Doodle art mania in my studio

Doodle art mania has been happening here in the studio lately. I took some watercolor paper and cut it down into postcard rectangles. Then I watered down the surface and added acrylic paints and inks to get some background to doodle on.

I made a YouTube video of the process. Each postcard is unique, and I doodled where I saw movement in the background paint. You can find the video HERE.

The whole process is straightforward, and all you have to do is add your own doodling style to the background. I used permanent markers for the doodle: Sakura Micron03 black, and Faber Castell Pitt artist pen brushes. I also used Posca pens and Elmer’s Paint Pens. At the end, I sprayed the surface with acrylic varnish.

Doodle art mania

I’ve also been making Santos cage dolls, but I have to make those in stages since the epoxy clay takes 24 hours to dry. It’s not easy to work with, but the clay is so strong when dry that I like to use it for larger projects. Normally, I use polymer clay, which you can use for this, but the armature has to be able to stand the oven temperature.

In my last blog post, I wrote about the process of making a cage doll. I finished that project, so here’s a picture:

It turned out okay in the end. 🙂

I look back on the month of March and realize I made a lot of items even though my creativity seemed so slow. I made a truly funky chicken sculpture and some cute cat sculptures.

Funky chicken

At Michael’s, I found some rustic-looking wood panels that were painted white. I figured they would look cute with a metal hanger and my handmade clay beads. I painted a couple of flower bouquets, and the hangers looked cuter than the hemp string Michael’s offered as a hanging mechanism. What do you think?

The first one sold right away, and I’m grateful for that. I have many repeat customers in my etsy shop, and I can’t be anything but grateful!

My shop has many new goodies, Earth and Faery.

Despite my resistance, I make the choice to paint or make something in my studio every day. I used to get excited when I saw clean, drying paint brushes by my sink–oh, the possibilities–but these days, I’m happy if something turns out well.

New procedures are always scary, but think of the knowledge gained from venturing onto unknown paths! 🙂 Creativity is an ongoing lifetime exploration.

When all else fails, doodle something…

Doodle art mania

Let’s make more art stuff in April. That’s my intention. Maybe I’ll try something new. I bought the book Plaster Studio by Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise. I’m going to try my hand at making a bowl with plaster strips. Maybe I’ll have a picture for my next blog post.

I have some perennial polymer clay classes you can check out HERE.

I wish you lots of inspiration this spring!

Lots of love,

Fear of failure

Fear of failure anyone? I have experienced a lot of resistance lately as I’ve been stretching myself to create more complicated sculptures. I have always enjoyed making them, but if I make too many of the same style, I get bored. I have been wanting to make more Santos cage dolls, and I found some interesting “stands/cages” at a thrift store. They were probably part of wall sconces in the past, but I could see their potential.

Possibly a wall sconce in its prior incarnation

I used one of them for the first cage doll. To make them look a bit less modern, I wrapped and glued all the parts with sewing pattern paper.

Anything to make the process easier (than making a cage from scratch.) If you’re handy with wood and nails, go for the traditional cage. There are videos on YouTube.

The hardest part is to visualize the doll on top of the stand. I went for a longer dress but, traditionally, the cage is the “skirt.”

I use epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt brand) for these sculptures because it’s very strong.

The resistance/fear shows up questioning if the sculpture will be any good. Will I come up with a design I like? What if I waste all that pricey clay and have to scrap the project?

The doubting imp is always lurking on the outskirts of my mind. I am well-versed in the Fear of Failure! 🙂 There’s always uncertainty when you start a new project, especially if you have never made it before. They say that fear is the only thing that stops us from moving down untrodden paths. BUT, they also say that if you can visualize the project, it’s already done.

Fear of failure project

The choice is: do I go into the studio and start (or continue what I started?) Or… do I clean the fridge? There are always dirty areas to clean in the home.

The fear wins out often enough, and lately, I’ve had a very clean house, haha.

But, ultimately, the sculpture won’t go away, so I surrender to the process wherever it wants to take me. More often than not, the end result is okay, and if it isn’t, the sculpture can be used in another project. (Hope springs eternal…)

I have many ugly parts that I repurposed or took apart for elements for other projects.

The silver lining is: I learned something during the process that I can apply to future projects.

The more I listen to the urge to create “no matter what”, the more insights and experience I gather, and that’s priceless!

I leave the fridge cleanup for another day. That will always be there, but the exciting inspiration breeze from the muse fades away if I don’t use it.

