Category Archives: inspirational

Who is in charge?

Who is in charge? You or your ego / resistance?  I know I have written about that before, but through my experience over time, I have realized that inspiration is not some kind of random thing that only comes to a lucky few.

Inspiration is a good habit to grow in your art practice. Inspiration is not a fickle muse or a random occurrence. It is yours to command if you show up consistently.

In charge
Who is in charge?

I wasn’t going to write a blog post today, but I had promised myself to write one this week. Kinda late in the game since it’s Saturday. My excuses were:

I’m not inspired

I have nothing to say

I’m too tired to write now

I’d rather be painting (when would that ever be an excuse??)

When I show up to paint, I get the same bullsh*t excuses. Life would just go by without me accomplishing anything I have set out to do.

I have “make art” written on every day of my calendar. I do miss some days, but for the most part I show up even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes at the current painting or art journal page.

I count my crafts as art too since I’m using my creativity. Here is what I made today.

mermaid polymer clay mosaic
Believe in magic

I woke up and really wanted to get going on this mermaid.  Part of me said, go for it, the other said, sleep in.

There will always be some bullsh*t excuse for not doing what we know will make us happy.

Same crap as with exercising regularly…

Saying “no” to the resistance is a muscle that can be toned and strong. At one point the resistance gets the message and moves over a bit so that you can get to the action you want quickly.

The point is to stick with the action you have set for yourself. If that is “do more art” it’s something that is “holy.” There is no argument allowed and as “do more art”  becomes a habit, you have won.

Remember though, resistance will always be there lurking in the background, but if you have set a “no compromise” status for yourself things have to move forward or YOU will feel like crap while resistance smirks in the background. Been there too many times.

If you expect inspiration to be there, IT WILL BE.

Excuses are not allowed.

mermaid polymer clay
Believe in magic

NOW, go do it! 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. My free 2017 art journaling challenge is going strong. If you’d like to have the prompt emails. sign up HERE. Guest teacher for March will be Julia Ostara.  The mermaids are available in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

Destruction of innocence.

Destruction of innocence is rampant this day and age. In my work as an artist I come across sooo many people who don’t know or don’t dare to express themselves. So indoctrinated we have become, and it’s a sad sight to see!

herd of sheep
herd of sheep

We never planned to be a herd of sheep. When we were children our imagination was wild and alive. We could play with anything and make it into something it wasn’t. That didn’t matter; we enjoyed the process all the same.

I come across people all the time who say “I can’t draw,” “I can’t make art,” I’ve never been good at painting.”

Whoever imprinted that on children has done the world a disfavor, but then of course, they had themselves been imprinted with “Sheep sameness syndrome.” (Sorry sheep. They are probably more in tune with life than we’ll ever be.)

Getting back to art, all I can say, pick up that brush and push a bold stroke of paint across the canvas. It’s not going to kill you. Rinse and repeat with as many colors you like.

It takes courage to be four years old again.  “What if I ruin the canvas?” What if it turns out all muddy?” “What if it turns out UGLY?”

It WILL most likely be ugly, but so what? I’m sure Rembrandt started out with ugly, and his master probably said ‘You won’t amount to anything; you can’t even draw straight lines.”

With ugly you learn that maybe you shouldn’t mix all those colors together and get muddy brown.  A step in the right direction, right?

We are so afraid of failure, of what people will think, and that we can’t possibly accomplish anything worthwhile.  We live in a black and white movie. Technicolor is definitely available, but it’s up to you to step into that theater.

Just the act of picking up a brush and putting it on the surface is a novel idea that strikes fear in the heart of ‘gods.” Yes, we are gods and goddesses.

silliness
silliness

Remember when you learned how to bicycle? What a totally blissful experience and sense of accomplishment. I was four years old, on my brother’s cast-off bike, and my dad pushing at the back. I never feared I would lose my biking ability after and I never did.  I KNEW. Experience brings trust.

That feeling is always inside of us, and when we try something new, whether we succeed or fail, doesn’t matter. Something inside drives us to push on until we succeed  (success in your own definition.) Success equals daring to me. When I try something new, not necessarily sky diving, but something I haven’t done before, I call on my inner child. Maybe it will be scary and I make a fool of myself in front of others, but I DARED, and by that I learned something, and I also grew my soul.

