Category Archives: art journaling

Fun dialogue with artist Amanda Wolf Hara

Fun exchange with awesome artist, Amanda Wolf Hara. She is the December guest artist my free 2017 art journaling journey. The last one of the year! It is bittersweet, and I don’t know how the year moved so fast… 

fun with butterfly
Amanda Wolf Hara

When I was a little girl, my grandparents (who emigrated from Latvia) watched me all day while my mom worked. From Gramma I learned painting and fine art basics- painting every week, at least, with watercolors while Bob Ross was on PBS in the background.

Other afternoons I’d spend in Opa’s (My grandfather), woodcarving shop in their basement, listening to classical music and learning how to carve on soft pine.
Both grandparents took me outdoors a lot- to the local pond, nature center or just for walks around the neighborhood where we always stopped to watch what nature was doing.
I drew incessantly, (mostly horses!) and even painted watercolors on my bedroom walls. I drew on any scrap of paper I could find- my mom always said “you do some of your finest work on the worst paper.”
I dunno, I just Arted all the time. I took it for granted; it was just something I did- it didn’t seem like a big deal at all, even as I started getting awards in school.
In college I spent a semester in the theater’s scenic design program. I had one of the best teachers who helped me advance my skills by leaps and bounds. He was amazing.
LOL, I still struggle with seeing my art as a “big” deal. I just love doing it. It’s just what I do.
What does art do for you?
The world quiets down when I hold a paintbrush. There’s something about the sensual act of painting that quiets my brain like nothing else seems to; that particular hush seems unique to that medium for me.
The “graffiti” style journaling I do is like a really good aerobic work-out for my mind and emotions. It’s cathartic and raises a lot of energy for me- which is good, because I need that process to get to a breakthrough point.
What form of art do you prefer making? Art journaling or painting?
Lol, I really can’t pick! I truly love all art mediums, I do photography, writing, sculpture, sewing, crafting, jewelry making, re-purposing/upcycling, some collaging,  pastels, colored pencils, wood burning every once in s while, acrylic and watercolor… I just cycle through.
My apartment really looks like I own half a craft store. Also, I paint on any surface that holds still long enough for me.
Next on my list is picking up a soldering iron. (Insert slightly maniacal laughter.) I’ll be unstoppable! I can do metal work. I have a tin can project I’d LOVE to see manifest.
After that, working with glass; blowing it, fusing it, stained glass etc. I just want to know how to do it. :).
Do you use art in any particular way? As in healing, journaling about your life or just for fun?
Yes, to all of the above.
It’s definitely therapy, and as I mentioned, it’s my way of tapping into deeper problem solving techniques. I Art all the time. I look at something- even garbage- like packaging materials-and immediately start challenging myself to think about what it could be used for, what could it look like, what it could give to an art piece.
My love too, is in teaching creative processes to others- helping someone tap into their creative capacity and that intuitive “knowing” we all have within us.
What inspires you? 
Nature, for sure. And that extends to human nature, instincts, behaviors etc..
Also, stories. A lot of my art is driven by telling the stories of things that I believe get overlooked. I love the old stories of deities and characters that I think still hold just as much relevancy as they ever did.
My art maybe gives them an update and puts them into context in a way that we Modernites can still access them and recognize them.
Getting people to see their world in a new way- that rock-back-on-your-heels-a-little-and-go: “Oh… Wow! I never…” THAT. That inspires me.
Do you have any favorite artist or style?
Ummm… no. I like a lot of different things- I guess art that tells stories, and cultural pieces. That being said, there are definitely some forms of art that I just don’t understand.
As far as artists?  There are so many- even ones I’ve had the pleasure of meeting- whose names I will, sadly, never remember.
But I’ll try:
Jo Jayson. OMG. She’s INCREDIBLE. I would love to learn to paint half as well as she does. And her Divine Feminine works are utterly brilliant.
Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests- Ohmygoodness. I will never be that level of cool, and I’m okay with that. But I would LOVE to share a beach space with any of his “beests” any day.
Pat and Ken Larson of Larson Clayworks.
Ever since I first saw their work I’m absolutely captivated.
I like Picasso- not necessarily the work itself, but the fact that he could do the very realistic detailed stuff, but chose to step out, break the rules and create new ways of considering what art can be.
Da Vinci, too- the imagination and invention- oh, that’s good stuff!
O’Keeffe comes to mind too- her voice and work I deeply appreciate being in this world.
What is the advice you would give new artists?
PLAY.
OMG, play with your art, please!
Art is about expression, about exploration.
Make mistakes. Learn how to turn them into something new and exciting. Learn how to make them look like they always belonged there.
It should on some level always be fun; it stays encouraging that way.
And get messy.
In every sense.
Get pastels imbedded in your fingertips. Discover acrylic paint in your hair a week after being in studio.
Get (safely) messy emotionally too- open yourself up. Get raw, get vulnerable. Or, get quiet and super still. Defy the norms you set for yourself and see where that takes you.
Any suggestions to artists who are stuck in a rut or in a feeling of inadequacy?
 Aside from playing?
Learn to Art for yourself.
Do it because there’s a voice in you that simply cannot be expressed in any other way.
Art as a product is always subjective.
Art as a process isn’t.
It’s personal and intimate and deeply intrinsic. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised; work it out, let go of the attachment to the end product and surrender to where the process of Arting wants to take you.
Oh, and OMG laugh at (with) yourself as often as possible.
When your inner critic gets too bossy, get them drunk on purposeful mistake after glorious purposeful mistake until s/he is so full they pass out. Then, joyfully create.
What is your all time favorite art supply?
Ooooh…. That’s a little like asking me to pick a favorite child. For the sake of all of them, I plead the fifth. 🙂
Check out Amanda’s Facebook page: Wild Priestess.

