Category Archives: process

What if life seems blah?

What if one doesn’t feel like making art? What if life seems blah and there is no inspiration for anything in particular? It happens.

Life is not always a downhill ride; more often than not, it’s a slow, steady path forward. The mundane can be magical, but for the most part, we don’t see that aspect.

When you create art, you change the status quo, even if you don’t like what you produced. The fact that you did is something to celebrate.

Now, if art becomes mundane or just another chore, it’s time to focus on something else for a while. I like to crafts as a break of pace. There are endless varieties of crafts, something for everyone.

What if that doesn’t work, or you have no interest in crafts?
Ask your body how it feels when you apply yourself to various tasks. Do you feel eager or repulsed? Is there a feeling of “go ahead” or does it stand still, as in neutral? When it does, you have to stop and wait from a sense of direction. It will come, but it requires patience, which most of us don’t have. We want things to flow, to work out with ease.

Art has no master.

Either you follow its flow, or you go against it.
You will feel when you go against it; it’s like wading upstream in cold water. I have learned that inactivity is often a breeding ground for new ideas, some that you never thought about before.

Often I catch good ideas, like a gentle sweeping wave. If I don’t write them down right then and there, I forget them, and I know they will never come back. So many times I have ignored the recording part, but I’m listening more closely now.

Another way to break a slow drought:
Break out the sketch pad and draw some things. It could be the tea mug on the table, the cat (also on the table though it’s not supposed to be there.)
A pretty leaf with all it’s perfection, a chair, a car. Draw what pulls your attention, and then be happy with your effort. You’re not competing with anyone, least of all yourself.

I have a journal that I never show to anyone because it’s full of color slashes and messes that don’t mean anything except a way to express my frustration or lack of patience. It has more of my true vibe than most of my carefully crafted art.

Sometimes it’s too easy to get stuck in the preciousness of things.

My colors are too precious to be changed. The face in the picture can’t be tampered with at any cost. The result of such thoughts is stuckness. It’s all too precious to destroy but it’s in the destruction that the truth can come out.

It’s both hard and easy. When things flow I can paint a painting quickly, and then there is the issue of value; it was painted too fast, it can’t be worth much. If I labored over a painting that took days, it’s much more valuable.
That is screwed-up thinking.
People are captivated by the vibe of the art, not so much the execution.

What if YOU are the art?

Your vibe doesn’t lie, but if you painted with the finished product in mind, you let no vibe in or a lesser one. I want to let it all hang out, but it’s scary.
The only way to deal with that is to continue to paint. There are no shortcuts, only means of opening up more to the process.

Carry on, the path leads somewhere great…

goddess face, clay craft

If you want additional inspirational reading, this might interest you: Inspiration Where is It?

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop Earth and Faery, if you’re looking for unique gifts.

Paint versus paint

Paint is always something I explore to enhance the quality of my art work. It’s an ongoing quest.

There are so many different brands of paint and you have to try them all to see what works best.

I’ve used Liquitex, Winsor and Newton, Golden, and some other brands I can’t remember now.

paint versus paint

paint versus panit

Liquitex paints aren’t the best, but they do the job. The pigmentation is rather poor, and some of the paints are very runny and annoying. I think the quality has gone down a lot over the years.

Windsor and Newton paint is a better quality for sure, and Golden, yes, very nice but the price is high.

I came across a box of acrylics at a garage sale for $5 and found this tube:

paint versus paint

I had never heard of the brand. Such a strong pigmentation and richness of consistency. The very best. I researched the brand and came to find out it’s by Bill Alexander, an artist/ company similar to the legendary Bob Ross.

I found their sets for sale on their website and they are very pricey. The website is the only place you can buy them (that I know of.)

I went to Jerry’s Artarama to see if they might sell them. Jerry’s always has some good sales going on. Quality canvas for better prices.

Someone had posted that Charvin brand would be comparable to Alexander’s.

It’s another brand of paint I’d never heard of (where have I been?)

I bought four tubes of random colors to complement those I already have. They were on sale for $9.49 each, which wasn’t too bad. Free shipping. Jerry’s had a huge variety of colors.  I’d say they are not as good as Alexander paints, but very good. They dry with a slightly slick surface, different from that of Liquitex.

paint versus paint

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of using the same colors all the time, so I’m looking to branch out where I can.

I also use lots of permanent inks, but I’m not going to cover those in this post.

I have been busy painting lately in a loose intuitive style. These two paintings are available in my etsy shop.  They measure 12×12″.

paint versus paint
“Surprise”

paint versus paint
Spirit being

If you’re looking for some gifts, I have free shipping on my polymer clay mosaics. Lots of inventory right now, and great prices.

Earth and Faery

Have a great weekend doing and making things you love! Life is too short to waste on trivialities.

Lots of love,

Maria

Busy time in my studio

Busy time in my studio. This time of year it’s always good to stay busy so that I have lots of inventory for the Christmas season.

