Tag Archives: art

Seascape mixed media tutorial

Seascape mixed media art is on my table today. It includes so many things, the beautiful sea itself, shells, fish, mermaids, starfish, glitter, all-natural things that cheer my heart.

To give you some inspiration I’ve made a picture tutorial on how to choose the embellishments and finally put it on a canvas.

In my previous post, I gave you a tutorial on how to make a polymer clay seascape and glue it to a canvas. This one is a bit more basic. You may wonder what to do if you don’t have the ingredients. You can substitute pictures for shells and sea life, make cut-outs from blue paper and make a collage. I don’t expect you to have seascape shapes on hand, but if you do, have at it! 🙂 You can find some shells and glass pebbles at the dollar store.

Some background: I began a canvas using Liquitex modeling paste, and then spread various paints over it. I loved the texture that came of that:

Seascape background with texture

I didn’t like the colors so I altered them to more blue and green, but let me first show you what a new canvas with applied modeling paste looks like:

It’s hard to see white on white, but there are some waves. I have a stack of stencils with shapes that fit the sea, so I added a few. You don’t need to add too much. You might need a flat surface to add your ephemera.

Seascape mixed media steps

Once you have a canvas with dry paste (it doesn’t take long,) you can add all kinds of color with baby wipes, or a brush, and blend.

The old canvas that I altered to be more sea-like.
Sea shapes I can alter

I had a stack of chipboard sea shapes that were ready for a coat of paint, but first, which ones do I use? The canvas measured 8×10″, which was pretty large compared to the shapes. The mermaids were small in comparison, but I wanted to use one as a focal point.

Placing some shapes to see what fits.

The pink items are polymer clay shapes I made from molds and some charms I had lying around. I knew the mermaid shape would not be enough of a focal point, but I moved along.

Seascape and baking doily?

I tried many ways to make the mermaid stand out more, ending up with half a cupcake doily that I painted pearl with added glitter. As you can see, I painted some of the shells and starfish using metallic Inklingz paint. If you have any gold or silver paint in a tube, you can spread some on your finger and wipe over the items to get the shine.

The seascape didn’t work

I tried so many different configurations but knew the canvas too large. You can only add so many do-dads before it becomes too busy.

Seascape on too large a canvas

I decided to transfer some of the items to a smaller canvas, a 6×6″ size that I had. I first painted some green and blue paint to cover the old painting. Then I laid out the shapes and found a lot more harmony in this configuration. The mermaid is still kind of subtle, but the pearl doily draws you in.

Seascape on a smaller canvas

The starfish are as large or larger than the mermaid, but who knows, maybe there are giant starfish in the sea…

Here’s another sea-related item I made.

Mermaid art

The mermaid is created from polymer clay and baked. I glued the form to the canvas and added the do-dads. Lots of fun!

The other day I went through some online art classes I’ve bought when they were on sale, one of them, Bird peeps by Lisa Renner. That was a fabulous class! It’s polymer clay with a face mold.

I spent a lot of time in my studio this month. What else am I going to do while in quarantine? Arting is not a hardship! 😀 Here is a collage of other things I made:

Most of the items are available in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Due to the coronavirus sales have slowed down considerably, but that’s to be expected.

I hope you got some inspiration to try some art. YouTube is full of tutorials if you don’t want to try a seascape. Creativity makes you stay sane in these crazy times…

Lots of love, and stay safe!

Maria

The struggle is real

The struggle is real when it comes to creating something out of nothing. I have yet to meet an artist for whom the art flows freely all the time. Every encounter with the canvas is a challenge, but some days are better than others! Thank God for that.

I find that crafts are so much easier, but they don’t always turn out right either, especially when created from scratch. If you have a pattern you can create something great immediately, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I love painting, but why does it have to be such a struggle? I have written a lot about resistance to art-making. It is explained really well in Steven Pressfield’s book THE WAR OF ART, break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. It’s a great read if you’re struggling. What has saved me is persistence, “make art every day.” I wrote a post about that HERE.

In the face of struggle, keep coming back

You have to continue to make art to grow, to bust through the daily resistance. As you know, I paint intuitively so any given day, I have no idea what will appear in my art, and it’s a constant challenge.

I put down layer upon layer on the canvas, mostly hating the combination of paint, paper, and Mod Podge. I took some pictures of my current paintings, and right now they are total chaos.

Some people might say they are finished the way they are, and who’s to say they are wrong? But if they don’t feel done to me, I have to keep going. I finished a couple of paintings last week. They both looked similar to the ones above when I went for the finished layer. I saw some shapes of animals in the mess and went from there.

I love painting pets so I was happy with these weird creatures. As you can see, there’s a lot of bleed-through of the underlying layers.

More often than not, I add the paintings to the pile leaning against the wall for later work. They might get gessoed over or I might see a way to repaint them, but there’s no guarantee.

As with anything challenging, you have to face the fear/resistance/doubt/disgust as you tackle the task in front of you. The same goes for any unpleasant task in life, but art should not be unpleasant, and it isn’t, just challenging.

