Category Archives: mixed media

When in a creative slump

When in a creative slump, it’s easy to panic and think that the well has dried up for good. You feel uninspired, unmotivated, moody, a lack of general energy, and you look at things negatively. The last thing you want to hear is “rise above” or “do it anyway” or “buck up, it’s not the end of the world.”

While some of those expressions are true in many ways, it’s easy to dismiss them and stay in the doldrums.

When in the dumps you can make a conscious choice to change, but it’s not easy.

So basically how you feel is a choice. I can hear arguments coming at me, but let me explain. How do you “rise above”? I personally do it by meditation to feel better, and then everything seems easier, even if it isn’t.

Practice is a great fall-back.

When you’ve been in a slump several times, you know they don’t last, so experience makes it easier to bear.

When I feel a longing to create and do it, no matter what, I feel progress even if everything came out as mud on paper.

I suppose you could call it “do it anyway.” I have written about that before, and it boils down to a habit of going to the studio and make attempts at creating every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. You feel progress, if not satisfaction.

The thing about experiencing a slump is part of the process of being an artist. It’s as sure as the sun rising in the sky. You feel it especially hard if you’re changing your art expression by trusting that an old style no longer works.

I’ve looked at my progression of styles over the years and it’s mind-boggling how many times things have changed! I get bored easily.

I especially dislike the “buck up” version of friendly advice. Let me just wallow in my misery, okay? 🙂 I guess I’d rather not admit that “bucking up” is a valid choice…

Anyway, IF YOU JUST SHOW UP, things will turn around and you’ll think you wasted a bunch of days on misery.

That said, I’ve changed a lot recently, and it shows up in my art. However, a friend of mine said, “I can always see YOU in all of your art styles.” That made me feel good as I have been worrying about changing from something that worked in the past to something new.

My clay art is much easier than painting. Check out my latest funky chicken, Elmer:

When in a slump, make a clay chicken…

And here’s Selma:

Selma, the sassy chicken

I made some mixed media art /paintings, and had a huge struggle to get past the super messy backgrounds. It was as if I threw everything single technique at them before I could see any steps forward. It was a messy slump indeed, but I gritted my teeth and moved one inch forward every day. I hated the panels!

I don’t have any process pictures, but these happy summer motifs came out of all that angst and disgust. To top it all, the art looked happy, the colors bright, full of joy. Go figure.

They are different than my previous painting expressions, but I felt good about the new direction. Who doesn’t like a happy summer day?

I also tried some wood panels, and I LOVE THEM! Painting on a hard surface is easier than canvas somehow. You have to experience it to know.

They are a mixture of messy paint, decorative papers, and in one case, scraps of lace.

The painting below ended up with loads of paper strips for hair. It was painstaking but I liked the result.

Air fairy

I have been admiring dioramas on Pinterest, and I made a couple, though I had no idea what I was doing. It was loads of fun! Something for you to try if you get into a creative slump??

The fairy in the second picture was store bought, and I created the landscape around her.

So when all else fails, try a simple collage or a diorama! Painting has been my hardest taskmaster. Crafts are more relaxing and not half as challenging. So, in conclusion, to grow we need to do more of what challenges us…

If you missed my last tutorial on funky paper dolls you can check it out HERE.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. The above items are for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

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Mixed media with sea-loving flair

Mixed media is one of my go-to modalities when I want to experiment and have some fun in my art journal.

There are so many ways to add mixed media elements to your art, as many as you can imagine! 🙂

Mixed media is the essence of flexibility.

I made this art journal spread with some sea-loving flair. Mice are on an adventure and a mermaid is sending them some good vibes.

I haven’t been as busy as usual in my studio this month. Times have been kind of crazy, and my thoughts have been scattered a lot.

But I’m ready for Christmas, and there will be mixed media galore in my Etsy shop, but no art journaling there. 🙂

As you can see, I painted some pictures. I also tried my hand at some polymer clay brooches, which were a lot of fun, and a mermaid pendant. What do you think of these?

I made some more angels since they sell well in my shop.

If you are interested in any of these items, they can be purchased at Earth and Faery. There are about 150 items to choose from. I’m amazed at myself as I keep making stuff. When you’re inspired, everything flows!

If you missed my last post, Altered Pages Just for Fun, here it is. You can watch a three-part video tutorial on how to make altered pages with texture and paint. Then I show how to use them as ornaments and as a journal cover. CHECK IT OUT.

It’s always good to make some art in these crazy times. 🙂

My aim is to inspire.

Lots of love,

Maria

Altered Pages’ tutorials for fun!

Altered pages are a staple in art journaling, and I decided to experiment using a tub of modeling paste I just purchased. The paste has the consistency of creamy peanut butter and is easy to use. It’s important to clean up your tools quickly before it dries. It dries a lot harder than you’d think.

First, a thought: The best way to discover what kind of art expression you like to pursue is through experimentation. You learn quickly what you don’t like, and it takes you beyond copying others’ styles. I think it’s the best way to discover what makes you tick. That changes over time, so it’s good to be flexible.

Anyway, here are the three videos I made with altered papers.

Part 1: how I actually altered the papers.

Altering pages

Part 2: How I made some ornaments using the above papers.

Making ornaments

Part 3: Altered papers make a great journal cover!

Altered papers journal cover

As you can see, these papers are very flexible and forgiving too. You can’t mess up the project. Try it. If you buy some modeling paste you’ll enjoy using it in other projects. I made this mermaid picture with a sea background of paste.

Mermaid with modeling paste background

I pretty much used the same stencils in all the projects. You can use this technique for some many things!

Have a great creative rest of the week. 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I stocked some Halloween items in my shop recently, Earth and Faery.

