About Spiritual Portraits
GROJA stands for Graphical Representations of Jungian Archetypes.
What the Colors Mean
It's all quite simple: each primary color represents an essential personality function.
If a person's image is colorful, it means their preferences
are more balanced and moderate — and more difficult to detect.
If a person's image has mostly just one or two colors, it means they have a strong preference — and a corresponding weakness.
There is nothing
weak about having
very slight, moderate, or very strong preferences.
It is, however, very helpful to be aware of these
preferences — and the intensity of each —
in oneself and others.
- The Red in a person's image represents their tendency to be warm and emotionally decisive.
- Red is the color of the blood that flows more intensely when we feel emotions like love and anger. In a portrait it corresponds to the Judging personality function Carl Jung called Feeling.
- The Green in a person's image represents their tendency to be cool and logically decisive.
- Green is a neutral and universal color, and its coldness puts it in complete opposition to Red. In a portrait it corresponds to the Judging personality function Carl Jung called Thinking.
People with a lot of Red or Green in their portraits are frequently bosses — often in title, but always in effect. In extreme cases, when the preference is very strong, subordinates can be fearful of the individual.
- The Blue in a person's image represents their tendency to be idealistic and open to new ideas.
- Blue is the color of nighttime, when ideas and ultimately dreams take precedence. In a portrait it corresponds to the Perceiving personality function Carl Jung called iNtuition.
- The Yellow in a person's image represents their tendency to be pragmatic and open to new experiences.
- Yellow is the color of daytime, when facts and practical matters become unavoidable. In a portrait it corresponds to the Perceiving personality function Carl Jung called Sensing.
People with a lot of Blue or Yellow in their portraits tend to be very laid-back and easy-going. In extreme cases, when the preference is very strong, this can lead to haplessness, apathy, gullibility, and even victimization.
Understanding Abstract Art
- Personalities are abstract, so an image of a personality must also be abstract.
The key to making sense of abstract art is
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Here are some articles about abstract art that may help people understand Spiritual Portraits.
People who enjoy music may already be enjoying abstract art without even realizing it! This three-part series of articles can help music lovers see the similarities between these art forms.
The first article, "Music, Meaning, and Modern Art: Part 1 of 3," shows parallels in the work of Bob Dylan and Pablo Picasso.
Part 2 of the series shows parallels in the work of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Robert Frank and John Lydon, and Part 3 of the series shows parallels in the work of Talking Heads, Kazimir Malevich, and Jackson Pollock.
The work of the painter Piet Mondrian played an important role in creating these images.
The article "The Prophetic Vision of Piet Mondrian" reviews his life and work very briefly. It shows his progression from painting landscapes to drawing only rectangular forms in black, white, and primary colors.
Truly understanding Mondrian's art requires understanding the role equilibrium plays in his vision of the future, and this article can help with that.
In a book entitled
Concerning the Spiritual in Art,
the painter Wassily Kandinsky describes his notion of a
triangle that represents humanity's cultural and intellectual
The article "Concerning Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art" uses quotes from the book to describe this triangle. Kandinsky's ideas played an important role in creating the Groja © program.
About Spiritual Portraits — in 35 seconds
These books — listed by year of publication — helped fuel the idea for these Spiritual Portraits, and aided in formulating the logic used by the Groja © Program.
We highly recommend each of these books!
This section contains affiliate marketing links. Following one of these links and making a purchase helps fund this site — at no additional cost to you. To learn more, read our Affiliate Marketing Disclosure.
Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky, 1912
In Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Kandinsky examines
modern culture and society as a whole and in a historical
context — he shares his vision of the
He discusses how to look past the surface of art and examine how
works affect viewers emotionally.
A review of the book, entitled
Concerning Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art,
describes Kandinsky's view of society as a triangle that moves slowly upward.
- Kandinsky's book played a crucial role in developing the idea of drawing Spiritual Portraits by providing insight into why it is so important for art to forge fresh ground
Buy this book to understand evolution, revolution, and why someone like me would spend so many years working on a project like this without making any profit — because there are more important things in life.
Psychological Types by Carl Jung, 1921
In General Description of the Types, Carl Jung describes the patterns of opposing traits he saw in the personalities of people: Extraversion and Introversion, Thinking and Feeling, and Sensation and Intuition.
Jung's work inspired Isabel Briggs Myers to codify the theory into the familiar four-letter types. It also inspired her and David Keirsey to extend Jung's theories, making them useful outside of the therapist's office.
- General Description of the Types played a crucial role in developing the idea of drawing Spiritual Portraits by providing an abstract framework for breaking personal preferences into opposing and mutually exclusive traits
Buy this book to learn about the origins of the four-letter types so popular today, and how the originator described these fundamental differences in personality and temperament.
