Ugly Is Okay!

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Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, right?  To me, ugly is okay.  I googled free pictures of “ugly” and there were a whole bunch of them, all wildly diverse. Who decides what is ugly anyway? I saw the toad picture and thought of the saying “ugly as a toad,” but truly, he’s kind of cute, warts and all! After all, he is Kermit’s half(?) brother…

Do we judge something as ugly because of the colors or the shape?  Opinions are as diverse as there are people. Then there are clueless people who don’t like anything, but they are not important in this post.

As an artist, I deal with “ugly” every day. Many times I judge my art as ugly, or that the result of a day of painting turned out ugly. However, a friend might come by and totally love the piece.  Who am I to judge??

I think it’s about making art in the face of fear and failure.  We make art because we love it, not so much hoping we are going to outshine Vermeer or Michelangelo.  Still, it can be painful to have your art judged as ugly, or that you hate the result.  What counts is that you showed up at the blank page.

We all start somewhere. The technical skill might be lacking but the essence of the person who made the art shines through.  Especially if it’s not a copy job.  It can be hard to fly in the face of trends. The cuteness factor is hard to compete with if you’re painting mostly in black and gray.

No one paints like you or me or Vermeer.  We are unique and we came here to share our unique gift with the world.  Share the good vibe as they say. 🙂

Artists who keep coming back to making art “has to” share  their unique vibe and it’s a beautiful thing.

The point of this post: don’t compare yourself to others. You will never paint as cute as they do, haha, but your art is important.  If you consider your art “ugly” own it and be proud of your accomplishment.  Someone might come by and fall in love with the piece, and then what are you going to say?

We share at the level we are at.  We might no be a genius like Mozart or Leonardo, but our art is just as important if in a smaller scale. If you touched only one other person, that would be enough.  Then again, as you practice your art, you may dig deep into your inner genius, and then your name will be on a plaque in a museum too. You never know unless you keep on going!

Let’s go paint some ugly pictures! I’m excited. 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. I have a bunch of short free tutorials and a couple of paid ecourses on my other site.  If interested you can check them out HERE.

Hard work is good when it’s the right kind of work.

 

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Many of us grew up with the belief that hard work is good, but no one ever mentioned that it should be the right kind of work.  It’s more like “keep your nose to the grindstone” and don’t question the situation.

All I ever did growing up was questioning my situation. When I was about nineteen I decided I wanted to be an artist. The hard work factor had not kicked in yet, so I gave up too soon when I failed to get into a prestigious art school. Also, people were always saying that you can’t make any money as an artist.

My dilemma was that I did not see a single career on the list of possible careers that I liked. It was horrible. The only one I could possibly get excited about was art therapist, but my math was weak in highschool so I could not get accepted into the education I needed.

I spent my twenties working all kinds of jobs, and that was sort of fun in that I learned a lot.  There were some things I hated and have always hated:

Getting up to an alarm clock

The 9-5 grind

The soul killing monotony of my days and no end in sight.

Next to no vacation, and then not enough money to do anything exciting.

Bosses who were jerks.

It was the Gulag of life, a life-long sentence, and I hated every day of that.  I did learn to work hard though, and be dependable. I met some nice people along the way.

In my youth I just upped and left when I’d had enough of the grind. I did some fun things like bicycling across the country and hitchhiking around Europe with NO money. Those are nice memories, but my parents called me irresponsible. I think I was more desperate to find some meaning.

I found meaning in spiritual awakening, but that will be another post.

My passion finally ignited when I realized I could be a writer and make money at it. I was thirty years old.  I started writing fiction and didn’t end until my writing career crashed while I was rehabilitating a knee injury many years later. It wasn’t fun.  Over the years I developed an ironclad discipline. (By the way, there is nothing like writing to hone your discipline.) My writing career has crashed three times, and I had to pick up other major skills along the way.

I also returned big time to my art passion. It has run like a red thread through my entire life. That is where I should have focused my energy all along.

The point of this post? Find what really excites you in life and work hard at it. Use your discipline to keep pushing through when things aren’t going right, and there will be many days like that, most of the days in fact.  Never give up. Keep working at it when there is no sign of success in sight. Don’t listen to others, listen to your heart. Your passion is a sign from the universe that you’re on the right path.

There are many many examples in history of people who worked themselves to the bone to launch wacky inventions into the world. One of the most famous is probably the flying machine. The Wright brothers must have been some kind of good crazy!

Why not you?  What is your good crazy? You have it in you, and only you can launch it into the world.

Then “nose to the grindstone” finally has a meaning that makes sense!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some crazy cool ecourses you can check out HERE.

How to stand in your power.

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This post is about how to take charge of your life and stand in your power. I was talking to a lady and realized the paradigm of having someone “save you” is still alive and well in 2015.

