Top Mindful Art Journaling Ideas to Inspire and Calm

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Dear Wonderful Creative You:

I’ve been looking back at what I and my students have accomplished in 2018. This year, I wanted to spend more time with you in “live” online classes. We did that in Spring, Summer, and Fall sessions of Diving Deep. Students in the Diving Deep classes worked really hard, learned to push their creative limits, and formed a deep, intimate connection to their art. Being a part of that process is an honor I’ll never forget. Folks enrolled in Fluid Art, Freeing the Muse, Art Journaling 101, and Small Creative Acts learned to make mini masterpieces with fluid paint, push past creative blockscreate an intuitive art journaling practice, and uncover their creativity with one small creative act a day. You can see some beautiful student work here and here. As always, I love to share the insights coming out of this community to inspire you to create. Here’s my top mindful art journaling ideas to inspire and calm.

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Top Mindful Art Journaling Ideas to Inspire and Calm

1. Make an art pen pal and make art together. I did with artist Cait Sherwood and it was a magical experience. We created two gorgeous journals that we sent back and forth through the mail. Imagine getting a big art surprise in the mail every few months! What a treat to see what she has done, how it’s changed, and gather inspiration for your contribution.

You can see our journals and a photo of when we finally met in person this summer: My Collaborative Art Journal 

2. It’s okay to paint some ugly stuff. Sometimes I don’t like my mindful art journal pages, and so I add layers and see where it takes me.  This intuitive art journaling process can lead to pleasant surprises. Trusting the Process: Notes from an Intuitive Art Journaling Class

3. Percolation is powerful for making delicious coffee, and beautiful art journal pages too. See how I let my ideas percolate, marinate, simmer, and boil over into my journal.  What Your Art and Your Coffee Have in Common

4. Reading about art encourages you to make more art. My favorite book was actually an artist biography, can you guess whose?   My Favorite Art Books of 2018

5. When you feel sad, writing about it and then painting can be surprisingly powerful. I’ll show you several different ways to art journal when you’re sad. I find having a little structure like this helps me get started when I feel low. How to Art Journal When You Feel Sad

6. Sometimes the simplest marks will calm you down and look really good. This still surprises me sometimes, but simple is often better in so many ways. Intuitive Art Journaling

7. I’m a big fan of having fewer, but high quality supplies.  Here’s my top favorite art supplies and artsy lifestyle supplies of 2018. Gift Guide for Artists 2018

What did you learn about your art practice in 2018? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. I’m looking forward to even more time with you in 2019, in face to face workshops, online retreats, new classes, and mentoring sessions to get you zooming past your artistic blocks to your most deeply creative life.

Finally, if you are looking for a way to take a class with Mindful Art Studio, your loved ones can give you the gift of creativity with one of my Mindful Art Studio Gift Cards for any of my classes.

Creatively Yours,



  1. Faith Newton

    I began art journaling for the first time and realised that I can do little bits at a time. I also learnt how to integrate it with prayer and spirituality. I used acrylic paint for the first time and love it. Thanks for your free class and blog Amy it’s been so helpful.

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Faith!

      Oh yes! Doing a little art at a time is a WONDERFUL thing. And it absolutely can be a spiritual practice or woven into an existing one, so I’m so happy you’ve found that with your own. What a treasure. I’m thrilled I could be a part of that with you! I’m here if you need any other ideas or resources! XO Amy

  2. Iris Wang

    Hi Amy, thanks for your great sharing and i really get many tips to find the calm inside when I paint. Otherwise, I just feel a little confused as I heard the words like ” art therapy” or “expressive art therapy”, are there any differences between what we learned and art therapy?

    • Amy Johnson Maricle

      Hi Iris!
      I’m so happy I could help, and this is such an excellent question! When I give ideas for using art to ground or relax, this is using art for self-care, introspection, or growth. When you see an art therapist for mental health treatment, you have an identified mental health problem or diagnosis, come up with a treatment plan, and you and the art therapist use the art to help you develop coping skills, examine past or present hurts, and gain new perspectives on issues. Some art for self-care has overlap with art that you would do in an art therapist office, but when you are working with an art therapist she/he is really attuned to your process of making art as well as the product. She will witness this and highlight things you might miss, like, when you put down those blue lines, you took a big sigh and your shoulders relaxed down, did you notice that? I have an article that explains an art therapy session in more detail if you’d like more. XO Amy

  3. Jay Morales

    Hi Amy,

    I like what you wrote on number 5, because when I am stressed out I discovered that I have a habit and get a pen or pencil and start to draw something or look for something to inspire me to draw. Because of my age my mid 50’s I realized that it’s not that far to be inspired to be an artist, I’m not a talented person but I do love the world of art. Reading things like these helps me to be inspired and more importantly it helps me to practice and begin.

    Thank you again.


    Jay Morales
    The Philippines

    • Amy Maricle

      HI Jay – I’m so glad it’s helpful. Happy creating!


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