Mixed media greeting card tutorial

Mixed media cards are easy to put together. I have so many fabric and paper scraps that I could wallpaper an entire house! I often think about what to do with them as I don’t throw much away, especially the hand-painted fabrics. I have used most of them, so now I have mostly scraps. Why not make some handmade cards and give them along with the gifts to friends?

Two benefits from that: You have fun making the cards, and then passing on the joy (hopefully.) If they don’t like a handmade card, they can “gift it forward.”

The Queen of hearts

I came up with a combo of fabrics and paper to make this Queen of Hearts card. I have many watercolor paper pads, and I don’t paint with watercolors so I’m using the heavy-duty paper in many other ways.

I cut one 9×12″ sheet in half, and then I used a bone folder to press the two pieces of paper into cards. You can also buy blank cards with envelopes at the craft stores.

mixed media base: watercolor paper
Mixed media base

I flattened the card and covered it with a paper background on one side. I like to use cool colors to create backgrounds, so I chose blue tones.

mixed media background
mixed media background

I used an old rubber stamp I have of a female face to print onto tan cotton with Stazon deep purple ink. The face looks grayer in the pictures.

mixed media face
mixed media face

To frame the face I needed bolder tones, so I layered some paper outlines. I started with black, and then used some gold wrapping paper as a halo. I added some paper light beams in yellow for more drama.

Mixed media background
mixed media details
mixed media details
mixed media details

I used some hand-painted fabric for the gown and attached it along with the face that I cut from the fabric.

mixed media card
mixed media card
mixed media embelliishments
mixed media embellishments

It’s all in the details!

I added small touches, like a red /pink heart, some “wings” and some do-dads at the bottom. I also decided to cut out a small bird from a piece of paper to attach across the top circle.

mixed media embellishments
mixed media embellishments

Added drama

I used black Stazon ink to color the edges to give the card a faint frame. I used a light touch. I also outlined the bird and the heart with a ballpoint pen to make them more pronounced. As you can see, the red bits gave some spark to the card.

There she is, the Queen of Hearts. It’s a good idea to stamp some words inside the card or write a personal message. In my opinion, it makes a great gift to someone you care about, but I might be biased, haha. A suitable caption might be; “Queen for a day, Happy Birthday!”

I used the same watercolor paper to make this simple art journal. Check out the tutorial in this post: Make your Own Art Journals.

If you are in a crafty mode, check out my tutorial on how to make a Spirit Box.

If you feel like making a Spirit Doll, I have faces for sale you can use. They are available in my Etsy shop: Earth and Faery.

Have a great creative weekend!!

Lots of love,

Maria

Do you like your art or not?

Do you like your art? It’s a tricky question since it’s easy to doubt yourself. How do you judge whether it’s good art or not? It’s in the eye of the beholder unless you’re a person who judges art on how close it comes to “reality.”

Everyone’s reality is different, and that’s why we use the saying “eye of the beholder.”

I judge the success of an art piece I make on how it feels. When it’s done, do I feel great about it? I sometimes feel good, but I know others won’t like it, and I’m usually proven right. However, that doesn’t matter; it’s all about unfolding and experiencing each piece of art.

It already exists on one level, maybe as an idea., and you work to make it look as close as possible to that idea, but it often doesn’t work out. The painting takes on an approach of its own. That’s when you have to trust the process.

You go to a museum to admire some art, but most of the displays leave you untouched. Art made from the artist’s passion will not fail to touch the deepest part of you. You have your favorites, and maybe a lot of people share your likes and dislikes, but art is something you can’t really judge.

Do you like your art or don’t you?

If you don’t, can you accept it without tearing yourself down? It is the sign of a mature artist to allow both likes and dislikes into their life as an artist. Most of what you paint does not transcend into the realm of “wow,” and more often than not, you leave the studio after a day of hard work, not wow.

Can you accept that the muse is absent?

It’s so easy to throw in the towel and say I’m not going to make art today. Maybe I’ll watch some Netflix series instead. It happens to me, but I take my commitment seriously. I’m too far in to give up my art making even if it’s not leading to a status of fame.

What if it unfurls your very soul with every bold step you take in the studio? If feels that way sometimes even if nothing makes sense. It doesn’t have to make sense to be enjoyable and productive.

Love your “uglys” as much as you love your inspired pieces. They all have a role to play in your life.

Accept it all! In the end, it doesn’t matter what you like and dislike. It’s just an opinion. Art lives a life of its own, and we are but its humble servants.

I just finished a mixed media piece, part of series of funky canvases that I have been making. I loved the previous ones, but this one is a definite “meh.”

funky houses, whimsical art
Do you like?

I also started a new painting that is 20×20″ in the intuitive style. I loved the background, and the face appeared on the side, but I’m stumped what to do next. Again, I’m sitting at the junction of ugly and possibilities. It could turn ugly or become an unexpected masterpiece.

a painting in progress
Do you like it or not>

It takes a level of bravery to continue. Each step is a step into the unknown. As artists, we create a new “life.” It’s often a frustrating way to go about one’s day, but it holds the promises of many treasures if we stick with it.