Some women still expect a knight in shining armor to ride in on a white horse and save them. Though that would be cool, especially if he’s handsome and buff, but he is not the answer to your problems. He has his own problems to deal with, so why the need to put the pressure on someone else to support YOU?

How to stand in your power:

  1. Know that you are capable, no matter what the situation. You start where you are. If you’re penniless you find a job, and excuses be gone, excuses like “I don’t have the education,” “I haven’t worked in a long time,” “I have no skills.” Those are poisonous excuses. I think it was Carnegie who started his career selling newspapers on a street corner.  Where there is a will there is a way.
  2. If you are desperate find ANY job to tide you over for a time. Where you meet people there is a chance to meet new connections that can offer you more.  In other words, make sure to mingle.
  3. Decide to take charge of your life. That’s the point where you realize no knight is going to save you and you’re ok with that.
  4. Ditch the fear. Haven’t we all done things that scared us? All it takes is a determination to succeed, and the above decision to take charge of your life. Hold that decision as a sacred vow.
  5. You are capable of a lot more than you think.  Remember the friend who landed a job above their current skills? You say it’s luck? I say it’s “balls.” They believed in themselves, ditched the fear, and applied.
  6. Decide to think highly of yourself!  Yes, it’s a choice. You are worthy and confident and capable. Let that be your new mantra.
  7. Learn something new. Learning new things is a real confidence builder and it might spark new business ideas.
  8. Trust your intuition.  Intuition is a great tool to hone in your life. Don’t second guess yourself. Trust your gut!
  9. What is the best you could be? What seems impossible to achieve? Go for THAT goal. It’s a huge challenge, but challenges move us forward in life, and accomplishing a big goal is a superior confidence builder.
  10. If you have no idea what you want start where you are right now.  What step(s) can you take right now to improve your life?  Ask yourself that question every day and do the steps. Such steps include self-care, healthy choices, biz opportunities or steps to expand a current biz or job. Confidence speaks louder than words. Build your confidence one step at a time.

Write a new blueprint for you life and know that it is the best thing ever to stand in your power and accomplish your dreams, one step at a time.

Living from the inside out gives you instant confidence and gives you the authority to choose what is best for you. Don’t listen to the naysayers. They are coming from the perspective of their own fears.

Remember, you are your own best authority, but you are also your greatest naysayer. Positive action is the way to silence the inner naysayer. Excuses be gone!

xo

Maria

P.S. If you want to check out my available ecourses, click HERE.

When inspiration fails.

 

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When inspiration fails what do you do? I get that question a lot as an artist, and I can tell you the muse is often fickle, but one thing I have learned: you are not a slave to the muse! Maybe everything flows more smoothly with the muse on hand to pave a rosy path, but when all you can see is a creative desert ahead, what do you do?  To get to the other side, you have to walk through the desert, or do you?  I don’t believe in that but the challenge would certainly give you stamina and stick-to-it-iveness. However, art is not something we do in survival mode but more like following an easy stream.

Here are a couple of things I do when the muse refuses to be part of my life:

  1. Take a walk. Yes, it’s a great way to shake off the cobwebs and take in new inspiration. The colors and shapes are great for new ideas. Walks are always good for general problem solving as well.
  2.  Look at art books. The classics and more modern artists are always inspiring. Through the pages I can absorb the energy of their work and find myself eager to try something new on my canvas. Nothing wrong with copying elements and then make them your own.
  3. Get out of the studio and meet a friend. Lunch out is one of the world’s greatest pleasures, and if you have a good friend that does not annoy you by talking incessantly about themselves, it’s a BONUS.
  4. If you live in a city, go to an art museum. This falls in the same category as looking at art books, but it also gets you out of the studio, another BONUS.
  5. Try kickstarting your art by gluing down bits of papers at random on the surface. Let your hand and eye coordinate and see what comes up next on the page or canvas, and then take that step, and the next, and the next. Just try something new, a new angle, and new color.
  6. Use a color palette you rarely use. Example: if you always paint in cool colors, make yourself use only warm colors for the next project. Your sense of playing it safe will rebel, but it’s easy enough to send it packing for one piece of experimental art. Ugly is okay.
  7. Learn a new craft. Look through some craft books at the bookstore and see if anything pulls you in. Crafting can be mindless and meditative, and you might find yourself creating a pile of cool gifts.
  8. Let someone else paint on your canvas. Taking the pressure off the process can be very freeing.
  9. Paint with your hands. You can really feel the paint when you use your hands. It’s a more intimate creative way to paint. If you don’t like to paint throw a handful of mixed ripped papers on your canvas and glue them down where they land. It can become the start of a whole new way of making art!
  10. When all else fails buy some new art supplies! I think that is my favorite suggestion. I love (and my muse loves) a new art supply challenge. A shiny new box of pencils or crayons can light up your world. It does mine.

