Tag Archives: art

Let go of the safety net!

Let go, I say, and everyone will have a reason why it is important to hold on to the past. The safety of the past has a strong hold on most people, myself included.

I was watching some old videos on You Tube on how to embellish a box with lots of metal and paper accents. It turned out pretty, and it could inspire me to make a similar one, but no.

Here’s why: You can buy the art supply and create at your heart’s desire, but the components are made by other people. To get the desired look, you have to buy those components. The elements are mix and match. You are destined to succeed as all the tools are geared for the already successful design of the designer.

It’s not the easiest technique to master, but it is a “ready-made” artwork; you just assemble the pieces and follow the instructions.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I got inspired by fabulous mosaic artist, Laurie Mika, through her book Mixed Media Mosaics, to make my polymer clay boxes, but I ended up making my own designs, mostly because I did not have access to her supplies. My style keeps developing, but I don’t get any big ah-has as I do with painting.

It struck me anew how revolutionary it is to create something from scratch. Let go of the safety net! You use the elements and ephemera you already have. You can also gain fodder from the recycle bin. Creativity lies in the moment.

I have said it before; the artist has to be willing to explore what challenges her the most, discover the genius, like a diamond inside a lump of coal.

When inspiration pulls, and you respond, dare to go beyond the tried and true and explore the unknown grounds of self-expression.

There is a lot of uncertainty in that, but also great freedom.

It’s safe to make art from materials that someone else designed, but how challenging is it?

Let go of the safety net.

It’s like a blind man exploring the skin of an elephant. He will get the immediate texture of the skin, but can’t see the whole animal. Practicing art that comes from the deeper levels of the soul is the elephant not yet “seen.”

By keeping your focus on the moment, more is revealed as the art evolves.

Trust the subtle inspirations, choose the color that speaks to you right now, and after that, another color, and another.

let go of the safety net
let go of the safety net

When I let go, magic happens. It always feels new and amazing, even if the art itself doesn’t look like much. It is original, and no one can take that away. 🙂

There is a lot of resistance involved, but that doesn’t have to stop anyone from moving forward.

For some inspiration on how to deal with resistance, here’s a post on that subject: Resistance, we all feel it.

Another one: Practice never makes perfect.

I would love to hear how you deal with painting and making from scratch. Any ah-has or other insights?

Love,

Maria

Crossroads are tough

Crossroads can be tough when you don’t know where to go next. I have found myself in that situation lately. I have so much inspiration, but what do I actually want to create?

I have been buying different kinds of art supplies that I would never look at before. Now I look for possibilities.

There is always some component missing for a project, or if you want to start a whole new creative stream, you have to invest in a lot of things, like tools and other supplies, to get it going.

I’ve been trying to use the debris in my studio, things I’ve had for years but didn’t know how to use. So what if I don’t know; I will charge ahead anyway.

Here’s an example of what I made lately.

crossroads expression
crossroads expression

I had some wire, polymer clay, and an empty “useless” box, plus an old key.

Crossroads can be tough, but you have experience.

When you have the experience, you know what your hands can do, so it’s easier to move forward. If you’re just starting out exploring your creativity, CHOOSE SOMETHING that appeals to you, and go for it! Don’t look at popular trends. That won’t work in the long run.

Do what feels good.

Which path seems the most alive? You don’t want to go backward, so it’s either going forward straight ahead or take the other road.

What is pulling you forward?

I have been making a lot of polymer clay mosaics, and recently I’ve found new tools to use for a different style of tiles. It makes an old craft exciting. I have also been drawn to sculpting more.

sculpted face
clay face

I’ve been sculpting clay faces for spirit dolls, and it has been hard to get the features right. They are far from perfect, but I keep trying, using the advice I’ve found online.

Faith in your abilities will make you take risks.

Crossroads force us to take a look at where we are and where we are going. They give us a gentle push away from the stagnation that happens if we refuse to grow.

