Category Archives: inspirational

obsession with technique

” My jump is not high enough; my twists are not perfect; I can’t place my leg behind my ear. Please don’t do that. Sometimes there is such an obsession with the technique that this can kill your best impulses. Remember that communicating with a form of art means being vulnerable, being imperfect. And most of the time it is much more interesting. Believe me “.
BARYSHNIKOV

I read this paragraph by Baryshnikov this morning and thought, wow, exactly what I would say even if my words don’t have the same clout as his. (If you don’t know who he is, Google him. He was a famous Russian ballet dancer, still is.)

Dancing ballet is a lot more exacting than slapping some paint on paper, and I don’t know how they live with their small imperfections when the dance looks flawless to me. He also said: “It doesn’t matter how high you lift your leg. The technique is about transparency, simplicity, and making an earnest attempt.”[ (From Wikipedia.)

We are so ready to find any fault with our process. What if we change that and revel in the accomplishment of a failed tree, or whatever you’re painting? Bob Ross used to say when he painted something that was off: “And now we have some happy birds instead.”

I love that! 🙂

Obsession with technique is not in the cards for mixed media artists. We feel our way forward.

Be your own best cheerleader! When you struggle with a painting, it’s courageous to put the next dab of paint on the project. It’s a gamble, one that could bring the project onto a great new path or wreck the momentum.

It’s a risk I’m willing to take every day. I have lots of half-finished paintings that went nowhere, but I will pick each up and try again (at some point.) I like to finish what I start.

Obsession with technique was not part of this little locket painting. I drew a simple outline and then painted.
Locket art

It’s good to have some different techniques so that you know how to handle paint or other materials, but don’t let that stop the creative flow forward.

With my mosaics, I cut, bake, and paint a big pile of tiles. I don’t choose them for color when I put the art together. Whichever tile fits is the one that goes into the empty slot. It sounds wild, but the project usually turn out okay without a plan. I always start with a focus tile or tiles and go from there.

Some turn out prettier than others, but I’m always happy with the result.

Polymer clay mosaic wall art of a sun goddess with a winged heart.
Sun goddess mosaic art

The sun goddess above was not worried about technique, but I had to use a template to cut out the halo and the dress. I experimented with color and different shaped tiles and found the process so enjoyable.

What do you enjoy the most? What brings out the “child in you” that can’t wait to get up in the morning?

A life lived in that frame of mind is always positive. The person would say on their deathbed: “I don’t regret anything; it was a heck of a great ride.”

Let’s begin to live and do whatever it takes; every day is a new commitment to joy!

Here’s to courage.

Love, Maria (taking her own advice.)

For more inspiration, read this post about Passion and Perseverance. (The title sounds like a Jane Austen novel… 🙂

Trust yourself; you’re the Artist

Trust yourself, no matter what people say, or YOU say about your art. It’s so easy to criticize and compare your work with that of others.

I’m sure you have heard it before. If we follow trends, one comes to mind lately, pouring paint on canvas. There is nothing wrong with that if you feel really passionate about it. As with every trend, it will fade away.

What feels right to you today?

It can change on a dime, but what feels like lots of fun and a creative challenge when nothing else fits? I was focused on art journaling and intuitive painting, and all of a sudden, none of those styles appealed to me, but I’m sure they will return at some point.

If you have made art for a while, you’re familiar with the fact that it always changes, like life. Sometimes it can be subtle, and sometimes NOTHING works. What then?

Trust yourself. What do you see that you want to try? Watercolors? Figurative drawing? Crafts? Maybe collage?

There are no rules and trust in your instincts. My go-to is crafts (for the most part, and I like to write.) I love trying new crafts, and lately, I found some blank wooden houses that I could embellish. I have made two, and there is two more underway.

trust in yourself
whimsical house
trust yourself
whimsical house number 2

Trust yourself in the moment

If you’re in a craft store and you see some materials that spark your interest, go for it. Don’t think about it; don’t over-analyze. You are free to try things. There is no boss or licensing company hanging over your shoulder urging you to make “more of the same” because it sells.

It’s about discovery

Trust that you can move forward on your artistic path. It may take many detours from, say, painting portraits if that’s your style, but you come back to the tried and true refreshed.

Picasso is a great example of an artist who tried so many kinds of art, and it added to his strength. He was not stuck in one genre but moved boldly as his muse inspired him.

So, let’s move boldly forward. If you have a dry painting spell, knit a scarf! One thing is not better or worse than the other. It’s all creative expression.

As we wait tensely in Florida to see what Dorian, the storm, is going to do, I will continue to create, maybe finish the two houses, and I will end up with a village! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can read this post for more inspiration — Inspiration Where is it?

