Category Archives: art

Trusting yourself?

Trusting yourself can be an iffy business. I can say that I do for the most part, but then something happens to make me doubt my choices as in “am I insane?” 🙂

It happens to all of us since we live in a society that does not promote trust. It actually promotes the opposite.

However, we have a choice.  If you have the insight that you’re your ultimate judge of what is best for you, you can cultivate trust and see it grow from within.

We seek validation from others. That’s something ingrained in every cell from childhood. It’s a revolutionary concept to know you can trust your own inner wisdom and act on it.

How do you do that? You decide to begin trusting yourself. The trust can show up as a gut feeling, a sense of right or wrong, a strong desire to NOT do something that others want you to do. Ask your body before you make a choice. It will tell you the truth.  You can tell the difference between avoidance and truth. It might take some practice.

It take guts to go against the grain.  It’s likely you will encounter resistance from others and yourself. The more you trust and see that you chose the right thing, the stronger the trust grows.

Then there is the spiritual insight: life is everlasting so there is nothing to fear. Trust is the very essence of life. A small child has nothing but trust until it’s taken away.

What does this have to do with art you ask.

In art making, do you look for validation from others? Is what you painted okay or do you trust your own process however difficult or stumbling it appears? 
mixed media

I made this mixed media art in 2015 and put it in my etsy shop for sale. It never sold, and upon critical review I decided that the big bird was not right. At the time I liked the art.

We change and so does the art. I decided to reuse the canvas so I covered the art work with lots of papers that I proceeded to paint.  I have come this far now but I’m filled with uncertainty.

mixed media art

Should I paint something popular like a mermaid or some cute primitive animals or….? An abstract maybe?

The mind jumps in with suggestions all the time. Play it safe. Paint what sells, be smart. MONETIZE!

That takes away a lot of individual choice, doesn’t it? I wrote about the wisdom of the body to create a while back. It all comes back to trust. Do you trust yourself to make the right paint choices or mixed media combinations?

Who cares? Is it a matter of life or death?

Screw it all up and start again. There are no right answers. The art will tell you via your “good feeling” if it hit the mark of something awesome.

I’d say 90% of my art never hits the “awesome” status. Awesome is when something unexpected appears that could only come from the deepest inner inspiration.  It is inexplicable yet unmistakable.

Every time I paint I wish for that genius to step forward. It takes a lot of patience and ruined canvases. It takes commitment. Hard traits to cultivate. It takes a lifetime (or more.)

However, I have traveled the path of creating art on canvas for a long while now so the trust is there. I cultivated it by showing up at the project.

Maybe this one will be AWESOME!

What are you creating today?

Have a great weekend.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Check out my awesome  🙂 self-paced paper creating e-course. Lots of varied papers and ephemera and some art journaling spreads how-tos as well, about 9 videos. ONLY $24. LIFE’S SONG.

 

 

Fear holding you back?

Fear holding you back from pursuing your dreams? It happens to all of us, at least to those who accept they have a dream.

fear
fear

It was not random that we came into this world, and as we grew we showed certain talents and skills. Some were good at math, some at the gym, some showed artistic talent.

When I was a kid I knew I had a talent for words.  I loved expressive art, but it developed later. Words have always flowed easily for me so I ended up becoming a writer until that interest kind of petered out. But as they say, a writer is always a writer.

I have to say visual art is a tougher dream, but I love it passionately. There are so many ways to express oneself. Where to start?

art palette
art palette

There are two things I want to mention:

You often look at other people’s art and then try to copy it because you like it.

Or you encounter massive resistance.

That is the fear / ego kicking in saying lots of nasty stuff about your lack of talent and sense of color or whatever. Your fear will find something wrong with you no matter what. I wrote a blog post about resistance a while back: Who is in charge…

If you have no clue where to start, copy other people’s art that you love. As you get more sure about your art supplies and what they can do, you start to experiment with what you have learned.

As you grow bolder with each experiment, you start to feel more secure, but the fear is always lurking in the background.

Do the art processes that feel good to you. If it doesn’t feel right, try something else. There are so many techniques and tools it can be bewildering.  The only way through is to keep trying and doing.

If you hit a block, know that things are about to change. It usually shows up before a major breakthrough, but you can get stuck in procrastination. That is a sneaky way for the inner critic to attack you when you’re down. I wrote a post about that, available here: Procrastination is an ugly beast…

There are no shortcuts of easy fixes. Each artistic journey is so individual it’s hard to give advice that fits everyone.

One thing is for sure: A dream is worth pursuing, and the way to do it is to give it some time every day. Create a discipline for your dream. If it is important enough you will do it.

Is it?

Well then, what are you waiting for?

When all is said and done we have to do things that light us up, otherwise, what is the point?

Have a great creative week!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some handmade art journals in my etsy shop that might help to get you started. CLICK HERE to check out my offerings.

