The moment of NOW.

now

Hello friends,

We plan and we struggle. We look toward the future and the possibilities that might unfold for us. We like to watch the horizon and imagine new things. Nothing wrong with that, but the fact is, the only time is NOW.

You can’t imagine now. It can only be experienced, and it can be boring, right?  We are addicted to excitement, shiny new things. Meanwhile life happens, increment by increment, and who says there will be more than just ONE moment?

There is a moment when you take your first breath,  or more correctly, the breath is given to you, and there is a moment when it leaves the body.  All that awesomeness happens in one moment, no beginning, no end. It just “is.”

I’m hearing this quite often now: “Do what you want or what you feel like doing. That can change from moment to moment. Isn’t that how small children live?  They do something wholeheartedly for one moment, and then move on to the next thing without a thought of what went before.  The world stands still because they are present in every moment.  Awareness

What does that have to do with a successful art business or any other business? I have learned that no matter how much I plan or try new things, they never end up as planned, or new inspiration comes in, or doesn’t, that moves the path forward in a new direction.

So, I feel the new dynamic is to enjoy life, to forget the sweat and the struggle to get SOMEWHERE.  Find the joy in the moment and be moved by that joy. The mind thinks it’s a boring endeavor, and it doesn’t want to stop and breathe and listen.  It likes to charge ahead and accomplish things, do the lists, execute the PLAN, and reap the lucrative results.

All we get is exhaustion and disappointment, even if things got accomplished. I pretty much spent my life there…

Success is to be able to slow down to the “still point” of existence and really be present in life. From there we can move in the direction of what truly fires us up, and if there is nothing exciting, to listen even closer for the deeper movement that might point toward a whole new path.

There is nothing to prove, no goal to run after and accomplish. Success in the Western society is based on physical and mental accomplishment. If we don’t fall in with that template we are losers or less than those who succeed in wealth and careers.

What about those who are physically and mentally challenged? I have noticed at lot of blissful smiles and stories of inspiration of a greater life among such people.  Not always of course, but we have a choice.

I have stood in front of that choice many times in my life. Right now I have come full circle again, back to point zero. I spent the last year accomplishing GREAT things (in my opinion.) I learned a lot of new skills, which I enjoy.  However, I didn’t get to where I wanted to be in my life, and some say, “try harder.”

BUT, I know that will not work.  I choose to delve more deeply into the moment. I choose the mystery of life over great accomplishments. That’s where the right path lies, and it’s infinitely more intriguing than the next mountain to climb.

There is nothing wrong with challenges. We grow through them, but hey, stop a moment, take a deep breath and realize where life truly IS.

It takes courage to follow the moment of Now, but it gets easier as we see the workings of that magic of life in our daily existence.

Are you excited about this new possibility, which is not new? It’s ancient, but we run faster and faster away from it…

I know I’m excited about it. The struggle stops here!

now2

Process versus product.

Process versus product is a concept I have struggled with for a while as an artist. Do you paint pretty paintings that sell, or are you true to your own process?  Small kids will always be true to their process. They paint with abandon, and their art is filled with joyous energy. We lose that wild creativity because we start judging the art at some point. According to our preferences, it’s good or bad. There are artists like Jackson Pollock that I don’t particularly admire, but the energy in his dripped art is phenomenal. People pick up on the energy. Art that we would reject without a second glance sell for millions.

Artists love making a living from their art; that’s a given. I find myself always judging my own art. Is it salable, or is it junk? We would not judge kids’ art as junk, but maybe some do.

I do enjoy making crafts too, but they don’t count in this kind of dilemma. Crafting is a more peaceful, straightforward process and you know the end result. It tends to get tedious in the long run while painting never gets tedious but can be extremely challenging. Sometimes it gets to a point where I don’t want to be challenged, and I paint something pretty.

There is nothing wrong with pretty, but I want to paint from my true inner genius.

In my years of painting, I was always drawn to intuitive expression, which means standing in front of a blank canvas and just reach for the first color that comes to mind and paint something, whatever I am drawn to paint. The canvas will decide what is to come. It’s a frightening but exciting process to watch the artwork emerge on its own. It’s torture sometimes, but it’s a process I’ve never quite been able to leave. I started painting this way back in the 90s after reading Aviva Gold’s Painting From The Source. Later in this post I will display a list of the books that have influenced my intuitive painting the  most.

When I started reading Gold’s book, I could not put it down. She suggests using poster boards and tempera paint, which are inexpensive tools to experiment with. No expensive canvases to “destroy.”

Here are two pictures of old intuitive art I painted in the 90s. I have some huge paintings that are rolled up in my closet, and I can’t bear to throw them away. However, there is no wall space for them where I live.

100_0121These guys ended up being parrots in the jungle, but I probably started out with a blob of paint in the middle of the poster board. There is a lot of detail underneath the birds, and I believe that all layers add to the finished art. I still paint in many layers.