Acceptance is the key, but you can still have your opinions! 🙂

For more reading on the subject, this blog post is available: Why do you do what you do?

And this one: Pondering Authenticity.

Lots of love,

Maria

I have some of the new paintings in my Etsy shop now. You can check them out HERE.

From drab to colorful

From drab to colorful is a transformation of an old painting into something new that better fits me as the artist I am today. Painting over an old painting does not give me a sense of doom, lol. I’m not attached to my paintings much. When they are done, they are mostly out of my consciousness.

The paintings I can’t sell, I paint over. The forgiveness of acrylic paints is great. No matter how many layers, the paint only looks richer each time.

This particular painting went through several huge changes, each stage very different. Here is the end result of the transformation, and the pictures of the old finished paintings.

from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful
The painting started here.

I painted this face back in the day, but it never left my studio. I then painted some layers on top and the white as a last layer. I saw two drinking glasses in the shapes, but I never liked that painting. It was too colorless for my liking,

Here are pictures of the progress that brought the art to its current state (as in the first picture above.)

I added lots of marks and details, and some “loud” drips that took over pretty much everything. Then I painted over most of them.

from drab to colorful

I was not happy with the blue ground and the flowers. They dominated everything else, so I diminished the blue, as you can see in the next picture.

from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful

In the above picture, I toned down the white outlines on the flowers. They are better, but I’m not totally happy with them–may be too big. I outlined the houses with charcoal to make them more pronounced. It ended up becoming a happy painting despite the giant flowers.

What if the painting doesn’t work out?

You never know how things will evolve, but you have to put yourself into the center of the action. Don’t agonize and wait, just try something. You can always fix what doesn’t work. The most important thing in creating is to take action, no matter how hard the fear pushes back.

Action = courage = more action = results.

Sometimes you have to work on a painting with courage you didn’t know you had. Results, whether they are good or bad, will happen. You never know until you try.

If you struggle with fear, here is a helpful post: Fear Holding You Back?

Here is another post: Procrastination is an Ugly Beast.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Check out my items for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. There are some fantastic gift ideas.

Allowing yourself a Great Day

Allowing yourself a great day is for most people not a choice.

Happiness is a choice, but we are never taught how to be happy. It’s not about the things you do in a day, but how you feel inside.

Here in the States, one of the most polite expressions to another person is: “have a great day.” How many people really mean it? It’s one of those automatic sayings that rolls off the tongue, like “thank you.”

How many people know how to be happy? Not many; it’s not something we’re taught in school.

I like to meditate in the morning every day. There is a source of happiness in my heart, riding on the life-giving stream of breath. This is a knowledge I was fortunate to acquire in my youth, but how many people have that know-how?

Allowing yourself happiness is to seek what truly makes you happy. There is only ONE thing in the long run, and it lies within you.

However, to make a day complete, you have to do things that uplift you. I encounter so many people who are miserable at their jobs and see no way out of the constant grind.

I decided a long time ago that I did not want a “career” and to be miserable. I found my joy in writing and art. My working life has been a roller-coaster ride so far, but I made my own choices, and I don’t regret anything.

It takes two things

Number one, you have to WANT to find happiness.

Number two, you have to make a DECISION to be happier and stick with it through thick and thin.

The thing is, there are answers to all of your questions, and it takes courage to stick with anything worthwhile. So I guess courage is the third requisite, but as you move forward, you create great momentum.

I talk to so many people who want to make art, but they never do. When I hear the excuses, I will not try to convince anyone to do what they love.

It is a personal choice. Today I allow myself to create a day to my liking, which includes art-making or crafts of some sort, eating well, breathing some fresh air, hugging a tree, and having a good night’s sleep. I do work a job, but only on my terms, which does NOT allow for burn-out.

How can you change your life today?

What could you do? Change, once and for all, one habit that drives you nuts. Investigate how you can incorporate a spiritual practice in your life. Honor your body with good food and a walk. Make some art. Your choice, but choose one little thing and stick with it.

The people who like to make art are doing it. People who love to write are doing it. People who want to exercise are doing it. They chose to incorporate it into their lives because it uplifts them.

Women usually think about others’ well-being first, and that is something we learned by watching other women. For goodness sake, allow yourself some self-love! You will not reach sainthood by being everything to everyone. You’re gaining no brownie points with the Divine, au contraire.

Make a decision to set aside one hour each day for self love.

A few examples of allowing yourself self-love

Get up earlier in the morning and spend time writing in a journal about YOUR needs and how you can satisfy them.

Make some art

Meditate or do yoga. Awareness of self is everything.

Connect with nature and breathe in the healing qualities.

Get in touch with your body and HOW YOU REALLY FEEL. Most people live outside their bodies to cope with the pressures of daily life.

Put your own well-being FIRST!

I hope you do something because I’m tired of listening to excuses. Have a love story with your art making, starting today.

It can be rough at times, but if you are the creator of your own life, you know how to get back to the “good vibes.”

Lots of love,

Maria

Allowing yourself a great day
Allow yourself happiness

P.S. You can check out more info about spiritual practice HERE. Art practice inspiration is available on YouTube in any form you like. If you want to check out my art journaling videos, go HERE.

