Category Archives: resistance

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.

Are you stuck?

Are you stuck right now? I have been stuck many times, and since I’m a DOER I’ve always struggled and fought against the condition. It happens when I don’t have clarity of where I’m going.

It’s ok to be stuck. Actually, invite the sucker in and sit with it for a while, fix it some tea, and see what it has to say.  Stuck came to me like a brick wall, and I sat by the wall and asked what it needed to be happy.

brick-wall
brick wall

Security, safety, it said.  I don’t want to change; it’s too risky.

To get unstuck involves change.

If you have an idea what you want to do, but stop yourself before you even get started, you have fear. My brick wall was solid fear, but when I accepted it, relaxed into it, and had the conversation over tea, it released somewhat. It became more reasonable.

Embrace the fear, allow it a voice, and see how you can accommodate it and watch it melt away. Make a friend of fear, and know it’s not the end of the world.

When you are struggling and trying to break through with force, you’ll only get more stuck.

Making friends, relaxing, allowing, embracing all of you in a caring manner is the way to release the resistance.

Stuck no more!

It might take a few tries, a few conversations with your fear, but after a while it will melt away, and the path forward gets clearer every day.

I have been painting quite a lot lately.  Here are some pictures of my latest art.

Hold them close
Hold them close
fantasy fish
Fantasy fish
flowers
Flowers

Lots of soft shades of blue and turquoise. I’m really into those colors lately.

I have a sale right now in my two etsy shops. 20% off everything until midnight Sunday November 27. EARTH AND FAERY and GREENE EARTH ORIGINALS. The above paintings are for sale in the last etsy link. Christmas is coming…

I wish you all sorts of great creativity in the coming week!

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.

 

 

 

The muse is a fickle b*itch.

The muse never was very trustworthy in my opinion.  None of them. No wonder they are mythical (as if we can trust anything the ancients dreamed up, archetypes or not.)  Some might argue they exist on another plane of energy, but for the most part they are not for hire.

In the past I paid homage to the Literary Muse, and she would strike inconsistently and then crack the whip until you stayed up all night to write and your fingers bled.  Then she  would be suspiciously absent for loooong periods of time.  But no matter what, I wrote.

Nowadays if she shows up I give her a token eye roll and say I AM not for hire any longer, so there.  Go find another victim.

However,  sometimes I think I have to pay homage to my art muse who is more often than not totally absent, day or night.

DSCN2149
the bored uppity muse b*itch

I also have to pay a price for her to show up.

*I have to dance naked at midnight in my backyard first Sunday of the month and sing off-tune songs until my neighbor calls the police.

* I have to offer up my first child as a sacrifice. It’s lucky I don’t have any kids, but then again, my muse gives me the cold shoulder because of this.

*I have to eat raw kale for breakfast every morning (not a problem since I often put that in my green smoothie, na-na-na-nana.

*I have to spend $$$$$$$ on all the latest art tools and pay homage to all of the art teachers out there who offer torturous lengthy courses that make you feel like crap if you don’t finish all the assignments. And you never do.

*The muse always reminds me that I’m never “deep” enough in my art. In fact, I skim the surface of drek and I’m too happy about it. 🙂

So, what do you do when the muse is absent? Tell her to never show up because you don’t need her sorry ass.

You go in to your studio every day even if your body sends out the “fight or flight” signal.

You wrangle that art journal that can never lie quite flat and slam your fist into the page just to show who is the boss.

The unseen barrier of resistance that the evil studio fairies wove while you slept last night is thick over the empty pages. Is that a spiderweb over there in the corner?  And who glued the pages together?

Ah yes, I did.

You look over the paints and with a sigh you decide, “what the heck, I might as well slap on some purple and green paint down and go from there.”

Every brush stroke is a pain. The paint decides to spurt out in a great big glob or even leak from the bottom.  So you smear that sh*t all over the page.  Now that page looks like a Rothko painting… Maybe you could sell it as such on eBay, you think for $$$$.  Con-woman thoughts aside, why did Rothko always paint the same thing??

His muse must have been nuts or she avoided him altogether with the excuse that she doesn’t do horizontal lines.

