Category Archives: artist

Tree painting’s journey from chaos to peace

Tree paintings are some of my favorites. Every living artist and every dead one had their own vision of trees.

I’m going to share how I painted this tree. It was a journey of lots of ups and downs.

I was ready to quit many times and just paint white all over it, but I let it sit and stew in its own colors.

I don’t have pictures of what brought it to chaos, but I started out just smearing colors across the canvas with my hands. I smeared countless layers and colors, and lost track of any possible solution for this painting.

It finally ended up like this:

tree painting

Some people might like the mess, but it didn’t feel finished to me at all. It sat like this for a long time. When I had left over paint, I would slap some on this painting.

tree painting

tree painting

Then I arrived at this, which was something beyond my scope. How could I bring out a focus in this painting?

tree painting

I finally saw a tree trunk in the mess, and drew two black lines and some roots. Then I had major problems with the background. It went through several stages before it felt right. tree painting

Here I had the tree painting, but I thought the background looked imbalanced. It didn’t feel complete at all.

tree painting

I added a tree to the side in the background, but … I wasn’t happy. Backgrounds can sometimes be tricky. You have to brave and forge on!

tree painting

Then I made the background almost white. I wanted to leave the space between the roots white. Still, didn’t work.

tree painting

This felt a lot more peaceful, a balance of dark and light encasing the tree “spirit.” I can see the spirit as a vibrant energy.

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s finished. I thought it was, but when I look at these pictures, I’m hesitant. Sometimes it’s easier to see what works and what doesn’t in a picture. It is a distance from the painting itself.

Time will tell.

I started this painting in April of 2015… You would think I could have finished it, but the Muse does not like a harness. I did plenty of other art meanwhile.

There is a time for everything…

xo

Maria

P.S. I have a sale in my etsy shop Dec. 9-15. Great selection of unique gifts! Everything is 15% off. EARTH AND FAERY.

Fun dialogue with artist Amanda Wolf Hara

Fun exchange with awesome artist, Amanda Wolf Hara. She is the December guest artist my free 2017 art journaling journey. The last one of the year! It is bittersweet, and I don’t know how the year moved so fast… 

fun with butterfly
Amanda Wolf Hara

When I was a little girl, my grandparents (who emigrated from Latvia) watched me all day while my mom worked. From Gramma I learned painting and fine art basics- painting every week, at least, with watercolors while Bob Ross was on PBS in the background.

