Category Archives: art

Do you like your art or not?

Do you like your art? It’s a tricky question since it’s easy to doubt yourself. How do you judge whether it’s good art or not? It’s in the eye of the beholder unless you’re a person who judges art on how close it comes to “reality.”

Everyone’s reality is different, and that’s why we use the saying “eye of the beholder.”

I judge the success of an art piece I make on how it feels. When it’s done, do I feel great about it? I sometimes feel good, but I know others won’t like it, and I’m usually proven right. However, that doesn’t matter; it’s all about unfolding and experiencing each piece of art.

It already exists on one level, maybe as an idea., and you work to make it look as close as possible to that idea, but it often doesn’t work out. The painting takes on an approach of its own. That’s when you have to trust the process.

You go to a museum to admire some art, but most of the displays leave you untouched. Art made from the artist’s passion will not fail to touch the deepest part of you. You have your favorites, and maybe a lot of people share your likes and dislikes, but art is something you can’t really judge.

Do you like your art or don’t you?

If you don’t, can you accept it without tearing yourself down? It is the sign of a mature artist to allow both likes and dislikes into their life as an artist. Most of what you paint does not transcend into the realm of “wow,” and more often than not, you leave the studio after a day of hard work, not wow.

Can you accept that the muse is absent?

It’s so easy to throw in the towel and say I’m not going to make art today. Maybe I’ll watch some Netflix series instead. It happens to me, but I take my commitment seriously. I’m too far in to give up my art making even if it’s not leading to a status of fame.

What if it unfurls your very soul with every bold step you take in the studio? If feels that way sometimes even if nothing makes sense. It doesn’t have to make sense to be enjoyable and productive.

Love your “uglys” as much as you love your inspired pieces. They all have a role to play in your life.

Accept it all! In the end, it doesn’t matter what you like and dislike. It’s just an opinion. Art lives a life of its own, and we are but its humble servants.

I just finished a mixed media piece, part of series of funky canvases that I have been making. I loved the previous ones, but this one is a definite “meh.”

funky houses, whimsical art
Do you like?

I also started a new painting that is 20×20″ in the intuitive style. I loved the background, and the face appeared on the side, but I’m stumped what to do next. Again, I’m sitting at the junction of ugly and possibilities. It could turn ugly or become an unexpected masterpiece.

a painting in progress
Do you like it or not>

It takes a level of bravery to continue. Each step is a step into the unknown. As artists, we create a new “life.” It’s often a frustrating way to go about one’s day, but it holds the promises of many treasures if we stick with it.

Acceptance is the key, but you can still have your opinions! 🙂

For more reading on the subject, this blog post is available: Why do you do what you do?

And this one: Pondering Authenticity.

Lots of love,

Maria

I have some of the new paintings in my Etsy shop now. You can check them out HERE.

From drab to colorful

From drab to colorful is a transformation of an old painting into something new that better fits me as the artist I am today. Painting over an old painting does not give me a sense of doom, lol. I’m not attached to my paintings much. When they are done, they are mostly out of my consciousness.

The paintings I can’t sell, I paint over. The forgiveness of acrylic paints is great. No matter how many layers, the paint only looks richer each time.

This particular painting went through several huge changes, each stage very different. Here is the end result of the transformation, and the pictures of the old finished paintings.

from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful
The painting started here.

I painted this face back in the day, but it never left my studio. I then painted some layers on top and the white as a last layer. I saw two drinking glasses in the shapes, but I never liked that painting. It was too colorless for my liking,

Here are pictures of the progress that brought the art to its current state (as in the first picture above.)

I added lots of marks and details, and some “loud” drips that took over pretty much everything. Then I painted over most of them.

from drab to colorful

I was not happy with the blue ground and the flowers. They dominated everything else, so I diminished the blue, as you can see in the next picture.

from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful

In the above picture, I toned down the white outlines on the flowers. They are better, but I’m not totally happy with them–may be too big. I outlined the houses with charcoal to make them more pronounced. It ended up becoming a happy painting despite the giant flowers.

What if the painting doesn’t work out?

You never know how things will evolve, but you have to put yourself into the center of the action. Don’t agonize and wait, just try something. You can always fix what doesn’t work. The most important thing in creating is to take action, no matter how hard the fear pushes back.

Action = courage = more action = results.

Sometimes you have to work on a painting with courage you didn’t know you had. Results, whether they are good or bad, will happen. You never know until you try.

If you struggle with fear, here is a helpful post: Fear Holding You Back?

Here is another post: Procrastination is an Ugly Beast.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Check out my items for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. There are some fantastic gift ideas.

The exotic life of an artist

The exotic life is not for everyone. Artists are supposed to be larger than life, but more often you will find us slugging away in our studios, alone, and fighting resistance, haha.

