The Mindful Art Studio
(Note: 5/27/15: I have changed my site name to www.mindfulartstudio.com in order to separate my art therapy practice from my online art business and to avoid any confusion about what services I am providing. Mindful Art Studio and its blog will now focus solely on creativity, art tutorials, art journaling, mindfulness, and related topics. It is not art therapy.)
Hello Creative, Authentic You:
I’ve been holding onto a secret for the last few months, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it: I’ve found a new home for our lovely community. Welcome to the Mindful Art Therapy Studio! To use a term from one of my favorite creative authors, SARK, I hope you’ll stay a while and have an “inspiration sandwich” while you’re here!
I sought out a new name because I want it to be very clear what this community stands for – learning to live centered, inspired, and creative lives. I think Mindful Art Therapy Studio does that. Do you?
Mindfulness and Art
Through writing this blog, I’ve realized just how hungry people are for creativity and mindfulness in their lives. We want to slow down, pay attention, make meaning, and feel inspired. Whether you consider yourself “creative” or not, and I would argue that everyone is, if you don’t have that spark of inspiration and creativity somewhere in your life, my bet is that you are feeling flat, down, anxious, or alone. I believe very strongly that for many people, art therapy and art are two very powerful medicines.
I was rereading one of the books that drove me to explore the mindful, spiritual, and healing aspects of art, The Artist’s Way. Author Julia Cameron says, “The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” It’s so true.
So much of what delights me requires my full attention – listening to my kids as they recount each new adventure, taking in the way water droplets perch gently on a tulip petal, choosing the right moment to make a suggestion to a client who is on the brink of change, or running unencumbered on the first warm spring day, hearing the birds, and feeling the movement of my breath.
That’s the level of connection we crave. And yet we make ourselves so busy all the time. Mindfulness requires conscious effort.
A Mindfulness Exercise:
Art and mindfulness are so intimately connected. Seeing with attention is practicing mindfulness. Whether you are truly seeing and drawing something for the first time, or “seeing” your feelings appear on the page, it’s an act of mindfulness. I think often of my first drawing teacher, who told me that I didn’t need to learn to draw, I needed to learn to see.
Try this exercise:
Pick an object that you see everyday – a chair, a stick, a bowl. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Now look at the object as though you have no idea what it is – like you’ve never seen one of those thingies in your life. I invite you to engage your curiosity. Look at colors, shapes, textures, and light. What do you notice? What were you missing every other time you looked at it?
What we normally see when we look at something is just a brief sketch. We think we know what things look like, but do we really?
A Mindful Drawing Exercise:
Could you try drawing your object now? Let go of expectations that it will look a certain way or be “accurate,” this is a mindfulness exercise. Your pencil is a miniature ant walking across the edges and contours of your object, ever so slowly. What does your ant go? Whenever I do this, I find so much more detail and beauty both in the object, and in my wobbly drawing, than I ever expected.
“Attention is an act of connection” – Julia Cameron
We so deeply want to feel connected, and it’s is a powerful anecdote against hopelessness, desperation, and suffering.
What You Can Expect from Mindful Art Studio
Having the opportunity to share creative self-care techniques and information with people across the globe is a blessing for me. It’s part of my creative and artistic practice, and it makes my life meaningful. Thank you for being here!
My goal is to reach you, move you, and inspire you to live a more creative life, to feel happier and less anxious, and to make choices demonstrate how much you truly value yourself. You have so much to offer.
I want you to show up in this community, take in what you can, and give back by sharing your insights (just like Sara did last week.) Let’s take on this creative journey called life together.
I am humbled by your presence, your wisdom, and your creativity, and I’m excited about what’s ahead in the rest of 2015.
Art Tutorials and Classes
Art journaling has been, and will continue to be one of the key ways that I help people feed their creative soul. You can also expect more online art classes and e-books on a range of artistic techniques.
Creative Self-Care and Coping Strategies for Anxiety and Depression
Fear gets in the way of creativity and joy. We will continue to dive deeper into ways of getting fear and anxiety to step aside, go away, or transform. We will also continue to explore a range of coping tools to manage anxiety, stress, and depression.
This quote speaks so loudly to me about the habit of worry. And like any other habit, we can replace it with a different one with a bigger reward.
Insights About Healing Art
I consider it a privilege to be an art therapist and to help more people understand and experience its power.
