Category Archives: art

Tree painting’s journey from chaos to peace

Tree paintings are some of my favorites. Every living artist and every dead one had their own vision of trees.

I’m going to share how I painted this tree. It was a journey of lots of ups and downs.

I was ready to quit many times and just paint white all over it, but I let it sit and stew in its own colors.

I don’t have pictures of what brought it to chaos, but I started out just smearing colors across the canvas with my hands. I smeared countless layers and colors, and lost track of any possible solution for this painting.

It finally ended up like this:

tree painting

Some people might like the mess, but it didn’t feel finished to me at all. It sat like this for a long time. When I had left over paint, I would slap some on this painting.

tree painting

tree painting

Then I arrived at this, which was something beyond my scope. How could I bring out a focus in this painting?

tree painting

I finally saw a tree trunk in the mess, and drew two black lines and some roots. Then I had major problems with the background. It went through several stages before it felt right. tree painting

Here I had the tree painting, but I thought the background looked imbalanced. It didn’t feel complete at all.

tree painting

I added a tree to the side in the background, but … I wasn’t happy. Backgrounds can sometimes be tricky. You have to brave and forge on!

tree painting

Then I made the background almost white. I wanted to leave the space between the roots white. Still, didn’t work.

tree painting

This felt a lot more peaceful, a balance of dark and light encasing the tree “spirit.” I can see the spirit as a vibrant energy.

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s finished. I thought it was, but when I look at these pictures, I’m hesitant. Sometimes it’s easier to see what works and what doesn’t in a picture. It is a distance from the painting itself.

Time will tell.

I started this painting in April of 2015… You would think I could have finished it, but the Muse does not like a harness. I did plenty of other art meanwhile.

There is a time for everything…

xo

Maria

P.S. I have a sale in my etsy shop Dec. 9-15. Great selection of unique gifts! Everything is 15% off. EARTH AND FAERY.

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.

 

 

Long journey of art

Long journey of art is what you do in life as an artist. So many things change, but expression is something that calls from within. Have you felt the call but also the resistance?

It’s in human nature to procrastinate even though we know better. But you’d better begin because the journey is long as I said, yet, you can make a piece of art today!

I have gone through many incarnations as an artist in this lifetime.

I copied pictures from magazines, had a stint as a primitive country artist, a longer stint as an abstract painter, mosaic artist, many years of art journaling and mixed media. I still do that, but I also feel a pull towards something new, which can only be a deeper expression of who I am. I don’t want to copy or do a particular style any more.

I had a lovely chat with local artist and friend Joanna Mazurek

She went the traditional way of attending several art schools, and then left it all behind after twenty years as an artist. But, once an artist, always an artist…

I love to hear other artists’ perspective and get inspired by their inner drive to express themselves.

You need to express yourself.  What else is there? As you go deeper into the art, you also go deeper into yourself.

If you’re expression is something else, go explore it.

The pull to express yourself is your God-given gift to share with the world and with yourself.

Take the long view. You don’t have to be a sprinter. There is no competition or anyone standing over you with a stop watch.

We live life like that, rushing from one thing to another, and I have come to understand it’s so wrong. I spent so many years living other people’s dreams.

Even tiny baby steps towards expressing yourself is worth weeks of conditioned living. You can’t measure the impact on a grander scale, but the impact can be great.

A tiny flame starts a forest fire. The more tiny steps into exploration become a great sucking pull to express wildly, freely, and happily.

It’s worth finding your life. Find the mystery!

It’s also necessary to go through the “ugly” stages to get to a place in the process where you look at your art in wonder. It takes courage.

I will probably make art for the rest of my life, but as in the past, there has been ebb and flow.

The meandering long journey of art, oh how you challenge me, but I do love you! 🙂

Heed that call; it’s never too late!

Happy Halloween.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. My etsy shop is brimming with goodies for Christmas! Earth and Faery.

 

Magic making in the park

Magic making in the park requires a sense of openness.

I went to a nearby park by a big lake with a friend yesterday.  We had decided to paint by the water. I brought my art journal and a box of Neocolors2 and some water.

My friend Sheri brought a large canvas and loads of paint. We spread out our materials on the tables in the shelter. The weather was perfect; the humid heat had broken for once. A gentle breeze flowed over the water.  I wish I had taken some pictures.

The area around the shelter holds many old live oaks. There is an energy of magic all around and many birthday parties and wedding receptions have been held at that shelter.

Every time I go to the park I slow down, breathe, and feel the energy. I connect with the trees and feel into their energy to see if there is a message or an inspiration there. I ask if it’s okay to connect. Approaching nature in a humble way opens the door to communication.

Without the magic, there would be only Sheri and I making art, maybe copying a tree or drawing something realistic.

What I’m getting at is that magic happens in the moment. Either you allow it to sweep you along or you look at the surroundings with “tired” eyes.

I have lived “tired” for a long time and now all I want is the sense of magic, of connection with nature.

I doodled in my art journal feeling into the energy of my favorite tree. There were some colors, kind of like an aura. Mostly I got a clear blue. I don’t think the rendition was wholly true, but I have free will. 🙂

I have no idea where the giraffe came from…

magic making

Being aware of the subtle energies doesn’t mean I can depict them on paper, but I do my best.

Sheri started pouring paint all over her canvas and I watched in fascination. She only works on big canvases. I like a variety of sizes.

She spreads the paint with her hands in an intuitive process, which comes naturally to her. When done with that process, she looks to see what might appear in the paint.

We saw a turtle and a face, and I love how all the colors blended perfectly without particular care. When the paint dries, she enhances the images that pop up.

I own one of her large paintings and I never grow tired of it because the energy is timeless. Still, to this day I see new creatures in the painting.  I love the riot of colors.

magic making
art by Sheri Salin

The most magic part of her art is that people find her art mysteriously–locally. People just show up and want to buy a painting. She doesn’t even actively sell them locally although she has in the past.

Her intuitive painting process is lovely and I admire her fearless approach to art.

You can find some more pictures on her page at Saatchi art. CLICK HERE.

It takes guts and openness to create in the moment as it takes openness to connect with the essence of nature.  It is in that space that magic truly happens.

You can choose every day to feel the magic. I meditate to slow down and then I look at the living being that is our earth. Every blade of grass, every tiny bug is alive with magic.

Either we choose magic or choose fear. Fear is the conditioning we carry with us from our upbringing and the pressures of society.

All you need is to find a way to SLOW DOWN and truly look and feel into the natural surroundings or the paint if you’re creating something.

Feel into it and trust what comes out of the moment. To approach nature it’s good  ask for permission to communicate.  Nature wants to communicate with humans to make the world a better place.

Magic is real, folks. It swirls within us and everywhere outside. Open up to it and you won’t look at your surroundings with “tired” eyes ever again!

Here is an older blog post I wrote about magic:

Magic is afoot!

Have a great weekend!

xo

Maria