Tag Archives: art

When in a creative slump

When in a creative slump, it’s easy to panic and think that the well has dried up for good. You feel uninspired, unmotivated, moody, a lack of general energy, and you look at things negatively. The last thing you want to hear is “rise above” or “do it anyway” or “buck up, it’s not the end of the world.”

While some of those expressions are true in many ways, it’s easy to dismiss them and stay in the doldrums.

When in the dumps you can make a conscious choice to change, but it’s not easy.

So basically how you feel is a choice. I can hear arguments coming at me, but let me explain. How do you “rise above”? I personally do it by meditation to feel better, and then everything seems easier, even if it isn’t.

Practice is a great fall-back.

When you’ve been in a slump several times, you know they don’t last, so experience makes it easier to bear.

When I feel a longing to create and do it, no matter what, I feel progress even if everything came out as mud on paper.

I suppose you could call it “do it anyway.” I have written about that before, and it boils down to a habit of going to the studio and make attempts at creating every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. You feel progress, if not satisfaction.

The thing about experiencing a slump is part of the process of being an artist. It’s as sure as the sun rising in the sky. You feel it especially hard if you’re changing your art expression by trusting that an old style no longer works.

I’ve looked at my progression of styles over the years and it’s mind-boggling how many times things have changed! I get bored easily.

I especially dislike the “buck up” version of friendly advice. Let me just wallow in my misery, okay? 🙂 I guess I’d rather not admit that “bucking up” is a valid choice…

Anyway, IF YOU JUST SHOW UP, things will turn around and you’ll think you wasted a bunch of days on misery.

That said, I’ve changed a lot recently, and it shows up in my art. However, a friend of mine said, “I can always see YOU in all of your art styles.” That made me feel good as I have been worrying about changing from something that worked in the past to something new.

My clay art is much easier than painting. Check out my latest funky chicken, Elmer:

When in a slump, make a clay chicken…

And here’s Selma:

Selma, the sassy chicken

I made some mixed media art /paintings, and had a huge struggle to get past the super messy backgrounds. It was as if I threw everything single technique at them before I could see any steps forward. It was a messy slump indeed, but I gritted my teeth and moved one inch forward every day. I hated the panels!

I don’t have any process pictures, but these happy summer motifs came out of all that angst and disgust. To top it all, the art looked happy, the colors bright, full of joy. Go figure.

They are different than my previous painting expressions, but I felt good about the new direction. Who doesn’t like a happy summer day?

I also tried some wood panels, and I LOVE THEM! Painting on a hard surface is easier than canvas somehow. You have to experience it to know.

They are a mixture of messy paint, decorative papers, and in one case, scraps of lace.

The painting below ended up with loads of paper strips for hair. It was painstaking but I liked the result.

Air fairy

I have been admiring dioramas on Pinterest, and I made a couple, though I had no idea what I was doing. It was loads of fun! Something for you to try if you get into a creative slump??

The fairy in the second picture was store bought, and I created the landscape around her.

So when all else fails, try a simple collage or a diorama! Painting has been my hardest taskmaster. Crafts are more relaxing and not half as challenging. So, in conclusion, to grow we need to do more of what challenges us…

If you missed my last tutorial on funky paper dolls you can check it out HERE.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. The above items are for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

If you’d like to get my newsletter once a month, sign up a the top right corner under News.

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.

New Energy coming!

New is good right? It’s been a turbulent year, and I’ll be happy to see the end of 2020, though 2021 might have some difficulties as well. Last year I made an art journaling spread around my chosen word for 2020: FAITH.

Boy, did that come in handy… I have relied on faith a lot, in the world, and in my art practice that has taken some different fun turns this year.

I’m so glad when I look back that I chose that word. I go by my intuition when I choose. You can as well. Ask for the word to be revealed to you. Just take some deep breaths and empty your mind. Silently ask for the word. Then sit quietly and focus within. The word will bubble to the surface. (If you don’t get anything, try again, or just choose one that feels right.)

My creativity took a turn with my whimsical figures. I worked to learn the feel of epoxy clay, which has a mind of its own! Haha. Polymer clay is easier to work with. My latest whimsy girls here.

As you can see, I made some polymer clay brooches as well. I used Super Sculpey for them to make them extra strong.

Clay is so much fun!

New energy?

We are moving into the Age of Aquarius according to the astrologers. There is a promise of better times to come once we get through the remnants of this year’s sludge. Aquarius stands for innovation, far vision, humanitarian efforts, and less focus on the “bottom line.” Sounds a bit farfetched, but I believe. I can feel it coming. The world we have lived in so far does not work any more, and innovation will be necessary for the survival of the species.

I think we’ll see more focus on cleaning up the environment and the use of healthy technology (yes, there is such a thing!) It will all take time, but I have great HOPE for the future.

To help with the energy shift, take up meditation if you haven’t already. There are millions of guided meditations on YouTube if you don’t know how to do it. Self care is going to be important. I took up a practice of non-complaining, and it has worked incredibly well.

It’s well worth the investment. You don’t need to buy the bracelet. I used a rubber band. BTW, I don’t get any profit from touting this book.

Eat well and get lots of sleep. The body needs a lot of rest to shift into the new energy paradigm. I think meditation is the most important part.

It has saved me from feeling anxious about the current world situation.

An short explanation of what the Age of Aquarius is. Here is a YT video to check out.

So, it’s a huge event, and we’re part of it. I think that’s really cool! 🙂

The holidays are upon us. I have been busy shipping orders, but I plan to make some kind of video this month to share. Stay tuned for my next blog post towards the end of the month.

If you’re looking for a unique gift (that probably won’t get there for Christmas) I have lots of ideas in my shop Earth and Faery.

