.

Here are some examples of art made in the souldare art class. We were exploring color combinations, where we made “mud” on purpose. (This is done by mixing colors that fall on opposite sides of the color wheel, such as red+green, blue+orange and yellow+purple.)

And then some examples of using positive and negative space to create a mixed-media “self-portrait.” (These ideas originated from Pam Carriker’s book Creating ART at the Speed of Life: 30 Days of Mixed-Media Exploration)

student work


student work


4 responses to “Perspective: Day Fifteen”

  1. Love this Kel (and no, I wouldn’t know or perhaps even understand) the artistic terms. Sheridan is always correcting me. That is the result of living w/ a brilliant art grad! =] As you know from my classes, I love journaling prompts that are opposite. Often people only use the p;ositive ones, not realizing the treasures that can be unearthed through the negatives….such as I’m not thinking….or I’m not feeling. How do we know what we DON’T think or feel?! And yet as we put pen to paper and fill the void, it’s really not so empty after all!
    Thanks for a great post, and love the art work.

    1. Lynni- I am so glad you have your own personal art consultant at home :] I think I should give you credit for the idea of using both types of prompts…a lot of my journaling techniques have their roots in your Journal to the Self classes that I’ve taken over the years! You’re my inspiration!

  2. The concept of positive/negative space is a great analogy for positive/negative response. You’re undoubtedly right that exploring both will lead to new discoveries. I’ve written your prompts on a 3 x 5 to put in my journal so I’ll remember to consider both aspects. Appreciate these insights, Kel! Gratefully, Nancy (another Glory Writer)

    1. Nancy- So glad to hear that these prompts are prompting you to keep them in your journal. Such a great idea to put them there as a reminder. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Kel

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About Me

Hi! My name is Kel Rohlf. I am an intuitive mixed-media artist, creative writer and performer. Life is a performance. I often attend.


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