Point and Line to Plane by Wassily Kandinsky, 1926
In Point and Line to Plane, Kandinsky breaks down and analyzes art the two-dimensional art of the time.
Kandinsky starts by examining points, the simplest elements, then proceeds to examine various types of lines and how they can produce tension, rhythm, emotions, and even sounds. The last section analyzes planes, discussing shapes, sounds, above and below, left and right, tensions, sounds, angles, texture, and more.
- Point and Line to Plane played a crucial role in developing the idea of drawing Spiritual Portraits by providing ideas about how to associate color and lines with the various personality functions
Buy this book to learn how people tend to interpret basic colors, forms, and compositions in artwork — both consciously and subconsciously.
Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter Myers, 1980
In Gifts Differing, Understanding Personality Types, Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter R. Myers codify and extend the theories of personality described by Carl Jung into the now familiar set of sixteen four-letter types.
Isabel Briggs Myers worked with her mother Katherine Cook Briggs to develop the MBTI®, an assessment enabling people to learn which four-letter type best fits their personality.
- Gifts Differing, Understanding Personality Types played a crucial role in developing the idea of drawing Spiritual Portraits by explaining how Jung's theories influenced the formulation of the four-letter types
Buy this book to learn how to interpret the sixteen four-letter types popularized by the MBTI®, and how your preferences affect your day-to-day life and relationships.
Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, 1984
In Please Understand Me, Character & Temperament Types, Keirsey and Bates group the sixteen types into four broad temperaments, which helps to make the theory a bit more manageable and easier to apply in day-to-day life.
Keirsey's book is particularly nice because it includes the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which enables you to learn your own four-letter type. I actually have two copies of this book, because the first one got so beat up I decided to buy a replacement.
- Please Understand Me played a crucial role in developing the idea of drawing Spiritual Portraits by explaining the preferences in terms of easily-recognizable temperaments
Buy this book and complete the Keirsey Temperament Sorter to learn what your four-letter type is. Then read about your temperament and to learn how your own personal preferences affect your life and relationships.
The New Art, the New Life, the Collected Works of Piet Mondrian, edited and translated by Harry Holtzman and Martin S. James, 1986
In The New Art, The New Life, Mondrian describes how his art serves as a model for society.
An article entitled The Prophetic Vision of Piet Mondrian uses quotes from the book to describe Mondrian's vision. Briefly, he believed that because opposites in form and color can exist in equilibrium in his paintings, groups of people who exhibit opposites in some way — male or female, black or white, etc. — will also eventually find equilibrium.
- The New Art, The New Life played a crucial role in developing the idea of drawing Spiritual Portraits by giving me the idea of using opposites in form and color to represent opposite personality traits and preferences
Buy this book to learn how Mondrian's optimistic vision — informed by years of work and reflection on the events of his day — influenced his distinctive paintings.
Por Favor Comprendeme (Please Understand Me) by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, 1990
Por Favor, Comprende Me is a Spanish-language version of one of my favorite books, Please Understand Me.
I am not fluent in Spanish but do know some basics. When I saw the Spanish version for sale one day, I couldn't resist buying a copy. Somehow I am sure it will come in handy some day!
- Por Favor, Comprende Me includes El Determinante De Temperamento De Keirsey — a version of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter in Spanish
If you are more comfortable with Spanish than English, buying this book will help you understand the theory at the heart of these Spiritual Portraits
Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates, 1998
In Please Understand Me II, Temperament, Character, Intelligence, David Kiersey delves more deeply into descriptions of the four temperaments and how they interact with each other.
Having enjoyed the first edition so much, I just had to buy the second edition as soon as I saw it.
- Please Understand Me II also contains an updated version of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which enables you to easily discern your four-letter type
Buy this book to learn how to interpret Spiritual Portraits, and to better understand the role temperament plays in your life and relationships.
Presidential Temperament by David Keirsey and Raymond Choiniere, 2015
In Presidential Temperament, Definitive Edition, Keirsey and Choiniere offer many valuable insights as they analyze each of America's top leaders.
Here I offer a caveat: buy one of Keirsey's other books in this section — one that explains the theory in general terms, so you have that framework — before this one.
- Presidential Temperament is organized around the four temperaments and includes a chapter on each president
Buy this book to better understand the role temperament plays in America's history.
If you are interested in learning more, visit some of these sites.
- The website contains the best single images from SeeOurMinds.com, and stories about them
- The site also contains pairs and groups of images, and stories comparing and contrasting them
Some articles on ArtsyVisions.com describe the differences — subtle or otherwise — between people with similar personalities. Other articles discuss how the reflect the relationships between people whose images and personalities are very different such as the way opposites sometimes attract.
