Tag Archives: art tutorial

Paper dolls and muscle memory

Paper dolls and muscle memory, what do they have in common, you might ask. With a cursory glance they don’t, but if you look closer, you’ll see that my paper dolls have clay faces, and I make a lot of clay faces.

Muscle memory comes into the picture when I feel as if I can make and paint the faces in my sleep. That is how art is sometimes.

The more you practice art, the deeper you get with the process, and much of the action comes from using your muscles to repeat the process. You don’t worry about it; you just do it.

MAKING ART FRIGHTENS ME

When people sit down at an art table for the first time, it’s like the first time they sit in the car they’re supposed to drive. It’s intimidating and scary, but somehow you overcome the fear and “let it roll.”

That’s why art classes are a good way to get going with art. A good teacher will take you by the virtual hand and show you what to do, as with any new subject you approach. Think of it like learning a new language. At first, you only know a few words. After a year or so, you can speak haltingly and understand much of what people say in that language.

ART IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT’S ALWAYS NEW

Unless you paint the same motif every day, you’ll face the challenge of putting something on the blank page. Many artists paint the same style and motifs over and over, and they learn from that, but how do you explore wider vistas? You can add an element to the well-trod path. If you paint, incorporate some paper collage, or use colors you stay away from normally.

To grow as artists, we have to go down unfamiliar paths, but what we’ve learned along the way, is easy, it comes without struggle, like muscle memory for those who lift weights. You trust that your hands can do the work!

I digress..

Let’s get back to paper dolls. I have had many questions on how to paint clay faces, so I made a video, How to paint clay faces, Part 1.

The faces evolved into funky paper dolls, so you can check out the second video, How to add a painted face to a mixed media paper doll, Part 2.

I realized the faces could be used with so many styles, and how you dress the dolls, is a challenge because there are so many choices. The possibilities are endless. That’s where the exploration begins. But make a clay face first. It’s not that hard!

I’ve been busy in my studio this month, and sales are picking up since January. I’ve sold a lot of different items, and when I sell one, I usually make a replacement. Here are some samples, and these only include my etsy items, not my art journal pages.

The whimsy girl in the striped jersey is a popular items. I’ve made several. Maybe it’s the stripes?? The Love You More plaque was a custom order, the largest plaque I’ve made with my painted tiles, 10×10″.

I also really enjoyed making the “twin flame” driftwood and clay wand. Something new for me even though I sneaked in two clay faces!

Okay, what are you working on? I’d love to see some paper dolls with clay faces from you. You can send pictures to:

maria@mariagreene.org.

I love seeing other people’s art!

I wish you loads of inspiration in March, and productive happiness. ‘Til the next time, lot’s of love.

Maria

If you must have one of my latest items, please check out my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Art is a blessing

Art is a blessing in these broken times, and always! I practice making art almost every day, and when I’m in the flow, all troubled thoughts go away. So I highly recommend art as a form of meditation.

I can’t always settle down, but knowing from experience, I at least try. Sometimes it’s great to get out of the house and see other vistas than the mess in my studio, but I always end up there.

The creativity /art is a red thread that travels through my life, and it’s tied to the timelessness that is LIFE itself. In that I find solace and inspiration.

Do you lack inspiration when the world is dark?

Sometimes I do, but some scrolling through Pinterest gives me new ideas. I can translate ideas into my own style, and it’s both rewarding and frustrating. A new design always has its share of frustration. That is the challenge!

We need a good challenge, often! At least I do.

I have some empty Altoids tins, and I’ve been making shrines with them in the past. This time I wanted to make a sculpture that could be hung on the wall. I wrapped some epoxy clay around it and made an armature for head and shoulders. It didn’t look like much after the first round of clay, but I had to let it dry 24 hours before I could add another layer.

The second day I added facial features, a “shrine” to nature on her stomach with a nest and a heart, and then hair, which was wrapped around a cardboard form to get the “flip.” Facial features are always a challenge, but I was somewhat pleased with the result. I knew she would look better with paint.

Art doll in clay

That is one thing you can make with an Altoids tin.

I haven’t made that many items this month. I painted some and made a couple of clay “women”, but that was pretty much it.
I got some art journaling done as well, and here’s a short video of the spreads. Sometimes weeks go by without art journaling, but I always go back to it. Some kind of addiction, I guess. 🙂

I’m always looking for new techniques and materials.

I also made a video tutorial of a spring-like spread from the other day. We already have some spring signs here in Florida. The light is much brighter as well. The migratory birds are starting to return to their northern homes already, for another round of raising families.

There are some new things in my etsy shop that you can check out. Earth and Faery.

I wish you an awesome February! Till then, may you have lots of art inspiration. 🙂

Love,

Maria

My word for 2021

My word is “breakthrough” and I think it will fit 2021 nicely, though who really knows what’s coming? There are so many unanswered questions. I choose to look at the new year positively, and intend to make it great, as great as I can!

I made a short art journal video to bring in the new year. Making art is good intention setting.

You can watch the process here:

my word for 2021

Reflecting back on 2020 it was a chaotic year for sure. I’m sure we can all agree. I got a lot accomplished in my art studio, and I was grateful to have that space to retreat to whenever I wanted. Not everyone is that lucky. My heart reaches out to those who were hard hit with the economic downturn, and most of all, those who had friends and relatives who passed away.

I wish a lot better year for everyone, and that we can find ways to get along better.

