Category Archives: writing

Paper madness!

Paper madness can strike at any time. I love paper in all forms. What would the world be without paper? Plastic books? I don’t think so.

I don’t want to talk about books but more about art journals and writing journals. I think there is a journaling craze going on. Michael’s has a whole isle with journals and insets and stickers to add.

Maybe we never grow too old for stickers??

I went to Hobby Lobby for some acrylic inks and came away with a great deal on a snooty Fabriano art journal.

Fabriano
paper madness

The paper is exceptional. I touch the pages reverently and imagine what I can create inside. No junk journal here…  It says drawing paper, but at a sturdy 90lbs it can hold just about any wet media.

You know how they describe wine. Dragging my hand across the paper, I would have to say it has a rich depth, is robust, yet smooth and silky against my tongue skin. 🙂

I use a lot of different kinds of journals for my art journaling, but I write my thoughts in a cheap notebook every morning. I have a great pen made for smooth writing (ek Tools journaling ink pen.)

I finish a notebook quickly so I don’t want to spend a lot of money on expensive journals that sit around gathering dust because my handwriting would ruin them. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t write in them.

But, I did buy one for Christmas last year, and I’m about halfway through. It has pictures and sayings. Some of the pages are lined and some are blank. It’s SACRED SPACE, Writing and Creativity Journal by BlueAngel publishing. Journal art by Toni Carmine Solerno.

journal
Sacred Space

journaljournaljournalIsn’t the artwork lovely?

That is a journal I would keep, but I usually throw out my written notebook journals once they are full. No written masterpieces there…

To journal feels good. It clears the mind clutter and gives new vision. It makes you connect inside, with the inner small voice, and also with problem loops of thoughts that keep us away from what is important.

I’m also mad for any kind of funky paper, and I like to make my own too of course.  I alter the plain paper with inks, paints, dyes, markers, and collages that I print. It’s a way to put your stamp on plain paper or alter bought scrapbooking paper.

In art anything goes,  Mixed media art is a heaven for paper enthusiasts. I love it when there is a sale on scrapbooking papers. I buy a bunch and then I can’t wait to add some to my artwork.

If you’d like to read a basic article on how to get started with art journaling you can check out this post, Art Journaling Tools.

What do you like to write in? Notebooks or expensive journals? Do you use your computer as a journal?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Maria

P.S. Speaking of papers, I have a short art journaling paper making e-course that is lots of fun. You can check it out via THIS LINK.

 

Fear holding you back?

Fear holding you back from pursuing your dreams? It happens to all of us, at least to those who accept they have a dream.

fear
fear

It was not random that we came into this world, and as we grew we showed certain talents and skills. Some were good at math, some at the gym, some showed artistic talent.

When I was a kid I knew I had a talent for words.  I loved expressive art, but it developed later. Words have always flowed easily for me so I ended up becoming a writer until that interest kind of petered out. But as they say, a writer is always a writer.

I have to say visual art is a tougher dream, but I love it passionately. There are so many ways to express oneself. Where to start?

art palette
art palette

There are two things I want to mention:

You often look at other people’s art and then try to copy it because you like it.

Or you encounter massive resistance.

That is the fear / ego kicking in saying lots of nasty stuff about your lack of talent and sense of color or whatever. Your fear will find something wrong with you no matter what. I wrote a blog post about resistance a while back: Who is in charge…

If you have no clue where to start, copy other people’s art that you love. As you get more sure about your art supplies and what they can do, you start to experiment with what you have learned.

As you grow bolder with each experiment, you start to feel more secure, but the fear is always lurking in the background.

Do the art processes that feel good to you. If it doesn’t feel right, try something else. There are so many techniques and tools it can be bewildering.  The only way through is to keep trying and doing.

If you hit a block, know that things are about to change. It usually shows up before a major breakthrough, but you can get stuck in procrastination. That is a sneaky way for the inner critic to attack you when you’re down. I wrote a post about that, available here: Procrastination is an ugly beast…

There are no shortcuts of easy fixes. Each artistic journey is so individual it’s hard to give advice that fits everyone.

