21 SECRETS Spotlight :: Amy Maricle


Every Wednesday at Dirty Footprints Studio Tonia Jenny, the 21 SECRETS Creative Director & Course Manager,  is interviewing one of the talented teachers in our program.  Be sure to sign up for blog notifications below to never miss a spotlight — and CLICK HERE to check out past interviews. 

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Hello, Dream Maker!

Artist, author and (previously-practicing) art therapist Amy Maricle is this week’s Spotlight Artist. I’ve been following Amy on Instagram for a little while now and I am always enchanted by her explorations in simple, but visually provoking patterns, so I was giddy to see her include pattern exercises in her 21 SECRETS Paper, Glue, Scissors workshop—Paper Cuts. I love that she intentionally introduces joy and playfulness into the practice of . . . well, of practice. I have to say, I’m also a bit dreamy-eyed reading about the environment in which she enjoyed her young-adult years. And I believe you’re going to enjoy hearing more about her, too.

From what era of your life up to this point would you say you learned the most about your authentic artistic voice?

In my early twenties I had the blessing of living just outside Washington DC in a hotbed of artistic activity. I took dance, pottery, attended drum circles, and enrolled in drawing, painting, sculpture, and also took up guitar. I think about it as my personal artistic renaissance. Being that immersed in the arts was like coming home. I was filled with inspiration and curiosity.

I also had started reading books about creativity from SARK and Julia Cameron. All this led me to enter graduate school for art and expressive therapy. While I no longer practice art therapy, my whole philosophy about art making is heavily influenced by what I learned. For me, art is an incredible opportunity to dive deep within and connect with myself and the Infinite, as well as with other artists. I understand the healing power of art in my own life, and I love sharing how to use art journaling this way. It’s not art therapy, but art for personal growth and discovery. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing job.

Is there an element about your process that you’re especially passionate about?

There are many ways I support my art practice, but two of the things that help me create often are approaching art with a playful attitude and working in stages. I try to honor my journal by giving it my heart. I make mistakes, practice, take risks and trust that my journal will hold it all for me.

I also know that my work is ever-evolving. I think about backgrounds, patterns or drawings and sometimes writing. I mix and match the order of this. Sometimes I write out what I’m feeling and paint over it. Other times I create a background, make a drawing or pattern over it and then include a sentence that sums it all up or a meaningful quote. Many times there’s no visible writing at all though. It’s nice to leave things in the visual world. I also go back and change things later. Sometimes I’ll create something I’m not happy with and it will sit for months, and one day inspiration strikes and I change it completely. Sometimes these are my favorite pages.

In what do you find inspiration that it seems few others find inspiring?

I don’t think this is unique to me, but I’m thrilled by patterns in nature. Branching, spirals, mandalas and other patterns recur throughout the natural world. I think it’s fascinating that lightning, cracked mud, ice, branches and roots all follow the same branching pattern. Any time we cut into a piece of fruit, look deeply at a flower, a tree trunk or fish scales, there’s an opportunity to pick up a gorgeous pattern. This is endlessly fascinating to me.

What is the one thing you hope we remember from your workshop?

If I could give you one takeaway from my workshop, it would be to help you experiment more. I think most artists who don’t work at it full time, don’t spend nearly enough time practicing and exploring. So often we learn a new technique, do it once or twice and then feel discouraged when it doesn’t look as good or feel as fresh as we had hoped. I think most folks don’t realize how much work goes into art-WORK.

But the secret is that it’s playful too. Without the playful experimentation, there’s limited discovery.

When you do the patterns and drawing exercise, set out to spend A LOT of time on it—more than on any other section. Pick a few patterns or drawings, do them, and then modify each five different ways. Don’t cheat. See how far you can push each technique. Find YOUR way of doing it. This is what I mean when I say “push the technique.” And have fun playing!

Share something very few people know about you.

Sometimes when people meet me through my webinars, they think that I’m some relaxed art-guru person, I guess because while I’m playful, I also speak in a relaxing voice and give some reminders to tune into the moment through the art experience and such. This is just one part of my personality though. NO ONE in my personal life would describe me as “chill!” I love practicing mindful creation, but I am also super playful, a bit loud, opinionated, driven, and I get frustrated and mindless all the time, just like everyone else. A big part of what I try to convey is that our art can be a wonderful place to put all these feelings and experiences, in all their imperfections, and that it’s so real and human, and there’s beauty in that truth.

I can really relate to what Amy is talking about when she encourages us to spend more time developing new techniques. I’ve learned the value of this myself from 30- or 100-day online art challenges, so I’d encourage you to take her advice and devotedly “push” yourself in new directions. To glean more of Amy’s wisdom, check out her website and/or follow her on social media.

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About Amy Maricle

Amy-Maricle_headshotAmy Maricle is an artist and art therapist who teaches people to dig deeper and create playful, meaningful art on Mindfulartstudio.com. Her writing and art have been featured in the New York Times.com, The Washington Post, Psych Central.com, Art Journaling Magazine, Brush magazine, and Spirituality & Health Online.


Amy teaches Paper Cuts in 21 SECRETS Paper, Glue, Scissors

Come explore how collaging with cut paper can teach you to be joyfully, mindfully open in your art practice. You will combine paper cutouts, paint and simple mark-making to create a fun and unique art journal page. You’ll be amazed at what emerges when you open up the creative channels and let energy flow through you.

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