Lockdown activities

Lockdown has been tedious at times, but I’m grateful that I can go into my studio and work on my artsy projects. A lot of things have surfaced emotionally for me during this lockdown, one of them trying to figure out how I feel about all the restrictions and the conflicting information rampaging through the internet and the news outlets.

I’m not sure what I believe, but behind all the drama in the world, there is an agenda. Keep people confused and worried; they are easier to control that way. It is dark energy where greed runs rampant.

About worry: It is a truly wasted emotion, and nothing will change whether you worry or not. The primary way I control my concern is through meditation. I also like to connect to nature, where everything stays in its rhythm and cycles. Nature is simple yet sophisticated in its movements, always peaceful and nurturing, though. Everything and every one has its place.

I talk to trees, and their trunks can be comfortable to lean against while I connect to the spirit within me, and the tree. It puts me in the right place in the scheme of things. I can breathe deeply. I find I hold my breath a lot lately.

Be willing to surrender. I can’t control what is happening in the world, but I can nourish my light and shine a small beacon. There is always hope.

Trust in a higher power. You only have to look at nature to know there’s an over-ruling intelligence behind the miracle that is our planet. We humans have to fall into the rhythm of harmony, not fight it and try to lord it over the creation. We have so much to learn…

I have been exploring clay and, lately, two-part resin. None of the materials are easy to work with, but at least I have polymer clay, which is my best ally. I have also played with seascapes in mixed media since I have an abundance of blue clay at the moment.

lockdown activity, seascape with mermaid.
Lockdown activity, seascape with mermaid
Goddess altar, polymer clay
Goddess altar, polymer clay
Dragon eye, polymer clay pendant
Dragon eye, polymer clay pendant

What if art doesn’t help?

Maybe you can’t find the peace to sit down and make art. How about grabbing any notebook and start writing? You can explore your feelings, and at least you get them out of your system. Sitting outside is a plus if the weather permits. You can answer these questions or make up your own.

What are you feeling? Accept all the feelings and honor yourself. If you push them away, they will only be more persistent.

How do you want to feel?

What can I do to feel more peaceful inside? (Turn off the news, for one.)

There are loads of free guided meditations online, especially on YouTube. I guarantee they will help. Do the activities that make you feel good: cooking, dancing, exercising, connecting with friends virtually, clean something, plant flowers, make art. You know what YOU like. 🙂

You can’t figure out the world right now. I find the only thing that is consistent and true is nature and my connection to it.

How do I ground and improve my connection to that which is consistent and true? That is an important question to answer. When you have an answer, build on it with action.

I wish you health and hope. Even this shall pass. The lockdown will be a memory. Maybe we’re creating a new world.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have lots of new items for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. To get a 10% discount, enter code Janet10 at checkout.

Seascape mixed media tutorial

Seascape mixed media art is on my table today. It includes so many things, the beautiful sea itself, shells, fish, mermaids, starfish, glitter, all-natural things that cheer my heart.

To give you some inspiration I’ve made a picture tutorial on how to choose the embellishments and finally put it on a canvas.

In my previous post, I gave you a tutorial on how to make a polymer clay seascape and glue it to a canvas. This one is a bit more basic. You may wonder what to do if you don’t have the ingredients. You can substitute pictures for shells and sea life, make cut-outs from blue paper and make a collage. I don’t expect you to have seascape shapes on hand, but if you do, have at it! 🙂 You can find some shells and glass pebbles at the dollar store.

Some background: I began a canvas using Liquitex modeling paste, and then spread various paints over it. I loved the texture that came of that:

Seascape background with texture

I didn’t like the colors so I altered them to more blue and green, but let me first show you what a new canvas with applied modeling paste looks like:

It’s hard to see white on white, but there are some waves. I have a stack of stencils with shapes that fit the sea, so I added a few. You don’t need to add too much. You might need a flat surface to add your ephemera.

Seascape mixed media steps

Once you have a canvas with dry paste (it doesn’t take long,) you can add all kinds of color with baby wipes, or a brush, and blend.

The old canvas that I altered to be more sea-like.
Sea shapes I can alter

I had a stack of chipboard sea shapes that were ready for a coat of paint, but first, which ones do I use? The canvas measured 8×10″, which was pretty large compared to the shapes. The mermaids were small in comparison, but I wanted to use one as a focal point.

Placing some shapes to see what fits.

The pink items are polymer clay shapes I made from molds and some charms I had lying around. I knew the mermaid shape would not be enough of a focal point, but I moved along.

Seascape and baking doily?