Inspired by emotion

Inspired by emotion is the title for the art journal video interview I had with artist Mel Bunny Sparkles. It was so much fun and she is full of inspiration and suggestions for new artists and veterans alike.

You will want to check out this video!

Bunny is the guest artist for June in my free 2017 Art Journaling Journey. If you haven’t signed up for the free prompts, you can do so HERE. You will receive all the prompts for this year via email. You can also join my Facebook group that is brimming with inspiration. CLICK HERE.

If you sign up for my regular art newsletter (top right corner of this page,) you will receive an art journal primer and a project to make. Great for beginners!  You have to start somewhere.

I also have many helpful art journal videos on YouTube under my own name. YOUTUBE CHANNEL. There are videos for beginners and for those who are looking for tips and tricks to jazz up their art journals.

art journaling
life at the beach

Have some fun, summer is here!

Lots of love and inspiration!

Maria

P.S I’m selling art journals ready-to-use in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

You want to sell art?

You want to sell art? Well, why not. We need more art in the world and yours makes a difference. Everyone’s art perspective counts.

People usually advise against becoming an artist since they always equate such a creature with a “starving artist.” Side note: I feed a feral cat and many people do, so why would we not feed starving artists??

There are many ways around the starvation syndrome, one is to become a creative thinker and produce many streams of income. (You can always get a sugar daddy or mama… joking.)

rainbow rose
rainbow rose

I painted the rose above in ’06 and I sold 7 versions of the same painting. I still own this one but I might put it in my etsy shop.

I paint, make mixed media art, art journaling, and several crafts. I enjoy them all. I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003 (how time flies!) What did I learn from that?

  • Always add hanging mechanisms on the back of the art. All I did was varnish the paintings and send them off. 🙂 Small paintings work well with sawtooth hangers. Large paintings require picture wire and eye hooks. Apply the eye hook to the INSIDE edge of the stretcher bars so that the picture will hang flat against the walls once you attach the wire.
  • Paint on gallery wrapped canvas or some other professional surface. If you paint on cheap stretched canvas and the staples show on the sides, you give the impression of “starving artist.” (Gallery wrapped canvas is the kind that is stapled to the back of the stretcher frame.)
  • If you can afford it, always buy stretched canvases with the deep 1″ edge.  They look so much better, and definitely don’t need a frame, which is a selling point. If you’re handy, stretch your own canvas. You can get rolled canvas for great deals on eBay. Other surfaces that are usable are Masonite and luon-covered plywood. Places like the Home Depot can cut them to size right there. You need to gesso the surfaces and they need to be framed (by the buyer.)
  • Write eye-catching descriptions if you sell online. That is a make or break point besides awesome art.  Use TAGS, as many as you can think of, so that peeps can find your art during a search.
sisterhood painting
Sisterhood

Sisterhood was a painting I ended up making eight versions of and they all sold. This was back in 2008. People have wanted to use the art for their business cards. I think women loved these paintings because of the sisterhood idea.

  • When something works, make several versions that show the same theme, different shapes and colors. I get tired of repeating myself, but I make as many as I can stand.
  • If you use mixed media, make sure the papers and ephemera are glued down securely. Nothing is more annoying than flimsy edges and corners that stick up.
  • Use a quality acrylic varnish to finish off the artwork.
  • Try lots of different styles until something clicks and you come home to yourself.
  • Master some kind of fun craft and sell the things you make.
polymer clay mosaic art
polymer clay mosaic

Crafts are like a meditation for me.

If you can only focus on one kind of artistic expression, do what you love the most and hold a part time job to pay the bills until your art takes off.

In this day and age, you can find our art spread all over the internet. I sell art and crafts all over the world through my two etsy shops. I find that my crafts sell better, but painting is my first love.

Arts and crafts shows were never something I wanted to do, but I know artists who do well with those. Whatever floats your boat.

Today I focus online and I have been creating art e-courses for the last couple years. Talk about a giant learning curve… lots of fun!

The bottom line: MAKE ART EVERY DAY, and you will sell some, guaranteed!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of lovely and affordable gifts in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY. Support a successful living artist today! 🙂

Artist struggles

Artist struggles can be hard to overcome, especially if the road seems pitted with pot holes and many disappointments, not to mention loads of failed art work. I will get to that.

There is the issue of artistic expression, and the issue of selling your art. In a way, they go hand in hand even if they are two different arms of the biz of being an artist.

brushes

Artist expression, how to negotiate the pitfalls:

The biggest thing for expression is COMMITMENT.  As with any other work you have to be committed to get results. How do you build commitment if you don’t have it?

You have to build a new habit by showing up every day at your art, come hell or high water! There is no way around this. Even when you feel no inspiration at all, you show up and put brush to paint or whatever medium you’re using. Prepare you tools and inspiration might start to flow. If it doesn’t, paint anyway. It might look like crap, which is often does, but so what? You can always paint over it later. The sooner we realize how important commitment is, the sooner we will see progress in our art endeavors. Make loads of ugly paintings and be proud of them!

