Category Archives: artist

Inspired by emotion

Inspired by emotion is the title for the art journal video interview I had with artist Mel Bunny Sparkles. It was so much fun and she is full of inspiration and suggestions for new artists and veterans alike.

You will want to check out this video!

Bunny is the guest artist for June in my free 2017 Art Journaling Journey. If you haven’t signed up for the free prompts, you can do so HERE. You will receive all the prompts for this year via email. You can also join my Facebook group that is brimming with inspiration. CLICK HERE.

If you sign up for my regular art newsletter (top right corner of this page,) you will receive an art journal primer and a project to make. Great for beginners!  You have to start somewhere.

I also have many helpful art journal videos on YouTube under my own name. YOUTUBE CHANNEL. There are videos for beginners and for those who are looking for tips and tricks to jazz up their art journals.

art journaling
life at the beach

Have some fun, summer is here!

Lots of love and inspiration!

Maria

P.S I’m selling art journals ready-to-use in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

You want to sell art?

You want to sell art? Well, why not. We need more art in the world and yours makes a difference. Everyone’s art perspective counts.

People usually advise against becoming an artist since they always equate such a creature with a “starving artist.” Side note: I feed a feral cat and many people do, so why would we not feed starving artists??

There are many ways around the starvation syndrome, one is to become a creative thinker and produce many streams of income. (You can always get a sugar daddy or mama… joking.)

rainbow rose
rainbow rose

I painted the rose above in ’06 and I sold 7 versions of the same painting. I still own this one but I might put it in my etsy shop.

I paint, make mixed media art, art journaling, and several crafts. I enjoy them all. I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003 (how time flies!) What did I learn from that?

  • Always add hanging mechanisms on the back of the art. All I did was varnish the paintings and send them off. 🙂 Small paintings work well with sawtooth hangers. Large paintings require picture wire and eye hooks. Apply the eye hook to the INSIDE edge of the stretcher bars so that the picture will hang flat against the walls once you attach the wire.
  • Paint on gallery wrapped canvas or some other professional surface. If you paint on cheap stretched canvas and the staples show on the sides, you give the impression of “starving artist.” (Gallery wrapped canvas is the kind that is stapled to the back of the stretcher frame.)
  • If you can afford it, always buy stretched canvases with the deep 1″ edge.  They look so much better, and definitely don’t need a frame, which is a selling point. If you’re handy, stretch your own canvas. You can get rolled canvas for great deals on eBay. Other surfaces that are usable are Masonite and luon-covered plywood. Places like the Home Depot can cut them to size right there. You need to gesso the surfaces and they need to be framed (by the buyer.)
  • Write eye-catching descriptions if you sell online. That is a make or break point besides awesome art.  Use TAGS, as many as you can think of, so that peeps can find your art during a search.
sisterhood painting
Sisterhood

Sisterhood was a painting I ended up making eight versions of and they all sold. This was back in 2008. People have wanted to use the art for their business cards. I think women loved these paintings because of the sisterhood idea.

  • When something works, make several versions that show the same theme, different shapes and colors. I get tired of repeating myself, but I make as many as I can stand.
  • If you use mixed media, make sure the papers and ephemera are glued down securely. Nothing is more annoying than flimsy edges and corners that stick up.
  • Use a quality acrylic varnish to finish off the artwork.
  • Try lots of different styles until something clicks and you come home to yourself.
  • Master some kind of fun craft and sell the things you make.
polymer clay mosaic art
polymer clay mosaic

Crafts are like a meditation for me.

If you can only focus on one kind of artistic expression, do what you love the most and hold a part time job to pay the bills until your art takes off.

In this day and age, you can find our art spread all over the internet. I sell art and crafts all over the world through my two etsy shops. I find that my crafts sell better, but painting is my first love.

Arts and crafts shows were never something I wanted to do, but I know artists who do well with those. Whatever floats your boat.

Today I focus online and I have been creating art e-courses for the last couple years. Talk about a giant learning curve… lots of fun!

The bottom line: MAKE ART EVERY DAY, and you will sell some, guaranteed!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of lovely and affordable gifts in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY. Support a successful living artist today! 🙂

Artist struggles

Artist struggles can be hard to overcome, especially if the road seems pitted with pot holes and many disappointments, not to mention loads of failed art work. I will get to that.

There is the issue of artistic expression, and the issue of selling your art. In a way, they go hand in hand even if they are two different arms of the biz of being an artist.

brushes

Artist expression, how to negotiate the pitfalls:

The biggest thing for expression is COMMITMENT.  As with any other work you have to be committed to get results. How do you build commitment if you don’t have it?

You have to build a new habit by showing up every day at your art, come hell or high water! There is no way around this. Even when you feel no inspiration at all, you show up and put brush to paint or whatever medium you’re using. Prepare you tools and inspiration might start to flow. If it doesn’t, paint anyway. It might look like crap, which is often does, but so what? You can always paint over it later. The sooner we realize how important commitment is, the sooner we will see progress in our art endeavors. Make loads of ugly paintings and be proud of them!