I think of exotic artists and come up with Georgia O’Keefe, but in her mind, she probably saw herself as a dedicated working woman. She was; I can’t remember reading about any debauched parties or deep discussions with other “tortured” artists at cafes. It’s funny the labels we put on people (throughout history.)

Art is often that, mundane, yet again exhilarating because you don’t know which turn will head you into a new phase of your art.

The only exotic thing I have around here is a flowering Claradendron. I should dress like an artist in flowery, hippie styles with lots of scarves, but I’m a conservative dresser. All my color goes into my paintings. What I wear on a given day are sweatpants, paint-stained tops / T-shirts, and sandals. It’s time for an upgrade! At least get rid of the gray ones.

I have been productive lately, feeling the “vibe.” Here are some of my latest wild shenanigans. They are going to hang in a local shop later today, and I’m glad more people get to see them.

boat of dreams
No title
Love at first sight

Are you adding some exotic flavor to your life?

It doesn’t have to be risky, just something new. Yesterday, I took a different road to a street I always travel, and it opened my eyes to possibilities. An exotic flavor could be to MAKE art, not just think about it. There is nothing to hold you back except your excuses (resistance.) You might as well make friends with it.

I’m moving more into abstract mixed media art lately. My whimsical critters show up on a regular basis, and that’s fun. I love whimsy as much as the next person.

How do you proceed with the art process?

You start. The above art was not planned. I pretty much always start with a layer of paint, and then I add paper scraps that please my eye. If I end up not liking the way they look, I paint over them. I usually do three layers of paints, including marks, and if I see some figure in the mess, I outline it. The outline surrounds the figure, and the unifying color in the background ties it all together. It is a fun and harmless process — no need to feel pressured or daunted by your perceived lack of ability.

Time is now!

You don’t need a charming studio, a painter’s smock or the most popular paints. All you need is a willingness to try, to apply yourself.

Lots of love,

Maria

For more inspiration, go to this post: Every Painting is a Leap of Faith.

I have some new things in my Etsy shop for those looking for a great exotic gift, haha. Earth and Faery

What if life seems blah?

What if one doesn’t feel like making art? What if life seems blah and there is no inspiration for anything in particular? It happens.

Life is not always a downhill ride; more often than not, it’s a slow, steady path forward. The mundane can be magical, but for the most part, we don’t see that aspect.

When you create art, you change the status quo, even if you don’t like what you produced. The fact that you did is something to celebrate.

Now, if art becomes mundane or just another chore, it’s time to focus on something else for a while. I like to crafts as a break of pace. There are endless varieties of crafts, something for everyone.

What if that doesn’t work, or you have no interest in crafts?
Ask your body how it feels when you apply yourself to various tasks. Do you feel eager or repulsed? Is there a feeling of “go ahead” or does it stand still, as in neutral? When it does, you have to stop and wait from a sense of direction. It will come, but it requires patience, which most of us don’t have. We want things to flow, to work out with ease.

Art has no master.

Either you follow its flow, or you go against it.
You will feel when you go against it; it’s like wading upstream in cold water. I have learned that inactivity is often a breeding ground for new ideas, some that you never thought about before.

Often I catch good ideas, like a gentle sweeping wave. If I don’t write them down right then and there, I forget them, and I know they will never come back. So many times I have ignored the recording part, but I’m listening more closely now.

Another way to break a slow drought:
Break out the sketch pad and draw some things. It could be the tea mug on the table, the cat (also on the table though it’s not supposed to be there.)
A pretty leaf with all it’s perfection, a chair, a car. Draw what pulls your attention, and then be happy with your effort. You’re not competing with anyone, least of all yourself.

I have a journal that I never show to anyone because it’s full of color slashes and messes that don’t mean anything except a way to express my frustration or lack of patience. It has more of my true vibe than most of my carefully crafted art.

Sometimes it’s too easy to get stuck in the preciousness of things.

My colors are too precious to be changed. The face in the picture can’t be tampered with at any cost. The result of such thoughts is stuckness. It’s all too precious to destroy but it’s in the destruction that the truth can come out.

It’s both hard and easy. When things flow I can paint a painting quickly, and then there is the issue of value; it was painted too fast, it can’t be worth much. If I labored over a painting that took days, it’s much more valuable.
That is screwed-up thinking.
People are captivated by the vibe of the art, not so much the execution.

What if YOU are the art?

Your vibe doesn’t lie, but if you painted with the finished product in mind, you let no vibe in or a lesser one. I want to let it all hang out, but it’s scary.
The only way to deal with that is to continue to paint. There are no shortcuts, only means of opening up more to the process.

Carry on, the path leads somewhere great…

goddess face, clay craft

If you want additional inspirational reading, this might interest you: Inspiration Where is It?

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop Earth and Faery, if you’re looking for unique gifts.

Every painting is a leap of faith.

Every painting is a new challenge. It can be scary to engage.