I will never forget when I fell off that ski lift (first try) and my pants split open and filled my ass with snow.

Today, try something you haven’t tried before, something a bit outside your comfort zone. You might surprise yourself on the road less traveled, and you might come across some sheep who has left the herd and has wonderful tales of inspiration to tell.

It is the time for the explorer, the curious, and the brave. Be THAT one. No one is going to bite you, unless you go into a den of cobras…. 😉

P.S. The FREE year-long 2017 art exploration is going strong. Join my brave art explorers today! CLICK HERE.

Love,

Maria

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Paper shrines

Paper shrines are easy to make.  I use them in art journal spreads, and if the paper is sturdy enough, they can stand up and be used as a table shrine.

paper shrine
Paper shrine
paper shrine
closed paper shrine

The above shrine was made with heavy-duty watercolor paper. I added the doors and altered the paper. Lots of gold! It doesn’t show well in the picture. As an icon I used a picture from a guide book of the Louvre. He’s some Egyptian scribe. It doesn’t have to be a religious icon. Whatever you want to celebrate. You can make a shrine with your goals or passions / dreams, or an ode to Nature.

The possibilities are endless.

Here is another shrine I made from card stock.  Won;t make the art journal spread bulky when added.

shrine
shrine

I used a digital picture of Mary in this one, added a frame and gold paint. As bling I used some gilded and colorful border segments.

I made a video of the process and you can watch it HERE.

Have fun making your own shrine. 🙂

Creating is living well…

Maria

Doormat syndrome.

Doormat syndrome, have you suffered from that as a woman (or man?)

I have at times. I had two relationships that were “their way or no way.” I’d say it’s common to submit to others to keep the peace.

doormat
doormat

For a time, anyone was welcome to step on me and make me do their bidding, cause it was “nice” to help others, no matter what.

No more.

Yesterday, I had two conversations with women having trouble standing up for themselves, as if saying “no” is not nice or not supportive. We as women are raised to be supportive and submissive. I say, to heck with that!!!

There is a limit to what is expected of us. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! If you don’t WANT to do something, don’t do it. If someone is clingy, hogs your time, drains your energy, just excuse yourself and remove yourself from that person. Know your limits! That is SELF RESPECT. You have the right to stand in your power, always.

Someone might snigger at those words, but the longer we stay in a submissive stance to others, the less we can pursue our dreams because someone will always step on them. That is part of the scenario of being a doormat. Make better choices.

  • It’s okay to be your own person.
  • It’s okay to have dreams.
  • It’s okay to be an artist if you want to.
  • It’s okay to make others mad if you are protecting what you know is right for you.
  • It’s okay to have time for yourself.
  • It’s okay to be a role model for strength.

I have lost friends over that last statement, and I don’t have to be RIGHT, but I can choose what works in my life and ditch the rest.

So many women I know put everyone else’s dreams and desires before their own. When are you going to realize your own strengths if you deny your power as a person? Say you fall down dead and realize you did nothing to pursue what fired up your soul.  That would totally suck in my opinion.

To be an artist matters. Your voice matters, your art matters. Your expression in the world is very important so if you have something to say or paint, do it.  As they say, life is short.

The greatest excuse I hear is: I have to be there for my children.  Yes, of course you do, but you also have a responsibility to yourself.

Make your children badass and confident as you grow yourself stronger.

strong children
Children who are not doormats

Allow yourself to choose YOU.  Your children will learn from you. Do you want them to become doormats? I didn’t think so.

Maybe you wonder why I post many motivational posts instead of artist stuff?  Being an artist requires becoming the whole you. I’m working on that, and my art expression is a journey that changes all the time.  Art has helped me to be strong.  So maybe it’s better to inspire people to be strong than add a bunch of art how-tos. I decided I can do both. 🙂

So can you! Dive in and be the GREAT You now. If people stand in your way, you deserve better. Work around them or get rid of them.

You are enough!

With lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Sidebar note. I have a sale going on for my art journal how-to e-course. ONLY $15 until October 26. CLICK THIS LINK. Create something today! Get involved.

New art in my etsy shop.

Buddha abstract
New art in my etsy shop