All that is left to do is to WISH YOU a Merry Christmas. Celebrate any which way you can! You are alive, that is something to celebrate.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can buy a composition book and dedicate it to 2021 where you can write dreams, hopes, and plans. You can make your 2021 word spread on the first pages. A few months back I made a mixed media cover for that type of book. If you missed it, check it out.

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.

Art-Making begets more art-making

Art-making is a great way to grow a backbone of art! People say to me, “I don’t know how to begin” or “I don’t have any ideas, but I WANT to make art.” It’s contradictory in a way since what they want to do is immediately negated by an excuse.

I have written a lot about it in the past, but a reminder is always welcome.

I make art because I decided to

Art-making is not like a 9-5 job where you show up and put in your contribution and then go home. Art-making is something you have to grow so that it can support you when things look bleak.

It’s like anything: to lose weight, you decide to go on a diet. To learn a new language, you decide to take a course. That decision is the only thing keeping you away from what you want.

That is, if you REALLY want to make art. Somehow it’s a pastime that is relegated to not-very-important hobby. That is belief that stops many in their tracks.

Not everyone has to start an art biz, but the pleasure of creation is robbed from you if you don’t heed the urge to create. As you walk down the path littered by many failed paintings and other art efforts, you gain a rich momentum and a rich inner experience.

That’s where the vein of gold lies, you getting deeper into your own mystery. Your art becomes more fulfilling and sends out a deeper message. There is confidence and surety.

Art-making is a worthy endeavor!

When life in heavy, when things don’t go well, you can find solace in your own art. I know that deeply.

I made a video on how to make a cover out of a brown bag for a cheap composition book. That was wonderful fun! I will use the book as my current idea, planner, inspiration source.

I love to use old scrap paper, pieces of sentences, advertising flyers, etcetera. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I have collected lots of paper ephemera over the years. Enjoy!

We’re almost into September, my birthday month, yay. Celebrate every day as if it’s your birthday, because it is. We are reborn every day, and each offers new opportunities for creativity, in life and art.

Some old inspirational blog posts:

Inspiration, where is it?

No inspiration, no problem…

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. Check out my etsy shop for gift ideas. I’ve been selling a lot, and every item is a one-of-a-kind so it will never be exactly replicated. 🙂 Earth and Faery.

Creativity in these dark times

Creativity comes in many forms as in art, crafts, inspired thinking, problem solving, seeing the big picture and implementing the vision. There’s more, but I’m focusing on art / crafts as you know.

In these times it’s easy to get into bad habits, over-eating for comfort, watching too much television, lacking exercise, you name it. It’s like comfort food. It makes you feel comforted for a while, but your stomach might not like the addition. We seldom question these things, and we ignore our feelings and insights.

It’s human nature, of course, but to create something sustainable in whatever field, you have to apply yourself. If you don’t do what you know you want to do, you’re going to feel bad. We’ve all be there, but we don’t want to stay there.

When I was young, I procrastinated like crazy, but over time, I have developed much better habits. We want to perform well, be it at a job, or in front of the easel. My dad used to say, “if there’s something you have to do that you hate, do it immediately.” I so get what he meant. When I procrastinate, I have to THINK about the problem all the time. If I tackle it, the pain will be over quickly!

To do that, we have to set up some kind of framework. I have goal setting of sorts. I have to list things in my Etsy shop all the time to keep things fresh, so four days out of seven, I have to create something and list it.

For the most part, it works, and I have made a pact with myself to stick to the plan. Another commitment is to make something for the PFATT marketplace every month, and it can’t be a small insignificant thing. So I have to make at least two quality items, preferably four. Between Etsy and that, and two blog posts, and a newsletter, my hands are full!

But I love it!

Here’s a fun challenge

What do you love the most right now in your art practice (or other?)

List a few things you’d love to try, and then rank them. Concentrate on the top two and make a plan on how to manifest them. It could involve getting some art supplies, take a class, clean your art room.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with bullet lists. I use one loosely. Each week I make a list of everything I want to accomplish and then cross them off as I go. No hard and fast rules, but I do refer to that piece of paper to keep myself accountable.

If we have bad habits we’re not honoring ourselves.

You might not be able to break a bad habit easily, but ADD some good habits and set some artistic goals. One week is a good time frame, and as you get better at it, make a schedule for a month. I promise, you will feel so accomplished and uplifted, and more self-confident.

If we all were good self-motivators, we would be doing the things we love all the time. 🙂 I would love to hear from you how you’re using creativity to keep yourself upbeat in these times. You can write to me at maria@mariagreene.org.

I get a lot of questions about procrastination. I have written many posts in the past that deal with that and fear.

Procrastination is an ugly beast.

Fear is not your friend.

The point is to take small steps in the right direction and stick to it. Anything worth doing, like art, takes time and dedication, and the rewards are great!

I have been a bit busy, but not as busy as I’d like, haha.

I made a Halloween owl for the PFATT marketplace, and a monster doll that I might offer there or on Etsy.

On my work table
Mr. Halloween owl.

I don’t have a name for the owl yet. Any suggestions?

Monster doll eyes in the making.
Creativity and experimentation.

I have always loved the monster dolls on Pinterest, so I decided to try one of my own. So much fun! Sewing is not my favorite thing, but I like to mix things up. Pinterest is a great place to get ideas!

I painted and made another clay figure, and the month isn’t over yet, so who knows what comes next?

It seems I used blue a lot in my latest creations… These six items are now available in my Etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Keep your vibe high! 🙂 Do what you love, at least fit it in between chores and work. It’s really important.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. TIP: keep a small journal and a pouch of pens in your purse and doodle when you’re waiting at appointments, school pick ups, and having a coffee at Starbuck’s! Where there’s a will there’s a way.