Tag Archives: artist

My inner critic on rampage

My inner critic was on a rampage all week, and it was a wild ride I tell you! I recognize and own my inner critic as the freeloader that overstays his welcome and is proud about it..

art journal
art journaling in an old museum catalog from the Louvre

Sneaky and charming, with an opinion about everything, he lounges in my new recliner or stands over my shoulder when I paint or art journal.

I’m used to the bastard and usually kick him to the curb, but this week he stirred up such confusion in my mind I just about had it with art.

First of all, he criticized my every art process with an infusion of “you have no clue what you’re doing” to “what do you know about art, and where’s YOUR focus?” Insidious indeed.  He’s emaciated, extremely pale. He wears tight black pants and black turtleneck sweater, and a beret. Kind of a 1960s French hipster, and he smokes evil-smelling cigarettes, blowing smoke up my ass and into my mind.

Why do I ever listen? He’s too clever by far, and sometimes I fall for the bullsh*t because art is an ever-expanding journey that is unsure at best. For the most part I fly by the seat of my pants, which is always frowned upon by all critics, mine and others.  Then again, if I did hyper realistic art where every dot counts, the critic would call that unimaginative. So, you can never win, right?

art journal
art journaling without aim

I’m partially to blame for the confusion, but the inner critic stirs the pot relentlessly.

My favorite social media is Instagram and I upload pictures constantly and also scroll the huge variety of art there. It’s such a wonderful place of inspiration.

I have been more and more interested in abstract art, and it’s fun to explore on the canvas, but I can never make up my mind if what I paint feels good / right / complete or not.

art journal
art journaling aimlessly

I came across some really questionable art (in my opinion, the critic probably liked it because he was silent.)

To me, art needs to either be a colorful feast to the eye or something that tugs at me, something that gives a meaning or emotional connection. Some artists were posting just scratches with colored pencils like the art of a three-year old.

Three-year olds express themselves shamelessly, and I’m all for it.  Actually, children’s art always touches my heart because it’s direct and without excuses.

When grown-ups post that kind of stuff and call it fine art, I can’t feel the connection. The question is: is the art conceit or something that touches people’s heart in some way?

art journal
art journaling aimlessly

Then the inner critic steps in and says “Your art is no better.” I agree that I’m scribbling at times but I would never call it art per se. I might call it “uncertain expression in color” if it needs to be labeled.

art journal
art journaling

When I kick the inner critic out, I don’t need to wonder what is art and what isn’t. All in the eye of the beholder, but my personal preference is art that takes my breath away or inspires me in some way.

Scribbles or rubbings with colored pencils might get an inner eye roll, but hey, to each their own!

Anyway, my inner critic hated all the art above except the last one, but if I have to live with the input from him, I still forge onward since there is no other way but forward on the art exploration journey of my life.

Below are my latest paintings. The critic didn’t chime in much, so I guess they are okay. <eye roll>

painting
“Falling” acrylic painting on canvas

 

painting
Prayer, acrylic painting

Have a great creative weekend, friends!

xo

Maria

P.S. The free art journaling 2017 adventure is going strong. You can still catch all the prompts from the previous months. Laura Probert will be our guest artist / writer in April. SIGN UP HERE.

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Julia Ostara and the March 2017 art prompts

Julia Ostara is our guest artist for March in the free year-long art journaling journey 2017.  It’s going strong and March has sneaked up faster than I could imagine. It’s not too late to join in the fun. You can sign up HERE for the email prompts. All the months’ prompts will be available all year.

Julia Ostara
Julia Ostara

I’ve followed Julia’s progress as an artist over the years and it has been interesting to see her art expression deepening over time. I think she has lived many lifetimes in this one life. 🙂

This from her website:  Artist, Author, Brave Heart, Explorer, Farm Girl, Grateful Guide, Mystic, Mountain Momma, Playful Painter, Reverent, Sweet Sunshine, Thrivivalist, Wild Wonder-full Weaver…  Exploring and falling in love with life through art and wonder in memory of my mom to carry on her legacy of love for self, others, nature, and life. Opening my hands, head, and heart… my being, to the wonder of creation, the art of living and loving. Offering creative courses, unique gifts, and art from my heart to yours.

Julia Ostara
Julia Ostara’s art

I love her colorful art and also her view on life and how everything hangs together.

She hopes to inspire and encourage others to beat to their own drums, live their dreams, choose joy, respect others and nature, love more than fear, put our brave boots on, celebrate the variety and sweet in life, dance with the wild mystery, and thrive in harmony.

I share her views on life and being an artist.  As an artist I’m visible, and with that I can hope to inspire others to step into their creativity whatever it is and become “more” of who they are. It can feel scary and uncertain for sure, but when you keep exploring the depths of who you are, it gets easier to face the unknown and to embrace the mystery.  Revelations can be so inspiring and exhilarating!

