Category Archives: art

Seascape mixed media tutorial

Seascape mixed media art is on my table today. It includes so many things, the beautiful sea itself, shells, fish, mermaids, starfish, glitter, all-natural things that cheer my heart.

To give you some inspiration I’ve made a picture tutorial on how to choose the embellishments and finally put it on a canvas.

In my previous post, I gave you a tutorial on how to make a polymer clay seascape and glue it to a canvas. This one is a bit more basic. You may wonder what to do if you don’t have the ingredients. You can substitute pictures for shells and sea life, make cut-outs from blue paper and make a collage. I don’t expect you to have seascape shapes on hand, but if you do, have at it! 🙂 You can find some shells and glass pebbles at the dollar store.

Some background: I began a canvas using Liquitex modeling paste, and then spread various paints over it. I loved the texture that came of that:

Seascape background with texture

I didn’t like the colors so I altered them to more blue and green, but let me first show you what a new canvas with applied modeling paste looks like:

It’s hard to see white on white, but there are some waves. I have a stack of stencils with shapes that fit the sea, so I added a few. You don’t need to add too much. You might need a flat surface to add your ephemera.

Seascape mixed media steps

Once you have a canvas with dry paste (it doesn’t take long,) you can add all kinds of color with baby wipes, or a brush, and blend.

The old canvas that I altered to be more sea-like.
Sea shapes I can alter

I had a stack of chipboard sea shapes that were ready for a coat of paint, but first, which ones do I use? The canvas measured 8×10″, which was pretty large compared to the shapes. The mermaids were small in comparison, but I wanted to use one as a focal point.

Placing some shapes to see what fits.

The pink items are polymer clay shapes I made from molds and some charms I had lying around. I knew the mermaid shape would not be enough of a focal point, but I moved along.

Seascape and baking doily?

I tried many ways to make the mermaid stand out more, ending up with half a cupcake doily that I painted pearl with added glitter. As you can see, I painted some of the shells and starfish using metallic Inklingz paint. If you have any gold or silver paint in a tube, you can spread some on your finger and wipe over the items to get the shine.

The seascape didn’t work

I tried so many different configurations but knew the canvas too large. You can only add so many do-dads before it becomes too busy.

Seascape on too large a canvas

I decided to transfer some of the items to a smaller canvas, a 6×6″ size that I had. I first painted some green and blue paint to cover the old painting. Then I laid out the shapes and found a lot more harmony in this configuration. The mermaid is still kind of subtle, but the pearl doily draws you in.

Seascape on a smaller canvas

The starfish are as large or larger than the mermaid, but who knows, maybe there are giant starfish in the sea…

Here’s another sea-related item I made.

Mermaid art

The mermaid is created from polymer clay and baked. I glued the form to the canvas and added the do-dads. Lots of fun!

The other day I went through some online art classes I’ve bought when they were on sale, one of them, Bird peeps by Lisa Renner. That was a fabulous class! It’s polymer clay with a face mold.

I spent a lot of time in my studio this month. What else am I going to do while in quarantine? Arting is not a hardship! 😀 Here is a collage of other things I made:

Most of the items are available in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Due to the coronavirus sales have slowed down considerably, but that’s to be expected.

I hope you got some inspiration to try some art. YouTube is full of tutorials if you don’t want to try a seascape. Creativity makes you stay sane in these crazy times…

Lots of love, and stay safe!

Maria

The struggle is real

The struggle is real when it comes to creating something out of nothing. I have yet to meet an artist for whom the art flows freely all the time. Every encounter with the canvas is a challenge, but some days are better than others! Thank God for that.

I find that crafts are so much easier, but they don’t always turn out right either, especially when created from scratch. If you have a pattern you can create something great immediately, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I love painting, but why does it have to be such a struggle? I have written a lot about resistance to art-making. It is explained really well in Steven Pressfield’s book THE WAR OF ART, break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. It’s a great read if you’re struggling. What has saved me is persistence, “make art every day.” I wrote a post about that HERE.

In the face of struggle, keep coming back

You have to continue to make art to grow, to bust through the daily resistance. As you know, I paint intuitively so any given day, I have no idea what will appear in my art, and it’s a constant challenge.

I put down layer upon layer on the canvas, mostly hating the combination of paint, paper, and Mod Podge. I took some pictures of my current paintings, and right now they are total chaos.

Some people might say they are finished the way they are, and who’s to say they are wrong? But if they don’t feel done to me, I have to keep going. I finished a couple of paintings last week. They both looked similar to the ones above when I went for the finished layer. I saw some shapes of animals in the mess and went from there.

I love painting pets so I was happy with these weird creatures. As you can see, there’s a lot of bleed-through of the underlying layers.

More often than not, I add the paintings to the pile leaning against the wall for later work. They might get gessoed over or I might see a way to repaint them, but there’s no guarantee.

As with anything challenging, you have to face the fear/resistance/doubt/disgust as you tackle the task in front of you. The same goes for any unpleasant task in life, but art should not be unpleasant, and it isn’t, just challenging.

When I get sick of painting, I make my crafts. They might not come out the way I envisioned, but they are always fun. They also create balance in my life. These are all available in my Etsy shop. The paintings will be available too. I sell a lot of the spirit doll faces, so I always make a batch.

It’s easy to overthink the process of art-making. When I’m in the flow, I trust my hand to make the right moves on the canvas. When I think about it, or worry about the color, nothing comes out right, and I start doubting the process, doubting myself. I set the painting aside and come back later.

If you missed my post about resistance, you can catch it HERE. I think all artists struggle in the studio from time to time, but we can support each other with inspiration or suggestions.

Have a wonderful week creating lots of things!

Maria

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