Anyway, you sit with your Rothko art journal page and decide it’s not interesting enough so you start doodling in pink neon color or slap some brightly colored washi tape down. Much better already. Things are still similar to slogging through mud, but you persist.

And then suddenly you see a face in the mess on the paper, and find joy in adding some features.

DSCN2151
fickle muse

After that some more doodling commences and all is well.  In the end, you created a piece of art and all is good. All in the face of the muse who tried to actually distract you with everything else except art.  (Yes, I totally blame the muse.)

Art without the muse becomes an exploration to see what you’re made of. Either you give in to the resistance and go clean the kitchen, or you slog through the barrier and find what is on the other side.

It’s the only way to approach art and get something done.  (For me anyway.) Otherwise, I suspect the kitchen would be spotless and the studio full of dust.

Do you have balls enough to push through?

Only by doing will you find out.  Make it a habit and give the muse the boot if she dares to show up (late.)  You don’t need her because you already had the commitment down.

DSCN2150
No muse here.

You don’t need the muse because you have your own voice and inner wisdom. That is enough!

Lots of daring and determination to ya!

xo

Maria

P.S. if you want to spend some hard earned cash on art, please visit my etsy shop HERE.

Procrastination is an ugly beast.

Procrastination never served anyone. (I have a hard time spelling that word anyway.)

The word totally resonates with non-action through its complex spelling. To me, it suggests monkeys jumping through hoops for no reason whatsoever, or being stuck in place.

stuckWiki’s interpretation of the word: Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

Hoohah.

What is your favorite tool for procrastination? Mine is laying jigsaw puzzles on my iPad. I could spend all day doing puzzles, but I blushed just telling you what my fave “wasting time” tool is.  Today, I’ve laid three puzzles so far, but in my defense  I did some important yard work, WHICH DID NOT MOVE MY BUSINESS FORWARD. The excuse afterwards: I’m too tired now to do anything but lay puzzles.

Then I get furious with myself since I have a list an arm long to take care of.  By the way, I teach people how to get out of a slump / stuckness, and avoid procrastination…. (with art.) Yeah, for real. I guess it makes me human, and all I have to do is take charge and get going (even if I don’t). It does become easier the more I exercise the anti-procrastination muscle.

And what is that muscle?  I have lived by my Dad’s words for many years, and they work remarkably well. “If you have an unpleasant task ahead of you, do it right away so that you don’t have to think about it any more.”

Words of wisdom! In other words, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Chopping off bite size pieces of “things-to-do” works very well too. Take your list and denote how many hours or minutes you will work on each task every day, and then do it.  It’s no different  than exercising, really.  Many tasks in life are not fun or pleasurable, but they have to get done or weigh you down more every day.

I do have a stubborn streak and I avoid my better sense many times, but at the end of the day, who suffers? Not the cat, that’s for sure.  I feel like crap for betraying my own trust, and that ought to be a lesson in itself, but there is that strange stubborn streak sneaking up daily if I don’t watch out.

Psychologists say that fear produces procrastination, and that is true, but when I’m not afraid of the tasks, why put them off?? It’s a bad habit and the constant struggle against the internal nay-sayer.

monster
Procrastination

Time is just going faster than it used to… hehe.

So what do you do to combat this daily beast if you don’t possess magic?  Do the tasks anyway. That’s where a schedule can be helpful, and the discipline and promise to myself that I will do things that support myself and my dream.

The turtle wins the race.  Just do a little bit at a time. It will get the work done.  All I know, the monster will not go away so it needs to be trained to within an inch of its life. It sits when you say “sit!” Same with fear. If we let fear rule our life, we would never get anything done or go anywhere.

A gentle stretching of that fear moves us forward. That is a promise. If procrastination bugs you, you might be standing before a major breakthrough. Isn’t that an exciting thought??

Kick this to the curb if you have one… NOW!

reclinerOn that note, I did get this blog post written after I got up from the recliner. It was a choice.

xo

Maria

P.S. Check out my art e-courses HERE.  I also do one-on-one coaching. Click on the link in the menu at the top of this page. Have a great productive day–every day!