Julia Ostara
Julia Ostara

More from her website: Art has been such a graceful and wonderful, healing, playful, spiritual joy for me. I consider myself a ‘born again artist’ because I lost touch with the artist within for too long. Now, I’m delighted to be guiding others to experience the magic possible when playfully creating by hosting online creative gatherings, courses, art playdates, and retreats to explore the wonder and nurture a playful creative community. Many of them are available as Pay What You Can/Pay What It’s Worth options! So, YES, you can afford to participate!

Approaching creativity from a place of play has really helped me open up, enjoy the process and get in the flow.

Julia has all sorts of offerings on her website, so check them out.

Julia’s courses and offerings.

She is also offering a quarterly e-zine titled Thrive True.  If you sign up for her email list on her WEBSITE, you will receive her e-zines.

Julia OstaraI interviewed her in a video yesterday and we laughed so much it was hard to get through the questions.  If you want to get more of a feel for her and her art, please watch the VIDEO on YouTube. 🙂

I wish you a wonderful creative month.

xo

Maria

 

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The artist is in the ether

The artist is in the ether–waiting, just like we were a twinkle in our mother’s eye once. It takes inspiration and action to be born. If you want to be an artist, you feel it in the ether.

I looked up the word “ether,” and the literary meaning is: the clear sky; the upper regions of air beyond the clouds.

I really liked that description.  As souls we dwell there and then feelings, thoughts, actions take place and we appear in this 3D world wondering what the hell we’re doing here.
How many people go through life wondering that? I bet it’s around 100%.
At one point, I’m not sure exactly when, something tugged at me. It wasn’t a hard tug, or a determined push, or a revelation. It was more of a longing to explore SOMETHING, maybe myself.
I started reading fiction as soon as I could read and became immersed in the world of books, the great imagination of the authors’ made up scenarios.  My mom used to say I had a wild imagination, and she would look at me strangely as if I was not like “others.” But that was not true. I always made sure I fit in with the crowd, for the most part.
I always liked to draw and color and that has grown into an immense “calling” if you will. It’s how I record the energy of my life. I say energy because it’s more than depiction of 3D events and things.
I write about my life, but not with great trepidation.  Writing flows easily without fanfare. When I paint, I’m always (every single time) faced with the immensity of starting.
It’s hard to explain, but after years of facing that feelings, I always boldly step forward with some paint and slap it on the canvas, and go from there. To start becomes easier with experience.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess if the painting is going to be something that speaks to me, or not… It happens more often than not that I paint over old paintings.
That is how an artist comes into being. Each day is new. I reach into the ether to create myself every day on canvas or other art methods.  When it flows it flows, and when it doesn’t I curse the universe for being such a stingy muse.
An artist is not born per se, an artist is born and born again through manipulating the ether. That is how I feel when I stand in front of a canvas.  Each day something will be born, either a glorious rendition of energy, or something that is beyond ugly.
But it’s all glorious!
portrait
Looking beyond
mixed media
What Jane wanted

This above painting had so many layers and started out with a super ugly face underneath it all, and when all was said and done it turned out to an imagined Jane Austen.  Go figure!

That is art.  Pulling the rabbit out of a hat, or a piece of art from the ether is magic.  A grand adventure indeed. What is the ether calling you to do?
P.S. I have a free 2017 art journaling journey going with monthly prompts from various artists. If you want to be involved you can sign up for the prompts HERE.

Perfection kills creativity

Perfection kills creativity and how do you change in the direction of deeper creativity?

Do you compare yourself to the perfection of nature?  What do you compare yourself to?

perfection
perfection

As an artist, perfectionism stifles all expression.  Maybe it’s ok in the very last layer of a realistic painting, but I don’t know since I don’t paint realism. I have suffered from perfectionism from time to time. It shows up as:

That didn’t turn out very good

Is this any good?

I can never get it right

Those statements might not seem like an angle of perfectionism, but when we doubt what we made we have a picture of what it SHOULD look like, and it’s never good enough.  It comes down to comparison to some kind of ideal or living up to someone else’s expectations.

Maybe someone’s voice is running a commentary in your head?

Maybe our parents expected us to be perfect in every way. What does that have to do with art? It has everything to do with whatever task you attempt, be it art, writing, speaking, teaching, accounting. Basically, in every area of life. The way we look, the way we work.

How do you escape this tyranny of perfectionism?

First, you have to realize it’s present, and a pain in the ass. Not everyone notices or perfectionism is so embedded in the “norm” that it’s inconceivable to change.

As an artist, it’s important to let loose and try something completely different from your current mode of expression.

Become three years old again. Slap some paint on a poster board.

Make ugly abstract art. Muddy the colors. Paint big.

Use tools you don’t normally use.