Or this post: No Inspiration, no problem!

My etsy shop is full of goodies, unique gift ideas! Earth and Faery

The exotic life of an artist

The exotic life is not for everyone. Artists are supposed to be larger than life, but more often you will find us slugging away in our studios, alone, and fighting resistance, haha.

I think of exotic artists and come up with Georgia O’Keefe, but in her mind, she probably saw herself as a dedicated working woman. She was; I can’t remember reading about any debauched parties or deep discussions with other “tortured” artists at cafes. It’s funny the labels we put on people (throughout history.)

Art is often that, mundane, yet again exhilarating because you don’t know which turn will head you into a new phase of your art.

The only exotic thing I have around here is a flowering Claradendron. I should dress like an artist in flowery, hippie styles with lots of scarves, but I’m a conservative dresser. All my color goes into my paintings. What I wear on a given day are sweatpants, paint-stained tops / T-shirts, and sandals. It’s time for an upgrade! At least get rid of the gray ones.

I have been productive lately, feeling the “vibe.” Here are some of my latest wild shenanigans. They are going to hang in a local shop later today, and I’m glad more people get to see them.

boat of dreams
No title
Love at first sight

Are you adding some exotic flavor to your life?

It doesn’t have to be risky, just something new. Yesterday, I took a different road to a street I always travel, and it opened my eyes to possibilities. An exotic flavor could be to MAKE art, not just think about it. There is nothing to hold you back except your excuses (resistance.) You might as well make friends with it.

I’m moving more into abstract mixed media art lately. My whimsical critters show up on a regular basis, and that’s fun. I love whimsy as much as the next person.

How do you proceed with the art process?

You start. The above art was not planned. I pretty much always start with a layer of paint, and then I add paper scraps that please my eye. If I end up not liking the way they look, I paint over them. I usually do three layers of paints, including marks, and if I see some figure in the mess, I outline it. The outline surrounds the figure, and the unifying color in the background ties it all together. It is a fun and harmless process — no need to feel pressured or daunted by your perceived lack of ability.

Time is now!

You don’t need a charming studio, a painter’s smock or the most popular paints. All you need is a willingness to try, to apply yourself.

Lots of love,

Maria

For more inspiration, go to this post: Every Painting is a Leap of Faith.

I have some new things in my Etsy shop for those looking for a great exotic gift, haha. Earth and Faery

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.

Needing validation

Needing validation is like breathing; it’s something we all do.  As artists it’s important to have someone say, “what a great painting,” or “I love your art” or “your art gives me a good feeling.”

We love comments like that whether they are honest or not. Validation makes your work worthwhile.

However, if you sense the compliments are not sincere, you start doubting your talent (again.) I assume we come from a place of doubting the art all the time. I know I do, except for a few times when I truly KNEW the paintings were great.

needing validation
validation

How does it all start?

As kids we had to find out if what we made was any good. I remember showing drawings to my dad, and thank goodness, he always said they were nice. I still remember that.

But I also remember the bullies in school who always tried to tear you down, especially if you’d done something good, like gotten an A on a test, created a beautiful painting or broken a school record of some sort.

To seek validation is like making sure we are alive.

If we didn’t get any validation who’s to say we even exist, right?

That’s a pretty deep question, but one place were we can find true validation is within. You can validate your worthiness through whatever physical aspect you use to express. Worthiness is a feeling inside.

When you feel good about something you did, that’s validation enough.

We are social creatures but do we need the false compliments that people hand out to be “nice?” I say thank you for every compliment, false or true. I’m not going to confront someone about their honesty.

So how do you get to a point where inner validation is enough?

You have to learn to trust yourself.

Trust is a sense that was beaten out of us since childhood. “Trust no one.” I remember I learned to keep secrets so as not to be punished I was four years old. It didn’t get any better through life until I realized I have give myself the gift of trust.

If I trust in me, I can trust the world. The secret is to grow the trust within so that the games of the world do not affect you.

Trust, like worthiness, is a soul feeling.

I have learned to trust more through forgiving others and most of all, myself, for having a low opinion of myself.

Make a list of people you need to forgive today. Truly forgive them for all they have done to you, and ask for forgiveness for your stuff. This can be done in silence, but you need to be sincere.

Life is so much easier, brighter, and filled with possibilities when the burden of guilt and shame is gone.

Through inner trust you can find true validation.

Forgive yourself for art that didn’t work out and try again, and again. Life is a journey, art a process.

Life itself is validation enough.

Fear and mistrust go hand in hand. I have another blog post that takes this further, What do you fear?

Make something fun today!

xo

Maria

P.S My etsy shop is stocked to the brim. 🙂 Sale coming up SOON! EarthandFaery