100_2289This is a huge, really weird painting, but it had lots of energy. I painted it over an old framed painting, and it sold and was shipped off.  Intuitive art is like dreams in many ways. The images are fragmented and don’t seem to make sense, but there is always an underlying message. The subconscious speaks through the art if you ALLOW it.

100_2467Here is another kind of fun variation of intuitive painting. I ended up painting my own hands all over the art.

Art journaling is also a good way to experiment. You know the art is just for you. The pressure of selling it is gone, and you can go crazy on the pages.

I admire my big brother, Ingvar Staffans, who has painted all of his life. He only uses black, white, brown, and maybe some beige in his art. He paints HUGE abstract expressions and have never even tried to paint pretty pictures. He is true to his own art. Some of it I don’t like, but some bowls me over with its amazing energy. He’s not afraid to experiment and I respect that.ingvarsart

ingvar-staffans-1101152031200_n

Hard to believe we’re related, huh?  He never read any books on intuitive painting, lol.  He is a process man, not a product man.

Anyway, here is the list of books that can inspire you to paint intuitively. I particularly recommend Michele Cassou’s books. They will tell what to do when you get stuck.  Her process is totally freeing.  The book links are to Amazon. Some you can probably find at the library.

POINT ZERO by Michele Cassou HERE.

LIFE, PAINT and PASSION by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley HERE.

PAINTING FROM THE SOURCE by Aviva Gold HERE.

A more recent book: PAINT MOJO by Tracy Verdugo HERE.

Another book to help open up your creativity is THE TRICKSTER’S HAT by Nick Bantock HERE.

And the classic THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron HERE.

I thought I would try a grungy sort of art journaling technique since I always paint in bright colors. My brother would be proud! 🙂

008This is not pretty, but meaningful to me. At this point I just want to express myself, not necessarily paint pretty pictures. It is an evolving  journey! I made a video of this art journal spread, and you can watch it HERE.

What are you working on today?  It is important … because life happens NOW.

xo

Maria

P.S.  If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter, you can sign up HERE.

 

 

45% off on my art journaling e-course!

What a deal! 45% off on my art journaling e-course for two (maybe four) days. I’m tickled pink to be offering you this opportunity to try something new in art journaling. Here is the page from my website that explains it all:

 

VISIONARY ART JOURNALING -A Journey Of The Six Senses
The ultimate intuitive art journaling e-course

Are you curious about intuition and how it works?  What if I could show you some simple ways to always be in touch with your intuition?  Maybe you have read books about it, but can’t seem to put it together. Are you going to do something about it? Learn how to break through and have some real experiences, not just book learning.  Find your inner guidance easily via art journaling.
Why take this e-course?
Visionary Art Journaling is perfect for you if :
• You never found a simple way to tap into your intuition in a consistent manner, or trust the information you received.
• You have been unable to follow through because the lessons or books bored you?
• Heart-centered art eludes you?
• If you’re a beginner, but eager to learn to tap into your intuition, and quickly.
• You feel fears around art journaling or intuition.
Imagine making art with an easy flow, straight from your heart!  No experience needed.
Visionary Art Journaling e-course takes all the mystery out of the art and intuition process.
Personal benefits:
• Unleash your creative side.
• Tap into your innermost self and gain confidence in all areas of your life.
• Support from me personally online and from other artists in the group.
• Experience less stress and worry about the process of art journaling.
• A sense of pride and accomplishment for taking steps to deepen your art dream, or even start a dream!
Art benefits:
• Learn how to create a fun background that fits what you experienced in the meditations.
• Learn how to create exceptional details that describe your vision.
• How to avoid pitfalls as you move through the art spreads.
• Learn about the practical side of interpreting what you feel onto a journal page.
• Get your creative juices flowing.
• Make new discoveries that inspire you to continue on the journey.
Now is the time to get started on your dream to get more deeply into your art!
Visionary Art Journaling e-course consists of intro videos, 6 meditation audios, and 6 downloadable art instruction videos with a multitude of examples and suggestions that cover all you need to know about art journaling, and the six senses. All the materials are yours to keep.  Again, no experience necessary to follow this e-course.  The guided meditation audios are very relaxing and about 7 minutes long each.
Audio 1: Deals with the sense of Taste
Audio 2: Deals with the sense of Smell
Audio 3: Deals with the sense of Sight
Audio 4: Deals with the sense of Touch
Audio 5: Deals with the sense of Hearing
Audio 6: Deals with the Sixth sense, your intuition
Bonus videos with more tips on honing your intuition.
After finishing the e-course you will have a clear picture on how to put together an art journal spread, using what tools you have.
You will have a clear and easy understanding how to access your intuition and how it works.
You will feel confident that you can create similar art on your own.
You will have a way to keep your inspiration flowing, using your inner senses that never grow stale!
JOIN ME FOR AN EXCITING LEARNING EXPERIENCE!
Suitability:
This e-course is suitable for beginners and for those who are art journaling veterans.
The art journaling pages will provide inspiration to add your own style and imagination.
If you like putting in the work up front for better results later, and have fun along the way, this course is definitely for you!
This is great for you if you like to take online courses and implement the advice. If you do the work, you will have excellent results.
If you are ready and eager to learn this kind of approach to art and see quick results, this e-course is definitely for you.

