Tag Archives: art

New year, new inspiration, still old me

New year, can you believe it? We begin with a bang thinking that this year will be different. We’re going to shed all bad habits, take up good ones and finally break through THAT resistance, and vanquish all procrastination.

I have news, we are still who we were on December 31, but I can see the lure of a fresh year ahead. I entered the Goodreads reading challenge to read 55 books this year. I read a lot so I will probably make it, but maybe that is the optimism of a new year speaking? We shall see…

I did start the year with a creative bang, so at least I have that going for me. Art is in my blood, and the more art I make, the more anchored the “habit” gets. It is a good, nourishing habit!

Make art get into your blood! Take a daring step to incorporating an art habit into your daily life this year. It’s amazingly rewarding. If you are reading this blog, you are an artist. This year, give your art a great deal of love and attention. It will make you so happy.

Here are some things I made in January. These figures are elves /nature spirits / fairies, whatever you want to call them.

I made some floral paintings as well, and a funky bird. You can check out these items in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

I have a gift for you! Yesterday I made a how-to YouTube video on painting a funky floral like the one above.

YouTube video link

One of my most popular YT videos is the on how to make a spirit doll. You can easily make one and stuff some intentions and affirmations into it. I write them down on pieces of paper, and with the focus on my intentions, I incorporate them into the doll. So much fun! Check out that VIDEO here.

For art journaling or plain writing journaling, I have a simple tutorial on how to make your own journal. All you need is willingness, some art supplies like watercolor paper and a few paints, and some string or embroidery floss. Check that blog post HERE.

I’d love to hear what you’re working on or what difficulties you have with making art into a consistent practice. Leave a comment below or write to me at maria@mariagreene.org.

Have the best year ever, and lots of love and glitter sprinkles! 🙂

Maria

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.

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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.