Fear and resistance will never go away, but we can choose not to listen to them!

Uglee hands

I’m okay with this sculpture, but I need to work on fixing the hands and the hearts. One thing about Apoxie Sculpt, it is super soft when you mix the two parts together. I let it sit for about an hour before I use it, but then you have to work quickly. The good thing is you can build on top of the clay without a problem. I also have to attach another heart, and work on the one that “collapsed.” I will add another heart on top, and no one will be the wiser. 🙂

Have a wonderful, creative week.

Lots of love,

Maria

If you want to learn how to make one of these polymer clay sculptures, visit my Whimsy Girl workshop HERE.

Do you jot down to-do lists and follow through?

Do you or don’t you? I go in spurts. When I get too lazy, I bring out my small notebook (with gilded edges, no less!) and jot down about five things I need to do daily. My list usually contains these items:

Make art, write or edit chapters, pack etsy orders, clean something.

Art: I usually have something half finished, so it’s easy to choose what to do, but there are days when I have no ideas, and I have to drag myself into the studio. On such days, I might start something like making a clay body for a chicken–nothing too elaborate.

Clearing a list makes you feel good.

I feel compelled to follow through if I make a list. When I don’t, it’s easy to blow things off, and the day goes by without any progress, making me feel bored and ungrounded. I also feel guilty if I don’t progress, especially with my art.

Sometimes it’s okay to blow things off and go out for fresh views and new inspiration. There’s a distinct difference between blowing things off and feeling as if your well is empty. Ignoring your impulses to create is detrimental to your “feel good” that day. I love to create, but I don’t want to be an art-aholic in the studio.

‘Tis a fine line to walk.

Due to my list-making, I had a productive week. I’ve been sculpting goddesses on shells lately and made more angel shrines. Christmas is coming, and I’ve been selling a lot of angels lately.

The angels below are slightly different designs compared to my old ones. I still have a few of the older designs left on etsy.

I also created a couple of paintings. I went back to my work in 2005 to see what Christmas motifs I had used. Back in the day, I painted Americana folk art. I decided to revisit that style and came up with a new and better(?) version. The first painting is current, and the other is from 2005. It was a lot of fun!

I forgot to make a bunch of Christmas things to sell this year. Time has gone by so quickly, and I can’t seem to get a handle on it.

As far as writing goes, I just put up my second mystery, TO DIE FOR, for pre-order on Kindle. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited. I had a lot of fun writing this story. Mysteries are tricky as you have to embed clues and hold back lots of info to keep the suspense up. I’m working on number three now, RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH. It’ll be a while before it comes out.

The last thing on my list is “clean something.” I often fail in that department since I hate cleaning, but I don’t want to live like a pig.

With three cats, it’s hard to keep any surfaces clean. They have a monopoly on the house… You can find lots of pictures of them on my Instagram feed. My handle there is @greeneearth. Mama Sassy and her six-month-old kittens, Elfie and Pixie. They are all tuxedos, and the kittens are almost identical. Anyway, I feel good if I clean one countertop or dust some shelves. Better than nothing, right?

Have a happy and productive week!

Lots of love,

Maria

Why Monday is my favorite day of the week.

Why Monday is a great day to start a new week of possibilities–in my opinion. A clean slate, with so many paths to take. Mondays are brand new!

I don’t work a 9-5; if I did, I might not see Monday as something to look forward to, but I spend my time doing things that I love–art and writing. There are tedious things involving those endeavors too, but for the most part, I look forward to seeing what I can create that week.

Tuesdays, you’re already into what you’re doing. Wednesdays, you know if the week is going well or if it’s turning out to be the week “from hell.” Yes, they exist too, but what is a bit of resistance in this drama of life?

Thursdays and Fridays are “finish up” days, and weekends are for friends and family. On Sundays, I look back to see how the week was, and then I let it go! LET THAT SH*T GO! We do our best; if we don’t, there’s always a new Monday. 🙂

A Monday type of bird…

I’m working on a new mystery, the third in the series: A Kate Connery cozy mystery set in Upstate New York. It does not have a title yet, but my previous titles are available on Kindle Vella: Done To Death and To Die For. The heroine is a house painter in a quaint small town. She has a crew of three working for her, a former literature professor and two hunky cousins that sleep their way across town. They also land some good jobs via the bedroom. Kate rolls her eyes at them a lot! Her mother says she’s too nosy for her own good, and after almost getting killed twice, she would stop snooping, but no.

