Category Archives: art

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

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.

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