Category Archives: artist

The many faces in my art journal

The many faces in my art journal are testimony that I go against the “rule” that one should stick to one style and develop that.  Maybe I will have a particular style at some point, but I’m having too much fun doing crazy faces in my art journal.

Next time someone asks me what kind of style I’m aligned with I will reply, “my own.”  I doubt that I’ll ever reach cohesion in my artsy outpourings. Here are a few crazy faces I’m had fun with. I used  Neocolors II, watercolor pencils, mixed media, paper collage, acrylic paints, and charcoal.

Perfectionism kills creativity

Perfectionism kills creativity and how do you change in the direction of deeper creativity?

Do you compare yourself to the perfection of nature?  What do you compare yourself to?

perfection
perfection

As an artist, perfectionism stifles all expression.  Maybe it’s ok in the very last layer of a realistic painting, but I don’t know since I don’t paint realism. I have suffered from perfectionism from time to time. It shows up as:

That didn’t turn out very good

Is this any good?

I can never get it right

Those statements might not seem like an angle of perfectionism, but when we doubt what we made we have a picture of what it SHOULD look like, and it’s never good enough.  It comes down to comparison to some kind of ideal or living up to someone else’s expectations.

Maybe someone’s voice is running a commentary in your head?

Maybe our parents expected us to be perfect in every way. What does that have to do with art? It has everything to do with whatever task you attempt, be it art, writing, speaking, teaching, accounting. Basically, in every area of life. The way we look, the way we work.

How do you escape this tyranny of perfectionism?

First, you have to realize it’s present, and a pain in the ass. Not everyone notices or perfectionism is so embedded in the “norm” that it’s inconceivable to change.

As an artist, it’s important to let loose and try something completely different from your current mode of expression.

Become three years old again. Slap some paint on a poster board.

Make ugly abstract art. Muddy the colors. Paint big.

Use tools you don’t normally use.

As you explore this, something inside has to give. The perfectionist will raise a big stink, but allow it to and paint anyway. Just go nuts!

Do this with everything. Don’t mop the floor every day even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t pick up the clothes. Don’t obsessively clean the kitchen counter. Let some dishes sit around in the sink.

Allow the inner wisdom to show you that life won’t fall apart if you get a bit “sloppy.”

wisdom
wisdom versus perfectionism

It is a challenge, but to truly change, you have to face the discomfort and get to the other side.

To become a life artist we have to face the difficult things that hold us back.

Paint anyway.  Show up, be daring.

Allow the emotions to flow. There might be rage under the perfectionism, but rage is good fuel for art! 🙂

Then, underneath the rage there might be other stuffed emotions. And then there is peace. And it’s ok if there are dishes in the sink for the time being. Expressing your creativity is more important.

Maybe you pick up a new style… YOUR style.

xo

Maria

P.S. If you’d like to get my art newsletter, please sign up HERE.

Paint by numbers or…?

Painting by numbers used to be really popular back in the day, and some of them didn’t look too shabby, but I never took to the practice.

I was googling pictures and discovered that you can still buy the kits. I don’t know why I never tried, but it was like coloring books. Coloring books are safe and easy.  Nothing wrong with the meditative process, but where is the excitement of creative adventure?  Too safe for me.

paint by numbers
paint by numbers

I used to knit and had to follow a pattern to get the desired look, but what if I had gone crazy with yarn and colors and created sweaters that looked like dirty paint palettes?

It would have been more interesting for sure.  I might have started a trend!

paint palette
dirty palette

Everything I’ve ever learned about evolving my painting practice is by experimentation. I took some classes in realistic painting and learned some techniques that are helpful, but they never challenge me as much as the act of facing a blank canvas and not knowing what to paint. The act of painting itself is not something I fear, but to put that first dot of paint on the canvas can be daunting. This is intuitive painting.

I face that resistance with every painting  The only way to get around it is to allow the resistance to be there and paint anyway. It’s useless to fight it. Nowadays it sits in a corner and grumbles until something exciting emerges on the canvas and then it’s on board with the rush of creativity.  Contrary bugger …

What I do now is to quickly pick some colors I like and start applying them and see what strikes me.  Sometimes nothing, and sometimes I see possibilities immediately.

It’s like being on a ship. There is ocean and more ocean, and no hope of ever seeing land again until suddenly, a gray shape emerges on the horizon.

So, if you have experienced that, you know there is hope. 🙂 The only way to move forward and through the resistance of creation, is to do it. Start right there and don’t stop, because if you do, the sniggers of resistance will haunt you for the rest of the day.

A seasoned sea man knows to face forward across the ocean and knows it’s only a matter of time until land appears.

I invite you to the adventure. Put the paint by numbers kit aside and give your creative genius a chance to shine. It does exist.

xo

Maria

P.S. I have a FREE art journaling year-long adventure happening in 2017. If you want to sign up for the monthly prompts, go HERE.

You can also join my Facebook group which is filled with happy creative people, HERE.

Begin NOW!

Begin now, it’s never too late. Think of Grandma Moses who had a successful art career late in life, starting in her seventies. She died at 101 years of age, and painted 1,500 paintings or so.

country living
Grandma Moses

I think it’s all about a positive attitude. She decided to try something new. Maybe she had always wanted to make art, but never had a chance until she “retired.” However, she made up for it in her productivity.  She was open to see where the path would lead her, and I admire that pioneering spirit.  She was called a naive painter but if you look at the intricacies, there was nothing simple about her art other than the very direct expression of what she saw or had seen.

She did not worry too much about style or perspective. That is the pioneering spirit. She just began where she was and continued from there, never stopping.

To accomplish any dream, be it painting every day, or some other dream, start where you are NOW. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets, only exploration via doing.

