52-Week Art Journal

Week 10: Painting a Memory

Welcome to Week 10 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey.

For this week’s small art I’m using inexpensive bottled acrylic paint, and a variety of paintbrushes and other less standard art supplies to create texture. I’m also using a tube of Liquitex acrylic paint. I love me some dioxazine purple. Fun art hack I recently saw used: if you’d like thinner bottled acrylic paint to perform like thicker paint for better coverage and more texture, add some cornstarch. I haven’t tried it yet, and don’t try it in this week’s video, but I plan to soon. Speaking of this week’s video, if you’d like to get right to it, just scroll on down.

But there are always details here that slipped my mind while filming, or came to mind after…

If you’re new and wondering what the 52-Week Art Journal Journey is, click here to learn more. If you want to start at Week 1 to make an art journal, and this journey, your own, click here.

Do you remember…

Before we get started with our art, I want you to think of something from when you were growing up, something that had an impact on your life, something with strong emotion attached.

Elation. Fear. Anger. Grief. Confusion. Pride. Curiosity. Pain. Comfort. Powerlessness. Strength…

The things that stick with us tend to be things that made us feel.

This week we’re going to paint this strong memory from when we were growing up.

If this feels too awkward for you, and you missed the week we drew emotions, you might want to start there… by clicking here.

And, yes, for most of us it doesn’t come naturally to give color and line and shape to something invisible, something that we feel, but if I can get comfortable with it, so can you. If it sounds intimidating, don’t worry. It’s just your art journal. And your art journal is a safe place to express yourself in art and words, and experiment without fear of judgment.

Just make the art

If you’d really prefer, you can represent the event as it appeared at some moment, but I’m going more for what it felt like, like when we drew our emotions.

Think about your memory…

What colors does it bring to mind?

Choose some colors that represent what happened and how you felt.

I next chose some brushes of different sizes, and that would produce different textures. And had some objects on hand for creating different textures… as you would probably expect from me. This week I tried something new. Interior packaging from gluten-free “table crackers.”

When you have your supplies, start painting. I know it can feel weird. But just go with it.

Don’t think too much about it, as in don’t analyze each choice, each step. Just… paint. From that place, that memory, those feelings.

I ended up with a thick textured coat I didn’t want to get blended as my other layers had, so I set it aside to dry. If you need to let a layer dry to add more of what you’re feeling, feel free.

You could start your journaling, or wait until your painting—your expression of the feelings associated with the memory—is done.

Write about it

On your journal page this week, write your memory, what happened and how it felt. You can also journal about how the colors you chose, and how you used them, represent the memory and its emotions. How does this memory make you feel now?

If you’re feeling “nah” about this week’s small art, don’t skip it just because it’s outside your comfort zone. We’re going to be using it next week.


This week’s prompt comes from my being blindsided by… discomfort isn’t strong enough a word, but it definitely didn’t feel good… My mental well-being took a hit like I haven’t experienced in a while. The memory that overwhelmed me, it was actually a constellation of them that held the same type of damage from the same person. It’s not like I ever forgot these things happened, that those words were said, but it’s usually just a matter of living basically at peace with them, settled somewhere typically undisturbed in my mind, and rarely disturbing me. They’d been dealt with. I recognized how they’d warped the way I see the world, and influenced choices I’ve made, both healthy and not so healthy. I thought they would no longer disturb me.

But suddenly they rose up, and knocked me flat. They were suffocating. I was panicky. I felt like their damage could never really be undone.

I’m processing that long-ago pain, and the emotions that threw me into a tailspin in the present, in paint, with you, in this video.

If your memory is happy, I’m happy for you. If it’s happy and makes you feel nostalgia, and even some grief because it’s gone, that’s beautiful. If it’s hard, I pray you’ve found beauty amongst the ashes, and find more rising from them as we take time to art journal.

As always, thank you

Thank you for showing up again, Friend, for taking the time for creative self-care. I would love to hear how reclaiming your creativity is changing things for you. If there’s someone you know who could benefit by reclaiming their creativity and establishing a habit of creative self-care, invite them along.

Here’s a link to places you can find my arty stuff. I continue to find more ways to share art, encourage others to make it, and share mine in hope of brightening others’ lives, days, moments.

And here’s this week’s video…

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