Tag Archives: art

Process versus product.

Process versus product is a concept I have struggled with for a while as an artist. Do you paint pretty paintings that sell, or are you true to your own process?  Small kids will always be true to their process. They paint with abandon, and their art is filled with joyous energy. We lose that wild creativity because we start judging the art at some point. According to our preferences, it’s good or bad. There are artists like Jackson Pollock that I don’t particularly admire, but the energy in his dripped art is phenomenal. People pick up on the energy. Art that we would reject without a second glance sell for millions.

Artists love making a living from their art; that’s a given. I find myself always judging my own art. Is it salable, or is it junk? We would not judge kids’ art as junk, but maybe some do.

I do enjoy making crafts too, but they don’t count in this kind of dilemma. Crafting is a more peaceful, straightforward process and you know the end result. It tends to get tedious in the long run while painting never gets tedious but can be extremely challenging. Sometimes it gets to a point where I don’t want to be challenged, and I paint something pretty.

There is nothing wrong with pretty, but I want to paint from my true inner genius.

In my years of painting, I was always drawn to intuitive expression, which means standing in front of a blank canvas and just reach for the first color that comes to mind and paint something, whatever I am drawn to paint. The canvas will decide what is to come. It’s a frightening but exciting process to watch the artwork emerge on its own. It’s torture sometimes, but it’s a process I’ve never quite been able to leave. I started painting this way back in the 90s after reading Aviva Gold’s Painting From The Source. Later in this post I will display a list of the books that have influenced my intuitive painting the  most.

When I started reading Gold’s book, I could not put it down. She suggests using poster boards and tempera paint, which are inexpensive tools to experiment with. No expensive canvases to “destroy.”

Here are two pictures of old intuitive art I painted in the 90s. I have some huge paintings that are rolled up in my closet, and I can’t bear to throw them away. However, there is no wall space for them where I live.

100_0121These guys ended up being parrots in the jungle, but I probably started out with a blob of paint in the middle of the poster board. There is a lot of detail underneath the birds, and I believe that all layers add to the finished art. I still paint in many layers.

100_2289This is a huge, really weird painting, but it had lots of energy. I painted it over an old framed painting, and it sold and was shipped off.  Intuitive art is like dreams in many ways. The images are fragmented and don’t seem to make sense, but there is always an underlying message. The subconscious speaks through the art if you ALLOW it.

100_2467Here is another kind of fun variation of intuitive painting. I ended up painting my own hands all over the art.

Art journaling is also a good way to experiment. You know the art is just for you. The pressure of selling it is gone, and you can go crazy on the pages.

I admire my big brother, Ingvar Staffans, who has painted all of his life. He only uses black, white, brown, and maybe some beige in his art. He paints HUGE abstract expressions and have never even tried to paint pretty pictures. He is true to his own art. Some of it I don’t like, but some bowls me over with its amazing energy. He’s not afraid to experiment and I respect that.ingvarsart

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Hard to believe we’re related, huh?  He never read any books on intuitive painting, lol.  He is a process man, not a product man.

Anyway, here is the list of books that can inspire you to paint intuitively. I particularly recommend Michele Cassou’s books. They will tell what to do when you get stuck.  Her process is totally freeing.  The book links are to Amazon. Some you can probably find at the library.

POINT ZERO by Michele Cassou HERE.

LIFE, PAINT and PASSION by Michele Cassou and Stewart Cubley HERE.

PAINTING FROM THE SOURCE by Aviva Gold HERE.

A more recent book: PAINT MOJO by Tracy Verdugo HERE.

Another book to help open up your creativity is THE TRICKSTER’S HAT by Nick Bantock HERE.

And the classic THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron HERE.

I thought I would try a grungy sort of art journaling technique since I always paint in bright colors. My brother would be proud! 🙂

008This is not pretty, but meaningful to me. At this point I just want to express myself, not necessarily paint pretty pictures. It is an evolving  journey! I made a video of this art journal spread, and you can watch it HERE.