I tried many ways to make the mermaid stand out more, ending up with half a cupcake doily that I painted pearl with added glitter. As you can see, I painted some of the shells and starfish using metallic Inklingz paint. If you have any gold or silver paint in a tube, you can spread some on your finger and wipe over the items to get the shine.

The seascape didn’t work

I tried so many different configurations but knew the canvas too large. You can only add so many do-dads before it becomes too busy.

Seascape on too large a canvas

I decided to transfer some of the items to a smaller canvas, a 6×6″ size that I had. I first painted some green and blue paint to cover the old painting. Then I laid out the shapes and found a lot more harmony in this configuration. The mermaid is still kind of subtle, but the pearl doily draws you in.

Seascape on a smaller canvas

The starfish are as large or larger than the mermaid, but who knows, maybe there are giant starfish in the sea…

Here’s another sea-related item I made.

Mermaid art

The mermaid is created from polymer clay and baked. I glued the form to the canvas and added the do-dads. Lots of fun!

The other day I went through some online art classes I’ve bought when they were on sale, one of them, Bird peeps by Lisa Renner. That was a fabulous class! It’s polymer clay with a face mold.

I spent a lot of time in my studio this month. What else am I going to do while in quarantine? Arting is not a hardship! 😀 Here is a collage of other things I made:

Most of the items are available in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Due to the coronavirus sales have slowed down considerably, but that’s to be expected.

I hope you got some inspiration to try some art. YouTube is full of tutorials if you don’t want to try a seascape. Creativity makes you stay sane in these crazy times…

Lots of love, and stay safe!

Maria

Mermaid and Polymer clay

Mermaid(s) have been sneakily calling my name lately, and today I sat down and made a polymer clay plaque with a mermaid to attach to an old painting. I have several more projects in the making. two depicting mermaids. Here’s a picture of today’s project.

I had an abundance of blue shades of polymer clay and it was time to make something sea-worthy out of them.

I made a YouTube video of the process. You can check it out and see if it’s something you’d like to try. The video is 20 minutes long, but there are a lot of details to cover.

Please leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

What are you working on today?

Lots of love, and stay safe!

Maria

The struggle is real

The struggle is real when it comes to creating something out of nothing. I have yet to meet an artist for whom the art flows freely all the time. Every encounter with the canvas is a challenge, but some days are better than others! Thank God for that.

I find that crafts are so much easier, but they don’t always turn out right either, especially when created from scratch. If you have a pattern you can create something great immediately, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I love painting, but why does it have to be such a struggle? I have written a lot about resistance to art-making. It is explained really well in Steven Pressfield’s book THE WAR OF ART, break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. It’s a great read if you’re struggling. What has saved me is persistence, “make art every day.” I wrote a post about that HERE.

In the face of struggle, keep coming back

You have to continue to make art to grow, to bust through the daily resistance. As you know, I paint intuitively so any given day, I have no idea what will appear in my art, and it’s a constant challenge.

I put down layer upon layer on the canvas, mostly hating the combination of paint, paper, and Mod Podge. I took some pictures of my current paintings, and right now they are total chaos.

Some people might say they are finished the way they are, and who’s to say they are wrong? But if they don’t feel done to me, I have to keep going. I finished a couple of paintings last week. They both looked similar to the ones above when I went for the finished layer. I saw some shapes of animals in the mess and went from there.

I love painting pets so I was happy with these weird creatures. As you can see, there’s a lot of bleed-through of the underlying layers.

More often than not, I add the paintings to the pile leaning against the wall for later work. They might get gessoed over or I might see a way to repaint them, but there’s no guarantee.

As with anything challenging, you have to face the fear/resistance/doubt/disgust as you tackle the task in front of you. The same goes for any unpleasant task in life, but art should not be unpleasant, and it isn’t, just challenging.

When I get sick of painting, I make my crafts. They might not come out the way I envisioned, but they are always fun. They also create balance in my life. These are all available in my Etsy shop. The paintings will be available too. I sell a lot of the spirit doll faces, so I always make a batch.

It’s easy to overthink the process of art-making. When I’m in the flow, I trust my hand to make the right moves on the canvas. When I think about it, or worry about the color, nothing comes out right, and I start doubting the process, doubting myself. I set the painting aside and come back later.

If you missed my post about resistance, you can catch it HERE. I think all artists struggle in the studio from time to time, but we can support each other with inspiration or suggestions.

Have a wonderful week creating lots of things!

Maria

What is holding you back?

What is holding you back? Fear? Excuses? They are all one and the same, and it sums up to fear. When it comes to creating any kind of art, fear is a constant companion, usually in the shape of resistance.

I wrote a post about resistance and it’s worth a read if you’re not getting anywhere with your art. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of excuses why people don’t create even though they want to at heart.