One thing is for sure: A dream is worth pursuing, and the way to do it is to give it some time every day. Create a discipline for your dream. If it is important enough you will do it.

Is it?

Well then, what are you waiting for?

When all is said and done we have to do things that light us up, otherwise, what is the point?

Have a great creative week!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some handmade art journals in my etsy shop that might help to get you started. CLICK HERE to check out my offerings.

Laura Probert and the April 2017 art prompts

Laura Probert kindly accepted to help me out with a month of art inspiration for my online art journaling group.

Laura Probert
Laura Probert

She is a great writer and has written for many online publications like Huffington Post and Elephant Journal. She is passionate about healing and uses writing and art, among other things, as tools to dive deeply inside and heal the wounds we carry.

This from her website:

“WAKE UP
“Without awareness there is no choice.”

John F. Barnes

Awareness is the key to healing.

I’ve spent my 21 year career as a student, healer and an athlete learning the tools, tips and tricks that will help you wake up and develop a practice of awareness. 

Healing is about peeling off the layers of mental, emotional and physical injury and trauma that cover up your soul and keep you from living the best, healthiest, most joyful life you can live.

 Awareness can help you heal physical pain and injury, relationships, business ventures, exercise goals…basically anything you want to change in your life.

I’ll teach you what I know about this powerful door to healing and the many paths to it. Everything that happens to us happens through our awareness…it’s a matter of being awake to the stuff of life. I’ll show you how body awareness connects you with your inner healer and gives you choices about your health and life.”

I like the idea that Laura offers tools for self healing and not trying to heal “you.” Ultimately, we are the only ones who can heal ourselves.

More from her website:

“BE BRAVE
“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
Brene Brown

My journey has been about stepping into my power, claiming my self-worth and finding and expressing my unique voice. Being brave has been necessary and facing and moving through my fears has been a powerful process.

Dealing with the things that are keeping you stuck or holding you back from your desires helps you heal. I’ll show you how to integrate mind, body and soul in a way that gives you new techniques to deal with fear. 

Being brave is about feeling. You have to be awake to feel. Feeling is healing. It takes guts to feel. I’ll help you feel what you need to feel to heal. I’ll hold a space for you to do the work of feeling and healing you need to do to make a change.”

“DO WHAT YOU LOVE


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman”

When you connect with what you love, you move toward healing. When you heal, you are able to connect more with what you love.

More of my favorite quotes:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver

“When you are serious, determined, positive and on-purpose, magical shit happens.”
Torrie Pattillo”

Some info about Laura:

Laura’s healing programs, classes, workshops and books will help you redefine healing and take your journey to the next level. She’s able to combine the tools she’s learned for healing with the tools she’s learned for creative flow to create programs that are powerful, unique and integrated. She’s helping to move the knowledge of mind body connection from idea to action and teaches it in an immediately applicable way.

When she’s not igniting transformation in her clients you’ll find her writing, hanging with her kids, dogs or a horse, hiking in the woods, practicing her axe kick, or taste testing dark chocolate. Find her on Facebook at Warrior Love or via her WEBSITE.

I would have to say that Laura Probert is a cool person to know and she GETS RESULTS  because she’s not afraid to dive deep. That is very inspiring to me.

If you didn’t sign up for the free 2017 art journal prompts you can do so HERE.

Lots of love,

Maria

Romance novels are not trash-y

Romance novels, either you love them or you hate them or you feel indifferent.

I have written twenty-three romance novels and I’m proud of it,  I have also written several novellas and been part of romance anthologies, and I have won a national award.

Christmas Blessing by Maria Greene
Romance novel

It’s damned hard work to write a 300-500 page manuscript. Ask any writer of any genre.