Other afternoons I’d spend in Opa’s (My grandfather), woodcarving shop in their basement, listening to classical music and learning how to carve on soft pine.
Both grandparents took me outdoors a lot- to the local pond, nature center or just for walks around the neighborhood where we always stopped to watch what nature was doing.
I drew incessantly, (mostly horses!) and even painted watercolors on my bedroom walls. I drew on any scrap of paper I could find- my mom always said “you do some of your finest work on the worst paper.”
I dunno, I just Arted all the time. I took it for granted; it was just something I did- it didn’t seem like a big deal at all, even as I started getting awards in school.
In college I spent a semester in the theater’s scenic design program. I had one of the best teachers who helped me advance my skills by leaps and bounds. He was amazing.
LOL, I still struggle with seeing my art as a “big” deal. I just love doing it. It’s just what I do.
What does art do for you?
The world quiets down when I hold a paintbrush. There’s something about the sensual act of painting that quiets my brain like nothing else seems to; that particular hush seems unique to that medium for me.
The “graffiti” style journaling I do is like a really good aerobic work-out for my mind and emotions. It’s cathartic and raises a lot of energy for me- which is good, because I need that process to get to a breakthrough point.
What form of art do you prefer making? Art journaling or painting?
Lol, I really can’t pick! I truly love all art mediums, I do photography, writing, sculpture, sewing, crafting, jewelry making, re-purposing/upcycling, some collaging,  pastels, colored pencils, wood burning every once in s while, acrylic and watercolor… I just cycle through.
My apartment really looks like I own half a craft store. Also, I paint on any surface that holds still long enough for me.
Next on my list is picking up a soldering iron. (Insert slightly maniacal laughter.) I’ll be unstoppable! I can do metal work. I have a tin can project I’d LOVE to see manifest.
After that, working with glass; blowing it, fusing it, stained glass etc. I just want to know how to do it. :).
Do you use art in any particular way? As in healing, journaling about your life or just for fun?
Yes, to all of the above.
It’s definitely therapy, and as I mentioned, it’s my way of tapping into deeper problem solving techniques. I Art all the time. I look at something- even garbage- like packaging materials-and immediately start challenging myself to think about what it could be used for, what could it look like, what it could give to an art piece.
My love too, is in teaching creative processes to others- helping someone tap into their creative capacity and that intuitive “knowing” we all have within us.
What inspires you? 
Nature, for sure. And that extends to human nature, instincts, behaviors etc..
Also, stories. A lot of my art is driven by telling the stories of things that I believe get overlooked. I love the old stories of deities and characters that I think still hold just as much relevancy as they ever did.
My art maybe gives them an update and puts them into context in a way that we Modernites can still access them and recognize them.
Getting people to see their world in a new way- that rock-back-on-your-heels-a-little-and-go: “Oh… Wow! I never…” THAT. That inspires me.
Do you have any favorite artist or style?
Ummm… no. I like a lot of different things- I guess art that tells stories, and cultural pieces. That being said, there are definitely some forms of art that I just don’t understand.
As far as artists?  There are so many- even ones I’ve had the pleasure of meeting- whose names I will, sadly, never remember.
But I’ll try:
Jo Jayson. OMG. She’s INCREDIBLE. I would love to learn to paint half as well as she does. And her Divine Feminine works are utterly brilliant.
Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests- Ohmygoodness. I will never be that level of cool, and I’m okay with that. But I would LOVE to share a beach space with any of his “beests” any day.
Pat and Ken Larson of Larson Clayworks.
Ever since I first saw their work I’m absolutely captivated.
I like Picasso- not necessarily the work itself, but the fact that he could do the very realistic detailed stuff, but chose to step out, break the rules and create new ways of considering what art can be.
Da Vinci, too- the imagination and invention- oh, that’s good stuff!
O’Keeffe comes to mind too- her voice and work I deeply appreciate being in this world.
What is the advice you would give new artists?
PLAY.
OMG, play with your art, please!
Art is about expression, about exploration.
Make mistakes. Learn how to turn them into something new and exciting. Learn how to make them look like they always belonged there.
It should on some level always be fun; it stays encouraging that way.
And get messy.
In every sense.
Get pastels imbedded in your fingertips. Discover acrylic paint in your hair a week after being in studio.
Get (safely) messy emotionally too- open yourself up. Get raw, get vulnerable. Or, get quiet and super still. Defy the norms you set for yourself and see where that takes you.
Any suggestions to artists who are stuck in a rut or in a feeling of inadequacy?
 Aside from playing?
Learn to Art for yourself.
Do it because there’s a voice in you that simply cannot be expressed in any other way.
Art as a product is always subjective.
Art as a process isn’t.
It’s personal and intimate and deeply intrinsic. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised; work it out, let go of the attachment to the end product and surrender to where the process of Arting wants to take you.
Oh, and OMG laugh at (with) yourself as often as possible.
When your inner critic gets too bossy, get them drunk on purposeful mistake after glorious purposeful mistake until s/he is so full they pass out. Then, joyfully create.
What is your all time favorite art supply?
Ooooh…. That’s a little like asking me to pick a favorite child. For the sake of all of them, I plead the fifth. 🙂
Check out Amanda’s Facebook page: Wild Priestess.

Long journey of art

Long journey of art is what you do in life as an artist. So many things change, but expression is something that calls from within. Have you felt the call but also the resistance?

It’s in human nature to procrastinate even though we know better. But you’d better begin because the journey is long as I said, yet, you can make a piece of art today!

I have gone through many incarnations as an artist in this lifetime.

I copied pictures from magazines, had a stint as a primitive country artist, a longer stint as an abstract painter, mosaic artist, many years of art journaling and mixed media. I still do that, but I also feel a pull towards something new, which can only be a deeper expression of who I am. I don’t want to copy or do a particular style any more.

I had a lovely chat with local artist and friend Joanna Mazurek

She went the traditional way of attending several art schools, and then left it all behind after twenty years as an artist. But, once an artist, always an artist…

I love to hear other artists’ perspective and get inspired by their inner drive to express themselves.

You need to express yourself.  What else is there? As you go deeper into the art, you also go deeper into yourself.

If you’re expression is something else, go explore it.

The pull to express yourself is your God-given gift to share with the world and with yourself.

Take the long view. You don’t have to be a sprinter. There is no competition or anyone standing over you with a stop watch.

We live life like that, rushing from one thing to another, and I have come to understand it’s so wrong. I spent so many years living other people’s dreams.

Even tiny baby steps towards expressing yourself is worth weeks of conditioned living. You can’t measure the impact on a grander scale, but the impact can be great.

A tiny flame starts a forest fire. The more tiny steps into exploration become a great sucking pull to express wildly, freely, and happily.

It’s worth finding your life. Find the mystery!

It’s also necessary to go through the “ugly” stages to get to a place in the process where you look at your art in wonder. It takes courage.

I will probably make art for the rest of my life, but as in the past, there has been ebb and flow.

The meandering long journey of art, oh how you challenge me, but I do love you! 🙂

Heed that call; it’s never too late!

Happy Halloween.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. My etsy shop is brimming with goodies for Christmas! Earth and Faery.

 

Crafty girl’s guide to art journal making

Crafty girl’s guide is a way to save on your art journals. Most of us mixed media artists drool over Moleskine and Strathmore brands, and many more, but they make a big dent in our wallets too.

Not that it’s bad to spend on good art materials. I do spend, but sometimes I like to make my own journal because it has “me” branded on it, not spiral binding or ugly covers.

I like to embellish the store-bought covers, but it’s something special about making your own.

I have even made some to sell in my etsy shop because beginning art journalers sometimes have a hard time with the blank page, so I make some simple backgrounds on the pages.

I buy watercolor paper on sale and take the pads apart for easy art making.

Then I fold the painted pages and use a bone folder to flatten the crease as much as possible. I sew the pages together with embroidery thread or hemp string.

The reason I like embroidery thread is that it’s colorful and strong, and flexible.

Crafty girls know how to be creative with the backgrounds in the journal. The more you create, the more your creativity blossoms.

Make your own!

crafty girl's art journal making
crafty girl’s journal

This is the latest journal I made. I covered the front and back with some vintage paper. The cover can be painted or more ephemera added on top. The label can be affixed anywhere or left out.

So much fun!

crafty girl's guide to art journal making

Above is a sample page of a background, and below are a few more. As you can see, crafty girl’s can make this EASILY!

crafty girl's guide to art journaling

crafty girl's guide to art journaling

So easy… A while back I made a video on how to put the pages together into a journal.  HOW TO VIDEO.

I have written some posts about art journaling basics for you. CLICK HERE TO READ.

ART JOURNALING STUFF (mostly cool backgrounds.)

If you need a push, here’s another post about the importance of allowing yourself to make art. BEGIN NOW! 

Now you can make your own journal and get started with art. There are no excuses and there is no time to lose. If you love art, make some today!

xo

Maria

P.S. I made a simple e-course on how to make a variety of art journals. It’s for the crafty girl in you! 🙂 CLICK HERE. 

You can also visit my etsy shop for more journals if you don’t want to make your own. EARTH AND FAERY

 

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! 🙂