Walking the path of an artist is a constant call to change.

People don’t like change, but as artists, we have to move forward if we want to explore the inner expansion that art offers us.

Maybe you’re called to leave an entire career…

That is a scary idea. We have all many reasons to stay where we are, in safety, and there is comfort in that, but meanwhile, the soul is calling us elsewhere. Listen closely to that call.

If you dare to follow your inner guidance, life might be tougher in some ways, but infinitely more rewarding.

At least take some steps in the direction of that call. If you lack in faith and experience, go forward anyway. There is lots of help along the way.

Take interesting live art classes and learn new skills. The teacher’s enthusiasm will rub off on you! 🙂

crossroads
Fun tag journal
Fun tag journal

I made a small journal from an old manila folder. The tags and papers are all chosen from my studio detritus. I used paper, glue, washi tape, a sewing machine to make a fabric spine and seal the edges. I ended up with several pockets and many tags.

What is your next step?

I’m going to make a mixed media house with a bird.

Have a creative week!

Maria

P.S. I have many new things in my Etsy shop: Earth and Faery.

Lots of ideas for boho gifts. If you missed my last blog post you can find it here, Gold Dust Makes Everything Better.

The exotic life of an artist

The exotic life is not for everyone. Artists are supposed to be larger than life, but more often you will find us slugging away in our studios, alone, and fighting resistance, haha.

I think of exotic artists and come up with Georgia O’Keefe, but in her mind, she probably saw herself as a dedicated working woman. She was; I can’t remember reading about any debauched parties or deep discussions with other “tortured” artists at cafes. It’s funny the labels we put on people (throughout history.)

Art is often that, mundane, yet again exhilarating because you don’t know which turn will head you into a new phase of your art.

The only exotic thing I have around here is a flowering Claradendron. I should dress like an artist in flowery, hippie styles with lots of scarves, but I’m a conservative dresser. All my color goes into my paintings. What I wear on a given day are sweatpants, paint-stained tops / T-shirts, and sandals. It’s time for an upgrade! At least get rid of the gray ones.

I have been productive lately, feeling the “vibe.” Here are some of my latest wild shenanigans. They are going to hang in a local shop later today, and I’m glad more people get to see them.

boat of dreams
No title
Love at first sight

Are you adding some exotic flavor to your life?

It doesn’t have to be risky, just something new. Yesterday, I took a different road to a street I always travel, and it opened my eyes to possibilities. An exotic flavor could be to MAKE art, not just think about it. There is nothing to hold you back except your excuses (resistance.) You might as well make friends with it.

I’m moving more into abstract mixed media art lately. My whimsical critters show up on a regular basis, and that’s fun. I love whimsy as much as the next person.

How do you proceed with the art process?

You start. The above art was not planned. I pretty much always start with a layer of paint, and then I add paper scraps that please my eye. If I end up not liking the way they look, I paint over them. I usually do three layers of paints, including marks, and if I see some figure in the mess, I outline it. The outline surrounds the figure, and the unifying color in the background ties it all together. It is a fun and harmless process — no need to feel pressured or daunted by your perceived lack of ability.

Time is now!

You don’t need a charming studio, a painter’s smock or the most popular paints. All you need is a willingness to try, to apply yourself.

Lots of love,

Maria

For more inspiration, go to this post: Every Painting is a Leap of Faith.

I have some new things in my Etsy shop for those looking for a great exotic gift, haha. Earth and Faery

What if life seems blah?

What if one doesn’t feel like making art? What if life seems blah and there is no inspiration for anything in particular? It happens.

Life is not always a downhill ride; more often than not, it’s a slow, steady path forward. The mundane can be magical, but for the most part, we don’t see that aspect.

When you create art, you change the status quo, even if you don’t like what you produced. The fact that you did is something to celebrate.

Now, if art becomes mundane or just another chore, it’s time to focus on something else for a while. I like to crafts as a break of pace. There are endless varieties of crafts, something for everyone.

