When in a creative slump

When in a creative slump, it’s easy to panic and think that the well has dried up for good. You feel uninspired, unmotivated, moody, a lack of general energy, and you look at things negatively. The last thing you want to hear is “rise above” or “do it anyway” or “buck up, it’s not the end of the world.”

While some of those expressions are true in many ways, it’s easy to dismiss them and stay in the doldrums.

When in the dumps you can make a conscious choice to change, but it’s not easy.

So basically how you feel is a choice. I can hear arguments coming at me, but let me explain. How do you “rise above”? I personally do it by meditation to feel better, and then everything seems easier, even if it isn’t.

Practice is a great fall-back.

When you’ve been in a slump several times, you know they don’t last, so experience makes it easier to bear.

When I feel a longing to create and do it, no matter what, I feel progress even if everything came out as mud on paper.

I suppose you could call it “do it anyway.” I have written about that before, and it boils down to a habit of going to the studio and make attempts at creating every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. You feel progress, if not satisfaction.

The thing about experiencing a slump is part of the process of being an artist. It’s as sure as the sun rising in the sky. You feel it especially hard if you’re changing your art expression by trusting that an old style no longer works.

I’ve looked at my progression of styles over the years and it’s mind-boggling how many times things have changed! I get bored easily.

I especially dislike the “buck up” version of friendly advice. Let me just wallow in my misery, okay? 🙂 I guess I’d rather not admit that “bucking up” is a valid choice…

Anyway, IF YOU JUST SHOW UP, things will turn around and you’ll think you wasted a bunch of days on misery.

That said, I’ve changed a lot recently, and it shows up in my art. However, a friend of mine said, “I can always see YOU in all of your art styles.” That made me feel good as I have been worrying about changing from something that worked in the past to something new.

My clay art is much easier than painting. Check out my latest funky chicken, Elmer:

When in a slump, make a clay chicken…

And here’s Selma:

Selma, the sassy chicken

I made some mixed media art /paintings, and had a huge struggle to get past the super messy backgrounds. It was as if I threw everything single technique at them before I could see any steps forward. It was a messy slump indeed, but I gritted my teeth and moved one inch forward every day. I hated the panels!

I don’t have any process pictures, but these happy summer motifs came out of all that angst and disgust. To top it all, the art looked happy, the colors bright, full of joy. Go figure.

They are different than my previous painting expressions, but I felt good about the new direction. Who doesn’t like a happy summer day?

I also tried some wood panels, and I LOVE THEM! Painting on a hard surface is easier than canvas somehow. You have to experience it to know.

They are a mixture of messy paint, decorative papers, and in one case, scraps of lace.

The painting below ended up with loads of paper strips for hair. It was painstaking but I liked the result.

Air fairy

I have been admiring dioramas on Pinterest, and I made a couple, though I had no idea what I was doing. It was loads of fun! Something for you to try if you get into a creative slump??

The fairy in the second picture was store bought, and I created the landscape around her.

So when all else fails, try a simple collage or a diorama! Painting has been my hardest taskmaster. Crafts are more relaxing and not half as challenging. So, in conclusion, to grow we need to do more of what challenges us…

If you missed my last tutorial on funky paper dolls you can check it out HERE.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. The above items are for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

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Paper dolls and muscle memory

Paper dolls and muscle memory, what do they have in common, you might ask. With a cursory glance they don’t, but if you look closer, you’ll see that my paper dolls have clay faces, and I make a lot of clay faces.

Muscle memory comes into the picture when I feel as if I can make and paint the faces in my sleep. That is how art is sometimes.

The more you practice art, the deeper you get with the process, and much of the action comes from using your muscles to repeat the process. You don’t worry about it; you just do it.

MAKING ART FRIGHTENS ME

When people sit down at an art table for the first time, it’s like the first time they sit in the car they’re supposed to drive. It’s intimidating and scary, but somehow you overcome the fear and “let it roll.”

That’s why art classes are a good way to get going with art. A good teacher will take you by the virtual hand and show you what to do, as with any new subject you approach. Think of it like learning a new language. At first, you only know a few words. After a year or so, you can speak haltingly and understand much of what people say in that language.

ART IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS NEW

Unless you paint the same motif every day, you’ll face the challenge of putting something on the blank page. Many artists paint the same style and motifs over and over, and they learn from that, but how do you explore wider vistas? You can add an element to the well-trod path. If you paint, incorporate some paper collage, or use colors you stay away from normally.

To grow as artists, we have to go down unfamiliar paths, but what we’ve learned along the way, is easy, it comes without struggle, like muscle memory for those who lift weights. You trust that your hands can do the work!

I digress..

Let’s get back to paper dolls. I have had many questions on how to paint clay faces, so I made a video, How to paint clay faces, Part 1.

The faces evolved into funky paper dolls, so you can check out the second video, How to add a painted face to a mixed media paper doll, Part 2.

I realized the faces could be used with so many styles, and how you dress the dolls, is a challenge because there are so many choices. The possibilities are endless. That’s where the exploration begins. But make a clay face first. It’s not that hard!

I’ve been busy in my studio this month, and sales are picking up since January. I’ve sold a lot of different items, and when I sell one, I usually make a replacement. Here are some samples, and these only include my etsy items, not my art journal pages.

The whimsy girl in the striped jersey is a popular items. I’ve made several. Maybe it’s the stripes?? The Love You More plaque was a custom order, the largest plaque I’ve made with my painted tiles, 10×10″.

I also really enjoyed making the “twin flame” driftwood and clay wand. Something new for me even though I sneaked in two clay faces!

Okay, what are you working on? I’d love to see some paper dolls with clay faces from you. You can send pictures to:

maria@mariagreene.org.

I love seeing other people’s art!

I wish you loads of inspiration in March, and productive happiness. ‘Til the next time, lot’s of love.

Maria

If you must have one of my latest items, please check out my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Art is a blessing

Art is a blessing in these broken times, and always! I practice making art almost every day, and when I’m in the flow, all troubled thoughts go away. So I highly recommend art as a form of meditation.

I can’t always settle down, but knowing from experience, I at least try. Sometimes it’s great to get out of the house and see other vistas than the mess in my studio, but I always end up there.

The creativity /art is a red thread that travels through my life, and it’s tied to the timelessness that is LIFE itself. In that I find solace and inspiration.

Do you lack inspiration when the world is dark?

Sometimes I do, but some scrolling through Pinterest gives me new ideas. I can translate ideas into my own style, and it’s both rewarding and frustrating. A new design always has its share of frustration. That is the challenge!

We need a good challenge, often! At least I do.

I have some empty Altoids tins, and I’ve been making shrines with them in the past. This time I wanted to make a sculpture that could be hung on the wall. I wrapped some epoxy clay around it and made an armature for head and shoulders. It didn’t look like much after the first round of clay, but I had to let it dry 24 hours before I could add another layer.

The second day I added facial features, a “shrine” to nature on her stomach with a nest and a heart, and then hair, which was wrapped around a cardboard form to get the “flip.” Facial features are always a challenge, but I was somewhat pleased with the result. I knew she would look better with paint.

Art doll in clay

That is one thing you can make with an Altoids tin.

I haven’t made that many items this month. I painted some and made a couple of clay “women”, but that was pretty much it.
I got some art journaling done as well, and here’s a short video of the spreads. Sometimes weeks go by without art journaling, but I always go back to it. Some kind of addiction, I guess. 🙂

I’m always looking for new techniques and materials.

I also made a video tutorial of a spring-like spread from the other day. We already have some spring signs here in Florida. The light is much brighter as well. The migratory birds are starting to return to their northern homes already, for another round of raising families.

There are some new things in my etsy shop that you can check out. Earth and Faery.

I wish you an awesome February! Till then, may you have lots of art inspiration. 🙂

Love,

Maria

My word for 2021

My word is “breakthrough” and I think it will fit 2021 nicely, though who really knows what’s coming? There are so many unanswered questions. I choose to look at the new year positively, and intend to make it great, as great as I can!

I made a short art journal video to bring in the new year. Making art is good intention setting.

You can watch the process here:

my word for 2021

Reflecting back on 2020 it was a chaotic year for sure. I’m sure we can all agree. I got a lot accomplished in my art studio, and I was grateful to have that space to retreat to whenever I wanted. Not everyone is that lucky. My heart reaches out to those who were hard hit with the economic downturn, and most of all, those who had friends and relatives who passed away.

I wish a lot better year for everyone, and that we can find ways to get along better.