Allowing yourself more inspiration, read this blog post: Creativity, spirituality, and passion.

The exotic life of an artist

The exotic life is not for everyone. Artists are supposed to be larger than life, but more often you will find us slugging away in our studios, alone, and fighting resistance, haha.

I think of exotic artists and come up with Georgia O’Keefe, but in her mind, she probably saw herself as a dedicated working woman. She was; I can’t remember reading about any debauched parties or deep discussions with other “tortured” artists at cafes. It’s funny the labels we put on people (throughout history.)

Art is often that, mundane, yet again exhilarating because you don’t know which turn will head you into a new phase of your art.

The only exotic thing I have around here is a flowering Claradendron. I should dress like an artist in flowery, hippie styles with lots of scarves, but I’m a conservative dresser. All my color goes into my paintings. What I wear on a given day are sweatpants, paint-stained tops / T-shirts, and sandals. It’s time for an upgrade! At least get rid of the gray ones.

I have been productive lately, feeling the “vibe.” Here are some of my latest wild shenanigans. They are going to hang in a local shop later today, and I’m glad more people get to see them.

boat of dreams
No title
Love at first sight

Are you adding some exotic flavor to your life?

It doesn’t have to be risky, just something new. Yesterday, I took a different road to a street I always travel, and it opened my eyes to possibilities. An exotic flavor could be to MAKE art, not just think about it. There is nothing to hold you back except your excuses (resistance.) You might as well make friends with it.

I’m moving more into abstract mixed media art lately. My whimsical critters show up on a regular basis, and that’s fun. I love whimsy as much as the next person.

How do you proceed with the art process?

You start. The above art was not planned. I pretty much always start with a layer of paint, and then I add paper scraps that please my eye. If I end up not liking the way they look, I paint over them. I usually do three layers of paints, including marks, and if I see some figure in the mess, I outline it. The outline surrounds the figure, and the unifying color in the background ties it all together. It is a fun and harmless process — no need to feel pressured or daunted by your perceived lack of ability.

Time is now!

You don’t need a charming studio, a painter’s smock or the most popular paints. All you need is a willingness to try, to apply yourself.

Lots of love,

Maria

For more inspiration, go to this post: Every Painting is a Leap of Faith.

I have some new things in my Etsy shop for those looking for a great exotic gift, haha. Earth and Faery

What if life seems blah?

What if one doesn’t feel like making art? What if life seems blah and there is no inspiration for anything in particular? It happens.

Life is not always a downhill ride; more often than not, it’s a slow, steady path forward. The mundane can be magical, but for the most part, we don’t see that aspect.

When you create art, you change the status quo, even if you don’t like what you produced. The fact that you did is something to celebrate.

Now, if art becomes mundane or just another chore, it’s time to focus on something else for a while. I like to crafts as a break of pace. There are endless varieties of crafts, something for everyone.

What if that doesn’t work, or you have no interest in crafts?
Ask your body how it feels when you apply yourself to various tasks. Do you feel eager or repulsed? Is there a feeling of “go ahead” or does it stand still, as in neutral? When it does, you have to stop and wait from a sense of direction. It will come, but it requires patience, which most of us don’t have. We want things to flow, to work out with ease.

Art has no master.

Either you follow its flow, or you go against it.
You will feel when you go against it; it’s like wading upstream in cold water. I have learned that inactivity is often a breeding ground for new ideas, some that you never thought about before.

Often I catch good ideas, like a gentle sweeping wave. If I don’t write them down right then and there, I forget them, and I know they will never come back. So many times I have ignored the recording part, but I’m listening more closely now.

Another way to break a slow drought:
Break out the sketch pad and draw some things. It could be the tea mug on the table, the cat (also on the table though it’s not supposed to be there.)
A pretty leaf with all it’s perfection, a chair, a car. Draw what pulls your attention, and then be happy with your effort. You’re not competing with anyone, least of all yourself.

I have a journal that I never show to anyone because it’s full of color slashes and messes that don’t mean anything except a way to express my frustration or lack of patience. It has more of my true vibe than most of my carefully crafted art.

Sometimes it’s too easy to get stuck in the preciousness of things.

My colors are too precious to be changed. The face in the picture can’t be tampered with at any cost. The result of such thoughts is stuckness. It’s all too precious to destroy but it’s in the destruction that the truth can come out.

It’s both hard and easy. When things flow I can paint a painting quickly, and then there is the issue of value; it was painted too fast, it can’t be worth much. If I labored over a painting that took days, it’s much more valuable.
That is screwed-up thinking.
People are captivated by the vibe of the art, not so much the execution.

What if YOU are the art?

Your vibe doesn’t lie, but if you painted with the finished product in mind, you let no vibe in or a lesser one. I want to let it all hang out, but it’s scary.
The only way to deal with that is to continue to paint. There are no shortcuts, only means of opening up more to the process.

Carry on, the path leads somewhere great…

goddess face, clay craft

If you want additional inspirational reading, this might interest you: Inspiration Where is It?

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop Earth and Faery, if you’re looking for unique gifts.

Artist and writer