Today I got triggered by reading an email from a well-known online entrepreneur who sent out her list of favorite books in 2016. She freely admitted that she read tons of TRASHY romance novels. The word came up four times in her email and that is really offensive in my opinion. No one ever says trashy mysteries or trashy westerns. She did not use that word for any of the other books she mentioned.  She sent this newsletter out to maybe 50k subscribers, perpetuating the literary “racist” view of romances.

If they are such trash, stop reading them! By the way, it’s the most popular and lucrative genre of all fiction.

Another point was that she would not buy them new but buy them used and then trade them back in. An author does not get any royalties from that. I know it’s very common practice, and I have bought used books myself, but I try to buy new as much as I can.

A book genre is a genre is a genre and they are written in a certain way. That is how the reader expects them to be (especially the ending) when they read them.  That does not make them trashy.

If she alluded to sex there is plenty of mainstream fiction with sex that is not romantic in the least.  Romances focus on the feelings rather than the graphics.

There are books that are badly written in every genre, but any savvy reader would not buy from those authors. Any savvy reader buys books from authors she likes and whose writing she admires.

So, anyone who reads this, please stop using the term trashy romance novels. There are some excellent books out there, and the writers worked VERY hard at making them so.

Stepping off the soapbox….

I’m not writing much at the moment. I’m mostly focusing on art, but I’ll always be a writer! My last romance was published in 2005.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. I have a year-long FREE art journaling journey coming up in 2017.  if you want to follow along, please register 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.

Resistance sucks donkey balls!

Hello gorgeous,

Resistance sucks donkey balls! (I got that expression from a friend in NZ haha.)

donkey
Resistance sucks donkey balls

Have you noticed how you don’t feel any resistance when you go out partying or watching TV shows? But as soon as you decide to do something that you really WANT to do, something worthwhile, resistance sets in. You might be one of the lucky few who sails through without a blemish, but then you’re probably a saint.

I’m an artist and I suffer from resistance every day. When I was a full-time writer I suffered from resistance too, but I had an ironclad discipline that pulled me through. With art however, you usually don’t have a chapter outline to follow, and a word processing program that  keeps you within the parameters of the page. Writing itself can be a resistance, BUT if you show up at the computer and start with one sentence, things might start flowing.  No promise though, and that’s where discipline comes in.

It is sort of a military word, isn’t it?  It worked wonders in my writing career.

Discipline and art don’t get along well.  The only discipline I can tie myself to is to move my body and sit down at my art table or stand by the easel.  After that, the wild donkey comes along and everything flows or the blank page syndrome sets in with a vengeance. That opens the door to the inner Critic (who sounds like someone I knew.)   He says: get depressed now and go find something in the fridge, or better yet, the freezer….

critic
Mr. Critic on a rant

My Mr. Critic is very sneaky, comes in on soft-soled shoes and doesn’t exactly critique my art, but fans the flames of frustration until I feel disgusted with the project. I never hear the words “you are no good” or “your art sucks,” no, we are way beyond that point. My Critic knows that if he says that, I’ll laugh in his face because I trust my art. So, subtler methods are often used to get me to fold.

But, I have learned to push on. That’s the only thing you can do. Don’t give up, don’t get up and go to the freezer, and don’t pay any attention to the feelings of frustration or doubt trying to railroad you. Welcome them! By Mr. Critic showing up in such stealthy fashion and throwing a curve ball only means you’re really onto something good.  When you’ve got it going and the passion is burning, Mr. Critic will sneak in with curve balls or frustration tantrums. It is a test of sorts, a test to see if you’re ready for the next level of awesomeness.

When things turn to sh*t you might be on the threshold to something truly great. It could be a new level of expertise or a new way of unexpected expression.  Go with it, and kick Mr. Critic to the curb!

If you want to grow, face the Critic and move on.  Never stop creating, whatever your passion. Nothing can stop you then. There is only one simple remedy.

Show up every day…. Stay with it until it moves forward.

xo

Maria

P.S. There is still time to join my current art e-course, Art Journaling Journey.  You can read more about it HERE.