Reflecting on 2020 in my art journal

At the end of every year, I like to take time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year. It’s fun to look back at memorable events, my reading list or any new adventures.

Of course, doing this for 2020 required even more introspection than usual. The theme for my December art journaling box was “Record and Reflect” so it was a perfect way to help me look back at what had to be the most unusual and memorable year of my life!

I created all of the pages in my journal using Vicki Boutin pigment powder, stencils and collage paper that came in my art journaling kit from Let’s Make Art. I had not used pigment powder before, and I really loved how fun it was to blend on the pages. You simply sprinkle it on your pallet or directly on the page and then mix with water.

Here are some of the prompts that I used to help me reflect on the past year:

The year in numbers

I was challenged to think of three significant numbers that were important in 2020. I decided to go with 51, 20 and 1. I celebrated 51 awesome years on planet earth, 20 years of being a mom and one year of being a dog mom.

Memorable moments

Behind each little flap, I recorded something I wanted to remember from that month. I began the year by taking a five-day bus tour across the south with my son and 35 people from his university on a Civil Rights Bus Tour. We also cheered for our girls during gymnastics meets and cheer competitions in January and February. In March, our lives changed dramatically when we went into isolation. It was interesting to reflect on the radical change in our lives.

Lockdown memories

I recorded some of the funny and unusual things that I wanted to remember about our time in lockdown. My days were suddenly full of Zoom calls, and the entire family was home every day. We watched Frozen 2 on repeat, we worked 2,000 piece puzzles, and we dealt with a toilet paper shortage.

What we lost and what we gained

I thought it was interesting that not everything we lost was negative and not everything we gained was positive. It’s been nice to lose long commutes and the drama of high school. We gained family time and extra time in nature everyday.

2020 book shelf

I only read 12 books in 2020, and many of those I didn’t even complete! That was a huge shift from 2019 when I read three times as many books. Two of those books had a major impact on me: Man’s Search for Meaning and Just Mercy.

The year in photos

On this spread, I looked back at some of my favorite nature photos from the year.

Creative skills I grew in 2020

This was one of my favorite backgrounds to paint because I wanted to use all of the colors of pigment powder that were included in the kit. I spent a lot of time working on art projects in 2020. I recorded many of the new creative skills that I learned, including an upgrade to Photoshop 2020 and getting a new camera lens.

First year with a dog

2020 also was our first full year of having a dog! This was the first pet I’ve ever had in my life, so it was a huge adjustment. It turned out to be a great year to bring an animal into our lives. We often joke that we don’t know what we would have even talked about the entire year if we did have our golden doodle, Cooper!

2020 take aways

I used this page to record some of the life lessons I learned during this unusual year. “My favorite place is home.” “You get to choose your attitude regardless of your circumstances.” And “Going outside will change your perspective. Literally.” Those were a few of my take aways.


I wanted to remember my Word of the Year. which was “free.” I wrote more about that word here. I loved painting the galaxy inspired background for this page.

Time Capsule

And finally, I ended the journal with a time capsule that includes a little note to myself about the year.


Reflecting on the year in my art journal was such a helpful way to process both the highs and lows of this past year. It took longer than usual to finish this journal, and I can tell I expended a lot of emotional and mental energy processing all of the pages. Now that I’m done, I feel like I’m ready to move on to 2021.

What about you? Did you take time to reflect on the past year? Did you make any lists or consider any prompts to help you think through all that happened?






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