No inspiration?… no problem

No inspiration? That happens to all of us creative types. There are many reasons why inspiration is absent, and I have recently been in the middle of a painful situation that has robbed me of all concentration and inspiration.

Health is maybe the most important facet of life. Without health we have nothing or we struggle. I’m a reasonably healthy person but lately I have had a shoulder pain that has bothered me for days.

I woke up at 4 am one morning and had a burning pain near my shoulder-blade. It has since spread to make life very uncomfortable.

It’s not as bad as a toothache or earache if you’ve had one of those. Wowsa!

It’s like something burning and gnawing on my shoulder. Off to the massage therapist I go tomorrow!

That is just one example that can stop you in your flow.

However, I still show up at my art table. That is my commitment. I spread on paint on my pages without enthusiasm, and let it be at that.

I can always come back to the pages. I have my artistic dream, and pain is not going to hold me back. I might not feel happy, rather the opposite, but who says you can’t paint ugly painful art…?

art journaling

When I commit to something, like my art, I aim to move forward with some kind of art expression every day. My day feels wasted otherwise.

Life throws us curve balls and it’s up to us how we deal with them. You hear of successful people who have no arms and legs and still make a success of their life.

  • They choose to see and work on the positive they have in life
  • Pain won’t kill us but can become a sad excuse if we let it.
  • To have a purpose is good whether we carry it out fully or not.
  • It’s good to take action! Take action to heal, and do something you normally like to do. Every day.
  • Things can always get better! We may not feel better but we’ll feel better about ourselves when we take positive action.
  • Feeling like a victim or woe-is-me will make things worse.

Is there any part of you life that isn’t working? Are you feeling victimized by circumstances?

What can you do today to take ONE positive step forward? Then build on that. Every major change starts with a small step.

It takes determination, dedication, and courage. But that is the way out of any situation you don’t like.

Then commit to the steps every day and see some tangible change for the better.

Life can be hard work, but before you know it, inspiration will flow again.

I want to be able to say that I made the most of my gifts and talents when the time comes to check out!

Pain is a good teacher and helps me take stock of my life. Taking stock is a good thing!

The weekend is coming up. What fires you up this weekend??

I have decided to enjoy myself. 🙂

Love, Maria xo

P.S. Looking for Christmas gifts?  My etsy shop is full of unique goodies, boho style! Earth and Faery.

 

Art journal inspiration and the precarious balance of being an artist

Art journal inspiration coming up in this post. You might have already seen the videos if you’re in my Facebook group, but if not, I have some tips and tricks for you.

