Artist Spotlight

Amy Maricle views art journaling as an extension of herself

This season’s guest artist, Amy Maricle, is sharing all her insights and love for art journaling with us in her interview today. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy getting to know the lovely Amy Miracle better!

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

Why I love art journaling

Art journals are a great place to explore and express my feelings. All of that “stuff” gets contained in a little book that I don’t have to show if I don’t want to, though I often do because anything super personal usually gets covered up with paint or collage. In my journal, I give myself permission to just play. It helps me immerse myself, and when I’m lucky, get into a state of flow. Art journaling and creative process are sacred in my life and give it meaning.  Helping others use art journaling this way makes it even more meaningful.

My art journaling process

I am a huge fan of working in an unplanned, layered way. I have found that it offers the most flexibility and inspiration. I sometimes approach a page with a plan for a drawing, painting, or decorated quote, but often it’s a much more organic process of spilling paint, pushing it around, using gel pens to accentuate some of the shapes and lines that naturally appear, and allowing my subconscious to direct the work.

I often invite in very simple patterns, like dots, circles, and groups of lines. Sometimes the first layer of my work is writing about something on my mind, and then I paint and collage over it, perhaps that day or perhaps another.

Another fun way to layer and get unexpected images is to cut or tear small bits out of larger art work. I do this with scissors, my hands, or square and circle hole punches in various sizes. Layering these “mini masterpieces” over a colorful or pattern-filled page is such a fun and surprising way to work.

What inspires me:

I’ve always been very interested in the intersection between art and nature. Look closely at the inside of a mussel shell or certain wood grains – you’ll find landscapes. Cut into any piece of fruit, look at shells, flowers, and animal furs, you’ll find endless patterns and mandalas. Nature’s artwork is boundless.

I’m always trying to find ways to imitate or create these natural forms. For instance, allowing certain paints and water based media to flow will produce branching and bleeding patterns that echo the branching patterns of frozen water on a lake or the cracking of dried mud. I love finding ways to open up a channel through which nature can make it’s beautiful art through me. Ancient patterns from older cultures have always interested me too. I’ve been loving patterns in my work lately.

✨ Free class for creatives ✨

In How to Start Art Journaling, we’ll walk you through the art of art journaling, including how to start doing (🙌) and make your very first art journal page (even if you’ve never even opened an art journal before).

How I find the time to create:

I find time to create because it’s a need. It’s cathartic, it’s adventurous, and I’ll go insane if I don’t do anything creative. It’s the exhale to my inhale, and one of the main ways I make sense of my life. Most of the time when students or coaching clients tell me they have no time for art, after we work together it becomes clear that they just need to get the inner critic out of the way long enough to give art a chance, or change the way they approach their art, and things fall into place.

Another way that I make art time is by working small. Working small means my pages don’t take nearly as long as a larger spread. This means I make more and feel encouraged to create more. It’s a positive feedback loop. I also leave my art out and in progress. It encourages me to tinker during the “in between” times. Finally, I try to remind myself that if I’m looking at a screen, I could be making art. Screen time is a GIANT time sucker.

What I do when I’m not sure what to make:

I frequently focus on making “backgrounds” in my journal. I often don’t plan pages, which really frees me up to just enjoy the process without pressure. I’ll start with a “messy background” on plain paper or on top of some writing that I’d like to cover. I also use pattern drawings, scribbles, and collage bits of my own art that I cut or hole punch out of a larger piece. I also love to explore techniques that take advantage of nature, like letting water-based paints “bleed.” Other things I’ll do when I feel stuck or unsure of what to do include:

  • Look at natural objects I find inspiring
  • Look at other artists’ work on Instagram or Pinterest for seeds of inspiration.
  • Clean up my studio and de-clutter – this really helps create some “space” internally and externally for creation.

My journal of choice:

I think what journal I use depends on my mood. For a while I was in love with tan-paged Strathmore journals, and I’m still working in their watercolor journal. I’ve also started making my own 3-inch accordion journals and 2-inch journals C-ring journals. I like the way that working small makes art journaling so portable and accessible.

📌 Pin this or share in Instagram Stories:

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

Explore your mind through art journaling

Join the explorers