Category Archives: creativity

When inspiration fails.

 

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When inspiration fails what do you do? I get that question a lot as an artist, and I can tell you the muse is often fickle, but one thing I have learned: you are not a slave to the muse! Maybe everything flows more smoothly with the muse on hand to pave a rosy path, but when all you can see is a creative desert ahead, what do you do?  To get to the other side, you have to walk through the desert, or do you?  I don’t believe in that but the challenge would certainly give you stamina and stick-to-it-iveness. However, art is not something we do in survival mode but more like following an easy stream.

Here are a couple of things I do when the muse refuses to be part of my life:

  1. Take a walk. Yes, it’s a great way to shake off the cobwebs and take in new inspiration. The colors and shapes are great for new ideas. Walks are always good for general problem solving as well.
  2.  Look at art books. The classics and more modern artists are always inspiring. Through the pages I can absorb the energy of their work and find myself eager to try something new on my canvas. Nothing wrong with copying elements and then make them your own.
  3. Get out of the studio and meet a friend. Lunch out is one of the world’s greatest pleasures, and if you have a good friend that does not annoy you by talking incessantly about themselves, it’s a BONUS.
  4. If you live in a city, go to an art museum. This falls in the same category as looking at art books, but it also gets you out of the studio, another BONUS.
  5. Try kickstarting your art by gluing down bits of papers at random on the surface. Let your hand and eye coordinate and see what comes up next on the page or canvas, and then take that step, and the next, and the next. Just try something new, a new angle, and new color.
  6. Use a color palette you rarely use. Example: if you always paint in cool colors, make yourself use only warm colors for the next project. Your sense of playing it safe will rebel, but it’s easy enough to send it packing for one piece of experimental art. Ugly is okay.
  7. Learn a new craft. Look through some craft books at the bookstore and see if anything pulls you in. Crafting can be mindless and meditative, and you might find yourself creating a pile of cool gifts.
  8. Let someone else paint on your canvas. Taking the pressure off the process can be very freeing.
  9. Paint with your hands. You can really feel the paint when you use your hands. It’s a more intimate creative way to paint. If you don’t like to paint throw a handful of mixed ripped papers on your canvas and glue them down where they land. It can become the start of a whole new way of making art!
  10. When all else fails buy some new art supplies! I think that is my favorite suggestion. I love (and my muse loves) a new art supply challenge. A shiny new box of pencils or crayons can light up your world. It does mine.

No matter what you choose to do to interrupt a creative drought, do SOMETHING.  The drought is temporary. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and paint the same over and over, but it’s just as easy to challenge yourself to something new. 🙂

Happy creating,

Maria

P.S. I have some freebie challenges on my website you can try to break the drought. CLICK HERE.

 

Ugly is okay!

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Ugly is okay for sure, but if you’re like me, art holds certain standards. We try so many methods and techniques; we compare ourselves to others. Some styles we like some we don’t. It’s hard to know which style suits you the best. Have you ever tried just being yourself as you approach art? Forget about the rules and be free, like kids fearlessly showing up at the empty page. Paint outside the box! To reach the true core of who we are involves a lot of unlearning or ignoring what we know. Unlearning is deeply satisfying.

Like you I make a decent painting and art journal spread, and I’m proud and happy about the results. When it comes to spontaneity however, it can be very frustrating since we’re always striving for results.

My aim for this micro workshop is to give you space to be yourself, to wait and see what will come onto the page without you pushing anything.

What I get from this kind of art is a sense of Self. I can actually recognize my own energy in the art. It has a very intimate feel to it, and I find it addictive to paint in this way. I also receive sudden insights and messages about the state I’m in at the time of painting. This particular spread turned out happy, and it’s a state I’m in a lot, but others I’ve done are dark and dreary. The tendency is to rip out those kinds of pages, but to honor myself, I also have to honor my darker, more destructive side. Usually, I don’t like showing those pages to people. They are basic and pretty ugly. It’s like trying anything new and unknown, you just have to immerse yourself in it to find out the truth about it.

I invite you to explore.

I invite you to leave all your knowledge at the door and explore you inner self.

I invite you to paint “ugly,” unfettered like a child.

I invite you to meet your inner self without fear.

Are you willing to take this trip with me?

All you need is an art journal page, or a watercolor sheet, or even a canvas. Whatever you have on hand, and you need some paint, brushes, and markers. That is all. You can even use colored pencils, pencils, ballpoint pens, and oil pastels. There are no rules.

I need to point out that your art will be completely different from mine! The video will show the process I go through and you’ll get an idea how to go about it. And then you can make your own art spread, woohoo.

Check out the micro workshop HERE.

xo

Maria

P.S.  If you’d like some more free stuff please join my mailing list HERE.

 

Process versus product.