I have been somewhat bummed out since the precarious balance of making a living as an artist has tipped toward the “lack of sales” side of the scales.

Something is going on with the online algorithms, and I feel that I’m ruled by the whims of whatever the “new” ways etsy and other online venues are trying to control who sees my art.

The venues are getting more and more restrictive. Facebook does not show your art to many people unless you take out ads, and then the results are iffy, and you’re out $$$.

Maybe it’s time to go local again?? Make some new friends who like my art and who don’t mind opening their wallets.

Online, you work mostly with strangers, but it is convenient.

Even if this vague something is constricting sales for various reasons, it won’t stop me from remaining (always) an artist.

Yes, it’s possible to stop making art, but if that is what I love to do, why compromise??

It is a test of faith.

I have posted some new art and mosaic crafts in my etsy shop lately, and here is my latest painting.

abstract art
Abstract art

I couldn’t come up with a name for it, but maybe you can help me? Post in comments, please.

I made two art journaling tutorials on YouTube, and you can check them out.

Adding dimension to your art journal pages.

Autumn goddess, Life’s Song art journal pages.

Maybe those will help to inspire. 🙂

I love trying different techniques and media in my art journals. More often than not, the pages don’t turn out that  great, but I was happy with these.

What are you working on?

My words of wisdom for this week: If you want to walk a path of magic, you have to do the work or live the same ole, same ole….

More inspiring blog posts: Long Journey of art. 

Fear Holding You Back?

Have a great weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Join my Facebook art group if you haven’t already. Art Exploration with Maria Greene.

 

 

Intuitive art or structured art?

Intuitive art or structured art is a dilemma I struggle with often. Intuitive art is direct and it happens and evolves in the moment. One step of paint leads to another and it goes on until finished.

Structured art is planned out in every detail.

More often than not I don’t like what comes out in the end of an intuitive art session, but in art journaling, it’s okay to let it all hang out and not worry about “pretty.”

Lion's gate
intuitive art

As you can see above, I didn’t have much of a plan. I knew I wanted to make something around the eclipse today so I started with a large yellow circle and wove the rest from there. Is it pretty? I’d say not, but it feels good to me.

Intuitive art is led by feeling rather than a thought-out plan. It can be scary, but many worthwhile things are.

abstract art journaling
intuitive art

Above is another example of intuitive art. It’s raw and direct.

art journaling
intuitive art

The above page is more structured since I put some thought into the combination of the background papers. As you will see in the following picture, the two have similar backgrounds and that was to tie the pages together.

art journaling
structured art

This page I planned out. I knew I wanted to make an angel, but I wasn’t sure how she would evolve. I chose papers that added interest to the background.

I’d say that page is inspired by all the other pages people are making and posting online and offering in how-to videos. It was fun to make, but not very original.

doodle mania
structured art

The face was planned and the doodles happened along the way. It was fun and it felt original, not like a copy.

One artist I admire is Tamara LaPorte of Willowing Art. Her art journaling is beautiful and very structured. I have to say it bores me to copy in the long run. I just don’t have the patience. Do you? I still admire her art, but it’s not my cup of tea as they say.

portrait
structured
face
structured art

portraitThe pages may be pretty but they don’t speak to me in the long run. They are satisfying to paint, but…  After leafing through a bunch of my art journals I have to say 90% of them are filled with intutive art.

Intuitive art can be very frustrating, but also offer a window into my life.

art journaling

So when all is said and done, follow your own star!

I have a lot of how-to videos on my YouTube channel if you’re interested in the intuitive art process. You can browse HERE.

I have a blog post about living in the Now and creating art. The Moment Of Now.

Check them out and have a great creative week!

xo

Maria

P.S. My etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY is filled to the brim with magical and colorful things. Gift ideas anyone?

Art is self-care

Art is self-care, no bones about it. I have heard an excuse for not making art that baffles me.

“I don’t start painting because it might consume my entire life.”

I realize we’re prone to binge watch shows we like or read a book cover to cover in one night, but at some point you have to abandon those things in the course of a day (or night.)

We have to eat, mind children, do chores. They might get set aside temporarily and dealt with later, but I can safely say no one will be consumed by art.