If you want to go deeper into your art, you have to attend to your feelings. What do you feel? All that energy can be fodder for your creativity. Say it in colors!

How deep do you want to go? When we allow our deepest emotions to stir to the surface and acknowledge them, we’re making a big leap forward (unless we push them back down.) You can make a pretty picture or a raw one.

When you see raw art, you pause. You might not like the rendition, but something speaks to you beyond the slashes of paint. It’s a remembrance. It reminds you of your own most profound hidden stuff, the wounded side we don’t want to look at. It doesn’t have to be dark and dreary, just direct and arresting.

Art is an excellent therapy if you’re willing to dive into the depths.
What comes out is raw and innocent.
Maybe you will paint a child-like picture of sunshine and smiley faces or perhaps slashes of dark colors.

If you don’t want to feel, paint safe projects. Make pretty pictures. That is okay as well. We all need brightness.

If you’re going to touch someone’s soul, you have to bare your own.
It’s all in the process, moving forward. It might take years to be vulnerable, but you grow your confidence to use your paints as a conduit. That is always a growth in itself.
What comes up in daily life is fodder for growth as an artist.

When you dive deep is when the wild side takes over and brings you into the “cauldron” of transformation. The answers to your questions then appear in your paintings. Honesty is the most important aspect of showing up to create.

When you feel short of honesty, you choose “pretty and safe.” I do it; we all do it, but there is always a longing to discover more depth.
I don’t know, is it only me?

Do you ask the paint what it wants to do? Do you ask it where it wants to go?
Do you invite the canvas to accept the paint?
I always feel into those things, but sometimes I cop out in the middle and choose the easy way through the project.

It’s the “instant gratification syndrome” rearing its head. I want to see the art finished, but I know that’s not what the canvas wanted. It’s hard to be patient and put the painting away for another day. The risk is that you’ll never go back to it. That happened with this painting recently. I don’t know what she wants, but I’m waiting to hear.

unfinished painting

I have several unfinished paintings and some that I paint over. At the time of their creation, they bloomed, deformed maybe, but expressed their gift. So, they offered their gift and then turned into a memory, possibly harshly judged as poor art.

Can we allow art to be what it wants to be?
Yes, for me anyway. I don’t always like it, but the breakthroughs are worth all the pain of waiting, the frustration of walking down blind alleys, and poor concentration.

How do you allow this process?

You have to sit with the discomfort and allow the frustration.
Be in partnership with your art making. Treat it with respect as you would a good friend.
There is no need to conquer or perform.
It’s okay to take baby steps.
It’s okay to slash paint all over the canvas without thought.
It’s okay to be angry, but what is that all about? Ask your anger. It has a strong message for you that can propel you forward.


Stick with the practice, set a time when you will enter the studio, and show your respect by showing up.
Art is a living being, a force of magic and brilliance. You want to dance with it, don’t you?
Art will grow you as a person; it promotes change. It can be subtle, but it’s there.

It can be a wild beast or tame as a kitten. In the long run, it never lets you down! Make art your best friend.

If you missed the art self-care boost during the first week of February, you can check out the first video on YouTube HERE. There are five in a row, marked with numbers.
It will give you a boost toward continual art marking. You can also join my creative group on Facebook.
Looking for some affordable art journaling e-courses, I have a few evergreen ones HERE.

Lots of love,

Maria

What do you value?

What do you value? I’ve asked that question to many aspiring artists and invariably get answers that have nothing to do with value itself.

Women more than men se their kids as their greatest value. I get that. Family comes first, but when I ask what THEIR most important value is, I get blank stares.

What would you do for yourself?

People live through other people and their values. We have forgotten to put ourselves first. Only when you put yourself first will you have a chance to value yourSELF and find out what really matters.

So many times I hear people wanting to make art, but there is always a “but” in the sentence. “When things slow down,” by such and such date. “When the kids are in college.” The most popular: “When I have some extra time.”

You know they won’t pick up a paintbrush or marker any time soon. It is sad, but that’s their choice.

What is important for your own evolution?

Mine is definitely creativity and also spirituality. Without spirituality there is no real depth.

Along those lines, I create every day. There is no tomorrow or compromises. Part of me always try to find excuses, like “I’m too tired,” “I’m not inspired,” “I’m not really any good at my art.”

Those are all bs excuses.

Whatever your dream or inclination, go for it. TODAY!! Start now.

On my work table, an unfinished soft bird sculpture, and a somewhat finished abstract painting.

The Dancer

Starting on February 4, I’m offering a free 5-day virtual art retreat with meditation and art creating (whatever your medium.)

If you want to join, please add your email to the list. I will send out the particulars at the end of January. A 5-day creative self-love boost! You can read all about it HERE.

You can sign up for the email HERE.

Happy New Year, and happy creation.

Love, Maria

P,S. I have fresh ready-to-use art journals in my etsy shop today. EarthandFaery.