Healing Heart: Using painted paper and collage to encourage self love

Hi, Sarah here! I’m so excited to share this tutorial with you all! I love that we’re starting a new year of Get Messy with the Season of Kindness. What a great way to warm up and really learn to embrace our unique qualities and individual art styles. With Season of Kindness and the focus of being more kind to others and ourselves, this tutorial will guide you through a creative exercise to help stop the negative self-talk.


You will need your journal, paper, paint, brushes, scissors, collage material, adhesive, and a pen.

I used sketch paper for my painted paper because I knew it would be thin enough to tear easily. It holds acrylic paint well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for watercolor or ink. For wetter mediums try mixed media paper. It will still be easy to tear but can take more liquid.

Feel free to switch out acrylic for your favorite paint. You can make some beautiful paper using watercolor or inks or even colored pens and markers. The new Create by Category search is a great way to explore background tutorials from previous Seasons. You can find some wonderful ones if you would like extra inspiration or need a starting place.

Though I used matte medium for my adhesive, a glue stick or even a tape runner would work well too. I just wanted to seal the collage elements to the page, but use what you are comfortable with.

During the video you will see me:

  1. Paint my own collage paper with acrylic paint
  2. Cut out a few heart shapes in a variety of sizes
  3. Tear one of those hearts into pieces while admitting to hurtful things I and others have said to me
  4. Make a background in my “distinctive style”
  5. Glue the heart into the journal while reaffirming and acknowledging my unique qualities
  6. Add some finishing elements/layers and write out a loving reminder to myself



While creating this spread, there were a few design principles I tried to keep in mind. Most notable are balance and scale, which I used because I had cut out such a large heart. I used the smaller hearts to add more visual weight to the rest of the spread. With scale, my goal was to balance the large heart by trying to make the smaller hearts add up to the same amount of space. This way, the visual weight looks balanced even when the hearts are spread throughout.

I went with asymmetrical balance so that I could also apply the design principle of rhythm/movement. This is so that your eyes keep moving all over the spread instead of just settling in one or two areas. As the artist, you have total control over how the eye moves across a page. It might help to play around with placement before adhering everything down. One tip is to glance away from your spread and then when you look back at it, quickly recognize where your eye goes first. Is where your eye when first the focus you want it to be?

Action Steps


Take some time to recognize your self talk patterns. Try replacing negative comments with positive ones in the moment.


Create at least three painted papers to give yourself a nice variety to choose from.


If you have, send leftover pieces of painted papers to Get Messy friends with a kind note.


Sarah lives in Rockland County, New York. The best part of art journaling for Sarah is that it’s just for her. She can be as free as she wants in the pages and there’s no right or wrong. Her art journals have become more than just a way to try new supplies and techniques, but a way for her to document the phases of her life.


  1. Amber Coulter

    So much goodness here Sarah! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Sarah Rondon

      Thank you, Amber!

  2. karen davis

    Hi Sarah I really enjoyed seeing you create….. you inspired me to ‘Get Messy’ this afternoon. Thanks 🙂

    • Sarah Rondon

      Oh yay!!

  3. Kelli CRESWELL

    This is just SO beautiful – the process and the page! This video almost made me tear up. I’ve definitely been struggling with the negative self-talk lately, so this is just perfectly timed. Thank you Sarah!!

    • Sarah Rondon

      You’re amazing, Kelli!

  4. Divyam Bernstein

    This is such a beautiful tutorial, Sarah! Just what my heart needed today… xxx

    • Sarah Rondon

      <3 <3 <3

  5. Julia Bethmann

    Thank you Sarah! I am looking forward to trying this!

    • Sarah Rondon

      I can’t wait to see what you create, Julia!

  6. Clare Etheridge

    Yes! I am going to do this tomorrow, I am just pulling out colours to use which is one of my favorite things to do! I am enjoying your tutorial before even doing it!!

    • Sarah Rondon

      Colors all the way!!

  7. Ashley Rodgers

    This is a beautiful tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah!

    • Sarah Rondon

      Thank you for checking it out, Ashley!

