Category Archives: art

My word for 2020

My word for 2020 is faith. It takes a lot of faith to blaze new trails in the wilderness of creativity. I feel inspired to move on, create things I’ve never done before.
First, I have a little inspiration for you, the process of my latest art journal spread:

Art journal pages tutorial with floral napkin and writing.
My word for 2020

I started by applying a paper napkin to the bottom half of the pages, using Mod Podge. I separated the two layers of the napkin first, and the top layer was very thin, making awesome crinkles in the paper when I attached it to the page. I then painted the top part an unbleached white and used an old gift card to scrape some green over the dried paper napkin.

Adding a paper napkin to my art journal
adding paper napkin

You can see the ridges in the napkin well, and where there is a paler area in the white paint where the Mod Podge acted as a resist, adding more interest to the page. I like how the flowers on the napkin shone through, making me think of spring.

I added stems from my stash of paper. Friendship sayings were printed on the paper, and I thought they would add more interest to the art. I cut out flowers from other stashed junk and glued them all down.

paper flowers added to my art journal spread
cut out paper flowers

I enhanced the stems and flowers with black lines from a ballpoint pen and wrote down my word for the year. Simple but fun!

my word for 2020 is faith
my word for 2020

I have dipped my toes into other media as in sewing. I’m obsessed with textile birds at the moment. Using two Ann Wood patterns that you can find at Annwoodhandmade.com, I made a songbird and an owl. Lots of fun, but also some frustration when things didn’t go so well.

Pink songbird made from scrap textiles.
Pink songbird

This debonair gentleman is called Sir Percival. He has lots of wisdom and goes his own way, but is always willing to offer a word of encouragement. He has lived a long life, and he likes to read books.

He’s fashioned from soft materials, but he’s not a toy. He’s an art doll enjoying lording it over other dolls, but he’s kind.

These two birds are for sale in my Etsy shop. You can find the owl HERE. The songbird is available HERE.

Apoxie Sculpt is of the most difficult materials I’ve worked with. I like the incredible hardness when dry, but it tends to be too soft, and if you wait, it gets too hard to work with. You only have a couple of hours of work time with the clay. I haven’t found the sweet spot yet.

I finished the bird I made a couple of weeks ago, painted two layers of paint and fixed the wobbly leg. It came out ok, but the turtle I made with the amethyst crystal did not end up as planned, but I’m learning. The clay is so different from polymer clay or paper clay. Since the end product is so much stronger, it’s worth learning how to handle it correctly.

The main thing is to have fun!

I hope you’re having fun this week. Make sure to add some creative practice to your day. Every day is a gift. Make it juicy!

If you missed my last post, here it is: Person or bird? I made some molded faces with Apoxie Sculpt and sewed them to fabric bodies. What do you think?

Happy creating,

Maria

Dastardly Owl & more

Dastardly Owl was so much fun to make. I did not come up with that name; Ann Wood did. I used her pattern to make him and it was so much fun! She also has a lot of free patterns on her website if you like sewing small creatures. I’ll post a link at the end of this post. So this was a detour for me, and I learned that I can still sew even if I don’t sew much these days. Now I’m hooked on fabric birds, but it’s anyone’s guess how long that fascination will last.

There are so many patterns and creative people out there! I can easily spend hours on Pinterest if I start cruising. The dangers of social media, right?

Things were busy around Thanksgiving, but I still had a productive November, and it makes me feel good. I made mostly mosaics but also got some painting in, though painting is at the hub of my frustration with art-making.

Every day is a challenge when it comes to painting. Here are a couple of items from November’s collection.

Handmade owl made with an Ann Wood pattern.
Dastardly Owl
Dastardly Owl back view
Dastardly Owl back view
Mixed media mosaic wall plaque
Mixed media wall plaque
You are blessed, angel mosaic
Angel mosaic
Mini painting in a watch casing
Painting in a watch casing

As you can see, I tried a lot of different things to challenge myself. Most of the items are on sale in my Etsy shop, free shipping across the board.

My goal is to make all the Christmas gifts this year. No shopping on Amazon or elsewhere. Are you making any gifts?

There is a sweet needle case on Ann Wood’s site that would make a great gift. Needle book pattern. Even if your friends don’t sew or make crafts, everyone can use needle and thread.