Process versus product is a concept I have struggled with for a while as an artist. Do you paint pretty paintings that sell, or are you true to your own process?  Small kids will always be true to their process. They paint with abandon, and their art is filled with joyous energy. We lose that wild creativity because we start judging the art at some point. According to our preferences, it’s good or bad. There are artists like Jackson Pollock that I don’t particularly admire, but the energy in his dripped art is phenomenal. People pick up on the energy. Art that we would reject without a second glance sell for millions.

Artists love making a living from their art; that’s a given. I find myself always judging my own art. Is it salable, or is it junk? We would not judge kids’ art as junk, but maybe some do.

I do enjoy making crafts too, but they don’t count in this kind of dilemma. Crafting is a more peaceful, straightforward process and you know the end result. It tends to get tedious in the long run while painting never gets tedious but can be extremely challenging. Sometimes it gets to a point where I don’t want to be challenged, and I paint something pretty.

There is nothing wrong with pretty, but I want to paint from my true inner genius.

In my years of painting, I was always drawn to intuitive expression, which means standing in front of a blank canvas and just reach for the first color that comes to mind and paint something, whatever I am drawn to paint. The canvas will decide what is to come. It’s a frightening but exciting process to watch the artwork emerge on its own. It’s torture sometimes, but it’s a process I’ve never quite been able to leave. I started painting this way back in the 90s after reading Aviva Gold’s Painting From The Source. Later in this post I will display a list of the books that have influenced my intuitive painting the  most.

When I started reading Gold’s book, I could not put it down. She suggests using poster boards and tempera paint, which are inexpensive tools to experiment with. No expensive canvases to “destroy.”

Here are two pictures of old intuitive art I painted in the 90s. I have some huge paintings that are rolled up in my closet, and I can’t bear to throw them away. However, there is no wall space for them where I live.

100_0121These guys ended up being parrots in the jungle, but I probably started out with a blob of paint in the middle of the poster board. There is a lot of detail underneath the birds, and I believe that all layers add to the finished art. I still paint in many layers.

100_2289This is a huge, really weird painting, but it had lots of energy. I painted it over an old framed painting, and it sold and was shipped off.  Intuitive art is like dreams in many ways. The images are fragmented and don’t seem to make sense, but there is always an underlying message. The subconscious speaks through the art if you ALLOW it.

100_2467Here is another kind of fun variation of intuitive painting. I ended up painting my own hands all over the art.

Art journaling is also a good way to experiment. You know the art is just for you. The pressure of selling it is gone, and you can go crazy on the pages.

I admire my big brother, Ingvar Staffans, who has painted all of his life. He only uses black, white, brown, and maybe some beige in his art. He paints HUGE abstract expressions and have never even tried to paint pretty pictures. He is true to his own art. Some of it I don’t like, but some bowls me over with its amazing energy. He’s not afraid to experiment and I respect that.ingvarsart

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Hard to believe we’re related, huh?  He never read any books on intuitive painting, lol.  He is a process man, not a product man.

Anyway, here is the list of books that can inspire you to paint intuitively. I particularly recommend Michele Cassou’s books. They will tell what to do when you get stuck.  Her process is totally freeing.  The book links are to Amazon. Some you can probably find at the library.

POINT ZERO by Michele Cassou HERE.

LIFE, PAINT and PASSION by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley HERE.

PAINTING FROM THE SOURCE by Aviva Gold HERE.

A more recent book: PAINT MOJO by Tracy Verdugo HERE.

Another book to help open up your creativity is THE TRICKSTER’S HAT by Nick Bantock HERE.

And the classic THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron HERE.

I thought I would try a grungy sort of art journaling technique since I always paint in bright colors. My brother would be proud! 🙂

008This is not pretty, but meaningful to me. At this point I just want to express myself, not necessarily paint pretty pictures. It is an evolving  journey! I made a video of this art journal spread, and you can watch it HERE.

What are you working on today?  It is important … because life happens NOW.

xo

Maria

P.S.  If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter, you can sign up HERE.

 

 

45% off on my art journaling e-course!

What a deal! 45% off on my art journaling e-course for two (maybe four) days. I’m tickled pink to be offering you this opportunity to try something new in art journaling. Here is the page from my website that explains it all:

 

VISIONARY ART JOURNALING -A Journey Of The Six Senses
The ultimate intuitive art journaling e-course

