Category Archives: resistance

The struggle is real

The struggle is real when it comes to creating something out of nothing. I have yet to meet an artist for whom the art flows freely all the time. Every encounter with the canvas is a challenge, but some days are better than others! Thank God for that.

I find that crafts are so much easier, but they don’t always turn out right either, especially when created from scratch. If you have a pattern you can create something great immediately, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I love painting, but why does it have to be such a struggle? I have written a lot about resistance to art-making. It is explained really well in Steven Pressfield’s book THE WAR OF ART, break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. It’s a great read if you’re struggling. What has saved me is persistence, “make art every day.” I wrote a post about that HERE.

In the face of struggle, keep coming back

You have to continue to make art to grow, to bust through the daily resistance. As you know, I paint intuitively so any given day, I have no idea what will appear in my art, and it’s a constant challenge.

I put down layer upon layer on the canvas, mostly hating the combination of paint, paper, and Mod Podge. I took some pictures of my current paintings, and right now they are total chaos.

Some people might say they are finished the way they are, and who’s to say they are wrong? But if they don’t feel done to me, I have to keep going. I finished a couple of paintings last week. They both looked similar to the ones above when I went for the finished layer. I saw some shapes of animals in the mess and went from there.

I love painting pets so I was happy with these weird creatures. As you can see, there’s a lot of bleed-through of the underlying layers.

More often than not, I add the paintings to the pile leaning against the wall for later work. They might get gessoed over or I might see a way to repaint them, but there’s no guarantee.

As with anything challenging, you have to face the fear/resistance/doubt/disgust as you tackle the task in front of you. The same goes for any unpleasant task in life, but art should not be unpleasant, and it isn’t, just challenging.

When I get sick of painting, I make my crafts. They might not come out the way I envisioned, but they are always fun. They also create balance in my life. These are all available in my Etsy shop. The paintings will be available too. I sell a lot of the spirit doll faces, so I always make a batch.

It’s easy to overthink the process of art-making. When I’m in the flow, I trust my hand to make the right moves on the canvas. When I think about it, or worry about the color, nothing comes out right, and I start doubting the process, doubting myself. I set the painting aside and come back later.

If you missed my post about resistance, you can catch it HERE. I think all artists struggle in the studio from time to time, but we can support each other with inspiration or suggestions.

Have a wonderful week creating lots of things!

Maria

What is holding you back?

What is holding you back? Fear? Excuses? They are all one and the same, and it sums up to fear. When it comes to creating any kind of art, fear is a constant companion, usually in the shape of resistance.

I wrote a post about resistance and it’s worth a read if you’re not getting anywhere with your art. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of excuses why people don’t create even though they want to at heart.

I suffer from resistance a lot, especially when I’m trying some new art supply or style. Recently, I picked up some tubs of Apoxie Sculpt. (I wrote about it in my last post.) I debated then to put it aside, but I decided to try some more projects with that type of clay. It’s still frustrating to work with, but I have persevered.

Since the clay is pretty expensive, I try to use as many shapes underneath as I can and then cover with a thin layer of clay. It makes it less heavy as well. I bought some styrofoam balls, and to form the body of the birds below, I used one large for the body and one small for the head. I used popsicle sticks, broken in half, to form tails and necks. Here are the end results, a couple of circus birds on “wheels.”

They were fun to make. I used blocks of wood that I covered with papers and wooden wheels. The legs are 19 gauge steel wire. It was a challenge to make these birds, but why not stretch oneself, despite the resistance?

If fear is holding you back…

The only way to overcome it is to do the thing you’re afraid of. Otherwise, it will haunt you. I know this well from previous experiences.

I have found I like making art assemblages. I had to use a drill for simple holes, and it felt awkward and new, but maybe it’s the beginning of new fields of experience.

Don’t let fear hold you back if you want to renew your life, your experiences. It’s not just artistic expression. It’s so easy to stay in the comfort zone, but life gets boring in the long run.

To mix things up, even more, I prepped a bunch of canvases for later use. I love to add mixed media as I go, and I even finished one project when I saw a robust lady emerge from the layers.

A mixed media art project with layers of paper and paint.
Is fear holding you back?

I also made some of my usual objects for sale in my Etsy shop these last few days.

I love the little mosaic Virgin Mary shrines, and now I have used my last Altoids tin!

It’s time to be brave! Make the time to be an explorer, kick the excuses to the curb. Every day is another opportunity for fun creativity.

Lots of love and wishes for happy creativity!

Maria

Let go of the safety net!

Let go, I say, and everyone will have a reason why it is important to hold on to the past. The safety of the past has a strong hold on most people, myself included.

I was watching some old videos on You Tube on how to embellish a box with lots of metal and paper accents. It turned out pretty, and it could inspire me to make a similar one, but no.