If you haven’t looked around recently, here’s a sampling of some of the best things Mindful Art Therapy Studio has to offer right now:
– Check out the Free Art Tutorials page for tons of mindful, creative, and nature based art techniques
-Listen to some guided visualizations to help relieve stress and anxiety
– Learn about managing stress and anxiety with art,
– Connect with the community on the Creative Self-Care Facebook group for extra guidance and resources
– Listen to the podcast where I talk about How Art Therapy Works.
Mindful Art Studio’s Housewarming Gifts to You
To help celebrate our new “home,” I’d like to offer you some housewarming gifts.
Each person who comments below has a chance to win this art journal. Once I know who the lucky, randomly chosen winner is, I’ll get a bit more information and personalize it for you before I send it off. You have until Friday at 9 am to comment.
2. Art Journaling Class Sale!
For a limited time, I am making Art Journaling 101 Online available for just $19!
Remember Comment to Win Your Art Journal!
Submit a Comment
Join my newsletter for weekly inspiration, workshops and ways to connect to nature through art.
Love your new home! May you have even more inspiring times here!
Hey! You are the first commenter on the new site. Thanks so much for dropping in. It looks like you take some really lovely photographs. I hope you will be sharing some of your wisdom with us. I’m so glad you like the Mindful Art Therapy Studio home, and I wish you much inspiration too.
I have the “bad” habit to wake up early, so no wonder I’m the first. 🙂 Many thanks for your kind words too! I’m glad you like my photos. I try to take them in a more mindful way too, so Ill come back on your site for sure. Greetings from Vienna!
Oh, I, and I’m sure others, would LOVE to hear about mindful photography skills. If you are interested, reach out to me via email and we can talk about a possible blog post. I think this would be hugely of interest to folks given that we all dabble with our smart phones.
What a wonderful site! It is gentle and beautiful. Beauty disappears in anxiety and depression. Thank you for this opportunity.
Your words are beautiful. Thank you for that and I’m so happy you’re here! You’ll find free classes here: https://mindfulartstudio.com/shop/free-classes/
I studied art therapy. I belong to your Facebook page and have tried to do some of your projects, but your times for the how to videos don’t fit in to my schedule or I don’t have the art supplies on hand. I have a lot of art supplies. Because of the COVID-19 I don’t go out. I have a compromised immune system. The only store that carries any kind of art supplies is Walmart and they’re selections are limited.
Hi Beverly – Oh it’s a hard time for so many. I’m sorry it’s particularly challenging. You might enjoy my Youtube channel with lots of tutorials and inspiration.
Thank you so VERY much for sharing your talent and expertise! I appreciate it a great deal. I look forward to trying the different things you are sharing.
HI Beth! I’m so happy to have you. Cheers!
Beautiful name and services! Congratulations!
Welcome to Mindful Art Therapy Studio’s housewarming party! I’m so glad you came. Your site is so inspiring with ideas about creativity, self-care, mommyhood. I loved your post about the importance of finding community. I feel like I am just starting to understand how to help folks do that here, and on the Creative Self-Care FB group. It’s really satisfying to come together with a bunch of other people who all want more creative self-care in their lives. I feel like every time I get more clear about how to focus things, it’s like I smack myself in the forehead because it’s just about offering more and more of what is really, authentically me. Thanks for your inspiration!
I am a non-trad finishing my practicum in counseling. Although they try to teach us about self-care…I didn’t “get it” until doing practicum. I love your new site…I truely believe that artful expression is healing.
Welcome! It is hard to “get” self-care until you are really in the trenches sometimes. I can tell you too that it gets much more intense once you are out of school. For some folks, having to then deal with all of the paperwork, office politics, time constraints that interfere with client contact, can feel overwhelming or even disheartening. It’s a transition that requires thoughtfulness, and I think that’s a part of the self-care mindset that is so important. For me, what was key was self-care activities, especially art and time with other art therapist friends who understood, taking a bird’s eye view of what I could and could not change and letting the rest go, and finding good connections and supervision both at work and outside of work. Please keep updated on your journey. I’d love to know more!
Thank you for sharing such good information. I will take it to heart on my journey. I love your blog/studio and try to make time to visit each day. You are appreciated!
You are so sweet to comment and let me know that I am striking the right chord with you. It means a lot to hear it.
As a blogger, it’s really a huge gift when people comment, because it let’s me know, hey! You are on the right track! Or, hey! I’d love to see you talk about this, or that. I am humbled by the idea that you visit everyday. I better keep up with you so that you are finding what you need. So do feel free to let me know either here, on the Creative Self-Care FB group, or by email if there’s something in particular that you’d like to see on the blog or as a class or resource and I will do my best.
Thank you again for the gift of your words.