COMPARISON: Don’t compare your work to that of other artists. You are unique.  Why would you want your work to look like someone else’s?  To find your own style, you have to produce a lot of art, trial and error style, until you feel the unmistakable vibe of YOU in your art. It can take some time, but you are committed.

Guitarists did not become great overnight… Practice can be tedious, but the progress is noticeable.

It’s hard to explain what the vibe of YOU is, but you will know. It feels right, it feels magical, it feels like “yes.”

Then again, you might lose that feeling as you continue to grow and advance in your art. Then you lean on your commitment until the next breakthrough.

JUDGMENT: It can be the death of creativity. If you judge your own art as you move through your process, you are likely to quit making art. Judgment of others can be hard to take, but why take their word for it? They come from their single point of view, and maybe they are envious of your courage to be an artist. It takes courage to let the world see your art. Who cares what others think, right? Thick skin, remember?

Those are the three biggies.

business

Two pitfalls in art biz:

VISIBILITY: Unless you’re a performer it can be hard to make yourself visible online and offline. Many artists are introverts and find it difficult to allow the vulnerability of self AND personal art into the world.

The only way to overcome this is to SHOW UP and grow some thick skin. People will always be quick to criticize, but if you did your best and you love your art, you don’t have to buy into the criticism. There can be helpful criticism, but you can feel the difference. Don’t buy into the b*llshit. Remember your passion for your art and your commitment.

It’s easier to be visible online since there is a barrier between you and the public, but you will encounter trolls there too. Trust in yourself. You are enough, and your art is enough. It’s a journey, and you keep on going.

Blogging and having an online shop are two ways to be visible online. What is most important to you? To have gallery representation or online sales? You can have both. I find ways to show my art, usually in shops, and coffee shops. So far, I have not been in more than a couple of gallery shows, but I’d rather sell online. That has been my choice.

Make several streams of income available.

CREATIVE THINKING: Art-ing is not the only way to be creative. To make opportunity for yourself, you have to get your art out there. Think of ways you enjoy to make your art available. You don’t have to be represented by a gallery to have good sales, or travel to art shows.

I mix it up with some crafts and I also make e-courses. Find several ways to bring in income from your art. Build a mailing list.

Some of these things are pretty boring, but have you ever done work that was all fun and play? Commitment involves doing the boring stuff that is needed for your art to be visible.

There are so many ways to sell your art online: Prints, art on totes and mugs, commissions, online shops, a website with all the links to your goodies. Get inspired by what other artists have done to sell their art. If they can, you can!

When I started out I used to sell art on eBay, and I look at my art from my early days and wonder how it ever sold!  Some did though, so there are people who will always see the beauty in your art even if it’s amateurish (compared to where you are now.)

Today is the day. Make that commitment and go for it!!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of new things in ONE of my etsy shops: https://etsy.com/shop/EarthandFaery

 

Who is looking?

Who is looking through my eyes? Kind of a deep question, and something that could be discussed at length, but to make it simple:

Life itself, filtered through many of my beliefs and preferences, (perhaps unfortunately,) 🙂

Life itself does not judge. When I’m aligned with that and in flow, working, I don’t think much about the art and where it’s going. I just DO.

who is looking?

I add one color or one item that pleases me. It’s an automatic act, pretty much. I lay down one color and then I choose the next and so on. I choose what pleases my eye in the moment.

The process intrigues me and the result usually amazes me because what appears is beyond what I would have painted had I decided to paint a still life motif or some other fixed view.

The process is so intriguing that it becomes the most desired way to express for me.  I’d go as far as saying it’s addictive.

It takes trust to work this way.  Trust grows by DOING.

What the art process reveals is always interesting even if I don’t like the finished art work. That happens quite often, but I respect the process.

Then I move on to the next page or canvas… and the next. After all, art is constant change.  Life is constant change. What we liked yesterday does not work today.

who is looking?

Art reveals life and life reveals art.

We learned to live in 3D by experimentation. Toddlers live in trial and error mode all day long. 🙂 Once we get past that stage, what then? Maybe boredom sets in.

I think it’s incredibly important to keep experimenting with life. No need to go to extremes, but what is your creative power?

It doesn’t have to be art, but for artists there are endless possibilities for experimentation. We are so lucky! We can be catalysts for life itself, our hands and tools extensions of something greater.

All we need to do is get in the flow every day, by DOING. Do art, make stuff, trust your instincts, have faith that all is well, embody the greatness.

Allow life to see through you and use your unique gifts. That’s when life becomes magical.

Have a creative weekend!

Maria

P.S.  The art journaling pages above are part of a new e-course I have set up, titled Life’s Song Art Journaling e-course. You will learn how to make your own papers and ephemera and incorporate them into your art journal pages. It’s a four segment course, and the first segment is available NOW.  The rest will be published once a month for the next three months. Each segment is ONLY $12!!!  Enroll now and get creative. CLICK HERE.