Here’s why: You can buy the art supply and create at your heart’s desire, but the components are made by other people. To get the desired look, you have to buy those components. The elements are mix and match. You are destined to succeed as all the tools are geared for the already successful design of the designer.

It’s not the easiest technique to master, but it is a “ready-made” artwork; you just assemble the pieces and follow the instructions.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I got inspired by fabulous mosaic artist, Laurie Mika, through her book Mixed Media Mosaics, to make my polymer clay boxes, but I ended up making my own designs, mostly because I did not have access to her supplies. My style keeps developing, but I don’t get any big ah-has as I do with painting.

It struck me anew how revolutionary it is to create something from scratch. Let go of the safety net! You use the elements and ephemera you already have. You can also gain fodder from the recycle bin. Creativity lies in the moment.

I have said it before; the artist has to be willing to explore what challenges her the most, discover the genius, like a diamond inside a lump of coal.

When inspiration pulls, and you respond, dare to go beyond the tried and true and explore the unknown grounds of self-expression.

There is a lot of uncertainty in that, but also great freedom.

It’s safe to make art from materials that someone else designed, but how challenging is it?

Let go of the safety net.

It’s like a blind man exploring the skin of an elephant. He will get the immediate texture of the skin, but can’t see the whole animal. Practicing art that comes from the deeper levels of the soul is the elephant not yet “seen.”

By keeping your focus on the moment, more is revealed as the art evolves.

Trust the subtle inspirations, choose the color that speaks to you right now, and after that, another color, and another.

let go of the safety net
let go of the safety net

When I let go, magic happens. It always feels new and amazing, even if the art itself doesn’t look like much. It is original, and no one can take that away. 🙂

There is a lot of resistance involved, but that doesn’t have to stop anyone from moving forward.

For some inspiration on how to deal with resistance, here’s a post on that subject: Resistance, we all feel it.

Another one: Practice never makes perfect.

I would love to hear how you deal with painting and making from scratch. Any ah-has or other insights?

Love,

Maria

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

Resistance–we all feel it

Resistance is more than the brave people who worked during WWII to defeat the Nazis.  I’m talking about resistance, the Nazi within.  We all have it, and I think creative people have many close encounters with the beast, probably once a day or so.

As an artist, I walk into the studio every day with the hope of being productive and inspired.  Many times I walk in there with the need of coffee or some other stimulant to keep myself alert.

Truth is, energy is available in vast abundance.

Resistance shows up in many ways:

Don’t try these new paints, they won’t work well.

Don’t repaint that old picture.

Cleaning your fridge would be a more effective use of time…

The studio is too dirty to work in, clean it!

Painting is an iffy proposition–at all times.

Don’t waste the paint on that old painting.

You;re too tired to paint…

It goes on and on. Why is it that so many excuses pop up when we’re about to do something that we actually enjoy.  It’s like starting over every day.

Maybe creativity is that way.  What will show up on the canvas is uncertain, so why even try?  Every new day is a challenge.

Should I use my time better, do something that needs to be done (chore) or do I stick with the plan?

Since I made the agreement to stick with my art years ago, it has become simple to stay in the studio, but Resistance will show up in sneaky ways, holding hand with its cousin Excuses.

It’s never easy.

But what worthy endeavor is?

It’s also hard to be self motivated. We learn early on to follow orders, never questioning their importance.

Taking charge of your life and actually DOING something you love on a greater scale can be scary.

Flying without a safety net.

For many, that is a nightmare.

It is the trickster within that builds things out of proportion and say you can’t have a life that is outside the norm.

Let’s say the trickster is the ultimate expert, the father of resistance and excuses.

When you recognize these guys, just laugh.

You have enough confidence in yourself to know you’re being tricked.

A solid commitment to the art, or craft, is a must. If we haven’t made the DECISION to make art no matter what, we don’t have a strong foundation.

A strong commitment and habits to produce will strong-arm those negative voices aside.  It’s really important to nurture the commitment. With time it becomes very strong.

Every painting is a risk of failure, but what isn’t?

It’s worth a try.  When inspiration seems to be absent, spread some paint on a canvas anyway. It could become a good foundation for a masterpiece.

Practice allows the door to open up and magic step in.

It’s a special joy to see the process through, and the rewards can be great. You never know on any given day.

Another post that might inspire you when the negative voices are loud: My inner critic on rampage.

Another post: Who is in charge?

I’m working on this goddess painting. It will need some tweaking, but it was a great process of seeing her emerge from the chaotic background.

resistance

I don’t know what will appear today on the next canvas. Time to find out!

Have a great creative weekend!

xo

Maria

P.S.  I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Check it out. 🙂

 

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.