I am so impressed with your changes – love the new name! Your site and blog will continue to be an inspiration to me as I transition from student to professional art therapist.
Welcome to Mindful Art Therapy Studio! I’d love to hear about the kind of work you are interested in doing with your degree…
Awesome I love the new title “mindful “. Looking forward to completing some of your ideas. All the best.
It’s so great to have you stop by the “housewarming party!” I’m so glad too that the new name is resonating with you the way it does for me. Please share about what creative projects you tackle!
I love the new name! I am really excited for you and think this beautiful name captures the depth of what you offer to folks personally and professionally! I am feeling inspired!!!
I love it when you pop in here! Thank you so much for visiting the new site! Your warmth, depth, and positivity always make my day, and leave ME feeling inspired. Thank you!
The new name is inspiring and focused. Love it. You and your wonderful work are a gift! Congratulations!!
You always brighten my day when you show up! Thank you so much. I so appreciate your comment and your presence in this creative community. Please let me know if there is something you’d like to see me do or address on the blog.
I love your new website and I am super inspired after reading your posts. I want to learn more about the art of journaling. Also, this quote really resonated in my head: “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong”. That is super true. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
Best of luck,
Thank you so much for dropping in to say hello and taking the time to read. I’m psyched that you are interested in art journaling. If I may, I’d love to share a few beginning tutorials that will help you get started: How to Start an Art Journal
A Free Art Journaling Class
yes ! The quote about fear is amazing, isn’t it? So much of what we do and don’t do is about our fear. It’s a daily practice to master it.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment.
Love the new name and feel of the site! I enjoyed interviewing you last year and getting to know what it’s like to be an *actual* art therapist after grad school! I look forward to my own journey when my time at Lesley ends in May 2016! 🙂
Hey – like an old pal! Great to hear from you. I too enjoyed our interview very much and was very impressed with you. I know that you too have a very interesting path ahead in your career. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.
Congrats on the new website/name change! Thanks for all of the continued great blog posts. I can’t wait to read more.
Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. It’s great to have your voice on here and I look forward to hearing more about what YOU would like to see and hear.
I would love to win! Thank You for a chance! I can’t wait to explore more on this site. Ahh so many things to review. Thank you again!
Welcome to Mindful Art Therapy Studio! I’d love for you to win too! Where are you in your art/self-care / self-exploration journey? If you can give me a little info, I might be able to point you in some directions on the site that will best meet you where you are at in terms of posts and tutorials.
All the best to you,
I am starting the journey to self care through art. I currently am a LPC intern, work part time, have a two year old….and have found that I have neglected myself. I have started waking up early in the morning to art journal and it has opened so much inside of me. I cannot imagine how I lived before I opened my heart to a daily creative practice.
First off, I love your name and the spelling, how fun. Secondly, I’m totally psyched that you are here, especially given where you are in your artistic journey. Wow – you are busy, girl. It sounds like sacrificing 30 minutes of sleep has been worth the centering benefits it gives you all day. Hm, maybe I should start doing that again too! I love morning art rituals. I am thrilled to hear you touting the importance of your self-care. Like I was saying to Lynne, self-care will only become even more important as you move from therapist in training to working therapist. If you haven’t found it already, you may want to check out the Art Tutorials page for some more inspiration. Please keep us updated on your progress and what you are discovering. I’m so intrigued by your comment that art journaling has “opened up so much inside of me.” I’m dying to know! But only if it’s not too personal for on here!
Since a counsellor has referred me to your website I have learnt to overcome burnout but more so I am excited about doing art journaling or should I say creative journals.
I am learning more each day and thoroughly enjoying your website with the many techniques you are sharing. I find it very inspiring and can’t wait to get home from work to catch up on your face book page. Sending a creative hug. Hiria
I’m psyched to hear that you are exploring self-care AND art journaling, it’s like you were MEANT to be here! My guess is that you have already seen some of these, but since you gave such detail, I want to be sure you find what you need.
If you follow this page, Start here, it has things broken into categories – self-care, art classes, etc.
For Self-Care, you might also try:
Meditation and Visualization Page
Free Art Tutorials
What Is Creative Self-Care?
All the best to you,
Amy, you will never know how instrumental you have been in getting me creating art again. Be it a small start, I expect it to grow. Your tutorials have helped as well as your encouragement. I love your site. Thanks.
Geez, that’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever said on here! So let me speak to that “starving inner child artist” and whisper to her – hey! You CAN make more art. Indulge! Play! Enjoy! And I know you will, because it’s already begun. It’s wonderful having your voice here. Please let me know if there’s something you’d like to see on the blog.