By including stories about multiple images, ArtsyVisions.com can offer insights into Spiritual Portraits that are impossible to see when looking at and considering just one image at a time.
SeeOurMinds.com is an older Spiritual Portrait website. It has been online for years and now has two main features:
- The SeeOurMinds Quiz offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about their personality — and optionally save their results on the server, for future reference
- The SeeOurMinds Gallleries contain hundreds of Spiritual Portraits of real people, fictional people, friends, family, self-portraits, experimental images — and even some images of my cats — often with a story accompanying and explaining the image
The quality of the stories in the SeeOurMinds Gallery varies greatly. One of the best stories is about Alexander Hamilton, of all people.
Some of the newer galleries, such as those for Twin Peaks and The Wire, do not contain stories. However, these galleries contain dozens of images, so people familiar with the show should be able to see patterns and understand the images without much explanation.
I have taken the Keirsey Temperament Sorter multiple times. Two of the results, along with fairly minimal stories, are visible in the portraits Tom H. I and Tom H. IV, in the Self-Portraits Gallery on SeeOurMinds.com.
Both results show me as an INFP, with solid preferences for Introversion and iNtuition, and borderline preferences for Feeling and Perceiving.
- I know from first-hand experience how difficult it is to write one of these questionnaires. It's advisable to try a few different questionnaires and look at how the results agree and disagree.
Although I have gotten slightly different results on other questionnaires, all of them show similar relative strengths in the preferences. I believe the strengths of the preferences matters as much as the preferences themselves.
Myers and Briggs Foundation
Isabel Briggs Myers and Peter R. Myers are the authors of one of the books in the Books section on this page. MyersBriggs.org also offers many services that we have have no desire to duplicate or attempt to compete with.
The result shows me as an INTP, with solid preferences for Introversion and iNtuition, a slight preference for Thinking, and a borderline preference for Perceiving.
- It's difficult to write one of these questionnaires, so it's best to try a few different versions and compare the results.
Although I have gotten slightly different results on other questionnaires, all of them show similar relative strengths in the preferences. I believe the strengths of the preferences matters as much as the preferences themselves.
My result on the their Jung Typology Test is visible in the portrait Tom H. II on SeeOurMinds.com.
The result shows me as an INFJ, with solid preferences for Introversion and iNtuition, and slight preferences for Feeling and Judging.
- It's strongly recommended you try out multiple questionnaires — especially when taking the free ones — and carefully compare the results.
Although I have gotten slightly different results on other questionnaires,
all of them show similar relative strengths in the preferences —
and all of the portraits have the same overall
To name just a few examples, the wikipedia has pages about:
- The psychologists and their theories of personality types.
- Carl Jung and his book Psychological Types
- Isabel Briggs Myers, her book Gifts Differing, and the MBTI®
- David Keirsey, his book Please Understand Me, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter
- The painters Piet Mondrian and Wassily Kandinsky.
Why Draw Personalities?
All my life I have tried to see past the superficial surface BS and into the essence and substance — the heart and the soul — of people.
Seeing past the surface can be difficult at times, but it is quite rewarding!
- I have created three websites — Groja.com, ArtsyVisions.com, and SeeOurMinds.com. — to share with you a bit of what I've learned over the years.
Hopefully, after learning about these personality traits and how I visualize them, you will find yourself looking and seeing past the surface, too.
- Ideally then you, too, will realize how rewarding it is to see people for who they really are — rather than for who they seem to be.
Knowing what your preferences are all about — and how yours are similar to and different from those of your friends, coworkers, and loved ones — is priceless!
These are the reasons I create Spiritual Portraits:
- 1 To enable us to see the invisible
- 2 To increase understanding of opposites — and promote harmony and equilibrium between them
- But make no mistake, these are the primary goals.
From Passion to Monetization
- During the past 40 years I have made maybe $30-40 from this project, and that's it!
Divide that $40 by the 10,000+ hours I have spent working on this project,
and you'll better understand the term
Things have changed a lot over the past 40 years, though. And now, in 2018, I'm ready to take this to the next level!
- Thanks to a lot of people who are better marketers than me, I am learning new ways to monetize this idea — such as using affiliate marketing links and selling ebooks, for example.
It's one thing to spend years becoming an expert in something, and quite another to continue giving away this expertise for free indefinitely.
Selling individual Spiritual Portraits is just one way of monetizing this project.
Free Monthly Newsletter!
When you click on an affiliate marketing link on this site — such as one of those in the Books section on this page — and purchase a recommended product, the site earns a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
- By subscribing to the Artsy Visions Monthly Newsletter you can learn when we post new content — and fresh recommendations and affiliate links — to ArtsyVisions.com and SeeOurMinds.com.