No matter what you choose to do to interrupt a creative drought, do SOMETHING.  The drought is temporary. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and paint the same over and over, but it’s just as easy to challenge yourself to something new. 🙂

Happy creating,

Maria

P.S. I have some freebie challenges on my website you can try to break the drought. CLICK HERE.

 

What will be on your tombstone?

 

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What will be on your tombstone?  Since we’re getting close to Halloween I thought it was a fitting title. It’s not all fun and games, but Halloween is sure fun.

Many self-help books actually use that question to get you thinking about your life.  My tombstone would read: Maria Greene was an inspiration. I can aspire to inspire, if not teach people. I think the only teaching that sticks is the one that people actually want, so  I won’t claim teaching as something I’m known for.

But I can inspire people to take a look and maybe stop and think for a few moments of what they stand for.  How many ever stop to take a look, though?  Those that do know there is more to life.

In a previous post I wrote about painting in the moment like children do. They make a mess and then they move on to something else, and they don’t care about the so-called quality of their work. What they did in the moment is enough. Same goes for animals. My cat lives totally in the moment all the time and all his reactions come from either love or fear. He’s a total love bug but there are many things that frighten him. However, he embraces those conditions fully.

Take a human. We very seldom really merge with the moment of now to be observant or feel what that moment has to offer. We rush from one thing to the next, but what significance does that kind of action  hold? How important are the things we are doing?  Do they matter in the long run?  Don’t you ever wish you’d had a deeper experience with someone or something in life? I often hear people voice regrets that they didn’t have more time with someone before they passed. That was a choice. Something else was more important.

So, I guess my offer of inspiration today is this: What is important to you and how much do you acknowledge that? Life is fleeting and if we don’t pursue the people and things that are important, what value does life have?  What moments did we lose because we weren’t present?

I often stand in front of that idea and realize that everything I do in this life is not that important. It’s not very satisfying. Most things leave me with the impression that this wasn’t “it.” Absorbing and fully living in the moment IS because that’s where everything happens.

To add value to life, de-clutter and remove useless habits, items, mindsets, and jobs in life so that you can say at the end that you really got something out of life. You chose from the things because you loved them, not because of some habit or some trend.  Choose love and you’ll be an all around better person for it.  Become one with the positive and blend into the real flow of life, finding magic in each moment. Spread goodness!

It’s the easiest yet the hardest thing to do, but heck it’s the only truly valuable and ultimately satisfying thing to do! (with practice.)  Forthwith, I hope to inspire you to take a look at that and live lightly like a child, moving fearlessly from one thing to another with confidence.

Love everything  you do and become one less problem in the world…

Along with you, I aspire to stay in the moment and truly experience life.  Beyond all the desires and needs lives peace!

A worthy cause for sure!

xo

Maria

P.S. I offer a few different e-courses on my other website. Free or affordable. Take a look HERE!

Ugly is okay!

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Ugly is okay for sure, but if you’re like me, art holds certain standards. We try so many methods and techniques; we compare ourselves to others. Some styles we like some we don’t. It’s hard to know which style suits you the best. Have you ever tried just being yourself as you approach art? Forget about the rules and be free, like kids fearlessly showing up at the empty page. Paint outside the box! To reach the true core of who we are involves a lot of unlearning or ignoring what we know. Unlearning is deeply satisfying.

Like you I make a decent painting and art journal spread, and I’m proud and happy about the results. When it comes to spontaneity however, it can be very frustrating since we’re always striving for results.

My aim for this micro workshop is to give you space to be yourself, to wait and see what will come onto the page without you pushing anything.

What I get from this kind of art is a sense of Self. I can actually recognize my own energy in the art. It has a very intimate feel to it, and I find it addictive to paint in this way. I also receive sudden insights and messages about the state I’m in at the time of painting. This particular spread turned out happy, and it’s a state I’m in a lot, but others I’ve done are dark and dreary. The tendency is to rip out those kinds of pages, but to honor myself, I also have to honor my darker, more destructive side. Usually, I don’t like showing those pages to people. They are basic and pretty ugly. It’s like trying anything new and unknown, you just have to immerse yourself in it to find out the truth about it.

I invite you to explore.

I invite you to leave all your knowledge at the door and explore you inner self.

I invite you to paint “ugly,” unfettered like a child.

I invite you to meet your inner self without fear.

Are you willing to take this trip with me?

All you need is an art journal page, or a watercolor sheet, or even a canvas. Whatever you have on hand, and you need some paint, brushes, and markers. That is all. You can even use colored pencils, pencils, ballpoint pens, and oil pastels. There are no rules.

I need to point out that your art will be completely different from mine! The video will show the process I go through and you’ll get an idea how to go about it. And then you can make your own art spread, woohoo.

Check out the micro workshop HERE.

xo

Maria

P.S.  If you’d like some more free stuff please join my mailing list HERE.

 

Artist and writer