It’s not all about selling and producing though.

I’m still doing my art journaling almost every day because I can’t stop! Part of me is critical of the process–always, but another part is really addicted to the evolution of my art.

Whereas my crafts give me great satisfaction, they don’t always delve deeply into the process of creation like art journaling does. I try to keep a balance. They all move me forward on my creative journey.

All of it makes for a happy day. 🙂 No matter how challenging art can be, it makes me happy to create. What more can I ask for?

Busy is good too. The juices are flowing; inspiration is like an overflowing river, and ideas pop up constantly. It’s been a long while since I felt this inspired.

I finished the spirit doll that I started a couple of months ago. (Check out my previous post.) Here are some pictures of recent creations.

busy in my studio

busy time in my studio

I painted the wooden box in various colors, attached paper to the interior back of the box, and then added my doll. She inspires Courage, something we need every day.

Here are some other samples of new things. They are all available in my etsy shop.

busy time in my studio

I had fun with this watch casing. The portrait is a miniature painting, and I tell you, it was fiddly and tricky to paint.

busy time in my studio

I started making these four-inch plaques with stamped affirmations at the bottom. So much fun! I like the idea of reminding folks that we are all perfect just the way we are.

busy time in my studio

You are worthy!

busy time in my studio

I also made some more clay faces for doll making or to use as an ornament.  I wasn’t sure if there would be any interest but I sold some. Now I’m working on creating a cat face mold.

Sculpting in clay is not easy…

New ideas keep me fresh and eager to move forward.  I may have to sculpt many cat faces before I’m satisfied, but the main point is to plunge into action.  The rest takes care of itself.

If you’re feeling blocked or full of resistance, plunge in anyway.  It’s the only way forward. 🙂

What are you working on now?

Please check out my  etsy shop, Earth and Faery.  It’s full of new items.

Lots of love,

Maria

Tree painting’s journey from chaos to peace

Tree paintings are some of my favorites. Every living artist and every dead one had their own vision of trees.

I’m going to share how I painted this tree. It was a journey of lots of ups and downs.

I was ready to quit many times and just paint white all over it, but I let it sit and stew in its own colors.

I don’t have pictures of what brought it to chaos, but I started out just smearing colors across the canvas with my hands. I smeared countless layers and colors, and lost track of any possible solution for this painting.

It finally ended up like this:

tree painting

Some people might like the mess, but it didn’t feel finished to me at all. It sat like this for a long time. When I had left over paint, I would slap some on this painting.

tree painting

tree painting

Then I arrived at this, which was something beyond my scope. How could I bring out a focus in this painting?

tree painting

I finally saw a tree trunk in the mess, and drew two black lines and some roots. Then I had major problems with the background. It went through several stages before it felt right. tree painting

Here I had the tree painting, but I thought the background looked imbalanced. It didn’t feel complete at all.

tree painting

I added a tree to the side in the background, but … I wasn’t happy. Backgrounds can sometimes be tricky. You have to brave and forge on!

tree painting

Then I made the background almost white. I wanted to leave the space between the roots white. Still, didn’t work.

tree painting

This felt a lot more peaceful, a balance of dark and light encasing the tree “spirit.” I can see the spirit as a vibrant energy.

To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s finished. I thought it was, but when I look at these pictures, I’m hesitant. Sometimes it’s easier to see what works and what doesn’t in a picture. It is a distance from the painting itself.

Time will tell.

I started this painting in April of 2015… You would think I could have finished it, but the Muse does not like a harness. I did plenty of other art meanwhile.

There is a time for everything…

xo

Maria

P.S. I have a sale in my etsy shop Dec. 9-15. Great selection of unique gifts! Everything is 15% off. EARTH AND FAERY.

Art is self-care

Art is self-care, no bones about it. I have heard an excuse for not making art that baffles me.

“I don’t start painting because it might consume my entire life.”

I realize we’re prone to binge watch shows we like or read a book cover to cover in one night, but at some point you have to abandon those things in the course of a day (or night.)

We have to eat, mind children, do chores. They might get set aside temporarily and dealt with later, but I can safely say no one will be consumed by art.

It’s nice sometimes to lose oneself in a creative effort, but when the stomach growls it’s time to re-fuel and take a break.

Are we afraid of losing ourselves into FLOW of anything that pulls us? Are we afraid of letting go and experience a deeper sense of connection with that which wants to be expressed? I’d say so.

It’s hard to let go, and fear tends to creep in, not to mention the ego stomping its foot at the idea of letting go.

Self-care involves letting things unfold and enjoying the journey. SELF wants to speak, and CARE is similar to trust, to allow something that might be bigger than our everyday personas.

Art never hurt anyone. If you care about self, it’s time to heed the longing that pushes from inside. Make some art! It’s not going to be the end of the world.

Care also means to care about your art work. When you set out to create, don’t minimize the effort or belittle the expression. It might come out ugly in your OPINION, but it’s about creativity, not about striving to paint like Van Gogh.

It’s time to put some care into the art work. Make it your best and feel the sense of accomplishment.

I was into art journaling this week and asked myself how I could put more care into my art instead of slapping down some paint. There is nothing wrong with process, but what if I took it a step further?

art as self-care

I really wanted to come up with some angle I hadn’t tried before. What would it be like? I have painted many faces, but never used paperback page hair, so I went into my stash of paper. I really like the effect.

I might leave as is or write something on the left. It’s okay to leave and come back at some later date if necessary.

art as self-care

For the above spread I had planned a video, but only captured the background and how I tied it together. I work intuitively, and the recognizable parts appear in the paper background (if any.)

I put a lot of care and thought into every aspect, yet I kept myself open to surprise. To me, that is the best way to inspire and delight myself. The bird above was never planned, and the buddha became the iris of an eye.

So much fun!

Care about yourself and your desires.

Allow them to express in your life.

Care about your art.

When ego stomps all over your art, keep going and ignore it as much as you can.

Allow yourself the care of immersing yourself in your art. If you can’t, well, give it ten minutes a day!

For more inspiration check out this blog post: Because Journaling is Fun.

Lots of inspiration to you.

Maria

P.S. I have some new items in my etsy shop if you’re looking for something colorful and fun. 🙂 Earth and Faery

 

 

Mortifying memories

Mortifying memories remain very vivid in my mind. Isn’t it funny how we remember the “bad” things more than the good?

It’s about 90 degrees here today and I’m sitting at my computer sweating. It brought me back to some memories of snow. Let me tell you a funny story.

I grew up in Sweden and it was plenty cold, dark, and snowy for maaany months of the year. Think same latitude as Alaska.

Skiing was something everyone did in the winter. Sometimes the snow glistened like diamonds with a soft layer over packed snow. Perfect skiing surface, and gorgeous to boot.

Around age of sixteen I got interested in slalom. I was never into taking classes at the time, but I went with a friend’s family to ski a mountain.

It started out with my dad buying mountain skis that were too long for effective use. The downhill boots hurt my ankles, but being young and strong, I endured.

The first time I went up a ski lift I fell off as I tried to get on it. My pants ripped in the ass and filled with snow. A totally mortifying experience as everyone watched. My memory is a bit hazy, but I think I fell off three times before I got the hang of it.

Not only did that happen but I had to spend the whole DAY with my undies showing through the rip and being cold from wet snow.

It took a long time to get down the mountain and I fell plenty, replenishing the snow in my pants. I realized I would have to learn how to slalom if I was ever going to enjoy the downhill experience. My ass was close to frost bite that evening. To my delight, I did get the hang of the ski lift…

Needless to say, it was a trip of mixed joys…

My folks didn’t have a lot of money, so classes were out of the question, but during dark winter evenings, after school, I used to hoist my skis on my shoulder and stagger down to the local slalom hill (converted sand pits.)

There I started low to the bottom and practiced my slalom skills. No one ever showed me how, but by watching others, I got some kind of hang of it and ventured up steeper hills.

Chicken as I was, I never dared to try the highest ones but I got courageous some evenings and went down the medium hills. It was a thrill.

The ski lift there was rough. You had to hang on to a handle and the handle pulled you up on a thick wire. You needed to have your skis aligned or you’d fall off and then you had to move sideways on skis up the hill, which was tedious beyond belief.

I almost killed myself there when my scarf got rolled into the wire and as I got to the winch at the top I had to quickly untie the scarf or get strangled and mangled. (Another mortifying memory.) The scarf came out at the other end no worse for wear…

The point of this story:

  • I stuck to the routine of learning slalom, almost every night, and I was sad when the snow melted and I had to give it up.
  • I went alone every time. It showed me that I could take initiative and do things without others’ approval.
  • It was frickin’ cold but I did it anyway.
  • One time I did cross-country skiing every day to recover from a severe illness. I was fifteen and took that initiative. Sometimes slushy snow made things difficult but the skiing made me feel stronger every day.
  • Something inside me pushed me to do self-care and to grow my confidence.
  • That something has been with me all my life and urged me on. Learn more, be curious about life, always learn more. Be a student of life.

It’s always about self-care! What do you allow in your life that is not good for you? Can you quit doing it? What can you learn today? Is life an adventure or a drag? Sometimes it’s a drag, but if you have a good foundation, you can rise above and still move forward.

The point is, question your routine and see how you can make it better. Let the years get better, not like some fading lamp of old age.

For artists: Make art every day! Learn something new. Take risks. Be bold. Enjoy the process.

I had a delightful chat with artist Trisch Rosema about art journaling. My little gift to you today. 🙂 You can watch it HERE.

If you want some more motivation, read this blog post: The Dog Ate My Motivation.

Or this post: Trusting Yourself.

What pushes you to improve?

xo

Maria