If you're not interested in any of the currently posted recommendations and links, no worries — maybe next month!
Free Spiritual Portraits!
From time to time we offer free Spiritual Portraits to subscribers of the Artsy Visions Monthly Newsletter.
- The only way to learn about these special offers is to subscribe!
Why hesitate? If it turns out that one email per month is somehow just too much, you can unsubscribe at any time.
We Paying Customers!
If you can't wait and want to see an image of your personality — or the Spiritual Portrait of one or more friends, loved ones, or co-workers ASAP — click below to get your portrait now!
Thank you for visiting and
learning about my
To learn the story behind Spiritual Portraits and the Groja © program, read on.
A Programmer Walks Into an Art History Class...
One day in an Art History class at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) the teacher introduced us to the paintings of Piet Mondrian. As it turned out, my life would never be the same.
The teacher said it might look easy to create paintings like Mondrian's, but if you try to do it yourself, you will find it's really very difficult.
At the time I had been programming professionally for several years, and was very interested in and excited about Artificial Intelligence.
So I immediately thought,
a computer could do that!
Trying to figure out how to write a program to produce works similar to Mndrian's was indeed a challenge! So I began to contemplate other options.
At this time I also had some interest in psychology — and had discovered Carl Jung's, Isabel Briggs Myers', and David Keirsey's work. Also during this time I read Kandinsky's books, and was particularly intrigued by his notion of "The Triangle."
At some point I had an
aha moment,all of this information gelled, and the Groja © program was born.
Although my original ideas were unrealistic, the end result has
proven to be
sticky — persisting in my thoughts,
and on one website or another — over the years.
To learn what happens next, Subscribe to the Monthly Newsletter!
Following is a list of the versions of the Groja Program © I have written:
- 1989 Grad School IBM 8086 PC version
- This version was written in LISP for my Interdisciplinary Masters Degree. I chose LISP because it was the preferred language for Artificial Intelligence applications, but the resultant program had little intelligence, if any.
- 2001 Raw PHP 4 version
- This version was not Object Oriented and had a horrible interface, but it could draw images.
- 2005 PHP Nuke version
- The best thing I can say about PHP Nuke is, it made me willing to try out Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal.
- 2008 Joomla 1.x version
- This version was an attempt to create a social, web 2.0, rolling-blog type of site. It turned out I am not the type to promote or monitor this type of site. Now the software and even the basic goals and paradigm of the site are all totally out of date, but quite usable on my laptop.
- 20?? Next version?!?
- Now that there are so many new technologies, and they are all changing so quickly, it is difficult to prioritize on how to build on this idea. That is why I am making this personal: talking to users and creating individualized and personal portraits. This will fuel how I decide to continue with this work.
To delve deeper into the backstory, read on!
On the Wrong Planet?!?
I have often felt like I am on the
Do you by any chance know what I mean?
If you know about these four-letter types, and are Introverted or iNtuitive or — like me — both, you probably know what I mean.
- Either you know what I'm talking about, or you don't.
normal people like to use to describe reticent, idealistic
people like me is
After 10-25-40 years of it, that sort of attitude can get pretty old.
I fully expect some pragmatic, down-to-earth
normalsto reject this idea of drawing personalities without a second thought.
And that's not a problem!
My target audience is
weird-oes like me!
The Real Deal
These Spiritual Portraits are based on Carl Jung's theories, Wassily Kandidnsky's observations, and Mondrian's optimistic foresight, so there is a historical precedent. Anyone who thinks these images just come to me somehow is wrong!
My goal is to honor, carry on, and build on the work of the people who contributed to this idea without stepping on any toes, legal or otherwise.
Growing up Weird
Surely growing up is difficult for all of us, and I was certainly no exception. Conforming to society's, parents', and our peers' expectations is easier for some than it is for others.
The Road to Self-Knowledge
It took awhile for me to realize that some of the things that were natural and easy for others to do were unnatural and difficult for me.
- So I learned early on to respect others' differences, both superficial and otherwise, even when this respect was not returned.
As I grew into adulthood, I learned about the source of many of the invisible, intangible differences that can pose such a challenge for some of us.
The Big Lesson
A big revelation for me came when I learned how people who are outgoing and Extraverted outnumber people like me, who are more withdrawn and Introverted. And those who are pragmatic and tend to be Sensing outnumber people like me, who are idealistic and are more iNtuitive.
Estimates vary, but any way you cut it, Introverts and iNtuitives are in the minority.
weirdnesswas quantifiable, and life made so much more sense!
For this I am grateful for the lesssons I learned from the works mentioned in the Books section on this page. I am very happy to pass their lessons on to anyone else who cares to listen!