What if that doesn’t work, or you have no interest in crafts?
Ask your body how it feels when you apply yourself to various tasks. Do you feel eager or repulsed? Is there a feeling of “go ahead” or does it stand still, as in neutral? When it does, you have to stop and wait from a sense of direction. It will come, but it requires patience, which most of us don’t have. We want things to flow, to work out with ease.

Art has no master.

Either you follow its flow, or you go against it.
You will feel when you go against it; it’s like wading upstream in cold water. I have learned that inactivity is often a breeding ground for new ideas, some that you never thought about before.

Often I catch good ideas, like a gentle sweeping wave. If I don’t write them down right then and there, I forget them, and I know they will never come back. So many times I have ignored the recording part, but I’m listening more closely now.

Another way to break a slow drought:
Break out the sketch pad and draw some things. It could be the tea mug on the table, the cat (also on the table though it’s not supposed to be there.)
A pretty leaf with all it’s perfection, a chair, a car. Draw what pulls your attention, and then be happy with your effort. You’re not competing with anyone, least of all yourself.

I have a journal that I never show to anyone because it’s full of color slashes and messes that don’t mean anything except a way to express my frustration or lack of patience. It has more of my true vibe than most of my carefully crafted art.

Sometimes it’s too easy to get stuck in the preciousness of things.

My colors are too precious to be changed. The face in the picture can’t be tampered with at any cost. The result of such thoughts is stuckness. It’s all too precious to destroy but it’s in the destruction that the truth can come out.

It’s both hard and easy. When things flow I can paint a painting quickly, and then there is the issue of value; it was painted too fast, it can’t be worth much. If I labored over a painting that took days, it’s much more valuable.
That is screwed-up thinking.
People are captivated by the vibe of the art, not so much the execution.

What if YOU are the art?

Your vibe doesn’t lie, but if you painted with the finished product in mind, you let no vibe in or a lesser one. I want to let it all hang out, but it’s scary.
The only way to deal with that is to continue to paint. There are no shortcuts, only means of opening up more to the process.

Carry on, the path leads somewhere great…

goddess face, clay craft

If you want additional inspirational reading, this might interest you: Inspiration Where is It?

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop Earth and Faery, if you’re looking for unique gifts.

Every painting is a leap of faith.

Every painting is a new challenge. It can be scary to engage.

If you want to go deeper into your art, you have to attend to your feelings. What do you feel? All that energy can be fodder for your creativity. Say it in colors!

How deep do you want to go? When we allow our deepest emotions to stir to the surface and acknowledge them, we’re making a big leap forward (unless we push them back down.) You can make a pretty picture or a raw one.

When you see raw art, you pause. You might not like the rendition, but something speaks to you beyond the slashes of paint. It’s a remembrance. It reminds you of your own most profound hidden stuff, the wounded side we don’t want to look at. It doesn’t have to be dark and dreary, just direct and arresting.

Art is an excellent therapy if you’re willing to dive into the depths.
What comes out is raw and innocent.
Maybe you will paint a child-like picture of sunshine and smiley faces or perhaps slashes of dark colors.

If you don’t want to feel, paint safe projects. Make pretty pictures. That is okay as well. We all need brightness.

If you’re going to touch someone’s soul, you have to bare your own.
It’s all in the process, moving forward. It might take years to be vulnerable, but you grow your confidence to use your paints as a conduit. That is always a growth in itself.
What comes up in daily life is fodder for growth as an artist.

When you dive deep is when the wild side takes over and brings you into the “cauldron” of transformation. The answers to your questions then appear in your paintings. Honesty is the most important aspect of showing up to create.

When you feel short of honesty, you choose “pretty and safe.” I do it; we all do it, but there is always a longing to discover more depth.
I don’t know, is it only me?