COMPARISON: Don’t compare your work to that of other artists. You are unique.  Why would you want your work to look like someone else’s?  To find your own style, you have to produce a lot of art, trial and error style, until you feel the unmistakable vibe of YOU in your art. It can take some time, but you are committed.

Guitarists did not become great overnight… Practice can be tedious, but the progress is noticeable.

It’s hard to explain what the vibe of YOU is, but you will know. It feels right, it feels magical, it feels like “yes.”

Then again, you might lose that feeling as you continue to grow and advance in your art. Then you lean on your commitment until the next breakthrough.

JUDGMENT: It can be the death of creativity. If you judge your own art as you move through your process, you are likely to quit making art. Judgment of others can be hard to take, but why take their word for it? They come from their single point of view, and maybe they are envious of your courage to be an artist. It takes courage to let the world see your art. Who cares what others think, right? Thick skin, remember?

Those are the three biggies.

business

Two pitfalls in art biz:

VISIBILITY: Unless you’re a performer it can be hard to make yourself visible online and offline. Many artists are introverts and find it difficult to allow the vulnerability of self AND personal art into the world.

The only way to overcome this is to SHOW UP and grow some thick skin. People will always be quick to criticize, but if you did your best and you love your art, you don’t have to buy into the criticism. There can be helpful criticism, but you can feel the difference. Don’t buy into the b*llshit. Remember your passion for your art and your commitment.

It’s easier to be visible online since there is a barrier between you and the public, but you will encounter trolls there too. Trust in yourself. You are enough, and your art is enough. It’s a journey, and you keep on going.

Blogging and having an online shop are two ways to be visible online. What is most important to you? To have gallery representation or online sales? You can have both. I find ways to show my art, usually in shops, and coffee shops. So far, I have not been in more than a couple of gallery shows, but I’d rather sell online. That has been my choice.

Make several streams of income available.

CREATIVE THINKING: Art-ing is not the only way to be creative. To make opportunity for yourself, you have to get your art out there. Think of ways you enjoy to make your art available. You don’t have to be represented by a gallery to have good sales, or travel to art shows.

I mix it up with some crafts and I also make e-courses. Find several ways to bring in income from your art. Build a mailing list.

Some of these things are pretty boring, but have you ever done work that was all fun and play? Commitment involves doing the boring stuff that is needed for your art to be visible.

There are so many ways to sell your art online: Prints, art on totes and mugs, commissions, online shops, a website with all the links to your goodies. Get inspired by what other artists have done to sell their art. If they can, you can!

When I started out I used to sell art on eBay, and I look at my art from my early days and wonder how it ever sold!  Some did though, so there are people who will always see the beauty in your art even if it’s amateurish (compared to where you are now.)

Today is the day. Make that commitment and go for it!!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of new things in ONE of my etsy shops: https://etsy.com/shop/EarthandFaery

 

Who is looking?

Who is looking through my eyes? Kind of a deep question, and something that could be discussed at length, but to make it simple:

Life itself, filtered through many of my beliefs and preferences, (perhaps unfortunately,) 🙂

Life itself does not judge. When I’m aligned with that and in flow, working, I don’t think much about the art and where it’s going. I just DO.

who is looking?

I add one color or one item that pleases me. It’s an automatic act, pretty much. I lay down one color and then I choose the next and so on. I choose what pleases my eye in the moment.

The process intrigues me and the result usually amazes me because what appears is beyond what I would have painted had I decided to paint a still life motif or some other fixed view.

The process is so intriguing that it becomes the most desired way to express for me.  I’d go as far as saying it’s addictive.

It takes trust to work this way.  Trust grows by DOING.

What the art process reveals is always interesting even if I don’t like the finished art work. That happens quite often, but I respect the process.

Then I move on to the next page or canvas… and the next. After all, art is constant change.  Life is constant change. What we liked yesterday does not work today.

who is looking?

Art reveals life and life reveals art.

We learned to live in 3D by experimentation. Toddlers live in trial and error mode all day long. 🙂 Once we get past that stage, what then? Maybe boredom sets in.

I think it’s incredibly important to keep experimenting with life. No need to go to extremes, but what is your creative power?

It doesn’t have to be art, but for artists there are endless possibilities for experimentation. We are so lucky! We can be catalysts for life itself, our hands and tools extensions of something greater.

All we need to do is get in the flow every day, by DOING. Do art, make stuff, trust your instincts, have faith that all is well, embody the greatness.

Allow life to see through you and use your unique gifts. That’s when life becomes magical.

Have a creative weekend!

Maria

P.S.  The art journaling pages above are part of a new e-course I have set up, titled Life’s Song Art Journaling e-course. You will learn how to make your own papers and ephemera and incorporate them into your art journal pages. It’s a four segment course, and the first segment is available NOW.  The rest will be published once a month for the next three months. Each segment is ONLY $12!!!  Enroll now and get creative. CLICK HERE.