As you explore this, something inside has to give. The perfectionist will raise a big stink, but allow it to and paint anyway. Just go nuts!

Do this with everything. Don’t mop the floor every day even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t pick up the clothes. Don’t obsessively clean the kitchen counter. Let some dishes sit around in the sink.

Allow the inner wisdom to show you that life won’t fall apart if you get a bit “sloppy.”

wisdom
wisdom versus perfectionism

It is a challenge, but to truly change, you have to face the discomfort and get to the other side.

To become a life artist we have to face the difficult things that hold us back.

Paint anyway.  Show up, be daring.

Allow the emotions to flow. There might be rage under the perfectionism, but rage is good fuel for art! 🙂

Then, underneath the rage there might be other stuffed emotions. And then there is peace. And it’s ok if there are dishes in the sink for the time being. Expressing your creativity is more important.

Maybe you pick up a new style… YOUR style.

xo

Maria

P.S. If you’d like to get my art newsletter, please sign up HERE.

Begin NOW!

Begin now, it’s never too late. Think of Grandma Moses who had a successful art career late in life, starting in her seventies. She died at 101 years of age, and painted 1,500 paintings or so.

country living
Grandma Moses

I think it’s all about a positive attitude. She decided to try something new. Maybe she had always wanted to make art, but never had a chance until she “retired.” However, she made up for it in her productivity.  She was open to see where the path would lead her, and I admire that pioneering spirit.  She was called a naive painter but if you look at the intricacies, there was nothing simple about her art other than the very direct expression of what she saw or had seen.

She did not worry too much about style or perspective. That is the pioneering spirit. She just began where she was and continued from there, never stopping.

To accomplish any dream, be it painting every day, or some other dream, start where you are NOW. There are no shortcuts or magic bullets, only exploration via doing.

Think of all the various styles art has gone through. Don’t you think the world thought Picasso was crazy when he started his “deconstructed people” Cubist style?  He was a trail blazer.  I don’t know if he ever doubted himself, but if he did, he didn’t let it stop him.

dora maar au chat
Pablo Picasso

So, mindset is so important.  If we don’t dare to make changes, or take some risks, we remain in place, stagnant.  In the long run, nothing is more boring than the status quo.

What is your dream? What can you do today to start something new? Not just New Year’s resolutions, but something that resonates in your heart. You know, THAT thing.

Take one small step, and then another, and another. Before you know it, you’re deep into the bliss of doing what you always wanted to do.

Don’t know what you want? Start with your most vivid idea. Once you start somewhere, clarity will stroll in. Change directions, nothing and no one is holding you back, except yourself.

Convention holds us back, but that is the trap of other people’s opinions that shaped your own. You are free to explore!

Begin NOW!

Have a great weekend.

art journaling
art journaling

If you didn’t join my FREE year long art journaling exploration you can join HERE NOW. There is a great artist / teacher line up and a very active FB group.

xo

Maria

 

 

 

 

Doing what you love is not a brand to follow

Do what you love is a concept that is tossed around all the time on social media these days.

I agree with the concept but it becomes a thought form for the busy mind, not something that actually sinks in.  I make these inspirational wall plaques that say “follow your heart.” I do mean it, but what does it actually mean?

follow your heart

I was at an event at a bookstore recently where I have some art hanging on display. I watched the people wandering around the walls, looking. There were those who threw a cursory glance at my art, and there were those who stopped at every painting and took in every detail. I’d say they liked my art, or they tried to figure out the technique.

I have followed my urge to paint for a long time, and what appears on the canvas today is something I have developed over the years, and maybe there is more “heart” in my art than there was. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m on a journey that never stops as long as I can paint.

My art will never stop developing, so if one of those people at the event would have approached me with questions, like “what inspires you”? I would have answered “many things.” There is no one thing in particular.

What they actually see is my DOING over the years, with no particular goal in mind.

I think the painter Paul Cezanne might be the father of abstract art when he discovered he could paint the loose rendition (or energy) of the landscape he was looking at.  Discovering that took many years of DOING.

Paul Cezanne

The issue was not to create a strong brand of Paul Cezanne, but the journey that led to his discovery of abstract ideas. Like most painters he probably took classes and experimented endlessly with color and form. His art became his brand, but I’m sure he would have resisted the word.

Why lock oneself into a box of “this-is-who-I-am” and I will be this for the rest of my life.  Life is an evolving journey of many “follow my hearts.”

The problem is: most people like to dream but not DO. It’s in the doing that all is revealed!!

You can’t put heart in a box or on a wall plaque and hope it will transform someone, but my intention is to inspire. Still, the journey is mine.

Every day is a day of DOING or not… your choice. By trusting, by taking action and not sitting on the sidelines you will in fact be led by the heart.

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of art for sale in my etsy shop Greene Earth Originals: HERE.