Simple journal cover tutorial

Simple journal cover you ask? Yes, it’s possible. Check out the YouTube video I made creating an easy and fun cover for a new art journal. All you need is a manila envelope, I used a 12×9″ size, but any size is ok. You need some paints, elastic, and stencils or rubber stamps. Use what you have and save yourself a trip to the craft store.

I really like how it turned out, and there are so many variations that you can create. The sky’s the limit. You can also put something in the envelope, use it as a secret pocket.

Simple is great! The more complex the design, the more room for error, though you can’t really go wrong when art journaling.

At a whole other spectrum of creativity, I sewed a cat figure from scrap fabrics.

A friend saw it on Instagram and promptly purchased it. I was happy to part with it. I painted the eyes and appliqued them to the face. A lot of embroidery was involved, and I sewed the body without turning the seams inside. I thought it added a primitive touch to the figure.

Sometimes just winging it makes the best art. 🙂

What are you making today?

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, try this spirit doll assemblage made with an old Altoid tin. HERE

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I’m stocking some Christmas items (gifts) in my etsy shop. Check them out HERE.

Christmas in July

Christmas is still a few months away, but people seem to enjoy getting a head start on gift shopping, and this year might prove the same–or not. We live in strange times.

I was invited to join the Pfatt Marketplace (Prominent Folk Artist’s Trinkets and Treasures), and I just submitted my Christmas items for the July launch which happens on July 10. New items are for sale every month on the 10th. I enjoy trying out a new venue. I made some angels and a Christmas village. I will use my Etsy name, Earth and Faery there. You can check out the site HERE.

I have been busy this June and it feels good to be productive. I’ve had my eye on a set of metal fondant letter cutters at Michael’s and I finally took the plunge and bought them. I had no idea how they would work out on for my polymer clay, but I wanted to try. They come in a round tin and can be found in the baking department.

Fondant letter cutters
letter cutters

In the summer, the polymer clay gets sticky in the heat even though I keep it in the fridge. Once you roll it out it loses its chill. It was hard to get the clay out of the letters. I used the round end of a small brush to poke it through. It dented the clay, and some letters I could turn over, but the others I had to smooth out the best I could. I wasn’t too thrilled about the rounded edges of the letters for some reason.

It’s something you can try with your art.

Christmas in July peace sign.
Christmas in July

They pretty much took over the plaque, but I was pleased in general. I made specialty tiles with red, green, and gold paint, just to make it Christmas-y.

It has been 100 degrees here so it’s hard to get into any kind of Christmas feeling…

The last mixed media village I made sold out, but I have four more houses available now.

Besides making my mosaics, I’ve moved deeper into the rabbit hole of clay figures. I can tell you it’s so much fun! You should try making some. It’s not that hard.

The faces are the hardest part, but the more you practice, the better they get. I also add a little bird to every figure I make. I just like birds a lot. All of my figures are for sale. You can check out my inventory HERE. I add more things every day.

Now go and make some art! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

Whimsical art house tutorial

Whimsical art and “funky boho colorful display” you can call these houses that are so much fun to make!

I wrote a picture tutorial on how to make them. It’s fun and easy! Here’s one:

Whimsical art house tutorial.
whimsical art house

You can buy the wooden house shape at Michael’s or online. They are cheap and easy to alter. Since I was going to cover everything with paper, I Mod-Podged the surfaces to seal them before I attached paper scraps.

Paper scraps attached, art house tutorial.
Paper scraps attached

Here the papers are dry. I covered the edges as well. You can glue the paper down and then cut the excess along the edges with sharp scissors.

All surfaces covered, art house tutorial.
All surfaces covered.

Below, I wiped acrylic paints over the surfaces, one pink one lavender.

I painted the door shapes, and in the image after that you can see the windows added. I used charcoal to outline the shapes in a primitive style.

Windows and doors, art house tutorial.
Windows and doors added with paint and charcoal.

To seal the charcoal, which can be messy if not sealed, I used a spray varnish. It’s best to spray them outside because the fumes are wicked. I let the houses dry outside as well.

Drilled holes, art house tutorial
Drilled holes for birds

I then drilled the holes for the tiny birds I’d made as an embellishment on the roof. Whimsical touch… 🙂

Whimsical birds for the house roofs, tutorial.
Whimsical birds for the house roofs

I painted the houses the same colors on the back as on the front. The edges got a contrasting color.

Jazzed up the front with banners, art house tutorial.
Jazzed up the front with banners

When I make polymer clay tiles for my mosaics, I usually make some extra cut-outs. I use cookie cutters for these shapes, bake them, and paint them. They make cute banners! I also glued some flowers at the bottom on the pink house. I varnished the back and the edges with gloss varnish. The shine brings out the colors nicely.

Finished houses, art tutorial
Finished houses!
Birds glued to the edges, art house tutorial
Birds on the edges

I used super glue to attach the steel wire to the birds and the houses. They will stay in for a long time! 🙂

Below is another example of a green house.

Finished art house, art tutorial
Finished art house

Now I have to make more stars and pennants. I used them all in these projects.

Wood shapes are great because you can make so much with them. If you read my blog you know I like to combine wood and polymer clay. One of my most cherished sellers is the angel with a message.

Angel with a message
Angel with a message

What gets your imagination going?

I get my inspiration from actually making stuff. One thing leads to another, new ideas pop up as I’m in the middle of the process. Most of them are good ideas that can be realized without too much pain. I also get inspiration from other artists on Instagram and Pinterest.

Don’t let fear stop you from experimenting. The figure below is my latest experimentation. I have a hard time sculpting faces, but I decided to use a face mold that I proceeded to alter. However, I keep working on my skills; it’s the only way to master a new technique.

Bettina, the circus acrobat on her day off

I wish you lots of inspiration! Try something new today. 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria