Gold dust makes everything better!

Gold dust comes in many forms, but in this case, I’m referring to the stuff that comes in a plastic tube purchased at Michael’s. I don’t use it often, but I wanted something special for this latest “book” box I made this weekend.

I spread some gloss medium over the surface and sprinkled the dust while chanting “abracadabra.” (Kidding)

Too bad you can barely see the twinkles in the pictures. I tried from many angles.

gold dust sprinkles
Gold dust aside, I went for a mature setting.

There are many layers as you can see, and lots of texture.

Lately, I have been stretching my imagination to make different things, using some of my mosaic tiles, but trying other types of layers. I have a pretty extensive collection of ephemera that I gathered over the years.

It has not been easy

I struggle with new ideas all the time, and often I feel stymied, either for lack of tools, but more often fighting myself and doubting that the piece will turn out well. It’s a constant challenge to try to picture what the finished product will look like, and I have to trust the process and just do it.

I’m used to the struggle, and in that, there is a blessing. By showing up in the studio regularly, I have learned to ignore my doubts. In other words, the trust muscle keeps growing the more I show up to create.

I don’t always like what I make, but I’m kinder to myself than I used to be.

A tip for you: When you see pictures you like, cut them out and save them for later.

I’m always on the lookout for new fodder, and I keep them in storage bins from the craft store. I sometimes (always) forget what I have, so I have to rummage through every time.

Last month I made a bunch of shrines out of old Altoids tins. I have made more mosaics this month. Here are some examples:

gold dust shines on this shrine
Gold in this one too, but the style is new to me.
shrine in a wooden box
Virgin Mary shrine — small wooden box.
Shrine plaque
Virgin Mary wall plaque
Virgin Mary shrine
Virgin Mary and child shrine
Seascape dolphin wall plaque
Seascape dolphin wall plaque

Talk about being out of my comfort zone

The seascape plaque above was wholly out of my comfort zone, but I decided to do something with waves and stay with the blue/green range of color when I made it. All I had was a wooden plaque and a cutout of a dolphin.

It was a bear to cut out the polymer clay and make sure the pieces fit the heart and butted up correctly to the other waves. It came out okay, maybe a bit lame. I like to make some kind of statement with my art, but this will remain pretty and nothing else. 🙂

What are you working on now? I hope you got some creativity buzz this weekend, but if you didn’t, there is always TODAY.

The struggle is real, but so is commitment. Art making is a happy addiction. It sure beats most other things, including chocolate.

All the above pieces are available in my Etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great week!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. If you need some more inspiration, check out the Instagram artist feeds. There are some fantastic makers out there. My username is @greeneearth if you want to connect.

If you missed my previous post on how to make one of these mixed-media “book” boxes, check this out: Magic Journal Box Tutorial.

Make a mini shrine

Make a mini shrine today I told myself, and make it a tutorial. Yes, that sounded like a good idea. I have some digital print-outs of the Virgin Mary. I love the old-style art. I also have some Tim Holtz metal frames sitting around, so I decided to use one.

But, I have also made some molds lately, including frames. Check it out:

make a mold

The metal hair clip made a terrific indent for polymer clay flowers. I have already made a bunch of those. I used some on this mosaic mirror:

Polymer clay mosaic mirror
polymer clay mosaic mirror

Back to the tutorial:

I used an empty Altoids tin for this mini shrine.

Altoids tin
Altoids tin

But you can use any old tin on hand or buy one. I used the tin as a pattern for the heavy-duty decorative paper I used to cover the embossed lid.

Make a mini shrine
Paper cover

I then gessoed the back and sides of the outside tin to cover the printed metal.

Make a mini shrine
Paper covering the top of the lid

I glued down the paper with craft glue that I spread evenly over the entire surface. The Mary icon I brushed with Mod Podge front and back to preserve the ink image. Then I glued it to the frame and filled in with some cut out white flowers. Then I spread Judikin’s Diamond Glaze all over the image and let it dry. Depending on how thick you spread it, expect to wait a few hours for it to dry.

inside cover of tin
inside lid
Adding a second layer of paper

I used some starred tissue paper to make a second layer of interest to the lid.

tissue paper layer
tissue paper layer
making the mosaic vignette
making the mosaic vignette

It took me a while to add the small mosaic tiles since the corners are rounded, and I had only so much space to play with. I was happy with the outcome though.

front cover
front cover

I had glued down the paper on the front, and then I decided to add a paper border. Lots of measuring and gluing to get everything to fit. I pondered what to use for embellishment on the front. I had many tiles to choose from. I ended up with a leaf tile and the word soul.

Leaf decoration
Leaf decoration
Heart charm
Heart charm

On the inside cover, I glued down a heart charm and the word peace.

Painted the outside lavender
Painting the outside lavender

I painted the outside lavender and added a paper border to the edge of the lid for more interest. I was happy with the end result. I made another tin the other day. Check out the pictures.

Make a mini shrine
Make a mini shrine
The outside
The outside

I never know what will inspire me from day to day, but as I consistently show up in the studio, something calls out and I make it or paint it. Life is good!

If you are not happy with your life, make something with your hands. Crafting is very satisfying, and it takes your mind off other not-so-pleasant things. Word!

I made some different polymer clay mosaics lately, one of them the mirror above. They don’t make mirrors like that with a flat rim anymore, so I had to buy a plain frame and have a mirror cut for it.

You are loved wall plaque
You are loved wall plaque

You are loved…

You are loved wall plaque is something I listed in my Etsy shop this week. You can check out all the new items on Earth and Faery.

A couple of years ago, I made a YouTube video on how to make a tin shrine. If you prefer watching to reading, check it out HERE.

I have posted another tutorial lately on how to take an old painting and transform it. You can check that out for inspiration From Drab to Colorful.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

live with gratitude
Live with gratitude

Magic Journal Box tutorial

Magic is in the air in my studio lately. I have been inspired to try new and different things, as in making this type of journal box where you can write down and hide all your secrets. 🙂

I have gone into silicone mold casting adventures and making imprints with my polymer clay or air dry clay. I found small frames and other baroque metal borders and do-dads to use in my mold making. So much fun, and there is never a boring moment as you wait to see how everything turns out.

Anyway, try this journal box

I found a wooden box at Michael’s shaped as a book. It’s pretty big, approx. 7×8″ and it would be too big for polymer clay mosaics. I decided to experiment with mixed media paper, paint, glue, and found objects. I made the tutorial for this box.

Magic mixed media journal box tutorial
Magic mixed media box

I did not take pictures of every single step, but here goes. I painted the entire outside box a dark blue. The inside is painted green, but that does not show in the following picture. I’m giving you an idea of the size.

Magic box mixed media tutorial
Inside view of the box

I glued white tissue paper all over the front of the box with Mod Podge, making sure it was good and creased, squeezing it into a ball before I spread it out.

Magic box tutorial
Glued down white tissue paper on the front and spine of the box

On top of the white paper, I glued some yellow tissue paper for contrast and a pale layer of lavender.

Magic box with tissue paper
I glued down some yellow paper on the front
Magic box with glue
Magic box with glue

When I was finished with the tissue paper, I made liberal blobs with white craft glue for added texture. I had to let that dry overnight. You can also use blobs made with a hot glue gun and glue the hardened texture down–it’s faster.

Then I rubbed several layers of paint over the dry and creased tissue paper and glue. I began with a dark brown, rubbing it into the deeper texture. I also used dark purple and some turquoise. To tone everything down, I finally spread some white paint over the whole front.

Magic box with layers of paint
Layers of paint
Magic box tutorial
More layers of paint
More layers of paint
Magic texture!

When everything was dry, I started digging through my stash of do-dads. Placement can sometimes be tricky. I painted the inside green.

Magic box tutorial
Magic making mixed media

What I used

The metal frame is from a Tim Holtz kit. I stamped the word Journal on a piece of paper, glued it to the back of the frame, and filled in the opening with Judikin’s Diamond Glaze. The flower is a polymer clay imprint from a hair ornament. The key used to be part of an old wind chime, and the hummingbird and the dragonfly are die cut paper, which I sealed carefully front and back and edges with Mod Podge since paper can easily deteriorate. I painted those with Perfect Pearl powder and sealed them again.

Magic box tutorial
Magic box details
Magic box tutorial
Words stamped with permanent ink
Magic felt on the bottom of the box
Some felt to make the box softer inside
Magic box tutorial
The back of the box

I cut some green felt that had a sticky side and put that on the bottom of the box for a softer interior. I placed a bought paper border on the outside bottom of the box for more interest. Below is another box I made in the same style. Both of these are available in my Etsy shop Earth and Faery.

If you missed my previous post, Mixed Media Greeting Card Tutorial, you can still find it HERE.

It’s vital to try new creative things, even if it’s a struggle. You master something by doing it. Resistance and self-doubt be gone!

Have a great weekend, and may you always be inspired! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

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.

Artist and writer