Visionary Art Journaling will help you to:
• know where to go next in the art process. It takes all the guesswork out of creating an art journal page.
• take the mystery out of the tools used.
• plug all the elements into your art via intuition.
• keep the excitement going for eternity. 🙂
Follow your dream of exploring art. Seize the day now, learn something new. Get excited again. Allow your talent to shine. Give yourself the gift of creativity.  Get re-inspired if you lost the spark.  Come along on the journey.
You can buy it by clicking HERE. 
xo
Maria
P.S. You can check out some of my original art in my etsy shop: HERE.

Stop if your heart is not on fire.

hellyeah

Stop if your heart is not on fire for something. I have been kind of in a slump lately and I’m pretty much re-evaluating everything. My friend and writer, Laura Probert, wrote an excellent post for Huffington Post, (link at the end.) She was inspired by Marie Forleo who said if it’s not a “hell yeah,” then don’t do it. It got me thinking about my own life and it’s been a while since I truly felt a “hell yeah” about anything.  Life is more like “meh.”

When I do things I don’t like to do to earn money (and that is the only reason,) I feel like a vague shearing sensation in my chest. It occurred to me that’s what people do; they spend a lifetime doing stuff they don’t like and then end up with heart disease. What is the greatest killer today: heart disease. I don’t know the statistics on how many people hate their jobs, but I suspect it’s a hefty percentage.

We created this mess. The kids are funneled like cows to slaughter through a school systems that does not work, to learn stuff they will never use. But stay in the fold for when you grow up, kiddo, you will or must have a job or you will be an outsider, and you will be poor.

I suppose a boring job is not the only cause for heart disease, and doctor’s will tell you it’s the food you eat, but I believe it’s a lot more than  that. It is based on deep misaligned emotion.

When we force ourselves into a shoe that doesn’t fit, we feel uncomfortable.  We know it’s wrong for us, but we force ourselves out of fear or out of lack of ideas for something better. School never encouraged you to think for yourself.

The forced and unhappy behavior will create disease in the body. You’ve heard it before.

People sometimes say that whatever disaster they went through was the best thing that ever happened to them, because it changed the course of their life. People who have had an awakening can’t go back to the old  mindset. It’s like society in general hypnotizes us into a humdrum existence and it takes something drastic to shake us up enough to see that we act like sheep.  We work like sheep and play like sheep. It gets very old.

My point here: What gives you fire in the belly? There is no time to waste. Screw humdrum, screw fear. It’s time to wake up and do it!

I have done a lot of passion inspired things in my life but right now I feel kind of “meh.”  I’m hoping life is taking a new turn soon, because the sense of “been there done that” is overwhelming. I can’t wait to get excited again. I don’t like that shearing feeling in my chest when I force myself to do things I don’t like. Hello anxiety.

What to do? Take stock of your emotions and pains in your body.  When you think of your job do you feel excited or full of dread? If you have no clue what makes you fired up with excitement, do some excavating of dreams and desires, the ones you shoved under the carpet, maybe?  It will take action to get out of the status quo, but everyone can do it with some effort. I know it’s possible.

For more ideas, read Laura’s article HERE.

xo

Maria

P.S. for some free art how to videos, check out my YouTube channel HERE.

Your inner child.

innerchild

Your inner child is still with you, and you know that of course. I have noticed a trend lately. Well, it has been going on for some years, but people (mostly women) are taking great delight in different kinds of childlike expressions. The grown-up coloring books are the rage right now, and people love a slew of different kinds of weekly planners, in which they can be creative and record their feelings. I think it’s great!

There is a much greater openness, especially among artists to express their inner childlike joy. The “perfectionism” of art has long gone by the wayside, and it’s okay for anyone to express their art without shame. Not everyone is a Rembrandt, but everyone is an artist.

I have been feeling the joy of people expressing their creativity, be it art journaling, drawing, painting, intuitive painting, playing with clay and various styles of jewelry.

What with social media being such a great resource of pictures and tutorials, we live in a great time for expansion and acceptance.  The boundaries have been busted!

I find inspiration on every site, from Facebook to Twitter, to etsy to YouTube.  It’s like a cornucopia of art blessings! It also inspires me to try new styles.

