005 How to art with intention with Amy Maricle

Nov 7, 2019

In this podcast, I chat to Amy Maricle about art with intention. Amy shares some of her most profound views on how to become more aware and intentional in your art practice. We discuss:

  • what it means to be mindful,
  • how mindfulness changes your art,
  • being zen about thinking big and letting go,
  • the inner critic,
  • Amy’s weaknesses,
  • and how to be an artist

As always, Amy is just bursting with insane wisdom.

Amy Maricle

Amy Maricle is an artist, art therapist, author, and blogger who wants everyone to experience the healing power of art. She works in Foxboro, Massachusetts and lives nearby with her family and two trouble-making, lovable pooches.

Highlights + takeaways

Amy started Mindful Art Studio to bring whatever she’s excited about to everybody else. Her goal is to show people that the creative fire and presence within them is what makes them an artist.

It’s an honor to be able to help people open up and unleash all that big art that’s within them.

What do you do and what makes you an artist?

Amy started Mindful Art Studio to bring whatever she’s excited about to everybody else. Her goal is to show people that the creative fire and presence within them is what makes them an artist. This is accomplished through her art tutorials, which offer guidance through a flexible structure.

What does it mean to be mindful?

It’s just about being aware of what is actually happening in the moment instead of getting caught up in the many things that might be going on inside your brain. Invoke the senses. Notice the sound of your pen writing on the paper, the smell of your paint, the feel of your arm against the surface.

Step out of the situation and sit back to observe objectively.

Allow thoughts and emotions to pass by. Acknowledge them, but don’t judge them or even really think about them. Just know that they were thoughts you had.

There are two main themes behind this:

  • Go into the practise with the understanding that what you make may turn out ugly.
  • Dive in with the intention to enjoy the process itself regardless of the outcome.

Would you say that being mindful is what it means to be an artist?

Amy: No, I wouldn’t presume to know what being an artist means to someone. For me, being mindful is a big part of being an artist. It allows me to approach art openly and playfully.

Her term for 2019 is “big art,” which does not refer to the size of the creation but rather the big ideas: the daring, interesting, cool, weird stuff that you’ll get to when you really give yourself a chance to dive in and go for it.

How did you get to that point of being so zen about thinking big and just letting go?

Do small exercises to warm up and that make you want to create.

These are often activities most people do not consider “creating art” such as mark-making, paper-cutting, etc. This removes any pressure or limiting ideas around “being an artist.”

Acknowledge and respond to your inner critic

Personify it. Respond kindly instead of being mean or belittling. Amy will often instruct her students to write out two columns. On the left are all the things your inner critic is saying. On the right is the direct response to each item on the left. Sometimes it is helpful to speak these responses aloud.

One of Amy’s responses to her inner critic telling her she is wasting her time might go something like this:

“I know you’re worried that I’m gonna waste my time right now, but I want to set your mind at ease. The art police are not going to come knocking on your door when you make bad art today. It’s fine to make some bad ugly stuff. If you want – there’s a cup of coffee and a book, and you can go sit on the couch while I make something. It’s okay.”

What are your weaknesses?

Amy: I get deeply interested in too many things. Instead of diving into something until I completely master it, I move on when I feel it is right. My aim is not to be the #1 person at this or that thing.

I also don’t like to measure things, even at times when I should be more exact.

What is an artist?

Amy believes that being an artist is not just about what you produce but about the time you spend noticing things that spark your interest. She resonates with Rex Jung’s notion that all people are creative.

Whether we are telling a funny joke, making a useful spreadsheet, or solving a problem, we are being creative. That creative fire is what Amy believes makes one an artist. Some simply have not yet found their outlet.

The only bad art is the art you don’t make.

– Amy Maricle

How are you not a stereotypical artist?

Amy: One stereotype is that artists are depressed and lonely. I am super extroverted and need my communities. I connect with many communities of women both in-person and online.

My mindful focus is also not necessarily typical. I think a lot of people might experience it, but they don’t recognize it. It’s not “normal” to be intentionally mindful.

Caylee Grey, host of Get Messy

Your podcast host, Caylee Grey

I'm Caylee Grey. Creator of Get Messy, official fairy freaking artmother and your pro excuse-squashing ninja.

In the Get Messy podcast I’ll be chatting to a selection of amazing, real-life humans just like you are who are dealing with the very same barriers … but overcoming them to create their art.

Together, we’ll explore what it REALLY means to be an artist. Practically. Warts and all. So that you can be an artist, today, now, even if you work a day job, have a million and one commitments and own a cat that likes sitting on your art.

No more excuses. Okay? Okay.