Think of all the various styles art has gone through. Don’t you think the world thought Picasso was crazy when he started his “deconstructed people” Cubist style?  He was a trail blazer.  I don’t know if he ever doubted himself, but if he did, he didn’t let it stop him.

dora maar au chat
Pablo Picasso

So, mindset is so important.  If we don’t dare to make changes, or take some risks, we remain in place, stagnant.  In the long run, nothing is more boring than the status quo.

What is your dream? What can you do today to start something new? Not just New Year’s resolutions, but something that resonates in your heart. You know, THAT thing.

Take one small step, and then another, and another. Before you know it, you’re deep into the bliss of doing what you always wanted to do.

Don’t know what you want? Start with your most vivid idea. Once you start somewhere, clarity will stroll in. Change directions, nothing and no one is holding you back, except yourself.

Convention holds us back, but that is the trap of other people’s opinions that shaped your own. You are free to explore!

Begin NOW!

Have a great weekend.

art journaling
art journaling

If you didn’t join my FREE year long art journaling exploration you can join HERE NOW. There is a great artist / teacher line up and a very active FB group.

xo

Maria

 

 

 

 

Doing what you love is not a brand to follow

Do what you love is a concept that is tossed around all the time on social media these days.

I agree with the concept but it becomes a thought form for the busy mind, not something that actually sinks in.  I make these inspirational wall plaques that say “follow your heart.” I do mean it, but what does it actually mean?

follow your heart

I was at an event at a bookstore recently where I have some art hanging on display. I watched the people wandering around the walls, looking. There were those who threw a cursory glance at my art, and there were those who stopped at every painting and took in every detail. I’d say they liked my art, or they tried to figure out the technique.

I have followed my urge to paint for a long time, and what appears on the canvas today is something I have developed over the years, and maybe there is more “heart” in my art than there was. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m on a journey that never stops as long as I can paint.

My art will never stop developing, so if one of those people at the event would have approached me with questions, like “what inspires you”? I would have answered “many things.” There is no one thing in particular.

What they actually see is my DOING over the years, with no particular goal in mind.

I think the painter Paul Cezanne might be the father of abstract art when he discovered he could paint the loose rendition (or energy) of the landscape he was looking at.  Discovering that took many years of DOING.

Paul Cezanne

The issue was not to create a strong brand of Paul Cezanne, but the journey that led to his discovery of abstract ideas. Like most painters he probably took classes and experimented endlessly with color and form. His art became his brand, but I’m sure he would have resisted the word.

Why lock oneself into a box of “this-is-who-I-am” and I will be this for the rest of my life.  Life is an evolving journey of many “follow my hearts.”

The problem is: most people like to dream but not DO. It’s in the doing that all is revealed!!

You can’t put heart in a box or on a wall plaque and hope it will transform someone, but my intention is to inspire. Still, the journey is mine.

Every day is a day of DOING or not… your choice. By trusting, by taking action and not sitting on the sidelines you will in fact be led by the heart.

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of art for sale in my etsy shop Greene Earth Originals: HERE.

Treacherous comfort zone

Treacherous comfort zone is something I try to avoid at all cost. I’m not always successful and it’s easy to sink down into my new recliner and read a book when I need to be more productive.  (Picture is a stock photo. 🙂

recliner
treacherous comfort

I actually fight that urge every day, but I know what needs to be done, so I have a choice of following my lazy side or the side that really wants to accomplish something useful for me and others.

Useful as in art inspiration. Sometimes it’s hard to be inspired and produce art, but to break that lazy habit you have to show up at the easel or art journal. Once that resistance is broken, I can then face the resistance of the art itself. Nothing but hurdles, haha.

The art resistance is harder to break than the habit of what to do with my time.  I usually force myself over that hurdle and things open up.

There is a third resistance and that is to try some different art modality. If painting faces was my thing I might try landscapes. That resistance might be stronger than anything. That’s why you see artists painting the same thing over and over because it’s safe, tried and true.  Not that the art lacks merit, but you get in a groove and staying there is more comfortable than taking a risk.

That’s maybe why people paint photographic perfection instead of doing risky forays into the loose and undefined.  Technique is safe.

I watched a documentary yesterday, Sky Ladder, on Netflix about this famous Chinese artist Cai Guo-Quing.  He uses fireworks to create his huge pieces of art, and he also designs massive  firework displays (opening of Olympic Games.)

It was wonderful to follow his creative process which is on a huge scale. His art is subtle but right in your face, and I was mesmerized and also mortified at my own small thinking. I highly recommend the documentary to all artists as an inspiration to stretch boundaries.

Life really is about stretching boundaries and trying new things. So what if it fails? It’s just another step in the exploration called life.

It’s important to have a balanced inner life, but also so important to do the “right thing,” it being the work that fires you up.

Right now I feel that I’m at a crossroads. Either I break through to the next creative level or I make deeper grooves in the rut that I have dug in the past. Life is constant evolution. (Or painful boredom.)

Standing still equals staleness.

To live a creative life is to be dynamic and open to the possibilities as they happen. I saw those in the eyes of that Chinese artist. He’s is fluid, open, present, and seeing the biggest opportunities for risky expansion.

He spoke to my heart.

I also saw lots of bravery and a conviction that it’s only possible to move forward.  No choice really.

So I come back to the choices we make every day, whatever work we do.

Yes to being proactive.

Yes to expansion and greater things.

Yes to creative risks.

Yes to LIFE, not habits or ruts.

What is the risk you need to take today?

I cheer you on from my studio, not my recliner….

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of art for sale in my etsy shop. Christmas is coming…  There is a price range for everyone. CLICK HERE.