Join the Simplest Things Challenge!

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Last year, during all the stress of the pandemic and lockdown, I pondered a simple question: What would happen if I created the simplest thing I could in my journal today?

It’s a pretty radical question, isn’t it?

How often do we have permission to do the simplest thing? To not embellish, to not try to be the best, the most, the first?

The simplest things invite focus. It’s not so much about striving as it is about noticing, slowing down enough to see what happens when you put a bit more water on your brush, watching the way it behaves as it meets the paper and sinks in.

The simplest things invite getting started. When all you need to do is draw a series of lines, or see what happens if you draw a series of overlapping spirals, there’s not so much space for second guessing or making excuses about why you aren’t good enough to do it.

The simplest things invite innovation. A narrow focus is one of the most helpful elements in a creative practice. The more narrow your prompt, the more creative you must be in rendering it in an interesting way. You’ve got to play. You’ve got to explore. You’ve got to make some boring stuff, weird stuff, ugly stuff, to get to the incredible stuff. And in my experience, until and unless you make space for all the blah, the weird, and the bad art, your art will feel more “meh” than “Oh!”

How Does the Simplest Things Challenge Work?


Each day of the challenge, February 7th – 11th 2022, I’ll send you an email with a written prompt and photo inspiration.


Share your work on Instagram with: #createwithamym and #mindfulartstudio

Share your work on Facebook: Comment on my challenge post each day with your work and any reflections you’d like to share about the process.

And it’s free to participate!

For some folks, the challenge is all they need to get a creative kickstart. For others, a little hand holding really starts their creative engines. For you, I’ve created a class called The Simplest Thing Journal. It’s 8 video lessons and a beautiful PDF with tons of new prompts. It will support you in creating simply beautiful work in your journal. When you sign up for the challenge, I’ll give you a 25% off coupon for the class, good through February 11th, 2022!

Approaching things simply has driven my and my students’ art practice forward for years. I’m so excited to help you create simply and get to your best work.

Creatively Yours,



  1. Vicki Seastrom

    Thank for the reminder to give ourselves gentler treatment. I love your phrase, “Permission to not to try to be the best, the most, the first.” I just wrote that in my sketchbook and I feel my shoulders relax and my breathing deepen. It’s not always about pushing, just being is just fine! Thanks again, Amy!

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Vicki: I’m super happy that these comments reach you just where they are meant to, and I so appreciate you taking the time to let me know.


    • sylvia alberta

      What happens if you do not have or want facebook/instagram?

      • Amy Maricle

        HI Vicki! I’m so happy you’ll be joining us for the challenge. There’s no need to share the work on social media – that’s just something folks who are on can do. The idea is that we are all doing the challenge together. It’s going to be fun! xo

  2. ADRIANNE Tayler

    Thanks .. this sounds the exact inspiration boost I’m needing. 🥰😊🎨

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Adrianne! Oh I’m so glad to hear it! Can’t wait! xo

    • Linda

      Hi Amy, I’ve only recently discovered you and signed up for the week of the Simplest Things. I was late getting to it, only started – and finished – today! But I loved it! I don’t want to stop..
      I am not an artist, but the simplicity of your instructions makes it so easy to follow and create something beautiful, whatever one’s previous experience – or lack of..
      Thank you!

      • Amy Maricle

        HI Linda: Oh I’m super happy to see this. YAY for you. Art is within our reach, it just sometimes takes finding the right invitation, I think. I’m excited for you to keep creating! xo

  3. Isabel Patchett

    Happy New Year Amy better late than never and thank you for this class I am looking forward to it. I seem to be in a bit of a rut at the moment my darling companion, therapy dog has been quite ill and on top of that we are having a heat wave at present and it looks like going on for a few more days. Not getting a lot of sleep either of us. So I really look forward to your “Simplest things challenge” to get me going again. I am still on your weekly Slow Drawing list but have not received a message for awhile so wondering if you have started them up again or am I just missing it.? I do hope you have enjoyed your seasonal break and that this finds you well and keeping warm over there. Thanks again Isabel

    • Amy Maricle

      HI Isabel: I’m so happy that the classes and the challenge strike the right chord for you. Happy creating!

  4. Judy

    Looking forward to it. I love everything you do. Thank you so much for sharing your talent.

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Judy: I’m so happy that the work is speaking to you. Can’t wait to get started! xo

  5. Anne

    I really appreciate your quiet state of mind and verbal communication.

    It helps me relax.

    Can you please supply information in the drawing tools you use?

    Thank you,

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Anne – I’m so happy to hear that it speaks to you. YAY.
      You’ll find all my favorite art supplies here.
      Happy creating!

  6. Tiffany Nething

    Thank you for this… Sometimes I say to myself “what good are my marks going to do anyway” (why make them, they are nothing)… instead I need to say “what good are my marks going to do” (make them, they are something)!… we never know what they CAN DO if we don’t make them, right?!

    • Amy Maricle

      Hi Tiffany:

      I love how you took the time to be specific about what you say to yourself, because I know you are not alone in that! I too have had that thought before, but what changed all that for me was realizing how art is self-care for me. So if I know art is good for me, like going to the gym, there’s no “why bother?” because I know it’s serving a purpose for my well being and my ability to be good to others. But then! I realized that the more I engage in process oriented work, the more curious I get about my own ideas, the more I dive into them, the more I develop the work and the more my art is exciting, engaging, and lovely. Cool cycle, right?

  7. elenor

    First thanks for letting me be part of this challenge.
    I’d like to make my own journal so can you please tell me what size is the best?

    • Amy Maricle

      I’m so happy to have you participate, Elenor! So really, it’s all up to you and what will facilitate you sitting down to do the simplest thing in your journal. If small and portable and approachable does it – work small – if you need space to get expansive, work big. Mine is a 3.5 x 5.5.


      • elenor

        Amy, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I just learned to make a soft cover coptic stitched book (4 x 5,5, this is A6 here), so that will be perfect.
        I’m already looking forward to this for me new adventure.
        Sending you kind greetings from Austria.

  8. Liz

    So sad I missed the challenge! Simple is the direction I need right now!

  9. catherine leclair

    I really enjoyed your way of practicing and your soft approach to art with Ali in the latest Botanical workshop. I am looking forward to. a daily prompt to help me take care of myself first for a few days! Thank you for this opportunity.

    • Amy Maricle

      HI Catherine:

      Oh I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed the workshop. It was such fun! Let’s keep the creative ball rolling. Cheers! xo


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