Category Archives: process

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

I had a discussion yesterday

I had a discussion yesterday about art. Some days I paint perfectly recognizable art projects, like birds and things in nature (for example.)

I had a discussion
random bird

Sometimes I make random art, which is so easy, but the pages don’t necessarily mean anything to me. The person I was talking to swore by random art.

It’s interesting because the art journal pages I don’t care much about get the most “likes” on Instagram and Facebook. Not that the likes matter much, but they are an indication of what speaks to the viewers.

People like random “loose” renderings. I feel very ambivalent about that kind of art. It doesn’t SAY anything to me. I like a good story or something recognizable.

Not that random stuff is ugly. Many times I’m drawn to the energy, and that’s enough.

I had a discussion
The other woman

To stretch myself I’m going to make art that doesn’t always sit well with me and see where it leads. If it’s easy, it flows, but there are no rules. Easy doesn’t mean fulfilling.

I had a sdiscussion
Flying into the sunset

I do like abstracts as long as they draw me in. I’m very ambivalent about my own art at this point. These art journal spreads have been painted, mostly, with a paint on a credit card edge. I like the texture, but I also like texture on house walls. 🙂

When is it decorative, and when is it art? Well, it doesn’t have to be labeled, but it’s an interesting question .

One time I painted walls that had a leather faux finish. It was a lot of fun experimentation to get it just right.  In the end, it was a satisfying project. I wouldn’t call that art, but it needed skills.

I had a discussion
Totally random

The above spread was totally random painted with a credit card, except for the art picture that I glued on top.  I can’t say that I like it, but it is what it is.

I had a discussion
Random art

What is your opinion? What kind of art makes your breath catch in your throat and your eyes widen?

For me, I would say it’s some kind of mastery that shines through the art.  I’ll never forget when I first saw some real Renoirs at the Met in New York. The light he had mastered! I’d say it was an awesome immersion experience.

As it is, we live one day at a time, and any creative endeavor brings us closer to the heart of who we are. Each piece of art brings us closer to more deeply express the essence.

I aspire to inspire, one step at a time. 🙂 What about your art?

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have an e-course, FLY YOUR SOUL, coming up shortly.  No link as yet, but I will add one once the offer is available.  Meanwhile, you can always join my newsletter: LINK HERE.

Polymer clay mosaic tutorial.

People have been asking me about more polymer clay mosaic tutorials.

I have posted before on how to paint the baked tiles, and there is a YouTube video on how to paint them as well.  CLICK HERE.

Here are some pictures on how to put the mosaic together with the finished tiles. Since this is a star box I had to fiddle with and cut some of the tiles, which is tricky since they break pretty easily.  It’s much easier to make a square or rectangular design.

polymer clay mosaic tiles
painted tiles ready to be assembled
star box lid
Box top painted black

I paint the lids black to hide any gaps between the tiles. If the gap is too big I place some glue and drop some seed beads to fill the gap.

layout
layout, one tile at a time
finished design
Tiles fitted and glued down

Here you can see some blue seed beads in the top two corners. The tiles were too big to cut for size.  Seed beads are great and they lend some sparkle to the project as well. Choose a color that matches the main color(s) of your design.

painting the box
Painting the box

I painted the box on the outside with acrylic paints.

gold interior
spray painted interior

I spray paint the bottom and the interior with gold paint before I paint the rest.

finished box
finished box

What do you think? Pretty colorful. I had fun making this, and so many others.

I made a mirror that promotes PEACE!  I thought that was a worthy thing to be reminded of while looking into a mirror.  Peace begins within and it’s a choice. I even had a Buddha charm I embedded in the clay and baked.

peace mirror
Peace mirror

The mirror part distracts from the frame in the bright outdoors, but there it is. Polymer clay is so versatile you can make almost any design.

I use old buttons, rubber stamps, charms, found objects, and lettering to imprint the tiles. You can use anything that makes a nice imprint.

If you enjoyed the tutorial, please leave a comment.

Please visit my new etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great creative week!

xo

Maria

Stop beating yourself up!

Sometimes we set impossible goals, or goals we’re not quite ready for, and then we beat ourselves up for not accomplishing them.

It’s good to have a schedule or a plan and to stick with it, but if it’s totally overwhelming it’s going to be counter-productive.

If you discard a goal and feel bad about it, know that today is a new day. How can you modify the goal and feel more at ease? Life is not a race and what others accomplish has nothing to do with you.

I made a goal at the beginning of 2016 to offer something free or paid art-wise to my artist friends.  I followed through until June and when six months were almost up I realized so many things had been counter productive.

I can just give up or beat myself up about it ad nauseam, but that is even more counter productive.

I learned something along the way about the process and that is priceless. If I hadn’t taken the action I would still be in the dark.

It’s not about discarding the dream, but to make it more streamlined to who YOU are, not what people might expect.  Or even bigger still: what you expect of yourself.

Listen to your own drumbeat.

drum beat
The beat of your own drum.

I have always been a doer and sometimes I forget to listen to my own drum. But it’s getting better. Nowadays, I don’t get as far away from myself as I used to do, and I truly want to offer the best me to the world.

I don’t compromise while creating my art, but how I bring it out to the world the best way is still somewhat of a mystery. All I can do is keep exploring and see what responses I get.

One thing I do know. Your dream is important and when you talk about it, you might help someone on the other side of the world as you pursue your own process.

I often get comments like, “oh, I really needed to hear that today, thank you.” Then, what I thought was  a half-assed blog post or art offering, means something. It’s verification that I’m headed in the right direction, and that I inspire others.

That makes every step worth it.

To find the right way sometimes takes many tries, but there are no failures, only experiences.

Believe enough in yourself and keep the dream alive. There really is no other alternative!

So, STOP beating yourself up from now on. 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. If you’d like to try one of my evergreen art journaling e-courses, go HERE to check them out.