Category Archives: creativity

Do you like your art or not?

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.”

funky houses, whimsical art
Do you like?

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.

a painting in progress
Do you like it or not>

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! 🙂

For more reading on the subject, this blog post is available: Why do you do what you do?

And this one: Pondering Authenticity.

Lots of love,

Maria

I have some of the new paintings in my Etsy shop now. You can check them out HERE.

Creativity, spirituality, and passion

Creativity has many faces, but when you boil it down, everything comes from the same source. Creating something can be a spiritual experience, and when you feel passion, you’re eager to launch yourself into the project.

When you’re stuck in your creativity, where do you feel it? I usually feel it like a wall in front of me. It’s a major effort to pick up the paints and get started. I push consciously through this gloom and make something, anything! So, if you feel into the stuckness or resistance, where do you feel it? Try to pinpoint what the exact feeling is like. Usually, it comes down to a vague fear or the fear of change. Every time you put paint to paper, there is change. What if you don’t like what you create?

You won’t.

The best strategy I know is to keep pn going. Put another layer of paint on, add some ephemera, write a poem even if it’s for yourself only. You can look at someone’s work that you admire. What element do you see that might look good in your art? Then make your own version of that feature.

When you’re in the creative flow, you feel the fire in your heart, and it’s a spiritual experience. That’s why all these above elements go together. You could exchange creativity for TRUST, spirituality for FAITH, and passion for PURPOSE.

By showing up and making stuff you grow your trust. As your trust grows you know faith. If it has worked before it will work again and again. When everything flows you feel as if you’re on purpose with your life. Ah, you say, this is what I’m supposed to do with my life.

The next morning:

I don’t feel anything; I don’t see why I should go back into the studio, I had a good day yesterday, that’s enough. Sometimes you have to go through the whole procedure to grow more trust. It is the simple act of sitting down or stand by the easel and push brush to paper.

Purpose is action

We think our purpose is something nailed down and sealed in the eternal times of our soul. In my experience it changes. It’s not something that can be controlled, only followed. Via action, you create your purpose. We fight this because we think we should be better, or have a greater goal in life. Creativity is change. It’s a constant flow so we need to learn to follow it. We crave that passionate flow. We try to recreate it, but you can’t, because no day is like the previous. All we can do is to make ourselves available to the flow and see what happens. It’s both mundane and mystical.

Starting on February 4, I’m offering a free 5-day creative self-care boost in my Facebook group. I will talk about this subject and also kick start some creativity via video or live stream. I haven’t decided yet. However, it will help you to get going and kick off February on the right foot. Sign up HERE unless you’re already on my mailing list.

I have made some art lately, but been lazy about taking pictures.

Here is a whimsical dog that doesn’t care for gossip! 😀

Creativity when resistance is overcome

The Dancer, an abstract



My etsy shop is chockful of beautiful unique things. There are some heart items just in time for Valentine’s Day. You can check them out HERE.

I hope you join me for the 5-day boost. You won’t regret taking another step toward deepening your creativity.

Here is another blog post that might inspire you: Creativity on fire.

For now, toodle-doo,

Maria

What do you value?

What do you value? I’ve asked that question to many aspiring artists and invariably get answers that have nothing to do with value itself.

Women more than men se their kids as their greatest value. I get that. Family comes first, but when I ask what THEIR most important value is, I get blank stares.

What would you do for yourself?

People live through other people and their values. We have forgotten to put ourselves first. Only when you put yourself first will you have a chance to value yourSELF and find out what really matters.

So many times I hear people wanting to make art, but there is always a “but” in the sentence. “When things slow down,” by such and such date. “When the kids are in college.” The most popular: “When I have some extra time.”

You know they won’t pick up a paintbrush or marker any time soon. It is sad, but that’s their choice.

What is important for your own evolution?

Mine is definitely creativity and also spirituality. Without spirituality there is no real depth.

Along those lines, I create every day. There is no tomorrow or compromises. Part of me always try to find excuses, like “I’m too tired,” “I’m not inspired,” “I’m not really any good at my art.”

Those are all bs excuses.

Whatever your dream or inclination, go for it. TODAY!! Start now.

On my work table, an unfinished soft bird sculpture, and a somewhat finished abstract painting.

The Dancer

Starting on February 4, I’m offering a free 5-day virtual art retreat with meditation and art creating (whatever your medium.)

If you want to join, please add your email to the list. I will send out the particulars at the end of January. A 5-day creative self-love boost! You can read all about it HERE.

You can sign up for the email HERE.

Happy New Year, and happy creation.

Love, Maria

P,S. I have fresh ready-to-use art journals in my etsy shop today. EarthandFaery.

Inspiration, where is it?

Inspiration, where to find it. It can be found everywhere. I often hear that question: what inspires you?  

I get inspired mostly by doing. When I get bored with one type of creativity I make something else. How people can continue to paint in one style or one subject is incomprehensible to me, but it’s common. Maybe they don’t make art that often? 

I love to try new things. Lately, I have been tired of making my mosaics, so I got this songbird pattern from Ann Wood and hand sewed a little bird. I used scrap fabrics I had painted and dyed in the past.

inspiration
inspiration
inspiration
songbird

I had a problem with the legs, but it worked itself out. So much fun to stretch oneself. Inspiration is in trying, to immerse oneself in something totally new. I have sewn before, but never a soft sculpture like this. I think I must make more! 🙂

What fires you up? What could you try today? 

I joined a local ceramics class this fall, and clay is harder to work with than you think.  I find polymer clay much easier since it’s more elastic. 

I made a series of critters and the glazing came out completely different when fired than I had envisioned.  

Inspiration is trying and finding out that the outcome might not be what you expected, but that’s half the fun. 

inspriation
nspiration

critter inspiration

One thing I’ve learned: Surprise keeps the freshness of creativity alive. 

Today, think of something you’d love to try, but haven’t. Gather the materials, take a class or watch some YouTube videos for inspiration. Then try your own. 

The more you’re used to making things, the easier it is to get started and follow through. 

To stay inspired it’s important to show up in the studio every day.

Even if you can only devote 15 minutes a day, that is enough to keep that creative muscle strong and ready for action.

I know I can go back to my painting and my mosaics whenever I want, but trying new things spark ideas.  I get tickled by possibilities. 

We’re heading toward another weekend. If you had 15 minutes to spare for creativity, what would you do? 

Do it, and you might find yourself inspired enough to keep going… 

To find Ann Wood’s sewing patterns, go HERE.

I have found that people really like my goddess / spirit doll faces. You can check them out in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great weekend!

Love, Maria

For more inspiration, check out my previous post on how to make a spirit box with an old Altoids tin HERE. 

Spirit box tutorial

Spirit box tutorial with pictures is here!  If you have followed my blog or posts on Facebook, you know that I don’t like to stay with one art medium for long.  I guess I’m half a crafts’ person / art journaler, and half painter.

Mood decides which side wins any given day.

Inspired by mixed media artist Lyn Belisle, I made these Spirit boxes. She wrote a how-to article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors a few years back and I saved said article to experiment with later. Here are my experiments. I made two boxes.

You might have seen my angel shrines described in some earlier posts. I had a couple of left over molded faces from that project and decided to use them for the Spirit box dolls.

First I cut out two pieces of heavy cardboard, 4×3.5″ and glued them together like a “cross.” I covered them with scrap-book paper.

The face is really too small for this. I should have used a smaller cardboard base.  But, I decided I would make it look narrower with some vertical stripes.  I didn’t get a picture of that exact process, but you can see the result in the finished picture.

spirit box
spirit box

I like to use twigs as a natural element to add dimension. I have some very tough branches in my backyard, and I don’t know the name of the tree, but you need to find tough dry twigs to use or they might break. I suppose you could use green twigs, but I haven’t tried that.