Do you ask the paint what it wants to do? Do you ask it where it wants to go?
Do you invite the canvas to accept the paint?
I always feel into those things, but sometimes I cop out in the middle and choose the easy way through the project.

It’s the “instant gratification syndrome” rearing its head. I want to see the art finished, but I know that’s not what the canvas wanted. It’s hard to be patient and put the painting away for another day. The risk is that you’ll never go back to it. That happened with this painting recently. I don’t know what she wants, but I’m waiting to hear.

unfinished painting

I have several unfinished paintings and some that I paint over. At the time of their creation, they bloomed, deformed maybe, but expressed their gift. So, they offered their gift and then turned into a memory, possibly harshly judged as poor art.

Can we allow art to be what it wants to be?
Yes, for me anyway. I don’t always like it, but the breakthroughs are worth all the pain of waiting, the frustration of walking down blind alleys, and poor concentration.

How do you allow this process?

You have to sit with the discomfort and allow the frustration.
Be in partnership with your art making. Treat it with respect as you would a good friend.
There is no need to conquer or perform.
It’s okay to take baby steps.
It’s okay to slash paint all over the canvas without thought.
It’s okay to be angry, but what is that all about? Ask your anger. It has a strong message for you that can propel you forward.


Stick with the practice, set a time when you will enter the studio, and show your respect by showing up.
Art is a living being, a force of magic and brilliance. You want to dance with it, don’t you?
Art will grow you as a person; it promotes change. It can be subtle, but it’s there.

It can be a wild beast or tame as a kitten. In the long run, it never lets you down! Make art your best friend.

If you missed the art self-care boost during the first week of February, you can check out the first video on YouTube HERE. There are five in a row, marked with numbers.
It will give you a boost toward continual art marking. You can also join my creative group on Facebook.
Looking for some affordable art journaling e-courses, I have a few evergreen ones HERE.

Lots of love,

Maria

Inspiration, where is it?

Inspiration, where to find it. It can be found everywhere. I often hear that question: what inspires you?  

I get inspired mostly by doing. When I get bored with one type of creativity I make something else. How people can continue to paint in one style or one subject is incomprehensible to me, but it’s common. Maybe they don’t make art that often? 

I love to try new things. Lately, I have been tired of making my mosaics, so I got this songbird pattern from Ann Wood and hand sewed a little bird. I used scrap fabrics I had painted and dyed in the past.

inspiration
inspiration
inspiration
songbird

I had a problem with the legs, but it worked itself out. So much fun to stretch oneself. Inspiration is in trying, to immerse oneself in something totally new. I have sewn before, but never a soft sculpture like this. I think I must make more! 🙂

What fires you up? What could you try today? 

I joined a local ceramics class this fall, and clay is harder to work with than you think.  I find polymer clay much easier since it’s more elastic. 

I made a series of critters and the glazing came out completely different when fired than I had envisioned.  

Inspiration is trying and finding out that the outcome might not be what you expected, but that’s half the fun. 

inspriation
nspiration

critter inspiration

One thing I’ve learned: Surprise keeps the freshness of creativity alive. 

Today, think of something you’d love to try, but haven’t. Gather the materials, take a class or watch some YouTube videos for inspiration. Then try your own. 

The more you’re used to making things, the easier it is to get started and follow through. 

To stay inspired it’s important to show up in the studio every day.

Even if you can only devote 15 minutes a day, that is enough to keep that creative muscle strong and ready for action.

I know I can go back to my painting and my mosaics whenever I want, but trying new things spark ideas.  I get tickled by possibilities. 

We’re heading toward another weekend. If you had 15 minutes to spare for creativity, what would you do? 

Do it, and you might find yourself inspired enough to keep going… 

To find Ann Wood’s sewing patterns, go HERE.

I have found that people really like my goddess / spirit doll faces. You can check them out in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great weekend!

Love, Maria

For more inspiration, check out my previous post on how to make a spirit box with an old Altoids tin HERE.