I suffer from resistance a lot, especially when I’m trying some new art supply or style. Recently, I picked up some tubs of Apoxie Sculpt. (I wrote about it in my last post.) I debated then to put it aside, but I decided to try some more projects with that type of clay. It’s still frustrating to work with, but I have persevered.

Since the clay is pretty expensive, I try to use as many shapes underneath as I can and then cover with a thin layer of clay. It makes it less heavy as well. I bought some styrofoam balls, and to form the body of the birds below, I used one large for the body and one small for the head. I used popsicle sticks, broken in half, to form tails and necks. Here are the end results, a couple of circus birds on “wheels.”

They were fun to make. I used blocks of wood that I covered with papers and wooden wheels. The legs are 19 gauge steel wire. It was a challenge to make these birds, but why not stretch oneself, despite the resistance?

If fear is holding you back…

The only way to overcome it is to do the thing you’re afraid of. Otherwise, it will haunt you. I know this well from previous experiences.

I have found I like making art assemblages. I had to use a drill for simple holes, and it felt awkward and new, but maybe it’s the beginning of new fields of experience.

Don’t let fear hold you back if you want to renew your life, your experiences. It’s not just artistic expression. It’s so easy to stay in the comfort zone, but life gets boring in the long run.

To mix things up, even more, I prepped a bunch of canvases for later use. I love to add mixed media as I go, and I even finished one project when I saw a robust lady emerge from the layers.

A mixed media art project with layers of paper and paint.
Is fear holding you back?

I also made some of my usual objects for sale in my Etsy shop these last few days.

I love the little mosaic Virgin Mary shrines, and now I have used my last Altoids tin!

It’s time to be brave! Make the time to be an explorer, kick the excuses to the curb. Every day is another opportunity for fun creativity.

Lots of love and wishes for happy creativity!

Maria

My word for 2020

My word for 2020 is faith. It takes a lot of faith to blaze new trails in the wilderness of creativity. I feel inspired to move on, create things I’ve never done before.
First, I have a little inspiration for you, the process of my latest art journal spread:

Art journal pages tutorial with floral napkin and writing.
My word for 2020

I started by applying a paper napkin to the bottom half of the pages, using Mod Podge. I separated the two layers of the napkin first, and the top layer was very thin, making awesome crinkles in the paper when I attached it to the page. I then painted the top part an unbleached white and used an old gift card to scrape some green over the dried paper napkin.

Adding a paper napkin to my art journal
adding paper napkin

You can see the ridges in the napkin well, and where there is a paler area in the white paint where the Mod Podge acted as a resist, adding more interest to the page. I like how the flowers on the napkin shone through, making me think of spring.

I added stems from my stash of paper. Friendship sayings were printed on the paper, and I thought they would add more interest to the art. I cut out flowers from other stashed junk and glued them all down.

paper flowers added to my art journal spread
cut out paper flowers

I enhanced the stems and flowers with black lines from a ballpoint pen and wrote down my word for the year. Simple but fun!

my word for 2020 is faith
my word for 2020

I have dipped my toes into other media as in sewing. I’m obsessed with textile birds at the moment. Using two Ann Wood patterns that you can find at Annwoodhandmade.com, I made a songbird and an owl. Lots of fun, but also some frustration when things didn’t go so well.

Pink songbird made from scrap textiles.
Pink songbird

This debonair gentleman is called Sir Percival. He has lots of wisdom and goes his own way, but is always willing to offer a word of encouragement. He has lived a long life, and he likes to read books.

He’s fashioned from soft materials, but he’s not a toy. He’s an art doll enjoying lording it over other dolls, but he’s kind.

These two birds are for sale in my Etsy shop. You can find the owl HERE. The songbird is available HERE.

Apoxie Sculpt is of the most difficult materials I’ve worked with. I like the incredible hardness when dry, but it tends to be too soft, and if you wait, it gets too hard to work with. You only have a couple of hours of work time with the clay. I haven’t found the sweet spot yet.

I finished the bird I made a couple of weeks ago, painted two layers of paint and fixed the wobbly leg. It came out ok, but the turtle I made with the amethyst crystal did not end up as planned, but I’m learning. The clay is so different from polymer clay or paper clay. Since the end product is so much stronger, it’s worth learning how to handle it correctly.

The main thing is to have fun!

I hope you’re having fun this week. Make sure to add some creative practice to your day. Every day is a gift. Make it juicy!

If you missed my last post, here it is: Person or bird? I made some molded faces with Apoxie Sculpt and sewed them to fabric bodies. What do you think?

Happy creating,

Maria

Artist and writer