Hook and Eye, but only the eye…

I used a random metal eye to wrap with copper around the twig. I added a bead for some sparkle on the main focus point.

I made a cardboard halo and painted it gold. The second halo is a scrap-book cut-out of a clock face.

spirit box
spirit box

Spirit box
Spirit box

I chose random scrap-book papers and wrapping paper. I used hand-dyed strips of fabric and hemp string to make the parts dangling off the metal eye.

Hair and head are attached here with a large glob of glue. I used eyelash yarn in two colors, green and purple.

spirit box
spirit box

spirit box
spirit box

Where is the box part?

I gessoed an empty Altoids(tm) tin and inserted a metal wire, using an awl to punch two holes on the bottom end of the tin. See picture. The doll will be glued to the lid for unhindered access to the box.

You can glue a piece of paper to the bottom of the tin (that will face the wall when hanging.) Optional.

spirit box

spirit boxspirit box

I added more dangly stuff to the metal eye, buttons on hemp string in two colors, a prayer box charm.

spirit doll

Everything is glued on securely.  I believe in heavy application of glue… 🙂 Speaking of glue, below is a picture of the attached tin to the back of the doll.  As you can see, the lid is glued to the back. I added scrap-book paper to cover up any paper gaps on the back of the doll itself.

spirit doll

Doll number two.

I used various papers and strips I cut to fashion the “clothing” for this doll.

spirit doll
spirit doll

All my materials covered every inch of my work table.

spirit doll
spirit doll

spirit doll
spirit doll

Now make your own. It’s easier than you think. Use whatever materials you have on hand. You could use a thrift store doll face. Great gift idea, and you can put some special treasure in the box for the recipient to find.

I have some doll faces (more elaborate than these) for sale in my etsy shop. They are meant to be used in doll assembly, but would work as talismans or ornaments too. Check them out in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

Free shipping, yay!

You can find Lyn Belisle’s website HERE.  She has so much inspiration to share! I love her spirit dolls.

You can also join my NEW Facebook group for more sharing: HeART Inspiration.

Fabric collage on boho bag

Fabric collage is one of my “things.” I have painted and dyed fabric over time and now have a nice stash of unique colors and styles to use for my fabric collages. These collages are usually attached to everyday usable items, which is a bonus.

Fabric collage makes a unique product that gets many ohhs and ahhs from (mostly) my fellow artists. No everyone likes a whimsical bag on their arm.

I got inspired with the last canvas mini bag and made a video of the process. To see how the other bags turned out, please check my two previous posts.

Exploring art on fabric.

Slow stitching and painting on a pouch.

For this last bag check out my YouTube video HERE.

fabric collage

I filmed and filmed and just as I was done, the camera batteries died. What perfect timing, huh?

You might ask how I dye fabric. There is always the conventional fabric dyes in the stores, but I like to make patterns and mix the colors.

I use mostly alcohol inks and diluted acrylic paints in spray bottles. I rinse out as much as I can, but the alcohol inks leave a pretty mighty color infusion. I use mostly cotton fabric because it absorbs the paints the best.

The acrylic paints usually embed themselves in the fabric, and when they dry, they are pretty stiff, but still flexible enough to use. I usually just spread the fabric on a drop cloth to dry.  Try different paints, and make sure they are color fast after drying, otherwise they will wash out.

I have added the four fabric collage bags / pouches to my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. 

There are many items in my shop at the moment since the holidays are coming.  I have felt a creative high for some weeks and I’m grateful for the flow. Sometimes I have long periods of no great inspiration, but I keep showing up in my studio. That’s what you do!

If you want some art journaling inspiration, I have a bunch of easy videos on YouTube under my name.  Keep creating. The process will  make you grow.

I wish you a creative and fun weekend!

Love,

Maria