Your woo-woo friends might like a Spirit Doll tin, made from random papers and an empty tin. The post is HERE.

You could make a set of homemade mixed media cards. They don’t have to be Christmas related. Here is a tutorial for a Mixed Media Card. You can buy sets of blank cards and envelopes at places like Joann Fabrics.

I usually love homemade gifts even if they are not perfect. Don’t let your feelings of inadequacy stand in the way of creating something personal. The gift will be one-of-a-kind. 🙂

Lots of love, and remember to BREATHE.

Maria

obsession with technique

” My jump is not high enough; my twists are not perfect; I can’t place my leg behind my ear. Please don’t do that. Sometimes there is such an obsession with the technique that this can kill your best impulses. Remember that communicating with a form of art means being vulnerable, being imperfect. And most of the time it is much more interesting. Believe me “.
BARYSHNIKOV

I read this paragraph by Baryshnikov this morning and thought, wow, exactly what I would say even if my words don’t have the same clout as his. (If you don’t know who he is, Google him. He was a famous Russian ballet dancer, still is.)

Dancing ballet is a lot more exacting than slapping some paint on paper, and I don’t know how they live with their small imperfections when the dance looks flawless to me. He also said: “It doesn’t matter how high you lift your leg. The technique is about transparency, simplicity, and making an earnest attempt.”[ (From Wikipedia.)

We are so ready to find any fault with our process. What if we change that and revel in the accomplishment of a failed tree, or whatever you’re painting? Bob Ross used to say when he painted something that was off: “And now we have some happy birds instead.”

I love that! 🙂

Obsession with technique is not in the cards for mixed media artists. We feel our way forward.

Be your own best cheerleader! When you struggle with a painting, it’s courageous to put the next dab of paint on the project. It’s a gamble, one that could bring the project onto a great new path or wreck the momentum.

It’s a risk I’m willing to take every day. I have lots of half-finished paintings that went nowhere, but I will pick each up and try again (at some point.) I like to finish what I start.

Obsession with technique was not part of this little locket painting. I drew a simple outline and then painted.
Locket art

It’s good to have some different techniques so that you know how to handle paint or other materials, but don’t let that stop the creative flow forward.

With my mosaics, I cut, bake, and paint a big pile of tiles. I don’t choose them for color when I put the art together. Whichever tile fits is the one that goes into the empty slot. It sounds wild, but the project usually turn out okay without a plan. I always start with a focus tile or tiles and go from there.

Some turn out prettier than others, but I’m always happy with the result.

Polymer clay mosaic wall art of a sun goddess with a winged heart.
Sun goddess mosaic art

The sun goddess above was not worried about technique, but I had to use a template to cut out the halo and the dress. I experimented with color and different shaped tiles and found the process so enjoyable.

What do you enjoy the most? What brings out the “child in you” that can’t wait to get up in the morning?

A life lived in that frame of mind is always positive. The person would say on their deathbed: “I don’t regret anything; it was a heck of a great ride.”

Let’s begin to live and do whatever it takes; every day is a new commitment to joy!

Here’s to courage.

Love, Maria (taking her own advice.)

For more inspiration, read this post about Passion and Perseverance. (The title sounds like a Jane Austen novel… 🙂

Passion and Perseverance

Passion is, of course, important in anything that you do on a regular basis. I find it can be cultivated. In my art practice, my passion has grown over time. At first, I felt an urge to create, a feeling deep inside that insisted on being acknowledged. I’ve had that urge all my life.

Things happen and you get away from the urge calling you, but it never quite goes away. That is your soul calling; do something you enjoy in life, it says, don’t be a drone and waste your life.

As I listened to the calling within, I knew I had to take action, consistently. The more action I take, the more my passion grows. It’s that simple. That is the perseverance part.

The trick is to take action. If you don’t, your creativity won’t have a chance to mature, like an apple on the tree. It’s so important to heed that calling within. Some people create ten minutes a day and find their creativity blossoming.

Whatever form your creative urge takes, give it a wholehearted try, and your life will transform, if you’re persistent enough. The universe loves action takers! 🙂

I was busy in October. I made many polymer clay mosaics, all the time trying to stretch my imagination to keep them fresh. I painted some original art, but the resistance in that area was massive this month. Where there is resistance there is an opportunity for growth!

