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.
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.
This is the back view of that finished 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.
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.
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.
Trust yourself, no matter what people say, or YOU say about your art. It’s so easy to criticize and compare your work with that of others.
I’m sure you have heard it before. If we follow trends, one comes to mind lately, pouring paint on canvas. There is nothing wrong with that if you feel really passionate about it. As with every trend, it will fade away.
What feels right to you today?
It can change on a dime, but what feels like lots of fun and a creative challenge when nothing else fits? I was focused on art journaling and intuitive painting, and all of a sudden, none of those styles appealed to me, but I’m sure they will return at some point.
If you have made art for a while, you’re familiar with the fact that it always changes, like life. Sometimes it can be subtle, and sometimes NOTHING works. What then?
Trust yourself. What do you see that you want to try? Watercolors? Figurative drawing? Crafts? Maybe collage?
There are no rules and trust in your instincts. My go-to is crafts (for the most part, and I like to write.) I love trying new crafts, and lately, I found some blank wooden houses that I could embellish. I have made two, and there is two more underway.
Trust yourself in the moment
If you’re in a craft store and you see some materials that spark your interest, go for it. Don’t think about it; don’t over-analyze. You are free to try things. There is no boss or licensing company hanging over your shoulder urging you to make “more of the same” because it sells.
It’s about discovery
Trust that you can move forward on your artistic path. It may take many detours from, say, painting portraits if that’s your style, but you come back to the tried and true refreshed.
Picasso is a great example of an artist who tried so many kinds of art, and it added to his strength. He was not stuck in one genre but moved boldly as his muse inspired him.
So, let’s move boldly forward. If you have a dry painting spell, knit a scarf! One thing is not better or worse than the other. It’s all creative expression.
As we wait tensely in Florida to see what Dorian, the storm, is going to do, I will continue to create, maybe finish the two houses, and I will end up with a village! 🙂
Crossroads can be tough when you don’t know where to go next. I have found myself in that situation lately. I have so much inspiration, but what do I actually want to create?
I have been buying different kinds of art supplies that I would never look at before. Now I look for possibilities.
There is always some component missing for a project, or if you want to start a whole new creative stream, you have to invest in a lot of things, like tools and other supplies, to get it going.
I’ve been trying to use the debris in my studio, things I’ve had for years but didn’t know how to use. So what if I don’t know; I will charge ahead anyway.
Here’s an example of what I made lately.
I had some wire, polymer clay, and an empty “useless” box, plus an old key.
Crossroads can be tough, but you have experience.
When you have the experience, you know what your hands can do, so it’s easier to move forward. If you’re just starting out exploring your creativity, CHOOSE SOMETHING that appeals to you, and go for it! Don’t look at popular trends. That won’t work in the long run.
Do what feels good.
Which path seems the most alive? You don’t want to go backward, so it’s either going forward straight ahead or take the other road.
What is pulling you forward?
I have been making a lot of polymer clay mosaics, and recently I’ve found new tools to use for a different style of tiles. It makes an old craft exciting. I have also been drawn to sculpting more.
I’ve been sculpting clay faces for spirit dolls, and it has been hard to get the features right. They are far from perfect, but I keep trying, using the advice I’ve found online.
Faith in your abilities will make you take risks.
Crossroads force us to take a look at where we are and where we are going. They give us a gentle push away from the stagnation that happens if we refuse to grow.
Walking the path of an artist is a constant call to change.
People don’t like change, but as artists, we have to move forward if we want to explore the inner expansion that art offers us.
Maybe you’re called to leave an entire career…
That is a scary idea. We have all many reasons to stay where we are, in safety, and there is comfort in that, but meanwhile, the soul is calling us elsewhere. Listen closely to that call.
If you dare to follow your inner guidance, life might be tougher in some ways, but infinitely more rewarding.
At least take some steps in the direction of that call. If you lack in faith and experience, go forward anyway. There is lots of help along the way.
Take interesting live art classes and learn new skills. The teacher’s enthusiasm will rub off on you! 🙂
I made a small journal from an old manila folder. The tags and papers are all chosen from my studio detritus. I used paper, glue, washi tape, a sewing machine to make a fabric spine and seal the edges. I ended up with several pockets and many tags.
What is your next step?
I’m going to make a mixed media house with a bird.
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.”
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.