I enjoy the challenge of writing a mystery, weaving all the ends together. It’s hard to keep it all straight, and everything has to make sense.

I’ve been painting a lot lately, and the small art pieces are now available in my etsy shop EarthandFaery.

Birds, flowers, and cats are the motifs of the day. They are a treat to paint. I’ve also painted some positive affirmations.

How are your Mondays? Do you enjoy a new week, a new challenge, or is it tedium galore? I realize we gotta eat, but what about enjoying life? I support a bold move toward a more rewarding life, one step at a time.

Lots of love,

Maria

Paper clay bowl with painted mandala

Paper clay is so much fun to work with. I don’t know the difference between paper clay and air dry clay, but they are both easy to work with. I like to make little bowls and paint them. It’s actually relaxing and satisfying to paint funky patterns without pre-planning.

I use Plus paper clay:

paper clay bowl

I roll an amount that I think will be enough for a small bowl. I roll it with a baking pin that I usually use for my polymer clay. I try to get the thickness even by eyeing the clay since I don’t have clay “bars” that help to make an even thickness. But handmade doesn’t have to be perfect!

I bend the clay over an object that will make the flat bottom I want. In my case, I used the bottom of an empty Mod Podge bottle. The bowl dries about 24 hours depending on how hot or cold it is.

Above are some examples of recent bowls. I made a YouTube video of my latest bowl, and you can watch it HERE.

I have also been making “heart guardians” from epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt) attached to rocks, shells, or geodes. They have been popular in my etsy shop. Here are some I made.

It has been fun to experiment with clay lately. I haven’t painted as much, but everything goes in cycles. I like to go with the flow of the moment. It’s challenging to make something different. I feel a lot of resistance, but when I press through that, I really enjoy the process.

I have some new items in my etsy shop if you’re interested. You can check them out HERE.

Please make your own paper clay bowl. I know you’ll love it! 🙂 You can’t go wrong with the process.

Lots of love,

Maria

Be brave in the face of inner struggles

Be brave, “don’t listen to the inner critic” people say. It’s trite but true. No matter where you are in your artistic career, you’ll face new and daunting challenges. “I quit,” you say, “I can’t get my mojo back”. In the big scheme of things, a few days (months) of no creative urge don’t matter much.

I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003, and when I look back, it has been a pretty wild ride from then to now. The urge to paint never went away, but I went through long periods of not knowing what to paint next. My mind was blank.

In comes the doodles and the testing of art supplies! (Thank God for that.) Back in the day, I committed to making some art every day, and I have pretty much stuck with it. I get antsy if I don’t make something artsy every day.

So I’ve painted abstracts, geometrics, funky figures, florals, aborigine-inspired art, portraits, spiritual “beings”, and through it all, I’ve made clay mosaics since 2008. I still have pictures but my earliest attempts were lost in a computer crash, but here are some from 2009.

I look back at my old art and realize how different my art is now, but I suppose the vibe is more or less the same.

The artist’s journey

As stated above, when you’re an artist you journey along with your creativity. I never know where it’s going to take me next, but lately, I’ve been painting funky florals. Who knew?

It makes the artistic path exciting. I made a YouTube video on how to paint a similar floral. Check it out HERE.

I have no idea where I’m going next. My mind has been blank for quite some time, but I was painting over an old painting and realized I had the beginnings of flowers, and the rest is history as they say.

Trust

Trust that your muse has your back. As you change and deepen as a person, so will your muse take you on the next leg of your art journey. You don’t need to know a hundred miles ahead, just the next step.

When you trust that everything is as it should be, your next step will be revealed. Don’t ever quit! All you do is prevent yourself from new artistic exploration. In the beginning, I wanted to paint like Marc Chagall. That never manifested but I added a few funky chickens (roosters) like his in my art now and then. 🙂

Marc Chagall painting

I get inspiration from all kinds of artists, but I feel better when I inspire myself. 🙂

Keep making your art! Don’t be afraid to explore. Doodle if nothing else works. I have doodled on packing paper, deli paper, napkins, printing paper, paper towels, and junk mail. You can make your own delicious paper to use in your paintings or art journal. I made a Mark Making video for you. Check it out HERE.

If you are in the market for floral art, I have some for you in my etsy shop. 🙂 Earth and Faery.

Also some nature spirits in clay, and some sewn songbird sculptures that are new. Next, I’m going to make another clay chicken! I’m almost out, and Easter is coming fast.

Happy creating, and lots of love. I’d love to hear from you.

Maria

Artist and writer