What are you working on today?  It is important … because life happens NOW.

xo

Maria

P.S.  If you’re interested in receiving my newsletter, you can sign up HERE.

 

 

Because of layers.

You never truly know yourself because of  layers.  Sure you’ve heard it before.  Like with an onion you peel off one layer and find there’s another one underneath, shiny and glistening and mocking somehow.  But, an onion does not worry about its layers!

At the core we are all one, but if we look at the “baggage” there are any number of variations of bullshit that we think is important.  Let’s excavate and release!  But….

I don’t think it works that way.  You can work with layers, but where you end up is not perfection.  You can never get to the bottom of the layers, but you can experience the river of perfection that keeps you alive.  Forget about the layers; they lead nowhere.

Here’s a painting / mixed media I just finished.  It’s a good example of putting ON the layers instead of taking them off.

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Broken Dreams 12×12″ mixed media

I started out with no idea at all.  I sprayed some paint on the canvas , rubbed it around, and let it dry.  Added some more layers, but I couldn’t see a picture emerging at all, so I glued on some papers (the only one showing now is the crinkly tissue paper in the corner.)  The papers led to nowhere, so I decided to just paint a face.  Faces are always tricky because you never quite end up where you plan to end up.  They take on a life of their own.

This one ended up with a slightly disdainful expression, but also with lots of inner power, so I accepted her.  Then I couldn’t get anything to stick on the right side.  I painted birds, leaves, a big flower.  They all looked wrong, so I scraped some paint over the whole and buried them.  All the layers add energy to the painting, so nothing is lost.

I have been into square shapes lately, so I added some of those.  At that time I had some dreams broken in my life so I “saw” them there.  I had to add a solution so there is an exiting square in the corner that says Let Go.

The art didn’t turn out like anything I envisioned, but I allowed it to emerge.  These kinds of paintings are tricky.  I never know if I like them or not.

The point is:  With every stroke of the brush, or any addition of paper, I altered the course of this piece of art. I didn’t know if it would work, but I could only move forward until I felt it was done, but far from perfect.  I had to accept it.

It is what it is.

What does that have to do with layers in life?  How can you know what will emerge as you remove layers?  Is it even possible?  Aha moments can come, and they often do, but what do they change?  On a good day, we might walk in a different direction and leave something behind that burdened us.  That is all good.

But, basically, isn’t it enough to accept ourselves exactly as we are today?  Trust that you are enough. Connect with your inner flow and just “BE YOU?”  When you do, something good emerges, the authenticity and power of who you are, layers and all.  Who gives a shit about layers?  Maybe psychoanalysts do, but I say, go for it, warts and all!   Be authentic.

Be your frigging AWESOME self, right now.  I have stopped trying to change or fix myself and there’s a lot of peace in that.

Peace out,

Maria

P.S. I often look at my paintings and think aliens painted them. When we allow flow, something much greater than the little self (shrouded in layers) comes out to play.  It is a path of mystery and curiosity.  If you want to try some art journaling, please sign up for my art newsletter for a primer and a mixed media tutorial.  CLICK HERE.

Get unstuck!

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Get unstuck!   I can help you move from limbo to purpose. When the kids are gone, your job is gone, and life feels empty, it’s time to take some good action!

I’ve been going nuts playing at being a techie and getting WordPress plugins to work.  It’s a nightmare, but I’m learning something new every time I tackle the never-ending computer tasks.  The secret is to never give up or work until your eyes can’t focus any longer or you drop from sheer exhaustion.   Yeah, that’s how I roll sometimes when I’m on a mission.  Life is short.

I’m really excited about my freebie e-course coming up. I put up a video today to introduce the program, and I think it will be well received.  It going to happen in email so if you’re not on my email list for this event, go over and read all about it  HERE. 

It is going to involve some art, but nothing that will be super challenging.  Anyone can do it.