Love the new name! It’s very inspired. Every time I visit your site I see all the resources and get creative overwhelm. (In the best of ways.) So many things to try. I am promising myself that I will sample them and savor them a little at a time.
Congratulations on a new direction. May this new name bring many new blessings your way.
Lynda – “Creative overwhelm” that’s hilarious! I wonder how you could narrow things down to what calls you most…Sometimes when I get in this state it can help me to just pause, close my eyes, and allow what I most want to float to the surface. Sometimes my busy mind is exactly what’s in my way. Of course we are all so different, I don’t know how this works for you.
I love your Self-Care Saturday theme on your blog – what a great idea to have a day that is set aside for some self-care.
Your site/post looks amazing!!!!! I think what you’re saying is SO important. Thank you for following your dreams, Amy! You’re sure to touch so many hearts/lives!
How lovely of you to drop in and comment as well. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I loved your piece on your wonderful site about Giving UP on someone. The idea that I am not responsible for and can’t change other people. I can care. This is a skill I teach folks in the office, both with their loved ones, and with their art. Kinda cool the way it works the same way.
It’s great to have your voice here.
Thank you Amy for your great blog post… I like the new name and I am sure that it will be a success because you are great!!! 🙂
GUAPA!! Como estas? Thank you so much for taking the time to drop in and read the post. As usual, you are full of sweetness and sugar. I hope you found it helpful in some way.
Un abrazo muy fuerte,
Amy, I love what you do, and I love the new site! I know I’ve told you before, but I really agree with your vision and believe that art is food for the soul. Reading your site has encouraged me to get more in touch with my creative side- I even did a painting the other day! Congrats!
Oh my gosh, Casey, I LOOOOVE that you did a painting the other day! I have been hearing the same from a lot of people in my FB group Creative Self-Care. Feel free to join if you wish, it’s a wonderful community with lots of ideas for art making and taking care of yourself.
Thank you so much for your creativity and I can’t wait to hear what else you do!
Exciting changes. Nice!
Art is my sport. Whether its a simple ‘calisthenic’ or ‘marathon conditioning’, I love having you as my trainer.
Hahahahaha Karin! You crack me up, and flatter me. 🙂 It’s always great to have your inspiring voice in this community.
I love the new name and look. I think it just “fits” now. Great job!! xo Bunny
How lovely of you to drop in on the blog! I agree, it’s all falling into place now. (Knock on wood.) It’s so awesome to see that we are now crossing paths on multiple streams. It’s wild to get to know each other this way. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got to share about your art and creativity here.
It’s Friday morning and we have a winner from our random drawing: It’s Kaitlynn!
Kaitlynn, I will reach out to you via email to get your address and some other information so that I can personalize your journal a bit.
Thank you everyone so much for your lovely comments and for making this such a fun post!
Amy, I just love your new site!!! I am so excited for you as I take a look around. Can’t wait to see what’s next 🙂
Aw, you are so sweet! Thank you for your encouragement. There’s more fun changes to come…stay tuned!
Love your site!
Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words. I’m so pleased that the site speaks to you, especially seeing what magical things you do with cloth and string in your wall hangings. I’d love to hear your input on some of the approaches and tutorials.
I feel like finding your website was not only containing information I was looking for about what it’s like to be an art therapist and why people chose to do it. But also just looking at the notebook pictures you have here made me realize THIS is what therapy should be like. Because I can see that creativity can heal just by looking at the pictures you posted. I myself struggle with psychiatric disorder and digestive disorders. Life had turned into a bit of a fast paced anxious run after having some serious psychiatric breakdown in 11th grade. During it I really was pulled to make art. And I noticed art a lot more too. I didn’t think about that till now. And I decided-ok even though I am not an artist-i can’t draw or paint, i am going to find an expressive outlet. After all how can I figure out what I am to do in this life if I am not honest with myself. And I feel that art keeps me honest with myself. Like i can see when I am thinking too negative because I just am blank when I try to decide what to create. So I recently tried to start making collages. I have failed a lot but I still have discovered it can be emotionally healing even if it looks really bad at the end. And having the good emotions can help me stay positive and not overeat and such. I am considering becoming an art therapist for people with Autism, since I have family members afflicted with the condition. I am wondering if you can tell me what Bachelor’s degree’s you got in order to become an Art Therapist, if you are willing to share the information.
Thanks so much for this web page,
Thank you so much for sharing your brave story. I love that you have figured out that the art is here for us, and that our job is to show up and provide the channel through which it can flow. It’s amazing how healing it can be when we get out of the way, isn’t it?