It’s nice sometimes to lose oneself in a creative effort, but when the stomach growls it’s time to re-fuel and take a break.

Are we afraid of losing ourselves into FLOW of anything that pulls us? Are we afraid of letting go and experience a deeper sense of connection with that which wants to be expressed? I’d say so.

It’s hard to let go, and fear tends to creep in, not to mention the ego stomping its foot at the idea of letting go.

Self-care involves letting things unfold and enjoying the journey. SELF wants to speak, and CARE is similar to trust, to allow something that might be bigger than our everyday personas.

Art never hurt anyone. If you care about self, it’s time to heed the longing that pushes from inside. Make some art! It’s not going to be the end of the world.

Care also means to care about your art work. When you set out to create, don’t minimize the effort or belittle the expression. It might come out ugly in your OPINION, but it’s about creativity, not about striving to paint like Van Gogh.

It’s time to put some care into the art work. Make it your best and feel the sense of accomplishment.

I was into art journaling this week and asked myself how I could put more care into my art instead of slapping down some paint. There is nothing wrong with process, but what if I took it a step further?

art as self-care

I really wanted to come up with some angle I hadn’t tried before. What would it be like? I have painted many faces, but never used paperback page hair, so I went into my stash of paper. I really like the effect.

I might leave as is or write something on the left. It’s okay to leave and come back at some later date if necessary.

art as self-care

For the above spread I had planned a video, but only captured the background and how I tied it together. I work intuitively, and the recognizable parts appear in the paper background (if any.)

I put a lot of care and thought into every aspect, yet I kept myself open to surprise. To me, that is the best way to inspire and delight myself. The bird above was never planned, and the buddha became the iris of an eye.

So much fun!

Care about yourself and your desires.

Allow them to express in your life.

Care about your art.

When ego stomps all over your art, keep going and ignore it as much as you can.

Allow yourself the care of immersing yourself in your art. If you can’t, well, give it ten minutes a day!

For more inspiration check out this blog post: Because Journaling is Fun.

Lots of inspiration to you.

Maria

P.S. I have some new items in my etsy shop if you’re looking for something colorful and fun. 🙂 Earth and Faery

 

 

Crafty girl’s guide to art journal making

Crafty girl’s guide is a way to save on your art journals. Most of us mixed media artists drool over Moleskine and Strathmore brands, and many more, but they make a big dent in our wallets too.

Not that it’s bad to spend on good art materials. I do spend, but sometimes I like to make my own journal because it has “me” branded on it, not spiral binding or ugly covers.

I like to embellish the store-bought covers, but it’s something special about making your own.

I have even made some to sell in my etsy shop because beginning art journalers sometimes have a hard time with the blank page, so I make some simple backgrounds on the pages.

I buy watercolor paper on sale and take the pads apart for easy art making.

Then I fold the painted pages and use a bone folder to flatten the crease as much as possible. I sew the pages together with embroidery thread or hemp string.

The reason I like embroidery thread is that it’s colorful and strong, and flexible.

Crafty girls know how to be creative with the backgrounds in the journal. The more you create, the more your creativity blossoms.

Make your own!

crafty girl's art journal making
crafty girl’s journal

This is the latest journal I made. I covered the front and back with some vintage paper. The cover can be painted or more ephemera added on top. The label can be affixed anywhere or left out.

So much fun!

crafty girl's guide to art journal making

Above is a sample page of a background, and below are a few more. As you can see, crafty girl’s can make this EASILY!

crafty girl's guide to art journaling

crafty girl's guide to art journaling

So easy… A while back I made a video on how to put the pages together into a journal.  HOW TO VIDEO.

I have written some posts about art journaling basics for you. CLICK HERE TO READ.

ART JOURNALING STUFF (mostly cool backgrounds.)

If you need a push, here’s another post about the importance of allowing yourself to make art. BEGIN NOW! 

Now you can make your own journal and get started with art. There are no excuses and there is no time to lose. If you love art, make some today!

xo

Maria

P.S. I made a simple e-course on how to make a variety of art journals. It’s for the crafty girl in you! 🙂 CLICK HERE. 

You can also visit my etsy shop for more journals if you don’t want to make your own. EARTH AND FAERY