Category Archives: inspiration

From drab to colorful

From drab to colorful is a transformation of an old painting into something new that better fits me as the artist I am today. Painting over an old painting does not give me a sense of doom, lol. I’m not attached to my paintings much. When they are done, they are mostly out of my consciousness.

The paintings I can’t sell, I paint over. The forgiveness of acrylic paints is great. No matter how many layers, the paint only looks richer each time.

This particular painting went through several huge changes, each stage very different. Here is the end result of the transformation, and the pictures of the old finished paintings.

from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful
The painting started here.

I painted this face back in the day, but it never left my studio. I then painted some layers on top and the white as a last layer. I saw two drinking glasses in the shapes, but I never liked that painting. It was too colorless for my liking,

Here are pictures of the progress that brought the art to its current state (as in the first picture above.)

I added lots of marks and details, and some “loud” drips that took over pretty much everything. Then I painted over most of them.

from drab to colorful

I was not happy with the blue ground and the flowers. They dominated everything else, so I diminished the blue, as you can see in the next picture.

from drab to colorful
from drab to colorful

In the above picture, I toned down the white outlines on the flowers. They are better, but I’m not totally happy with them–may be too big. I outlined the houses with charcoal to make them more pronounced. It ended up becoming a happy painting despite the giant flowers.

What if the painting doesn’t work out?

You never know how things will evolve, but you have to put yourself into the center of the action. Don’t agonize and wait, just try something. You can always fix what doesn’t work. The most important thing in creating is to take action, no matter how hard the fear pushes back.

Action = courage = more action = results.

Sometimes you have to work on a painting with courage you didn’t know you had. Results, whether they are good or bad, will happen. You never know until you try.

If you struggle with fear, here is a helpful post: Fear Holding You Back?

Here is another post: Procrastination is an Ugly Beast.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Check out my items for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. There are some fantastic gift ideas.

Allowing yourself a Great Day

Allowing yourself a great day is for most people not a choice.

Happiness is a choice, but we are never taught how to be happy. It’s not about the things you do in a day, but how you feel inside.

Here in the States, one of the most polite expressions to another person is: “have a great day.” How many people really mean it? It’s one of those automatic sayings that rolls off the tongue, like “thank you.”

How many people know how to be happy? Not many; it’s not something we’re taught in school.

I like to meditate in the morning every day. There is a source of happiness in my heart, riding on the life-giving stream of breath. This is a knowledge I was fortunate to acquire in my youth, but how many people have that know-how?

Allowing yourself happiness is to seek what truly makes you happy. There is only ONE thing in the long run, and it lies within you.

However, to make a day complete, you have to do things that uplift you. I encounter so many people who are miserable at their jobs and see no way out of the constant grind.

I decided a long time ago that I did not want a “career” and to be miserable. I found my joy in writing and art. My working life has been a roller-coaster ride so far, but I made my own choices, and I don’t regret anything.

It takes two things

Number one, you have to WANT to find happiness.

Number two, you have to make a DECISION to be happier and stick with it through thick and thin.

The thing is, there are answers to all of your questions, and it takes courage to stick with anything worthwhile. So I guess courage is the third requisite, but as you move forward, you create great momentum.

I talk to so many people who want to make art, but they never do. When I hear the excuses, I will not try to convince anyone to do what they love.

It is a personal choice. Today I allow myself to create a day to my liking, which includes art-making or crafts of some sort, eating well, breathing some fresh air, hugging a tree, and having a good night’s sleep. I do work a job, but only on my terms, which does NOT allow for burn-out.

How can you change your life today?

What could you do? Change, once and for all, one habit that drives you nuts. Investigate how you can incorporate a spiritual practice in your life. Honor your body with good food and a walk. Make some art. Your choice, but choose one little thing and stick with it.

The people who like to make art are doing it. People who love to write are doing it. People who want to exercise are doing it. They chose to incorporate it into their lives because it uplifts them.

Women usually think about others’ well-being first, and that is something we learned by watching other women. For goodness sake, allow yourself some self-love! You will not reach sainthood by being everything to everyone. You’re gaining no brownie points with the Divine, au contraire.

Make a decision to set aside one hour each day for self love.

A few examples of allowing yourself self-love

Get up earlier in the morning and spend time writing in a journal about YOUR needs and how you can satisfy them.

