Stories, stories, stories. I read stories. I write stories. I speak stories. I can even act out stories and illustrate stories! So why was I feeling bored and blocked over a simple story that I was editing this weekend?

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and heard, Try communicating the story without reaching for the tools that you utilize every single day– Paint the story.

Now, my husband is an artist who has an entire closet filled with magical treasures just for painting! Having never before painted anything in my life, I enthusiastically grabbed every essential painting supply (anything bright, colorful and glittery, any shiny gadget or silly looking brush, as well as anything with a pleasant scent is my definition of ‘essential’).

Then I began to paint my story.

The creative process was simple because I have no artistic training. I don’t know a thing about painting, so I did what I felt.  I did not think about the end result. 

The story on the canvas continued to change for an hour until a mermaid appeared. It was this magical mermaid who led me out of the boring black abyss that had me feeling trapped and guided me towards the bright world where creativity flows easy and free.

Meet my magical (semi-finished) mermaid:

(Official title: Telling my tale with paint, not words)

Although she may not end up in a gallery, painting this mermaid opened me up to a world of creative possibilities! (So my magical mission was accomplished!) Even if you aren’t feeling blocked at the moment, give the exercise a try.

Don’t be afraid to embrace a different creative medium in order to get your ideas and inspiration flowing again! Just keep creating and stay magical no matter what happens! Xx

Lots of love from the snowy enchanted tree house,

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15 Responses to Telling tales with paint, not words

  1. Ohhh! This is a beautiful idea and your outcome (semi-finished, you say?) is magnificent. But if I were to try this, ummmm, my outcome would be, well, let’s just say I write stories much better. But I so love the idea . . .

  2. emmy says:

    Thank you. (It needs to be glitterized before being done). I would say that going to a museum for a book club discussing Wonderstruck will definitely yield similar results! What an brilliant idea! I wish I could fly there right now!

  3. Peter L. says:

    Are you willing to sell this? The colors and textures really resonate with me. Please let me know.

  4. Brianna says:

    I like how you think and I really like your magical mermaid! Hopefully you will share the story that you are writing with those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to attend your storytelling programs? I’d love to read more of your work.

  5. "Mo" says:

    This is my first time here, what a treasure! I admire your work.

    Do you only run programs outside of Oregon or can I find your stories/books somewhere?

  6. Kelly says:

    When the Emmy Blue blogpost email arrives, I know I will have a magical day! Thanks for sharing this exercise.

  7. Olivia says:

    When I’m learning a new story for a program, I act it out over and over again. To be honest, I’m not sure that this is the best/most productive method, but it works. I really appreciate you putting your methods on this blog. It helps me open my mind to other ways of thinking and creating.

  8. Sandra says:

    I’ll by your painting and the story, joking. (okay not really, let me know, kai?)

  9. adriana says:

    I’m not a writer or a painter. I don’t really have any talent. But I like reading your posts. You make me think that maybe just maybe I can try things even if they don’t turn out good. I keep reading your affirmations and hope they start working soon. Maybe I will try and paint a mermaid.

  10. Fairy Friends says:


    *cheers of glee and songs of celebration are echoing through the forest*

  11. Pat says:

    Love the colors! I am imagining what she sees in her world and how happy she is!

  12. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Emmy, you are a multi-talented individual. I’ve been following you for the last few months and I am both inspired and impressed. I would look into professional representation if I were you. Hopefully I will be able to catch one of your storytelling programs one day.

  13. Bob says:

    Fantastic, I love it

  14. Julie says:

    What an uplifting post. Any gallery would be lucky to have your magical mermaids in it!

  15. Katy says:

    I loved your enchanting winter tales program last week!! Could you please send me a print out of your Princess and the Moon story? I want to send it to my nieces and nephews. Thanks!

    And this blog is inspiring! I’m not adventurous enough to try painting, but I admire what you’re saying.

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