When I get sick of painting, I make my crafts. They might not come out the way I envisioned, but they are always fun. They also create balance in my life. These are all available in my Etsy shop. The paintings will be available too. I sell a lot of the spirit doll faces, so I always make a batch.

It’s easy to overthink the process of art-making. When I’m in the flow, I trust my hand to make the right moves on the canvas. When I think about it, or worry about the color, nothing comes out right, and I start doubting the process, doubting myself. I set the painting aside and come back later.

If you missed my post about resistance, you can catch it HERE. I think all artists struggle in the studio from time to time, but we can support each other with inspiration or suggestions.

Have a wonderful week creating lots of things!

Maria

obsession with technique

” My jump is not high enough; my twists are not perfect; I can’t place my leg behind my ear. Please don’t do that. Sometimes there is such an obsession with the technique that this can kill your best impulses. Remember that communicating with a form of art means being vulnerable, being imperfect. And most of the time it is much more interesting. Believe me “.
BARYSHNIKOV

I read this paragraph by Baryshnikov this morning and thought, wow, exactly what I would say even if my words don’t have the same clout as his. (If you don’t know who he is, Google him. He was a famous Russian ballet dancer, still is.)

Dancing ballet is a lot more exacting than slapping some paint on paper, and I don’t know how they live with their small imperfections when the dance looks flawless to me. He also said: “It doesn’t matter how high you lift your leg. The technique is about transparency, simplicity, and making an earnest attempt.”[ (From Wikipedia.)

We are so ready to find any fault with our process. What if we change that and revel in the accomplishment of a failed tree, or whatever you’re painting? Bob Ross used to say when he painted something that was off: “And now we have some happy birds instead.”

I love that! 🙂

Obsession with technique is not in the cards for mixed media artists. We feel our way forward.

Be your own best cheerleader! When you struggle with a painting, it’s courageous to put the next dab of paint on the project. It’s a gamble, one that could bring the project onto a great new path or wreck the momentum.

It’s a risk I’m willing to take every day. I have lots of half-finished paintings that went nowhere, but I will pick each up and try again (at some point.) I like to finish what I start.

Obsession with technique was not part of this little locket painting. I drew a simple outline and then painted.
Locket art

It’s good to have some different techniques so that you know how to handle paint or other materials, but don’t let that stop the creative flow forward.

With my mosaics, I cut, bake, and paint a big pile of tiles. I don’t choose them for color when I put the art together. Whichever tile fits is the one that goes into the empty slot. It sounds wild, but the project usually turn out okay without a plan. I always start with a focus tile or tiles and go from there.

Some turn out prettier than others, but I’m always happy with the result.

Polymer clay mosaic wall art of a sun goddess with a winged heart.
Sun goddess mosaic art

The sun goddess above was not worried about technique, but I had to use a template to cut out the halo and the dress. I experimented with color and different shaped tiles and found the process so enjoyable.

What do you enjoy the most? What brings out the “child in you” that can’t wait to get up in the morning?

A life lived in that frame of mind is always positive. The person would say on their deathbed: “I don’t regret anything; it was a heck of a great ride.”

Let’s begin to live and do whatever it takes; every day is a new commitment to joy!

Here’s to courage.

Love, Maria (taking her own advice.)

For more inspiration, read this post about Passion and Perseverance. (The title sounds like a Jane Austen novel… 🙂

Passion and Perseverance

Passion is, of course, important in anything that you do on a regular basis. I find it can be cultivated. In my art practice, my passion has grown over time. At first, I felt an urge to create, a feeling deep inside that insisted on being acknowledged. I’ve had that urge all my life.

Things happen and you get away from the urge calling you, but it never quite goes away. That is your soul calling; do something you enjoy in life, it says, don’t be a drone and waste your life.

As I listened to the calling within, I knew I had to take action, consistently. The more action I take, the more my passion grows. It’s that simple. That is the perseverance part.

The trick is to take action. If you don’t, your creativity won’t have a chance to mature, like an apple on the tree. It’s so important to heed that calling within. Some people create ten minutes a day and find their creativity blossoming.

Whatever form your creative urge takes, give it a wholehearted try, and your life will transform, if you’re persistent enough. The universe loves action takers! 🙂

I was busy in October. I made many polymer clay mosaics, all the time trying to stretch my imagination to keep them fresh. I painted some original art, but the resistance in that area was massive this month. Where there is resistance there is an opportunity for growth!

Passion, an abstract dog?
Abstract dog

I created a mixture of paintings and mosaics, and my bestseller the spirit doll faces.

Spirit doll clay face
Spirit doll face

Passion always wants an outlet, what is yours?

I enjoy what I can make with the spirit doll faces, and I also like to share them with others since a handmade doll can be very healing. Any craft is healing in my opinion. You make it and you can enjoy the results.

I have three paintings I need to finish. I decided to upload my “Aliens among us” painting even though I wasn’t sure if it was complete. When nothing more comes, I judge it finished, BUT new ideas might come along later, things to add, things to paint over.

Passion is daring to trust the process…

Abstract outsider painting

Last but not least, my mini shrine with a sweet angel.

You are loved!

angel shrine

Have a great Halloween! I wish you lots of time to create also. 🙂

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

Charles Fillmore

Love, Maria

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.