Here are some items I made in December:

The angel shrines are well loved by my customers. 🙂

If you need an angel for someone or yourself, please check out my shop Earth and Faery.

I wrote a blog post earlier this month with several other items I made, you can check out this post if you didn’t already, New Energy Coming…

On that note…

I wish you…

Altered Pages’ tutorials for fun!

Altered pages are a staple in art journaling, and I decided to experiment using a tub of modeling paste I just purchased. The paste has the consistency of creamy peanut butter and is easy to use. It’s important to clean up your tools quickly before it dries. It dries a lot harder than you’d think.

First, a thought: The best way to discover what kind of art expression you like to pursue is through experimentation. You learn quickly what you don’t like, and it takes you beyond copying others’ styles. I think it’s the best way to discover what makes you tick. That changes over time, so it’s good to be flexible.

Anyway, here are the three videos I made with altered papers.

Part 1: how I actually altered the papers.

Altering pages

Part 2: How I made some ornaments using the above papers.

Making ornaments

Part 3: Altered papers make a great journal cover!

Altered papers journal cover

As you can see, these papers are very flexible and forgiving too. You can’t mess up the project. Try it. If you buy some modeling paste you’ll enjoy using it in other projects. I made this mermaid picture with a sea background of paste.

Mermaid with modeling paste background

I pretty much used the same stencils in all the projects. You can use this technique for some many things!

Have a great creative rest of the week. 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I stocked some Halloween items in my shop recently, Earth and Faery.

Simple journal cover tutorial

Simple journal cover you ask? Yes, it’s possible. Check out the YouTube video I made creating an easy and fun cover for a new art journal. All you need is a manila envelope, I used a 12×9″ size, but any size is ok. You need some paints, elastic, and stencils or rubber stamps. Use what you have and save yourself a trip to the craft store.

I really like how it turned out, and there are so many variations that you can create. The sky’s the limit. You can also put something in the envelope, use it as a secret pocket.

Simple is great! The more complex the design, the more room for error, though you can’t really go wrong when art journaling.

At a whole other spectrum of creativity, I sewed a cat figure from scrap fabrics.

A friend saw it on Instagram and promptly purchased it. I was happy to part with it. I painted the eyes and appliqued them to the face. A lot of embroidery was involved, and I sewed the body without turning the seams inside. I thought it added a primitive touch to the figure.

Sometimes just winging it makes the best art. 🙂

What are you making today?

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, try this spirit doll assemblage made with an old Altoid tin. HERE

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I’m stocking some Christmas items (gifts) in my etsy shop. Check them out HERE.

Whimsical art house tutorial

Whimsical art and “funky boho colorful display” you can call these houses that are so much fun to make!

I wrote a picture tutorial on how to make them. It’s fun and easy! Here’s one:

Whimsical art house tutorial.
whimsical art house

You can buy the wooden house shape at Michael’s or online. They are cheap and easy to alter. Since I was going to cover everything with paper, I Mod-Podged the surfaces to seal them before I attached paper scraps.

Paper scraps attached, art house tutorial.
Paper scraps attached

Here the papers are dry. I covered the edges as well. You can glue the paper down and then cut the excess along the edges with sharp scissors.

All surfaces covered, art house tutorial.
All surfaces covered.

Below, I wiped acrylic paints over the surfaces, one pink one lavender.

I painted the door shapes, and in the image after that you can see the windows added. I used charcoal to outline the shapes in a primitive style.

Windows and doors, art house tutorial.
Windows and doors added with paint and charcoal.

To seal the charcoal, which can be messy if not sealed, I used a spray varnish. It’s best to spray them outside because the fumes are wicked. I let the houses dry outside as well.

Drilled holes, art house tutorial
Drilled holes for birds

I then drilled the holes for the tiny birds I’d made as an embellishment on the roof. Whimsical touch… 🙂

Whimsical birds for the house roofs, tutorial.
Whimsical birds for the house roofs

I painted the houses the same colors on the back as on the front. The edges got a contrasting color.

Jazzed up the front with banners, art house tutorial.
Jazzed up the front with banners

When I make polymer clay tiles for my mosaics, I usually make some extra cut-outs. I use cookie cutters for these shapes, bake them, and paint them. They make cute banners! I also glued some flowers at the bottom on the pink house. I varnished the back and the edges with gloss varnish. The shine brings out the colors nicely.

Finished houses, art tutorial
Finished houses!
Birds glued to the edges, art house tutorial
Birds on the edges

I used super glue to attach the steel wire to the birds and the houses. They will stay in for a long time! 🙂

Below is another example of a green house.

Finished art house, art tutorial
Finished art house

Now I have to make more stars and pennants. I used them all in these projects.

Wood shapes are great because you can make so much with them. If you read my blog you know I like to combine wood and polymer clay. One of my most cherished sellers is the angel with a message.

Angel with a message
Angel with a message

What gets your imagination going?

I get my inspiration from actually making stuff. One thing leads to another, new ideas pop up as I’m in the middle of the process. Most of them are good ideas that can be realized without too much pain. I also get inspiration from other artists on Instagram and Pinterest.

Don’t let fear stop you from experimenting. The figure below is my latest experimentation. I have a hard time sculpting faces, but I decided to use a face mold that I proceeded to alter. However, I keep working on my skills; it’s the only way to master a new technique.

Bettina, the circus acrobat on her day off

I wish you lots of inspiration! Try something new today. 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria