Tag Archives: artist

fear is not your friend

Fear is not your friend unless it warns you to get off the railroad tracks as the train is coming. There are so many levels of fear, and the most insidious one is the fear that stops us from fulfilling our calling (to be artists or other forms of expression.)

I was talking to a friend who said she always wanted to be an artist. I could relate to her as I’ve always felt that way too. Then I felt so grateful that I had at one point decided to commit to the idea with action.

I know I would feel unfulfilled without it, and now, after many years, I think I have come a long way even though there’s no beginning or end.

I was reading this book: Wild Ideas, Creativity From The Inside Out, by Cathy Wild, and I saw this paragraph that so hit home with what I’m saying here.

“If you want to create, you need to become an explorer. An explorer may be an astronaut living in a space station or a pop songwriter attempting to compose an opera or a former welfare recipient heading off to a first day of work. As an explorer, you must want to find out what lies beyond the boundaries of what you already understand and what you already know how to do.”

You can find the book on Amazon HERE. It’s well worth a read.

So, to be an explorer, you have to keep an open mind and be willing to come across resistance, which is inevitable. Have a conversation with it and ask why it has arrived to instigate reluctance to create.

It will likely say: “If you go down that path, you will only encounter trouble that you can’t handle” In other words, it’s spreading fear and tries to tell you you’re inadequate.

As an artist, you’ll come across that every week, or even every day, if you’re serious about commitment and showing up at your work table or easel.

Working a regular job, you come across problems that need to be solved, right? However you solve your problem, you just do it, or you get fired (worst-case scenario.) If we bring some of that determination into getting past the things that stop us from doing something we love, no problem or resistance can stop us.

Then comes a time when you have to grow out of the comfort zone as an artist. The way I deal with that is to try many different things, materials, and styles. It’s like walking through the jungle with a small machete. You don’t know what you see until you come right up to it. Sometimes you say no, this is not for me, and other times, something pushes you to keep going with the new material.

Frustration = fear = learning curve

Make frustration your best friend! When you feel it the strongest, you’re on the verge of a discovery, so keep on going, past the fear. Honor the learning curve! Anything new has to be learned, and there will be many failures, but those are steps to getting to the place where you’re happy with the result.

Whimsical dog made from epoxy clay and paint
whimsical dog
Crystal wand made with oak wood, crystals, and epoxy clay.
Crystal wand

What you see above are items I made with epoxy clay, which for me has been really hard to work with. I really love the durability of the clay and how it dries rock hard and attaches to pretty much anything. I have worked quite a while with it, and had to throw out some things that did not work out at all.

You know it’s a learning curve, so you continue.

Do not stop when the going gets tough

If you stop you’ll never know if you could master the challenge.

If you stop, you’ll beat yourself up for not going to the finish line, no matter how “ugly” the art turned out.

I haven’t mastered the epoxy clay (Apoxie Sculpt,) but I’m working on it, and every item teaches me something. I look at videos on YouTube by people who have mastered the clay, and I go, wow, I want to be that good too. Some day, I will! 🙂

My point is: don’t sabotage your dreams, don’t sell yourself short, give your dream a chance! Please. Commit and start making art. Copying other artists is okay in the beginning.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have many new items in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Some of them are not all perfect, but people seem to like them anyway. 🙂

Lockdown activities

Lockdown has been tedious at times, but I’m grateful that I can go into my studio and work on my artsy projects. A lot of things have surfaced emotionally for me during this lockdown, one of them trying to figure out how I feel about all the restrictions and the conflicting information rampaging through the internet and the news outlets.

I’m not sure what I believe, but behind all the drama in the world, there is an agenda. Keep people confused and worried; they are easier to control that way. It is dark energy where greed runs rampant.

About worry: It is a truly wasted emotion, and nothing will change whether you worry or not. The primary way I control my concern is through meditation. I also like to connect to nature, where everything stays in its rhythm and cycles. Nature is simple yet sophisticated in its movements, always peaceful and nurturing, though. Everything and every one has its place.

I talk to trees, and their trunks can be comfortable to lean against while I connect to the spirit within me, and the tree. It puts me in the right place in the scheme of things. I can breathe deeply. I find I hold my breath a lot lately.

Be willing to surrender. I can’t control what is happening in the world, but I can nourish my light and shine a small beacon. There is always hope.

Trust in a higher power. You only have to look at nature to know there’s an over-ruling intelligence behind the miracle that is our planet. We humans have to fall into the rhythm of harmony, not fight it and try to lord it over the creation. We have so much to learn…

I have been exploring clay and, lately, two-part resin. None of the materials are easy to work with, but at least I have polymer clay, which is my best ally. I have also played with seascapes in mixed media since I have an abundance of blue clay at the moment.

lockdown activity, seascape with mermaid.
Lockdown activity, seascape with mermaid
Goddess altar, polymer clay
Goddess altar, polymer clay
Dragon eye, polymer clay pendant
Dragon eye, polymer clay pendant

What if art doesn’t help?

Maybe you can’t find the peace to sit down and make art. How about grabbing any notebook and start writing? You can explore your feelings, and at least you get them out of your system. Sitting outside is a plus if the weather permits. You can answer these questions or make up your own.

What are you feeling? Accept all the feelings and honor yourself. If you push them away, they will only be more persistent.

How do you want to feel?

What can I do to feel more peaceful inside? (Turn off the news, for one.)

There are loads of free guided meditations online, especially on YouTube. I guarantee they will help. Do the activities that make you feel good: cooking, dancing, exercising, connecting with friends virtually, clean something, plant flowers, make art. You know what YOU like. 🙂

You can’t figure out the world right now. I find the only thing that is consistent and true is nature and my connection to it.

How do I ground and improve my connection to that which is consistent and true? That is an important question to answer. When you have an answer, build on it with action.

I wish you health and hope. Even this shall pass. The lockdown will be a memory. Maybe we’re creating a new world.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. I have lots of new items for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. To get a 10% discount, enter code Janet10 at checkout.

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

What is holding you back?

What is holding you back? Fear? Excuses? They are all one and the same, and it sums up to fear. When it comes to creating any kind of art, fear is a constant companion, usually in the shape of resistance.

I wrote a post about resistance and it’s worth a read if you’re not getting anywhere with your art. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of excuses why people don’t create even though they want to at heart.

I suffer from resistance a lot, especially when I’m trying some new art supply or style. Recently, I picked up some tubs of Apoxie Sculpt. (I wrote about it in my last post.) I debated then to put it aside, but I decided to try some more projects with that type of clay. It’s still frustrating to work with, but I have persevered.

Since the clay is pretty expensive, I try to use as many shapes underneath as I can and then cover with a thin layer of clay. It makes it less heavy as well. I bought some styrofoam balls, and to form the body of the birds below, I used one large for the body and one small for the head. I used popsicle sticks, broken in half, to form tails and necks. Here are the end results, a couple of circus birds on “wheels.”

They were fun to make. I used blocks of wood that I covered with papers and wooden wheels. The legs are 19 gauge steel wire. It was a challenge to make these birds, but why not stretch oneself, despite the resistance?

If fear is holding you back…

The only way to overcome it is to do the thing you’re afraid of. Otherwise, it will haunt you. I know this well from previous experiences.

I have found I like making art assemblages. I had to use a drill for simple holes, and it felt awkward and new, but maybe it’s the beginning of new fields of experience.

Don’t let fear hold you back if you want to renew your life, your experiences. It’s not just artistic expression. It’s so easy to stay in the comfort zone, but life gets boring in the long run.

To mix things up, even more, I prepped a bunch of canvases for later use. I love to add mixed media as I go, and I even finished one project when I saw a robust lady emerge from the layers.

A mixed media art project with layers of paper and paint.
Is fear holding you back?

I also made some of my usual objects for sale in my Etsy shop these last few days.

I love the little mosaic Virgin Mary shrines, and now I have used my last Altoids tin!

It’s time to be brave! Make the time to be an explorer, kick the excuses to the curb. Every day is another opportunity for fun creativity.

Lots of love and wishes for happy creativity!

Maria

Trust yourself; you’re the Artist

Trust yourself, no matter what people say, or YOU say about your art. It’s so easy to criticize and compare your work with that of others.

I’m sure you have heard it before. If we follow trends, one comes to mind lately, pouring paint on canvas. There is nothing wrong with that if you feel really passionate about it. As with every trend, it will fade away.

What feels right to you today?

It can change on a dime, but what feels like lots of fun and a creative challenge when nothing else fits? I was focused on art journaling and intuitive painting, and all of a sudden, none of those styles appealed to me, but I’m sure they will return at some point.

If you have made art for a while, you’re familiar with the fact that it always changes, like life. Sometimes it can be subtle, and sometimes NOTHING works. What then?

Trust yourself. What do you see that you want to try? Watercolors? Figurative drawing? Crafts? Maybe collage?

There are no rules and trust in your instincts. My go-to is crafts (for the most part, and I like to write.) I love trying new crafts, and lately, I found some blank wooden houses that I could embellish. I have made two, and there is two more underway.

trust in yourself
whimsical house
trust yourself
whimsical house number 2

Trust yourself in the moment

If you’re in a craft store and you see some materials that spark your interest, go for it. Don’t think about it; don’t over-analyze. You are free to try things. There is no boss or licensing company hanging over your shoulder urging you to make “more of the same” because it sells.

It’s about discovery

Trust that you can move forward on your artistic path. It may take many detours from, say, painting portraits if that’s your style, but you come back to the tried and true refreshed.

Picasso is a great example of an artist who tried so many kinds of art, and it added to his strength. He was not stuck in one genre but moved boldly as his muse inspired him.

So, let’s move boldly forward. If you have a dry painting spell, knit a scarf! One thing is not better or worse than the other. It’s all creative expression.

As we wait tensely in Florida to see what Dorian, the storm, is going to do, I will continue to create, maybe finish the two houses, and I will end up with a village! 🙂

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can read this post for more inspiration — Inspiration Where is it?

Or this post: No Inspiration, no problem!

My etsy shop is full of goodies, unique gift ideas! Earth and Faery

Do you like your art or not?

Do you like your art? It’s a tricky question since it’s easy to doubt yourself. How do you judge whether it’s good art or not? It’s in the eye of the beholder unless you’re a person who judges art on how close it comes to “reality.”

Everyone’s reality is different, and that’s why we use the saying “eye of the beholder.”

I judge the success of an art piece I make on how it feels. When it’s done, do I feel great about it? I sometimes feel good, but I know others won’t like it, and I’m usually proven right. However, that doesn’t matter; it’s all about unfolding and experiencing each piece of art.

It already exists on one level, maybe as an idea., and you work to make it look as close as possible to that idea, but it often doesn’t work out. The painting takes on an approach of its own. That’s when you have to trust the process.

You go to a museum to admire some art, but most of the displays leave you untouched. Art made from the artist’s passion will not fail to touch the deepest part of you. You have your favorites, and maybe a lot of people share your likes and dislikes, but art is something you can’t really judge.

Do you like your art or don’t you?

If you don’t, can you accept it without tearing yourself down? It is the sign of a mature artist to allow both likes and dislikes into their life as an artist. Most of what you paint does not transcend into the realm of “wow,” and more often than not, you leave the studio after a day of hard work, not wow.

Can you accept that the muse is absent?

It’s so easy to throw in the towel and say I’m not going to make art today. Maybe I’ll watch some Netflix series instead. It happens to me, but I take my commitment seriously. I’m too far in to give up my art making even if it’s not leading to a status of fame.

What if it unfurls your very soul with every bold step you take in the studio? If feels that way sometimes even if nothing makes sense. It doesn’t have to make sense to be enjoyable and productive.

Love your “uglys” as much as you love your inspired pieces. They all have a role to play in your life.

Accept it all! In the end, it doesn’t matter what you like and dislike. It’s just an opinion. Art lives a life of its own, and we are but its humble servants.

I just finished a mixed media piece, part of series of funky canvases that I have been making. I loved the previous ones, but this one is a definite “meh.”

funky houses, whimsical art
Do you like?

I also started a new painting that is 20×20″ in the intuitive style. I loved the background, and the face appeared on the side, but I’m stumped what to do next. Again, I’m sitting at the junction of ugly and possibilities. It could turn ugly or become an unexpected masterpiece.

a painting in progress
Do you like it or not>

It takes a level of bravery to continue. Each step is a step into the unknown. As artists, we create a new “life.” It’s often a frustrating way to go about one’s day, but it holds the promises of many treasures if we stick with it.

Acceptance is the key, but you can still have your opinions! 🙂

For more reading on the subject, this blog post is available: Why do you do what you do?

And this one: Pondering Authenticity.

Lots of love,

Maria

I have some of the new paintings in my Etsy shop now. You can check them out HERE.