Your permission slip to draw coffee cups + redwood trees.

When I began making for myself, the mission was to discover my personal aesthetic and creative voice. I assumed as I put in my 10,000 hours I would discover my singular, signature style, color palette, etc.

Yet the more I create, the more I realize that what I want to make is quite varied, depending on my mood, location, time of month, the weather, and other variables.

And then I think, DUH! Because in its purest form, art is expression.

I’ve contemplated the meaning of art a lot over the past year. There were plenty of times where I wanted it to be bold, and significant, and intellectual, and hard-hitting.

But some days I just want to draw redwood trees and cups of coffee. Because that’s what I love, that’s the day’s vibe, that’s what I’m feeling.

And you know what? That’s perfect.

The reason why I love art so much is because there are no rules. People may try to tell you different, but they’re wrong. Art is whatever you want it to be, as long as it’s an expression of you.

Two days ago I watercolored a playful ombre forest, a today I scratched out abstract shapes in oil pastels and poured puddles of silver shellac over them.

Both are art.

Don’t let your or anyone else’s assumption of what art should be determine what you make today or tomorrow or next month. Make what you want to make.

It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.
It doesn’t matter if it can’t neatly fit into a category.
It doesn’t matter if it looks totally different than your norm.
It doesn’t matter who likes it.

The only thing that matters is if it means something to you.
If you learned something while making it.
If it’s something you want to say.
Or even if you simply like it — if it feels right to YOU.

Your art is about you. You are an evolving, emotional, diverse, multi-dimensional, deep feeling and shallow sensing soul. Your art can be anything you want it to be.

My name is Amanda Sandlin and I am a freelance graphic designer, artist, and entrepreneur living in Wellington, New Zealand. Learn more about me + sign up for my weekly creative newsletter: