All posts by Maria G

I'm a multi-media artist and writer.

Whimsical art house tutorial

Whimsical art and “funky boho colorful display” you can call these houses that are so much fun to make!

I wrote a picture tutorial on how to make them. It’s fun and easy! Here’s one:

Whimsical art house tutorial.
whimsical art house

You can buy the wooden house shape at Michael’s or online. They are cheap and easy to alter. Since I was going to cover everything with paper, I Mod-Podged the surfaces to seal them before I attached paper scraps.

Paper scraps attached, art house tutorial.
Paper scraps attached

Here the papers are dry. I covered the edges as well. You can glue the paper down and then cut the excess along the edges with sharp scissors.

All surfaces covered, art house tutorial.
All surfaces covered.

Below, I wiped acrylic paints over the surfaces, one pink one lavender.

I painted the door shapes, and in the image after that you can see the windows added. I used charcoal to outline the shapes in a primitive style.

Windows and doors, art house tutorial.
Windows and doors added with paint and charcoal.

To seal the charcoal, which can be messy if not sealed, I used a spray varnish. It’s best to spray them outside because the fumes are wicked. I let the houses dry outside as well.

Drilled holes, art house tutorial
Drilled holes for birds

I then drilled the holes for the tiny birds I’d made as an embellishment on the roof. Whimsical touch… 🙂

Whimsical birds for the house roofs, tutorial.
Whimsical birds for the house roofs

I painted the houses the same colors on the back as on the front. The edges got a contrasting color.

Jazzed up the front with banners, art house tutorial.
Jazzed up the front with banners

When I make polymer clay tiles for my mosaics, I usually make some extra cut-outs. I use cookie cutters for these shapes, bake them, and paint them. They make cute banners! I also glued some flowers at the bottom on the pink house. I varnished the back and the edges with gloss varnish. The shine brings out the colors nicely.

Finished houses, art tutorial
Finished houses!
Birds glued to the edges, art house tutorial
Birds on the edges

I used super glue to attach the steel wire to the birds and the houses. They will stay in for a long time! 🙂

Below is another example of a green house.

Finished art house, art tutorial
Finished art house

Now I have to make more stars and pennants. I used them all in these projects.

Wood shapes are great because you can make so much with them. If you read my blog you know I like to combine wood and polymer clay. One of my most cherished sellers is the angel with a message.

Angel with a message
Angel with a message

What gets your imagination going?

I get my inspiration from actually making stuff. One thing leads to another, new ideas pop up as I’m in the middle of the process. Most of them are good ideas that can be realized without too much pain. I also get inspiration from other artists on Instagram and Pinterest.

Don’t let fear stop you from experimenting. The figure below is my latest experimentation. I have a hard time sculpting faces, but I decided to use a face mold that I proceeded to alter. However, I keep working on my skills; it’s the only way to master a new technique.

Bettina, the circus acrobat on her day off

I wish you lots of inspiration! Try something new today. 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

fear is not your friend

Fear is not your friend unless it warns you to get off the railroad tracks as the train is coming. There are so many levels of fear, and the most insidious one is the fear that stops us from fulfilling our calling (to be artists or other forms of expression.)

I was talking to a friend who said she always wanted to be an artist. I could relate to her as I’ve always felt that way too. Then I felt so grateful that I had at one point decided to commit to the idea with action.

I know I would feel unfulfilled without it, and now, after many years, I think I have come a long way even though there’s no beginning or end.

I was reading this book: Wild Ideas, Creativity From The Inside Out, by Cathy Wild, and I saw this paragraph that so hit home with what I’m saying here.

“If you want to create, you need to become an explorer. An explorer may be an astronaut living in a space station or a pop songwriter attempting to compose an opera or a former welfare recipient heading off to a first day of work. As an explorer, you must want to find out what lies beyond the boundaries of what you already understand and what you already know how to do.”

You can find the book on Amazon HERE. It’s well worth a read.

So, to be an explorer, you have to keep an open mind and be willing to come across resistance, which is inevitable. Have a conversation with it and ask why it has arrived to instigate reluctance to create.

It will likely say: “If you go down that path, you will only encounter trouble that you can’t handle” In other words, it’s spreading fear and tries to tell you you’re inadequate.

As an artist, you’ll come across that every week, or even every day, if you’re serious about commitment and showing up at your work table or easel.

Working a regular job, you come across problems that need to be solved, right? However you solve your problem, you just do it, or you get fired (worst-case scenario.) If we bring some of that determination into getting past the things that stop us from doing something we love, no problem or resistance can stop us.

Then comes a time when you have to grow out of the comfort zone as an artist. The way I deal with that is to try many different things, materials, and styles. It’s like walking through the jungle with a small machete. You don’t know what you see until you come right up to it. Sometimes you say no, this is not for me, and other times, something pushes you to keep going with the new material.

Frustration = fear = learning curve

Make frustration your best friend! When you feel it the strongest, you’re on the verge of a discovery, so keep on going, past the fear. Honor the learning curve! Anything new has to be learned, and there will be many failures, but those are steps to getting to the place where you’re happy with the result.

Whimsical dog made from epoxy clay and paint
whimsical dog
Crystal wand made with oak wood, crystals, and epoxy clay.
Crystal wand

What you see above are items I made with epoxy clay, which for me has been really hard to work with. I really love the durability of the clay and how it dries rock hard and attaches to pretty much anything. I have worked quite a while with it, and had to throw out some things that did not work out at all.

You know it’s a learning curve, so you continue.

Do not stop when the going gets tough

If you stop you’ll never know if you could master the challenge.

If you stop, you’ll beat yourself up for not going to the finish line, no matter how “ugly” the art turned out.

I haven’t mastered the epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt,) but I’m working on it, and every item teaches me something. I look at videos on YouTube by people who have mastered the clay, and I go, wow, I want to be that good too. Some day, I will! 🙂

My point is: don’t sabotage your dreams, don’t sell yourself short, give your dream a chance! Please. Commit and start making art. Copying other artists is okay in the beginning.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have many new items in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Some of them are not all perfect, but people seem to like them anyway. 🙂

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