 

Boundaries

Boundaries, are you good at keeping yours? I feel lately as if my world has rocked from “attacks” on my boundaries and I find myself evaluating what is real TO ME and what the world expects of me.

As an artist, it’s good to have no boundaries in a creative sense, like children, but as soon as you step out of that zone, a whole other world comes at ya.

boundary
Boundaries

What was ok yesterday might not work today.  I find myself living in a somewhat fluid perception juggling the two worlds, the one of my sacred pursuit of art making, and the world of contraries where people constantly want something from me.

It would be easy to be totally ungrounded and live in la-la land, but that’s avoidance. I have learned that my time is precious and so am I.

Space cadets need not approach….

I can choose what is ok for me, but there is always the guilt factor lurking in the background (along with the inner critic. They are having a party.)

If you speak your truth (without cringing) the world might turn ugly around you. I’ve had some experiences lately so I’m reviewing what is ok and what isn’t.

People don’t like it when you stand in your power.

It’s the world according to them, or no world. I’m just a convenience at that point.

The more I speak up, the easier it gets. I highly recommend it since it makes YOUR world right, and you know how much you can give without guilt. We are trained as children to come second to everyone and everything else, especially women are raised that way,

I might turn out like the comic character Maxine, haha.

Maxine

Some would say she has no filters. Neither do kids, so why not be more like them while including some kindness in the forthright speech? Kindness is free, and it might soften the blow of your truth, BUT some only understand the punch of a two-by-four to the head.

I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, but I certainly don’t want my own feelings hurt either even if the world thinks it’s ok to step on them.

Anyhow, I will now retreat to my studio and behave like a child again. A child with both feet on the ground and head in the clouds.

I’m learning about boundaries and I’m getting better at shoring them up every day, yay!

Have a great creative weekend.

xo

Maria

P.S. Check out my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY. Lots of new artsy things in there.

My inner critic on rampage

My inner critic was on a rampage all week, and it was a wild ride I tell you! I recognize and own my inner critic as the freeloader that overstays his welcome and is proud about it..

art journal
art journaling in an old museum catalog from the Louvre

Sneaky and charming, with an opinion about everything, he lounges in my new recliner or stands over my shoulder when I paint or art journal.

I’m used to the bastard and usually kick him to the curb, but this week he stirred up such confusion in my mind I just about had it with art.

First of all, he criticized my every art process with an infusion of “you have no clue what you’re doing” to “what do you know about art, and where’s YOUR focus?” Insidious indeed.  He’s emaciated, extremely pale. He wears tight black pants and black turtleneck sweater, and a beret. Kind of a 1960s French hipster, and he smokes evil-smelling cigarettes, blowing smoke up my ass and into my mind.

Why do I ever listen? He’s too clever by far, and sometimes I fall for the bullsh*t because art is an ever-expanding journey that is unsure at best. For the most part I fly by the seat of my pants, which is always frowned upon by all critics, mine and others.  Then again, if I did hyper realistic art where every dot counts, the critic would call that unimaginative. So, you can never win, right?

art journal
art journaling without aim

I’m partially to blame for the confusion, but the inner critic stirs the pot relentlessly.

My favorite social media is Instagram and I upload pictures constantly and also scroll the huge variety of art there. It’s such a wonderful place of inspiration.

I have been more and more interested in abstract art, and it’s fun to explore on the canvas, but I can never make up my mind if what I paint feels good / right / complete or not.

art journal
art journaling aimlessly

I came across some really questionable art (in my opinion, the critic probably liked it because he was silent.)

To me, art needs to either be a colorful feast to the eye or something that tugs at me, something that gives a meaning or emotional connection. Some artists were posting just scratches with colored pencils like the art of a three-year old.

Three-year olds express themselves shamelessly, and I’m all for it.  Actually, children’s art always touches my heart because it’s direct and without excuses.

When grown-ups post that kind of stuff and call it fine art, I can’t feel the connection. The question is: is the art conceit or something that touches people’s heart in some way?

art journal
art journaling aimlessly

Then the inner critic steps in and says “Your art is no better.” I agree that I’m scribbling at times but I would never call it art per se. I might call it “uncertain expression in color” if it needs to be labeled.

art journal
art journaling

When I kick the inner critic out, I don’t need to wonder what is art and what isn’t. All in the eye of the beholder, but my personal preference is art that takes my breath away or inspires me in some way.

Scribbles or rubbings with colored pencils might get an inner eye roll, but hey, to each their own!

Anyway, my inner critic hated all the art above except the last one, but if I have to live with the input from him, I still forge onward since there is no other way but forward on the art exploration journey of my life.

Below are my latest paintings. The critic didn’t chime in much, so I guess they are okay. <eye roll>

painting
“Falling” acrylic painting on canvas

 

painting
Prayer, acrylic painting

Have a great creative weekend, friends!

xo

Maria

P.S. The free art journaling 2017 adventure is going strong. You can still catch all the prompts from the previous months. Laura Probert will be our guest artist / writer in April. SIGN UP HERE.

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