Here are some items I made in December:

The angel shrines are well loved by my customers. 🙂

If you need an angel for someone or yourself, please check out my shop Earth and Faery.

I wrote a blog post earlier this month with several other items I made, you can check out this post if you didn’t already, New Energy Coming…

On that note…

I wish you…

New Energy coming!

New is good right? It’s been a turbulent year, and I’ll be happy to see the end of 2020, though 2021 might have some difficulties as well. Last year I made an art journaling spread around my chosen word for 2020: FAITH.

Boy, did that come in handy… I have relied on faith a lot, in the world, and in my art practice that has taken some different fun turns this year.

I’m so glad when I look back that I chose that word. I go by my intuition when I choose. You can as well. Ask for the word to be revealed to you. Just take some deep breaths and empty your mind. Silently ask for the word. Then sit quietly and focus within. The word will bubble to the surface. (If you don’t get anything, try again, or just choose one that feels right.)

My creativity took a turn with my whimsical figures. I worked to learn the feel of epoxy clay, which has a mind of its own! Haha. Polymer clay is easier to work with. My latest whimsy girls here.

As you can see, I made some polymer clay brooches as well. I used Super Sculpey for them to make them extra strong.

Clay is so much fun!

New energy?

We are moving into the Age of Aquarius according to the astrologers. There is a promise of better times to come once we get through the remnants of this year’s sludge. Aquarius stands for innovation, far vision, humanitarian efforts, and less focus on the “bottom line.” Sounds a bit farfetched, but I believe. I can feel it coming. The world we have lived in so far does not work any more, and innovation will be necessary for the survival of the species.

I think we’ll see more focus on cleaning up the environment and the use of healthy technology (yes, there is such a thing!) It will all take time, but I have great HOPE for the future.

To help with the energy shift, take up meditation if you haven’t already. There are millions of guided meditations on YouTube if you don’t know how to do it. Self care is going to be important. I took up a practice of non-complaining, and it has worked incredibly well.

It’s well worth the investment. You don’t need to buy the bracelet. I used a rubber band. BTW, I don’t get any profit from touting this book.

Eat well and get lots of sleep. The body needs a lot of rest to shift into the new energy paradigm. I think meditation is the most important part.

It has saved me from feeling anxious about the current world situation.

An short explanation of what the Age of Aquarius is. Here is a YT video to check out.

So, it’s a huge event, and we’re part of it. I think that’s really cool! 🙂

The holidays are upon us. I have been busy shipping orders, but I plan to make some kind of video this month to share. Stay tuned for my next blog post towards the end of the month.

If you’re looking for a unique gift (that probably won’t get there for Christmas) I have lots of ideas in my shop Earth and Faery.

All that is left to do is to WISH YOU a Merry Christmas. Celebrate any which way you can! You are alive, that is something to celebrate.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can buy a composition book and dedicate it to 2021 where you can write dreams, hopes, and plans. You can make your 2021 word spread on the first pages. A few months back I made a mixed media cover for that type of book. If you missed it, check it out.

Mixed media with sea-loving flair

Mixed media is one of my go-to modalities when I want to experiment and have some fun in my art journal.

There are so many ways to add mixed media elements to your art, as many as you can imagine! 🙂

Mixed media is the essence of flexibility.

I made this art journal spread with some sea-loving flair. Mice are on an adventure and a mermaid is sending them some good vibes.

I haven’t been as busy as usual in my studio this month. Times have been kind of crazy, and my thoughts have been scattered a lot.

But I’m ready for Christmas, and there will be mixed media galore in my Etsy shop, but no art journaling there. 🙂

As you can see, I painted some pictures. I also tried my hand at some polymer clay brooches, which were a lot of fun, and a mermaid pendant. What do you think of these?

I made some more angels since they sell well in my shop.

If you are interested in any of these items, they can be purchased at Earth and Faery. There are about 150 items to choose from. I’m amazed at myself as I keep making stuff. When you’re inspired, everything flows!

If you missed my last post, Altered Pages Just for Fun, here it is. You can watch a three-part video tutorial on how to make altered pages with texture and paint. Then I show how to use them as ornaments and as a journal cover. CHECK IT OUT.

It’s always good to make some art in these crazy times. 🙂

My aim is to inspire.

Lots of love,

Maria

Artist and writer