Make Time to Make Art Part Two

Make time for art, how to make more art, creative self-care

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Honestly, there is so much that can get in the way of a creative life. Creative endeavors are an extra, right? A bonus for those who have time. A benefit for the rich. Unless you are an artist, creative projects are for retired people who no longer need to work for a living, take care of kids or elderly parents, and have tons of extra time on their hands. At the end of the day, you are so exhausted, the best you can do is fall into your couch in front of the tv or a computer screen. Who has time and energy to make time to make art? Right?

If this is the story you tell yourself, you will always be the one who gets that spark of excitement when you see beautiful art, but never makes any of her own.

Consider that perhaps the only thing standing between you and a creative life is the clever, scared inner critic. Your inner critic so fears “failing,” that she won’t even let you try. She puts up every excuse in the book. The critic will tell you that doing things less than perfectly is not worthwhile. This kind of fear will rob you of the rich, creative life you deserve.

Even the most talented artists in the world struggle with and have to set aside, the negative talk of the inner critic in order to work. Almost no one is immune to this insidious self-doubt. But don’t be fooled, you ARE creative. Whether you express your creativity in clever jokes, crochet patterns, inventive city planning solutions, or paintings, you cannot help but be creative. It is in your nature. It’s how humans problem solve, how we make novel sentences each time we talk, and how we respond so effectively to new situations. If you’d like to learn more about human creativity, this post explains more from a neuroscience perspective we can all understand.

Let’s Make Time to Make Art

A few weeks ago, I shared a post with 10 creative ways to make more time to make art. In my experience with students, the biggest thing standing between you and your creative expression is you and your inner critic.

So here is part two of How to Make Time to Make Art, with 10 more ideas to invite more “YOU” time, more creative self-expression, and more creative joy into your life:

  • Create little art altars around your house. Mine are made up of a combination of natural materials and art. Pretty much any place where I’ve got a collection of art and/or natural materials feels like a sacred space to me. You can decide what an art altar means to you.
  • Make art outdoors. (Create a mandala with flowers, sticks, rocks, or shells.) Get inspired by Michele Faia’s beautiful work. In fact, perhaps you will make your art altar a nature mandala.
  • Give yourself permission to use art as self-care. (AKA – give yourself permission to suck.) Just keep putting one creative mark next to the other, and you will get there.
  • Make art friends. Go to local art shows. Join the local artist association or art museum. You don’t need to be a professional. Talk to other artists about their art and why it speaks to you. Ask questions about their process and anything else that sparks your interest. Over time, you might pluck up the courage to invite a few other beginner types to your house for some snacks and a low key art date. I recently started showing my work again for the first time in ages. I’m pictured here at the opening reception with my work, but the best part was talking to another incredibly talented artist. We spoke about her process, our shared love of nature’s art, and I asked for her feedback on a recent painting. I could tell she would be straightforward but kind. And she was. As soon as she gave her suggestion, it rang true, so the critique never stung. What a lovely lady.

make art friends

  • Take a class to broaden your skills. Mindful Art Studio classes are geared towards folks who struggle to get past the inner critic and creative blocks, or who want to create art from a more intuitive place.
  • Recognize the creativity in the things you already do. Some examples include cooking new recipes, writing, knitting, handicrafts, card making, gardening, home improvement and design, cake decorating, or creative solutions to spread sheet problems. You ARE creative, you just don’t see it yet.
  • Post your art at home to inspire you to create more. I know you might think this won’t work, but folks in my classes are always amazed at how even what they see as “mediocre” work can inspire them to dig in again and again.

make time to make art

I can’t wait to hear what you are doing to keep creativity woven throughout your day. Tell us about it in the comments.

Creatively Yours,


[bctt tweet=”Your inner critic is so scared of failing, she won’t even let you try. Let’s bravely create something together anyway.” username=”amymaricle”]


  1. Sandra

    At the urging of friends,I created some pieces just for my home. My usual medium is art journaling. I love it,everything goes in art journaling.
    It feeds my soul and I often say I have more heart than talent. Thats the best part,not letting the limitation of my ideas of talent prevent me from creating.
    Currently it’s all about faces or hearts in my art journal. I like working on atc cards and on those I am mixing fabric,markers and paper.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Sandra:

      Oh your art practice sounds like a lot of fun! I’m so thrilled that you are exploring and not letting the inner critic get in your way! It is amazing the way that the journal takes it all in. I love that about it too.
      Happy creating! XO Amy

  2. Tracy

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I love the idea of an art altar and this will likely by my first tackle. I have tried the art journaling and find it difficult for me; it’s the old critic saying ‘if the page is in the book, it had better be worthy’. lol Oddly enough I moved away from that and right now am playing with mixed media re-purposed plastic containers and jars to make bowls, vases and what-nots. My favorite was reusing the balsa wood tray that held some holiday cheese! I focus on the fun and if one project isn’t working, move on to something else. Your inspirational words always seem to arrive when I have stepped away too long, mired in other responsibilities. Thank you!

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Tracy:

      I just love how when your critic gives you a hard time about something (art journaling) you find a work around that allows you to be creative, and feed your muse inspiration by reading something that speaks to her. That tray sounds wonderful! If you feel moved, you might go back to the inner critic exercises in Freeing the Muse and Art Journaling 101 (they are different.)

      Happy Creating!

  3. Anja Meurer

    … wonderful article, Amy. I would really like to see your art show!

    While immersing myself deeper into the realms of art and creativity i decided to start my own small art collection. Having grown up in a blue collar family i always thought that collecting art is something for wealthy people. Could i be more wrong? I’m happy about my decision and bought my first piece from an independent artist yesterday. It feels good and motivating.

    The idea of art altars is so inspiring! Thank you!

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      HI Anja:

      Wow – you are just EXPLODING into your artistic life and it’s just so exciting to watch! Thank you so much for your comment and letting us in on your fun process. I love that you are collecting inspiration, both that of others and your own.



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