Passion, an abstract dog?
Abstract dog

I created a mixture of paintings and mosaics, and my bestseller the spirit doll faces.

Spirit doll clay face
Spirit doll face

Passion always wants an outlet, what is yours?

I enjoy what I can make with the spirit doll faces, and I also like to share them with others since a handmade doll can be very healing. Any craft is healing in my opinion. You make it and you can enjoy the results.

I have three paintings I need to finish. I decided to upload my “Aliens among us” painting even though I wasn’t sure if it was complete. When nothing more comes, I judge it finished, BUT new ideas might come along later, things to add, things to paint over.

Passion is daring to trust the process…

Abstract outsider painting

Last but not least, my mini shrine with a sweet angel.

You are loved!

angel shrine

Have a great Halloween! I wish you lots of time to create also. 🙂

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

Charles Fillmore

Love, Maria

Today I made this spirit doll

Today ended up being a creative day where everything fell into place. I have been working on spirit dolls, or spirit boxes since there is a box attached to the back for prayers or small treasures.

Back in 2018, I wrote a tutorial on how to make these boxes. If you want to make your own, go HERE for instructions. They are so much fun to make. I posted a few pictures of the current creations for you here.

Today I made this
spirit doll / box
On my art table
spirit doll / box
Today I made this
Spirit doll / box

AIl I have to do is attach the box to the back. What takes time is all the gluing and drying. Otherwise, it’s not hard to make. You can make a polymer clay face from a mold. I also have some faces for sale in my shop Earth and Faery.

I made a box the other day, and here’s a picture. It sold already, so I know people liked it. 🙂 It is wearing one of my custom faces. The face above is made from a mold and then painted.

Spirit doll creation
spirit doll

This is the back view of that finished box.

Back of spirit box
spirit doll / box

Go ahead, try your own

As I said, it’s not that hard, and it makes a great Christmas gift for someone who loves unique things.

Creative challenges make us grow. 🙂

Lots of inspiration to you!

Love,

Maria

Let go of the safety net!

Let go, I say, and everyone will have a reason why it is important to hold on to the past. The safety of the past has a strong hold on most people, myself included.

I was watching some old videos on You Tube on how to embellish a box with lots of metal and paper accents. It turned out pretty, and it could inspire me to make a similar one, but no.

Here’s why: You can buy the art supply and create at your heart’s desire, but the components are made by other people. To get the desired look, you have to buy those components. The elements are mix and match. You are destined to succeed as all the tools are geared for the already successful design of the designer.

It’s not the easiest technique to master, but it is a “ready-made” artwork; you just assemble the pieces and follow the instructions.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I got inspired by fabulous mosaic artist, Laurie Mika, through her book Mixed Media Mosaics, to make my polymer clay boxes, but I ended up making my own designs, mostly because I did not have access to her supplies. My style keeps developing, but I don’t get any big ah-has as I do with painting.

It struck me anew how revolutionary it is to create something from scratch. Let go of the safety net! You use the elements and ephemera you already have. You can also gain fodder from the recycle bin. Creativity lies in the moment.

I have said it before; the artist has to be willing to explore what challenges her the most, discover the genius, like a diamond inside a lump of coal.

When inspiration pulls, and you respond, dare to go beyond the tried and true and explore the unknown grounds of self-expression.

There is a lot of uncertainty in that, but also great freedom.

It’s safe to make art from materials that someone else designed, but how challenging is it?

Let go of the safety net.

It’s like a blind man exploring the skin of an elephant. He will get the immediate texture of the skin, but can’t see the whole animal. Practicing art that comes from the deeper levels of the soul is the elephant not yet “seen.”

By keeping your focus on the moment, more is revealed as the art evolves.

Trust the subtle inspirations, choose the color that speaks to you right now, and after that, another color, and another.

let go of the safety net
let go of the safety net

When I let go, magic happens. It always feels new and amazing, even if the art itself doesn’t look like much. It is original, and no one can take that away. 🙂

There is a lot of resistance involved, but that doesn’t have to stop anyone from moving forward.

For some inspiration on how to deal with resistance, here’s a post on that subject: Resistance, we all feel it.

Another one: Practice never makes perfect.

I would love to hear how you deal with painting and making from scratch. Any ah-has or other insights?

Love,

Maria