Category Archives: art assemblage

A month of Mixed media madness

A month that flew by and I felt as if I was out of breath at the speed of time! It’s so important to make some art to keep sane. 🙂 Things have been changing for me. I seem to lean toward sculpting lately. In the past, I worked in my art journal pretty much every day, but I don’t as much now.

I try to go with the flow. Sculpting has been much more of a challenge since I never had any formal training. However, I like to take online courses, so I’ve learned the basics that way. And, there’s always YouTube…

I made this wood and clay mystery bird. I used polymer clay for the body, and I liked the way it came out. I’m going to make more of these kinds of strange figures. 🙂

A month of mixed media madness

Then I made cats!

A month of mixed media madness
A month of mixed media madness, mermaid cat

The mermaid cat is all fabric that is gessoed and painted, except for the wand and the base. I used a Susan Barmore pattern that I found on etsy, and it came out ok.

So my inspiration has been more with 3D objects than with 2D. I bring out my canvases but the flow has not been there much. I did however make one mixed media piece on a cradled wood panel.

Mixed media madness!

She can’t help having a big nose like that…

It was fun to make.

I haven’t made a video tutorial this month, but I came across Ina Solsbery on YouTube, and her found objects sculptures are awesome. She also makes some art journal spreads. Here’s one made with pretty napkins and paint.

Napkin collage with Ina Solsbery

YouTube and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration. Go there if you want to get ideas.

I made a simple spirit doll using one of my painted clay faces as a focal point a while back. If you missed it, you can check it out: Spirit doll tutorial.

I was looking through my old videos and this totally RAW art journal spread I made in 2015 is an inspiration that you can still make art even if you have no idea where to start. Check it out.

If you missed my last blog post with the Funky Bird tutorial, you can read it HERE.

The holidays are almost here (gasp.) I have lots of cute things in my etsy shop for those looking for a unique gift: Earth and Faery

I wish you loads of inspiration!!

Maria

A month of mixed media madness

Make a funky bird ornament

Make a funky bird, friends! I just posted a new YouTube video on how to make this fun and quirky bird (owl?) A fantasy bird maybe? Click HERE.

Make a funky bird

I have been pretty busy in my studio this month, but I’ve focused more on sewing than paint and paper. I made a couple of songbirds. They are so much fun to make, but now I have to put away all the sewing paraphernalia.

I got a couple of paintings made as well.

I think I mentioned in my last blog post that I’m re-issuing the old historical romances I wrote in the 90s. One is set to come out on September 1, The Undoing of Lord Saville, and the other is already out, TheTaming of Viscount Perth. If you like humorous sweet romance, you might like these. Only on Kindle at this time.

I hope you’re having some joyous time in your studio during these crazy times. I love going into my studio and make happy things. Nothing better to keep the positive vibes up! Well, meditation really helps too.

Lots of love, Maria

P.S. My etsy shop is shock full of fun and colorful items. Earth and Faery.

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.

Manila folder art journal tutorial

Manila folders come in stacks of ten or more, but what to do when you have some old folders that can’t be used any longer? Make an art journal! I had an old folder that had been used many times. I tried to remove the written labels, but the folder had served its purpose by then.

I made a short video on how to turn the folder into an art journal. You can use whatever papers you have. I have a huge stack so it seems I used every conceivable style I could dig up. It turned out very busy but who is judging?

Manila folder art journal

As you can see, I made some mistakes, but what I learned will benefit my next journal! The first one is always trial and error, right?

Seeing as the CV virus still has a hold, I spend a lot of time in my studio. There’s nothing else I’d rather do during this time. Here’s a gallery of items I’ve made in July.

How I feel about 2020, titled The Rollercoaster

I made more items, but these are enough for now. 🙂 I also got back to doing more art journaling. If you missed my last blog post with the tutorial on how to make a manila envelope journal cover, HERE it is.

One of my favorite mixed media artist is Lyn Belisle. She is currently offering a FREE book tutorial, how to make a Lotus book. It is really cool. Check it out HERE. You can’t go wrong with free, and she’s an excellent instructor.

This is it for this blog post. I hope you try the manila folder journal. Send me pictures if you do: maria@mariagreene.org

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Most of my art ends up in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Before we know it, Christmas will be here.

Christmas in July

Christmas is still a few months away, but people seem to enjoy getting a head start on gift shopping, and this year might prove the same–or not. We live in strange times.

I was invited to join the Pfatt Marketplace (Prominent Folk Artist’s Trinkets and Treasures), and I just submitted my Christmas items for the July launch which happens on July 10. New items are for sale every month on the 10th. I enjoy trying out a new venue. I made some angels and a Christmas village. I will use my Etsy name, Earth and Faery there. You can check out the site HERE.

I have been busy this June and it feels good to be productive. I’ve had my eye on a set of metal fondant letter cutters at Michael’s and I finally took the plunge and bought them. I had no idea how they would work out on for my polymer clay, but I wanted to try. They come in a round tin and can be found in the baking department.

Fondant letter cutters
letter cutters

In the summer, the polymer clay gets sticky in the heat even though I keep it in the fridge. Once you roll it out it loses its chill. It was hard to get the clay out of the letters. I used the round end of a small brush to poke it through. It dented the clay, and some letters I could turn over, but the others I had to smooth out the best I could. I wasn’t too thrilled about the rounded edges of the letters for some reason.

It’s something you can try with your art.

Christmas in July peace sign.
Christmas in July

They pretty much took over the plaque, but I was pleased in general. I made specialty tiles with red, green, and gold paint, just to make it Christmas-y.

It has been 100 degrees here so it’s hard to get into any kind of Christmas feeling…

The last mixed media village I made sold out, but I have four more houses available now.

Besides making my mosaics, I’ve moved deeper into the rabbit hole of clay figures. I can tell you it’s so much fun! You should try making some. It’s not that hard.

The faces are the hardest part, but the more you practice, the better they get. I also add a little bird to every figure I make. I just like birds a lot. All of my figures are for sale. You can check out my inventory HERE. I add more things every day.

Now go and make some art! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria