Category Archives: art tutorial

How to make a rustic clay plaque

How to are two words that I live by. I love to learn new art techniques, and I love to share my knowledge. I published a new YouTube video this morning on how to make a rustic clay plaque with cute embellishments. See picture below. You can check out the video HERE.

May was a very productive month for me, and I spent most days in the studio. It has gotten midsummer hot already in Florida so I like to stay in the air-conditioned house.

Here are a few examples of my art in May:

There are many more, but I don’t want to upload all of them since some look mostly the same.

Do you struggle with creator’s block? I find that picking up a new type of art expression or taking art classes helps to kickstart your inspiration. Sometimes I get too many ideas and it’s hard to choose what to pursue next. I had difficulties with motivation earlier this spring, but after spending hours on Pinterest and re-taking some old online classes, I was ready to go again. Sometimes you have to regenerate by not making art, and that’s ok. We think it’s the ultimate virtue (by society’s standards) to always be super productive.

Trust in your ability to rest and renew your creative well. All goes in cycles! I say: enjoy every facet of your life!! 🙂

Many of the items above are available in my etsy shop: EarthandFaery

I also took up a challenging crocheting project, a blanket, the Fruit Garden design by Janie Crow. You can find the book on Amazon. Here’s a picture from the book.

So far I’m enjoying the challenge, but it’s not easy. I know I will finish it, but it’s going to take a long time. Taking up a new hobby helps with art inspiration as well.

Have a wonderful June! I wish you lots of creative energy. 🙂

Lots of love,

Tutorial on how to make a plaster angel

Tutorial on how to make a plaster angel out of an old tin and twigs for legs. There are a lot of pictures, and I will explain every step of the process.

List of materials

  • An Altoids tin or other tin with a lid
  • two sturdy twigs
  • plaster strips (can be bought on Amazon)
  • a flat stick
  • aluminum foil
  • masking tape
  • sandpaper
  • sealer
  • acrylic paints
  • clay face, polymer clay or air dry clay
  • Apoxie Sculpt or other epoxy clay
  • a piece of cardboard

I began the process by making a hole at the top of the Altoids tin and two holes on the bottom using an awl. On the bottom part, I pushed in the awl as far as it could go to get holes large enough to insert the twigs. You can use a drill, but you would need some clamps to hold the tin in place.

I used aluminum foil to keep the flat stick and the legs firmly in the tin, and then I sealed it with masking tape, making sure to tape the legs firmly to the box.

Then I wrapped the whole thing with strips of plaster. Use a separate bowl for water (not your water coloring bowl) to dip the strips, and put a protective sheet under the plaster. I used newspapers, but you can use plastic. Keep in mind that plaster is dusty and messy. The plaster will stick to itself, not the tin, so you need strips that are long enough to wrap around themselves. Note: wash your hands in the bowl when done, not under the faucet until most of the plaster is removed. Do not empty plaster water into the sink. I pour it outside, but you can let the plaster sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the next day (or so) pour the water down the sink and scrape the plaster into the trash.

(Sorry about the blurry image.) I wrapped the plaster especially tight around the top of the legs and the flat stick, several layers of plaster. Then I let it dry. If it’s cold to the touch the next day, it needs to dry longer. When completely dry, sand it lightly with some sandpaper, and seal it with two layers of sealer. I used Liquitex matte medium, but any sealer will work.

How to make the wings

I used 19 gauge annealed steel wire for the wings. See picture for how I bent it to form a figure eight (sort of.) The twisted part in the middle will act as the wall hanger. Bear in mind the wire will rust in contact with wet plaster, but I liked the effect. You can use aluminum wire if you don’t like rust.

Then I covered the wings with plaster and let them dry.

I worked on two different angel sculptures so the pictures are a bit mixed bag.

Re clay faces

I made the faces from polymer clay and painted them with various layers of paint. I have a tutorial on YouTube on how to paint faces. You can sculpt a very simple face out of clay and paint it. VIDEO LINK.

I added a piece of cardboard to the head for a headpiece and to hold the face in place. I mixed some Apoxie Sculpt to make a thin layer for a halo and stamped it with a rubber stamp. I rolled a piece of clay to stick on the back of the face to attach to the clay halo. I also added a flat piece of clay to the back of the cardboard.

When dry, you could see the flat stick through the clay, so I added another layer over it. Epoxy clay takes about 24 hours to dry completely. I also added clay to the wings to attach them to the body. Glue doesn’t work well on plaster even if it’s sealed, so go for some kind of epoxy clay.

My second doll is below.

The hearts on the chests of the two angels are made from Apoxie Sculpt and then painted when dry. I used raw sienna to paint all the edges of the tin and wings to get an aged effect.

Then I used unbleached titanium white and titanium white in layers to cover the body.

I sealed the angels twice when dry, painted the heart embellishments on the chests, and added some sweet affirmations from a Tim Holtz book of inspirational quotes. Two happy angels!! 🙂

They are available in my etsy shop Earth and Faery. Please check out my other art items for sale as well. 🙂 Thank you for reading this far. If you have questions, please post them in the comments.

Be brave in the face of inner struggles

Be brave, “don’t listen to the inner critic” people say. It’s trite but true. No matter where you are in your artistic career, you’ll face new and daunting challenges. “I quit,” you say, “I can’t get my mojo back”. In the big scheme of things, a few days (months) of no creative urge don’t matter much.

I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003, and when I look back, it has been a pretty wild ride from then to now. The urge to paint never went away, but I went through long periods of not knowing what to paint next. My mind was blank.

In comes the doodles and the testing of art supplies! (Thank God for that.) Back in the day, I committed to making some art every day, and I have pretty much stuck with it. I get antsy if I don’t make something artsy every day.

So I’ve painted abstracts, geometrics, funky figures, florals, aborigine-inspired art, portraits, spiritual “beings”, and through it all, I’ve made clay mosaics since 2008. I still have pictures but my earliest attempts were lost in a computer crash, but here are some from 2009.

I look back at my old art and realize how different my art is now, but I suppose the vibe is more or less the same.

The artist’s journey

As stated above, when you’re an artist you journey along with your creativity. I never know where it’s going to take me next, but lately, I’ve been painting funky florals. Who knew?

It makes the artistic path exciting. I made a YouTube video on how to paint a similar floral. Check it out HERE.

I have no idea where I’m going next. My mind has been blank for quite some time, but I was painting over an old painting and realized I had the beginnings of flowers, and the rest is history as they say.

Trust

Trust that your muse has your back. As you change and deepen as a person, so will your muse take you on the next leg of your art journey. You don’t need to know a hundred miles ahead, just the next step.

When you trust that everything is as it should be, your next step will be revealed. Don’t ever quit! All you do is prevent yourself from new artistic exploration. In the beginning, I wanted to paint like Marc Chagall. That never manifested but I added a few funky chickens (roosters) like his in my art now and then. 🙂

Marc Chagall painting

I get inspiration from all kinds of artists, but I feel better when I inspire myself. 🙂

Keep making your art! Don’t be afraid to explore. Doodle if nothing else works. I have doodled on packing paper, deli paper, napkins, printing paper, paper towels, and junk mail. You can make your own delicious paper to use in your paintings or art journal. I made a Mark Making video for you. Check it out HERE.

If you are in the market for floral art, I have some for you in my etsy shop. 🙂 Earth and Faery.

Also some nature spirits in clay, and some sewn songbird sculptures that are new. Next, I’m going to make another clay chicken! I’m almost out, and Easter is coming fast.

Happy creating, and lots of love. I’d love to hear from you.

Maria

New year, new inspiration, still old me

New year, can you believe it? We begin with a bang thinking that this year will be different. We’re going to shed all bad habits, take up good ones and finally break through THAT resistance, and vanquish all procrastination.

I have news, we are still who we were on December 31, but I can see the lure of a fresh year ahead. I entered the Goodreads reading challenge to read 55 books this year. I read a lot so I will probably make it, but maybe that is the optimism of a new year speaking? We shall see…

I did start the year with a creative bang, so at least I have that going for me. Art is in my blood, and the more art I make, the more anchored the “habit” gets. It is a good, nourishing habit!

Make art get into your blood! Take a daring step to incorporating an art habit into your daily life this year. It’s amazingly rewarding. If you are reading this blog, you are an artist. This year, give your art a great deal of love and attention. It will make you so happy.

Here are some things I made in January. These figures are elves /nature spirits / fairies, whatever you want to call them.

I made some floral paintings as well, and a funky bird. You can check out these items in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

I have a gift for you! Yesterday I made a how-to YouTube video on painting a funky floral like the one above.

YouTube video link

One of my most popular YT videos is the on how to make a spirit doll. You can easily make one and stuff some intentions and affirmations into it. I write them down on pieces of paper, and with the focus on my intentions, I incorporate them into the doll. So much fun! Check out that VIDEO here.

For art journaling or plain writing journaling, I have a simple tutorial on how to make your own journal. All you need is willingness, some art supplies like watercolor paper and a few paints, and some string or embroidery floss. Check that blog post HERE.

I’d love to hear what you’re working on or what difficulties you have with making art into a consistent practice. Leave a comment below or write to me at maria@mariagreene.org.

Have the best year ever, and lots of love and glitter sprinkles! 🙂

Maria

Art is a blessing

Art is a blessing in these broken times, and always! I practice making art almost every day, and when I’m in the flow, all troubled thoughts go away. So I highly recommend art as a form of meditation.

I can’t always settle down, but knowing from experience, I at least try. Sometimes it’s great to get out of the house and see other vistas than the mess in my studio, but I always end up there.

The creativity /art is a red thread that travels through my life, and it’s tied to the timelessness that is LIFE itself. In that I find solace and inspiration.

Do you lack inspiration when the world is dark?

Sometimes I do, but some scrolling through Pinterest gives me new ideas. I can translate ideas into my own style, and it’s both rewarding and frustrating. A new design always has its share of frustration. That is the challenge!

We need a good challenge, often! At least I do.

I have some empty Altoids tins, and I’ve been making shrines with them in the past. This time I wanted to make a sculpture that could be hung on the wall. I wrapped some epoxy clay around it and made an armature for head and shoulders. It didn’t look like much after the first round of clay, but I had to let it dry 24 hours before I could add another layer.

The second day I added facial features, a “shrine” to nature on her stomach with a nest and a heart, and then hair, which was wrapped around a cardboard form to get the “flip.” Facial features are always a challenge, but I was somewhat pleased with the result. I knew she would look better with paint.

Art doll in clay

That is one thing you can make with an Altoids tin.

I haven’t made that many items this month. I painted some and made a couple of clay “women”, but that was pretty much it.
I got some art journaling done as well, and here’s a short video of the spreads. Sometimes weeks go by without art journaling, but I always go back to it. Some kind of addiction, I guess. 🙂

I’m always looking for new techniques and materials.

I also made a video tutorial of a spring-like spread from the other day. We already have some spring signs here in Florida. The light is much brighter as well. The migratory birds are starting to return to their northern homes already, for another round of raising families.

There are some new things in my etsy shop that you can check out. Earth and Faery.

I wish you an awesome February! Till then, may you have lots of art inspiration. 🙂

Love,

Maria

Mixed media with sea-loving flair

Mixed media is one of my go-to modalities when I want to experiment and have some fun in my art journal.

There are so many ways to add mixed media elements to your art, as many as you can imagine! 🙂

Mixed media is the essence of flexibility.

I made this art journal spread with some sea-loving flair. Mice are on an adventure and a mermaid is sending them some good vibes.

I haven’t been as busy as usual in my studio this month. Times have been kind of crazy, and my thoughts have been scattered a lot.

But I’m ready for Christmas, and there will be mixed media galore in my Etsy shop, but no art journaling there. 🙂

As you can see, I painted some pictures. I also tried my hand at some polymer clay brooches, which were a lot of fun, and a mermaid pendant. What do you think of these?

I made some more angels since they sell well in my shop.

If you are interested in any of these items, they can be purchased at Earth and Faery. There are about 150 items to choose from. I’m amazed at myself as I keep making stuff. When you’re inspired, everything flows!

If you missed my last post, Altered Pages Just for Fun, here it is. You can watch a three-part video tutorial on how to make altered pages with texture and paint. Then I show how to use them as ornaments and as a journal cover. CHECK IT OUT.

It’s always good to make some art in these crazy times. 🙂

My aim is to inspire.

Lots of love,

Maria