52-Week Art Journal

Week 46: Autumn Watercolor Woods

Welcome to Week 46 of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey. I’m Melinda, and I’m here to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care through my simple form of art journaling, with one small-art and journaling prompt each week for one year. 

If you’re new and curious, click here to watch the introductory video on YouTube

And don’t miss Week 1, where we made our journals, and this journey, our own.

This week my brain needed a break and I backtracked from the small art I started, to revisit transforming watercolor blobs. We’re mixing colors and creating mini autumn forests. And journaling our way into handling our responsibilities and obligations with more grace… and peace.

Relax and practice creative self-care with me.

If you need an economical mixed media art journal to get started, click here for what I use in most of my videos, and what we use for the art-journaling group at the library where I work. I love the paper, and it holds up well with wet, dry, and layered mixed media. If you use this link and make a qualifying purchase, I will make a small commission as an Amazon associate. This doesn’t affect your price, but gives me a few cents to support my sharing my healthy art habit with others. So, thanks if you do!

If you want to watch the video prompt before reading about this week’s art (which I realized I didn’t really explain in the video, just demonstrated), scroll on down…

I am again using cheap dollar-store watercolors to show that it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to reclaim your creativity. This set turned out to not have much paint, but I have a bit left after several new pages in my art journal.

This week’s small art is inspired by one of my Instagram favorites, Andrea Nelson, and other Instagram reels, including a couple by Natalya Nazarian. You can click their names to check them out. And if you’re in an Instagram mood, be sure to follow my new Instagram, Better with Art… because we’re better with art. Yes, I’m still Melinda VanRy, too, but my original Instagram will focus more on my art, including pieces I’m selling, and Better with Art will focus on creative self-care art.

Like today’s 52-Week Art Journal Journey post.

Therapeutic blobs

I don’t know what it is about color-mixing and blob-making I find so therapeutic, but, yes, I find it so therapeutic.

This week we’re transforming our blobs into trees full of autumn color. Most of the color has fallen from the trees here in Central New York, so this week’s art is sort of a tribute to the beauty that is passing as we transition into the season that is to come.

The feelings that go along with the slide into winter can be difficult. If you’re like me you know what I’m talking about.

The approach of the holiday season can also be stressful. The holidays can be hard. For many reasons. Sometimes it’s all the obligations. Particularly the hard or complicated ones we feel like we have no choice but to endure.

Quite a few years ago I found a surprisingly simple, though definitely not easy, way to make things easier.

Accept the fact that I really did have a choice.

It was freeing.

I have a choice in situations that I don’t enjoy.

If there are things you find hard to get through because you feel like you just have to do them, just have to endure them, make a conscious effort to realize, and accept the fact, that you can say No.

Each of these things you’ve decided that the consequences of saying “no” are not worth saying it. That IS a choice. And it’s amazing how freeing it is to accept that.

It’s amazing how much easier some things were when I gave up resenting them because I HAD TO do them.

And it’s amazing how much easier some things became when I accepted that I had agency in the situation, when I accepted that I had a choice. I had a choice, and I made it.

It’s so much easier to feel peace in something when we feel like we have some control. And, something that may be a little uncomfortable about taking ownership like that, is that we can’t just use our lack of control as an excuse.

I am responsible for my choices. I am responsible for their consequences. And I am responsible for my attitude as I fulfill whatever obligations I accept.

Feeling empowered in a situation is great.

It’s difficult to act with grace when we feel like we are being forced in a situation. It’s difficult to act with grace when we feel like we are only obligated. It’s impossible to act with grace when we feel like the victim of our situation.

And I think it’s a good time to examine this, especially for those of us entering the holidays feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed about obligations and expectations.

What situations would you rather not be in? And why are you choosing to keep putting yourself in them?

If your reasons are good enough to keep making that choice, accept that you ARE making that choice.

Make your choice. And live with it. Don’t resent it. Live it.


I had a lot of trouble getting the audio recorded for this week’s video. It was one of the ones where I just talk without writing or even really planning first. Not knowing the journaling topic. I just spoke, and spoke what came to my mind and heart. I felt like I said what I wanted to say, and I liked how I said it.

But my microphone malfunctioned. And the second half of my audio… wasn’t audio. I continued to have trouble with my microphone, and I had trouble with my words. I feel like I haven’t been able to articulate it all as I wanted, or as I did.

In the midst of all the other things I needed to get done, it wasn’t going well, and I didn’t have time for things to take extra time.

But I made a choice to start the 52-Week Art Journal Journey. And I’m so glad I did. I’m grateful to have so many reasons to keep making art every day. But there’s a bit of stress when things aren’t working right with the things I’m putting together for my first in-person selling at an upcoming Christmas Bazaar at a local church.

In this season of thankfulness, I am thankful that I’ve had the resources to buy supplies. And keep improving my videos. I know they’re still not great, but I’m learning and I’m still making progress. And I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the opportunity to encourage you to take time for art. I’m thankful that you’re here, and allowing me to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and practice self-care with art.

Thank you for letting me remind you that it’s not a waste of time.

Care to share?

If you decide to encourage others by sharing your 52-Week Art Journal Journey art on Instagram, I would love it if you tagged me, melindavanry or better.with.art. I would love to see your creativity and have the opportunity to give you even more encouragement. In your creativity, and in encouraging others.

If you would like to share in a smaller, safe, only-encouraging environment, click here to sign up for my emails and invitation to join my private Facebook group.

I’m not sure what 2024 will look like as far as my art-making videos. Obviously the 52-Week Art Journal Journey is drawing to a close, but I can’t just let this go. On the other hand, it’s a huge investment of time. And I can’t necessarily afford to keep doing this in the format I am. I haven’t had enough time to work out any of the other ideas I’ve had.

But I’ll be back with another small-art and journaling prompt next week. In the meantime enjoy relaxing and having fun making a watercolor-blob fall forest.

It was some relaxation I needed, and I’m inviting you along.

So… Enjoy. Relax. Breathe. Take some to make some art. To feed your soul. To give you energy for all the other things. And take some time to consider how you can take all of those other things on feeling a little more power, a little more agency, a little more peace, a little more grace. We don’t need to make life any harder on us than it will be on its own.

Give yourself grace. Give others grace. And accept grace.

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