  8. Lea Betty

    This is such a powerful process! Thanks for sharing

    • Sarah Rondon

      That means so much, Lea. Thank you!

  9. Serafine Bourne

    What a lovely tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Patricia

    This is such a wonderful tutorial! Exactly what I need, right now. xoxo

  11. Marianne Hein

    Thank you so much for sharing. SO beautiful 🙂 🙂

  12. Holly Janssen

    Oh Sarah, this is a beautiful and important tutorial. Thank you so much. You are inspiring so many of us to work on our self-talk. I will be diving into this tomorrow. <3

  13. Katie Smith

    As someone who has had a pretty anxious week, I absolutely love this tutorial. Thank you, Sarah.

  14. Misty

    Just beautiful.

  15. becgetscreative

    This tutorial is EXACTLY what I needed this week! Thank you so much Sarah, for sharing this beautiful experience <3 xx

  16. Tanya lourensen

    Thanks Sarah, Just what i need right now. I really struggle being kind to myself,

  17. Emma louise szostok

    Thank you for this wonderful tutorial ! I can’t wait to get onto mine !

  18. Melody Willoughby

    I just had the pleasure of watching your lovely video. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us today. You are a very talented artist and I look forward to creating with you this year. XOXO

  19. Jessica McMillan

    Sarah! This. Was. Incredible. Thank you so much for your bravery and vulnerability. This touched me deeply as it clearly has others. I’m so glad you’re on the creative team this year; you’re going to stretch us all! <3

  20. Courtney Rider

    This made my heart so happy…and now I need to do this immediately! 🙂 This was so powerful, thank you for sharing!

  21. Pamela Rideout-Smith

    Thank you Sarah for such a lovely tutorial ❤️

  22. Jan Mancey

    Thank you so much for this Sarah! Lots of food for thought, and I cannot wait to sit down today and do it 🙂

  23. Cardelia Howell-Diamond

    Amazing, I am sitting here bawling my eyes out and so inspired. I’m a bit behind the curve, but thanks to you and your honest and open tutorial I know which way to head.

  24. Cheryl Angelini

    I just finished watching your lovely video and tutorial. I needed this ♥️ Thank you , Sarah. I am starting the background pages now and at least starting the spread.

  25. Deborah Wittstock

    Sarah – what a lovely tutorial and video. Trying this out over the weekend xx

  26. Sasha Zinevych

    This is such a good tutorial, Sarah! And not only the art part, but you also talk about composition, and balance! So amazing! <3

  27. Alexandra merlin

    Such a beautiful and inspiring tutorial, thank you Sarah!!!

  28. Charlotte Erichsen

    That was so helpful and caring for all the lost parts in me! I just did it twice. Thank you, Sarah!

  29. Jennifer Lee

    Wow. I love this idea so much. I am a new Messian and I am so excited to try this! Thank you!!

  30. Rebecca

    Thank you, Sarah – lovely tutorial, can’t wait to try it!

  31. Heidi Lilley

    Sarah, I really NEEDED this today. The self talk badness has been at me. I will be doing this one for sure this week. Thank you for the reminder to be kind to ourselves as well. Thank you for your own beauty of yourself.

  32. Anouk Karssen

    I love this tutorial and the whole idea behind it! It’s great for a self love page. Can’t wait to try it. Thank you!

  33. Maura Flood

    I’m going thru everything on GM now, and just watched your tutorial. It’s wonderful. Your design tips are very helpful.

  34. Serafine Bourne

    What a beautiful tutorial, Sarah!

  35. Lisa Monconduit

    Another beautiful but also touching tutorial. A dear friend of mine, who has since passed on taught this concept to her preschoolers. It was amazing to see the shift to kindness towards each other after they understood how their actions and words can hurt others. I never thought about doing this for myself. I truly thank you for this life lesson Sarah.

  36. SusanS

    Thank you Sarah for sharing this…I love the process you teach for acknowledging ones critical inner thoughts as well as the art process for helping one counteract and reshape those thoughts through mindful art/journal practice. Very honest, real and relatable.