Are you curious about intuition and how it works?  What if I could show you some simple ways to always be in touch with your intuition?  Maybe you have read books about it, but can’t seem to put it together. Are you going to do something about it? Learn how to break through and have some real experiences, not just book learning.  Find your inner guidance easily via art journaling.
Why take this e-course?
Visionary Art Journaling is perfect for you if :
• You never found a simple way to tap into your intuition in a consistent manner, or trust the information you received.
• You have been unable to follow through because the lessons or books bored you?
• Heart-centered art eludes you?
• If you’re a beginner, but eager to learn to tap into your intuition, and quickly.
• You feel fears around art journaling or intuition.
Imagine making art with an easy flow, straight from your heart!  No experience needed.
Visionary Art Journaling e-course takes all the mystery out of the art and intuition process.
Personal benefits:
• Unleash your creative side.
• Tap into your innermost self and gain confidence in all areas of your life.
• Support from me personally online and from other artists in the group.
• Experience less stress and worry about the process of art journaling.
• A sense of pride and accomplishment for taking steps to deepen your art dream, or even start a dream!
Art benefits:
• Learn how to create a fun background that fits what you experienced in the meditations.
• Learn how to create exceptional details that describe your vision.
• How to avoid pitfalls as you move through the art spreads.
• Learn about the practical side of interpreting what you feel onto a journal page.
• Get your creative juices flowing.
• Make new discoveries that inspire you to continue on the journey.
Now is the time to get started on your dream to get more deeply into your art!
Visionary Art Journaling e-course consists of intro videos, 6 meditation audios, and 6 downloadable art instruction videos with a multitude of examples and suggestions that cover all you need to know about art journaling, and the six senses. All the materials are yours to keep.  Again, no experience necessary to follow this e-course.  The guided meditation audios are very relaxing and about 7 minutes long each.
Audio 1: Deals with the sense of Taste
Audio 2: Deals with the sense of Smell
Audio 3: Deals with the sense of Sight
Audio 4: Deals with the sense of Touch
Audio 5: Deals with the sense of Hearing
Audio 6: Deals with the Sixth sense, your intuition
Bonus videos with more tips on honing your intuition.
After finishing the e-course you will have a clear picture on how to put together an art journal spread, using what tools you have.
You will have a clear and easy understanding how to access your intuition and how it works.
You will feel confident that you can create similar art on your own.
You will have a way to keep your inspiration flowing, using your inner senses that never grow stale!
JOIN ME FOR AN EXCITING LEARNING EXPERIENCE!
Suitability:
This e-course is suitable for beginners and for those who are art journaling veterans.
The art journaling pages will provide inspiration to add your own style and imagination.
If you like putting in the work up front for better results later, and have fun along the way, this course is definitely for you!
This is great for you if you like to take online courses and implement the advice. If you do the work, you will have excellent results.
If you are ready and eager to learn this kind of approach to art and see quick results, this e-course is definitely for you.

Visionary Art Journaling will help you to:
• know where to go next in the art process. It takes all the guesswork out of creating an art journal page.
• take the mystery out of the tools used.
• plug all the elements into your art via intuition.
• keep the excitement going for eternity. 🙂
Follow your dream of exploring art. Seize the day now, learn something new. Get excited again. Allow your talent to shine. Give yourself the gift of creativity.  Get re-inspired if you lost the spark.  Come along on the journey.
You can buy it by clicking HERE. 
xo
Maria
P.S. You can check out some of my original art in my etsy shop: HERE.

Your inner child.

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Your inner child is still with you, and you know that of course. I have noticed a trend lately. Well, it has been going on for some years, but people (mostly women) are taking great delight in different kinds of childlike expressions. The grown-up coloring books are the rage right now, and people love a slew of different kinds of weekly planners, in which they can be creative and record their feelings. I think it’s great!

There is a much greater openness, especially among artists to express their inner childlike joy. The “perfectionism” of art has long gone by the wayside, and it’s okay for anyone to express their art without shame. Not everyone is a Rembrandt, but everyone is an artist.

I have been feeling the joy of people expressing their creativity, be it art journaling, drawing, painting, intuitive painting, playing with clay and various styles of jewelry.

What with social media being such a great resource of pictures and tutorials, we live in a great time for expansion and acceptance.  The boundaries have been busted!

I find inspiration on every site, from Facebook to Twitter, to etsy to YouTube.  It’s like a cornucopia of art blessings! It also inspires me to try new styles.

I started out playing with (and drawing) paper dolls when I was a kid. Making clothes for them was my first foray into art. I never tired of it. I had a shoe box full under the kitchen bench we had. I would pull it out and go through my stash of dolls every day, spread them out on the kitchen table.  I also loved coloring books. I was careful not to color outside the lines, lol.

These days I do nothing but color outside the lines…

Later I got really into drawing and painting with whatever tools I had. My parents weren’t very forthcoming with artist tools, but I made do. When the desire is there you only need a paper and a  pencil.

I had some oil pastels and watercolors, but I could never get the watercolors right. You can’t really fix the mistakes, so it was frustrating.

These days I prefer acrylic paints and mixed media. Acrylics dry so fast and I love that. I also love the flexibility of the paint.

My biggest obstacle to creating every day is to actually sit down and DO it. I know I share that boat with many. The only way to overcome it is to go back to the page or canvas, slap some paint on. When all fails I glue a picture or two on the page to get started.

It is all about commitment. If we really want to do something we have to commit to it, no matter what it takes. It’s the only way to see results, but also to feel the joy along the way. No one said it would be easy… There are many peaks and valleys.

What is your passion?

I’m into intuitive painting a lot these days. I have two e-courses on offer that address art and intuition and intuition itself. Check it out on THIS LINK.

Want some more news?  Sign up for my newsletter HERE.

xo

Maria