I use art as a transformational tool. As I transform myself I can also inspire others to get going and never look back at the life that didn’t work very well.  I created a Facebook page for people who sign up, but if you’re interested in art and learning more about it, you can join.  Click here.  The more the merrier I say.

It is going to be fun!

I’m signing off now…

xo

Maria

P.S.  If you want a good challenge, you can sign up for my e-course Visionary Art Journaling.  I went in deep on that one, and so will you. GO HERE!  Art can truly transform your life.

….because life happens NOW!

 

 

Say Yes!

Hello lovelies,

Say yes to something today, maybe even life. What does that mean? It could mean something as simple as saying yes instead of no when someone offers a new experience.

It could be as life changing as saying yes to a job in a different state or country. It could be saying YES to life, wherever it takes us.

I believe in exploring. Sometimes it’s something small, like a wisp of a word that sounds intriguing, or some new online venue or tool, or as big as saying yes: I want to know what my life is about next.

We live in the small increment of now, and more often than not I walk through a tunnel with only a candle in my hand to light the way. It always shows me the next step, and that is all I need to know.

It’s so hard to let go of control, to think that I have to fix everything myself. In reality, I don’t keep my heart beating, something else does.

I know what I like, what I love to do, but that is not necessarily what is best for me. Eating ten donuts is never a good idea, for instance. I can choose to do something that is life affirming, like following my talents and do something with them.

And I do.  I make art to the best of my ability, but sometimes the pieces don’t look right and I get frustrated. BUT, I spent that time making art, and it moved my passion forward and I learned something. Passion is something that makes me feel excited to get up in the morning.

It makes sense to follow where passion leads. I want to feel good. Following my passion is not easy but I learn a lot, and the knowledge is priceless.

Today I woke up tired and feeling blah for no obvious reason. I only had one beer last night and I fell asleep in the middle of a Netflix movie.

I took a look at my studio through the open door and saw the mess of frenzied former activity there. It didn’t inspire, but after I write this, I will go there and I will make art. The siren is calling. If I clean the mess, good, if I don’t, who cares. I have no idea what I will make, but I’ll put pen to paper, or maybe a dab of paint on a canvas. I have several going. I have no idea what the canvases want to “say” but I paint a little here, a little there, and a theme starts emerging. Faith and patience go hand in hand.

What little thing can you do today toward your passion? One little step leads to another. When will your focus become a pinpoint laser that won’t stop for anything until it lights up its target–YOU!

The key to living a passionate life is to move forward every day, one step at a time. A small, but sometimes difficult permission since we don’t allow ourselves to do what we love. Duty calls first, and a day is lost in the fog of duty = possible misery.

Duty to others first. What would happen if you made the time to put yourself first? Maybe get up an hour earlier to draw something in your sketchbook, or write down what is on your mind? Swipe aside all the excuses and create a new life, increment by increment. It’s a great way to live! The world expands with every step, truly.

(Image from Google pictures.)

To get my free Stargirl mixed media tutorial, please sign up for my newsletter HERE.

Truly, take a step toward changing your life if it sucks.

My two cents.

xo

Maria

Discover something new today!

Calling all art lovers,

Discover something new today, step out of the comfort zone and try something you haven’t done before, like parachuting out of an airplane (only kidding.)  I’m afraid of heights, so that would be a very uncomfortable challenge for me, lol.  However, I have explored new horizons in my art, combining intuition with art journaling. How much fun is that!?

My e-course on the subject starts on Monday, June 15, so there is still time to join. You will get six meditations that tie into our six senses, and six art spreads as inspiration as you explore your own. Videos and bonuses. You can discover a new layer within yourself, and it’s exciting. To sign up for my e-course, go HERE.

To whet your appetite, here’s an art journal spread I made about “how an orange tastes.”  It’s not necessary to know how to paint faces in the course.  Anyone can join and your expression is as open as you like it to be! No rules, but I will inspire you.

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If you haven’t signed up for my art newsletter, you can do so HERE.

I hope to see you in the e-course!

xo

Maria