In order to get into art therapy graduate school, you’ll need a certain number of prerequisite courses in both art and psychology, regardless of your major. I did mine after graduation and working for a few years since I had a fair amount of Psych but fewer art classes. A great resource is the American Art Therapy Association.
thank you so much for this site!
i found in exactly the right timing. Its funny how that always happens. I am currently writing my thesis for a Master’s program in Expressive Arts Therapy at the European Graduate School in Switzerland (although I live in Canada). The topic of my thesis is using intermodal expressive arts as self-care for therapists working with Trauma. The topic sort of found me when i began working in an abuse recovery program as a new counsellor and was instantly confronted with my fears, anxiety and self-doubt over not knowing if i was going to be any “good” at this work. i began creating art in a large blank journal as a way to calm my pre-session nerves and become more present for the client coming in, and eventually sort of naturally moved to creating pieces in the journal “post-session” as a way to process what was happening in my work. i have found it to be invaluable and the benefits are multi-dimensional. it has become the most important thing i do for self-care for a lot of reasons (gaining insights about my clients as well as how im being affected by the work, building my confidence as an emerging therapist, having a place to both honor the stories as well as let go of them, and connecting me regularly with art-making throughout my work week, and so much more). the next part of my research will be reaching out to other therapists in my community and perhaps even elsewhere and seeing if this post-session art journalling can be helpful for them, and in what ways. im looking forward to staying connected with this community and even posting pictures of some of my pages in case anyone would be interested in them.
thank-you again for showing up right when i needed this.
This is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing such thoughts and ideas with all of us!! ❤️????????
Aw, you are so sweet. I’m so glad it touched something in you.
How can I bookmark and follow this blog? Some great exercises!
I’m so happy you’ve found some inspiration here! Welcome to our community. You can follow my blog and also get the Free Guide to Creative Self-Care, which is a 6 day email course by signing up here: http://mindfulartstudio.com/free-guide-to-creative-self-care/
If you are on Bloglovin’ you can also follow Mindful Art Studio there
I see you are doing a lot of fun and intuitive painting. It’s just lovely. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to support your creative process!
I am starting out since a few months ago on art journaling. I haven’t been too happy with my work yet. These tutorials I think will give me a place to start. Thank you.
Oh, I am thrilled to hear that these exercises offer a road for you to follow. I think some of it is acquiring skills, and some of it is learning to really tune into the PROCESS and your experience while you make art. Letting go of perfection or product generally gives me space to play and relax. Then I can slowly build my skills without the pressure.
I’m so happy to have stumbled onto your site! I look forward to referring to it more often. Love the name too!
Aw, you are so sweet! I look forward to seeing you around Mindful Art Studio much more as well!
I too have stumbled onto your site via bloglivin and am intrigued by what you say
I will be back ????
I’m so glad you found Mindful Art Studio – it’s a warm and welcoming community of folks who want to empower each other to create and feel good!
Great site! I have been using this for a non-profit called CHOICE, Inc. in Eden Prairie MN. We serve adults who have intellectual challenges, and they have lots of fun from the ideas on this site. Thank you for inspiring us!
I’m thrilled to hear that you have found some of the art techniques here so useful.
I know everyone here would like to win! Please include me in.
I don’t know much about fluid acrylics.
I just gurgle with joy inside when I look at your little pieces.
I’m so happy that you are finding inspiration here! Unfortunately the challenge and contest are over, this is an old post, but visit my blog and sign up for my free class here: http://mindfulartstudio.com/free-guide-to-creative-self-care/ XO Amy
Hi I am a first time journal person have done art before love to draw it would be amazing to have a beautiful journal book to start my first time I also love the idea for teens to learn this idea to have a daughter how is going through things at the moment she loves drawing so I would be very very excited if I won thanks c
Welcome Cathy! It’s lovely to have you here! The drawing is no longer on, but I have a love free class in the shop that can help get you started: https://mindfulartstudio.com/shop/creative-self-care/ XO Amy
Love what you are doing. So perfect for people of all ages
I’m so happy you like it Melissa!
im new to this and i just love the content of ur website! im looking forward to exploring! thanks for making this available!!!
Welcome Lauren! You’ll find all my free classes here to help you get started! xo
Hi! So glad I found you on Pinterest! I will join up on Facebook too. Just what I need as I am just venturing out of simply writing in my journals with a few hearts and spirals, to art journaling! I’d like to sign up for your course on art journaling. Beautiful! Thanks so much and have a lovely day.
That’s a great place to start Genya! xo