I started out playing with (and drawing) paper dolls when I was a kid. Making clothes for them was my first foray into art. I never tired of it. I had a shoe box full under the kitchen bench we had. I would pull it out and go through my stash of dolls every day, spread them out on the kitchen table.  I also loved coloring books. I was careful not to color outside the lines, lol.

These days I do nothing but color outside the lines…

Later I got really into drawing and painting with whatever tools I had. My parents weren’t very forthcoming with artist tools, but I made do. When the desire is there you only need a paper and a  pencil.

I had some oil pastels and watercolors, but I could never get the watercolors right. You can’t really fix the mistakes, so it was frustrating.

These days I prefer acrylic paints and mixed media. Acrylics dry so fast and I love that. I also love the flexibility of the paint.

My biggest obstacle to creating every day is to actually sit down and DO it. I know I share that boat with many. The only way to overcome it is to go back to the page or canvas, slap some paint on. When all fails I glue a picture or two on the page to get started.

It is all about commitment. If we really want to do something we have to commit to it, no matter what it takes. It’s the only way to see results, but also to feel the joy along the way. No one said it would be easy… There are many peaks and valleys.

What is your passion?

I’m into intuitive painting a lot these days. I have two e-courses on offer that address art and intuition and intuition itself. Check it out on THIS LINK.

Want some more news?  Sign up for my newsletter HERE.

xo

Maria

Success coach Karen Strunks.

Hello lovely people,

I have the honor to introduce you to British success coach, Karen Strunks. She inspires people all across the world and has been a successful online business entrepreneur for over nine years. I have learned a lot from her and gained some well-needed asskickery in my own business.  Here is the interview about smart time management and focus!

karen strunks (1)

1. How important is time to you?

Time is one of the biggest assets we all have. What we do with our time determines what we achieve and succeed at. I love this quote by Carl Sandburg:
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.”

We have the luxury of time, but it’s not limitless. Squander time and we squander our lives.

2. Do you try to make the best use of your time, if so how do you do that?

I try to make the best out of every minute of the day! I plan ahead and decide how I would like to spend my time.

I love productivity ‘hacks’ and use a lot of them. For example, I don’t operate in ‘reactive mode’, jumping to every ping of my phone (actually it’s on silent) or email notification (I check in a
couple of times a day when I’ve scheduled it). I take charge of my time and my day and I don’t spend my time doing anything I don’t like to do, in my life or my business, and that includes who I spend my time with too!

I use Google docs to keep track of what I’m doing and when it’s got to be done. It acts as a kind of to-­do list. If it needs to be done, it’s goes in my diary. You have to create, or schedule, the time for the things you want to do and not just hope that it’ll get done one day.

3. How many hours a day to do you work and how is that broken down?

Well, I’ve recently made some huge changes in my working hours and I now work 16-­20 hours a week. That’s a huge drop from the 80­-100 hours I thought I had to do to run my business!

I made the change by simply deciding how many hours I was willing to work in my business and how I wanted to fill those hours. I cut the ‘busy work’, focused on the things that bring me the biggest results and I fill my time at work doing only the things I love. Well, except for admin I have to admit!

4 hours blogging/writing/video creating ­ which are most of the things I truly enjoy.

4 hours creating content for my online courses.

4 hours of coaching calls on Skype.

2 hours of admin/emails.

4 hours of marketing.

1 hour of connecting with people (could be new people or people in my network.)

That’s it!

We can ALL do more work in less time and create FREE time if we get a razor-sharp focus on what we love doing and what works for us.

4. What else do you like to do with your time and how do you fit that in?

So, apart from my 20 hours work week, I focus on my self­development. There are always ways to improve and learn. I love films and writing and just getting creative. That could involve  coming up with new things I’d like to  try in my business. It’s all easy to fit in now that I’ve cracked the ‘code’ for running my business and using my time really efficiently!

5. Tell us a bit about you and your business.

I help daring, go-­getting entrepreneurs create a life of freedom. Their work, their life, their way, completely on their terms. We throw away the rule book! It’s totally possible to have a life of freedom. We can have so much more than we realize, if we just take action and go out there and demand more of ourselves.

I made my escape from the rat race and I refuse to march to the tune of someone else’s drum ever again. Now I’ve got 9 years experience in running my own businesses, I’ve helped 1000s of people with their business and life success. I’m a qualified life coach and NLP practitioner.

I work with dynamic and driven people who are ready to go FULL OUT in creating a life and business on THEIR terms!

Are YOU ready to play it BIG? You can read about it in my e-book; 8 Secrets To Playing It Big In Life & Business. Get your copy HERE.

To find out more about Karen’s available online programs, please visit her website at KarenStrunks.com

Thank you so much, Karen! I know I have to be more focused and aware of how I spend my time…

xo

Maria

Artist and writer