Make some art

Meditate or do yoga. Awareness of self is everything.

Connect with nature and breathe in the healing qualities.

Get in touch with your body and HOW YOU REALLY FEEL. Most people live outside their bodies to cope with the pressures of daily life.

Put your own well-being FIRST!

I hope you do something because I’m tired of listening to excuses. Have a love story with your art making, starting today.

It can be rough at times, but if you are the creator of your own life, you know how to get back to the “good vibes.”

Lots of love,

Maria

Allowing yourself a great day
Allow yourself happiness

P.S. You can check out more info about spiritual practice HERE. Art practice inspiration is available on YouTube in any form you like. If you want to check out my art journaling videos, go HERE.

Allowing yourself more inspiration, read this blog post: Creativity, spirituality, and passion.

Every painting is a leap of faith.

Every painting is a new challenge. It can be scary to engage.

If you want to go deeper into your art, you have to attend to your feelings. What do you feel? All that energy can be fodder for your creativity. Say it in colors!

How deep do you want to go? When we allow our deepest emotions to stir to the surface and acknowledge them, we’re making a big leap forward (unless we push them back down.) You can make a pretty picture or a raw one.

When you see raw art, you pause. You might not like the rendition, but something speaks to you beyond the slashes of paint. It’s a remembrance. It reminds you of your own most profound hidden stuff, the wounded side we don’t want to look at. It doesn’t have to be dark and dreary, just direct and arresting.

Art is an excellent therapy if you’re willing to dive into the depths.
What comes out is raw and innocent.
Maybe you will paint a child-like picture of sunshine and smiley faces or perhaps slashes of dark colors.

If you don’t want to feel, paint safe projects. Make pretty pictures. That is okay as well. We all need brightness.

If you’re going to touch someone’s soul, you have to bare your own.
It’s all in the process, moving forward. It might take years to be vulnerable, but you grow your confidence to use your paints as a conduit. That is always a growth in itself.
What comes up in daily life is fodder for growth as an artist.

When you dive deep is when the wild side takes over and brings you into the “cauldron” of transformation. The answers to your questions then appear in your paintings. Honesty is the most important aspect of showing up to create.

When you feel short of honesty, you choose “pretty and safe.” I do it; we all do it, but there is always a longing to discover more depth.
I don’t know, is it only me?

Do you ask the paint what it wants to do? Do you ask it where it wants to go?
Do you invite the canvas to accept the paint?
I always feel into those things, but sometimes I cop out in the middle and choose the easy way through the project.

It’s the “instant gratification syndrome” rearing its head. I want to see the art finished, but I know that’s not what the canvas wanted. It’s hard to be patient and put the painting away for another day. The risk is that you’ll never go back to it. That happened with this painting recently. I don’t know what she wants, but I’m waiting to hear.

unfinished painting

I have several unfinished paintings and some that I paint over. At the time of their creation, they bloomed, deformed maybe, but expressed their gift. So, they offered their gift and then turned into a memory, possibly harshly judged as poor art.

Can we allow art to be what it wants to be?
Yes, for me anyway. I don’t always like it, but the breakthroughs are worth all the pain of waiting, the frustration of walking down blind alleys, and poor concentration.

How do you allow this process?

You have to sit with the discomfort and allow the frustration.
Be in partnership with your art making. Treat it with respect as you would a good friend.
There is no need to conquer or perform.
It’s okay to take baby steps.
It’s okay to slash paint all over the canvas without thought.
It’s okay to be angry, but what is that all about? Ask your anger. It has a strong message for you that can propel you forward.


Stick with the practice, set a time when you will enter the studio, and show your respect by showing up.
Art is a living being, a force of magic and brilliance. You want to dance with it, don’t you?
Art will grow you as a person; it promotes change. It can be subtle, but it’s there.

It can be a wild beast or tame as a kitten. In the long run, it never lets you down! Make art your best friend.

If you missed the art self-care boost during the first week of February, you can check out the first video on YouTube HERE. There are five in a row, marked with numbers.
It will give you a boost toward continual art marking. You can also join my creative group on Facebook.
Looking for some affordable art journaling e-courses, I have a few evergreen ones HERE.

Lots of love,

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.