Tag Archives: inspiration

Fun dialogue with artist Amanda Wolf Hara

Fun exchange with awesome artist, Amanda Wolf Hara. She is the December guest artist my free 2017 art journaling journey. The last one of the year! It is bittersweet, and I don’t know how the year moved so fast… 

fun with butterfly
Amanda Wolf Hara

When I was a little girl, my grandparents (who emigrated from Latvia) watched me all day while my mom worked. From Gramma I learned painting and fine art basics- painting every week, at least, with watercolors while Bob Ross was on PBS in the background.

Other afternoons I’d spend in Opa’s (My grandfather), woodcarving shop in their basement, listening to classical music and learning how to carve on soft pine.
Both grandparents took me outdoors a lot- to the local pond, nature center or just for walks around the neighborhood where we always stopped to watch what nature was doing.
I drew incessantly, (mostly horses!) and even painted watercolors on my bedroom walls. I drew on any scrap of paper I could find- my mom always said “you do some of your finest work on the worst paper.”
I dunno, I just Arted all the time. I took it for granted; it was just something I did- it didn’t seem like a big deal at all, even as I started getting awards in school.
In college I spent a semester in the theater’s scenic design program. I had one of the best teachers who helped me advance my skills by leaps and bounds. He was amazing.
LOL, I still struggle with seeing my art as a “big” deal. I just love doing it. It’s just what I do.
What does art do for you?
The world quiets down when I hold a paintbrush. There’s something about the sensual act of painting that quiets my brain like nothing else seems to; that particular hush seems unique to that medium for me.
The “graffiti” style journaling I do is like a really good aerobic work-out for my mind and emotions. It’s cathartic and raises a lot of energy for me- which is good, because I need that process to get to a breakthrough point.
What form of art do you prefer making? Art journaling or painting?
Lol, I really can’t pick! I truly love all art mediums, I do photography, writing, sculpture, sewing, crafting, jewelry making, re-purposing/upcycling, some collaging,  pastels, colored pencils, wood burning every once in s while, acrylic and watercolor… I just cycle through.
My apartment really looks like I own half a craft store. Also, I paint on any surface that holds still long enough for me.
Next on my list is picking up a soldering iron. (Insert slightly maniacal laughter.) I’ll be unstoppable! I can do metal work. I have a tin can project I’d LOVE to see manifest.
After that, working with glass; blowing it, fusing it, stained glass etc. I just want to know how to do it. :).
Do you use art in any particular way? As in healing, journaling about your life or just for fun?
Yes, to all of the above.
It’s definitely therapy, and as I mentioned, it’s my way of tapping into deeper problem solving techniques. I Art all the time. I look at something- even garbage- like packaging materials-and immediately start challenging myself to think about what it could be used for, what could it look like, what it could give to an art piece.
My love too, is in teaching creative processes to others- helping someone tap into their creative capacity and that intuitive “knowing” we all have within us.
What inspires you? 
Nature, for sure. And that extends to human nature, instincts, behaviors etc..
Also, stories. A lot of my art is driven by telling the stories of things that I believe get overlooked. I love the old stories of deities and characters that I think still hold just as much relevancy as they ever did.
My art maybe gives them an update and puts them into context in a way that we Modernites can still access them and recognize them.
Getting people to see their world in a new way- that rock-back-on-your-heels-a-little-and-go: “Oh… Wow! I never…” THAT. That inspires me.
Do you have any favorite artist or style?
Ummm… no. I like a lot of different things- I guess art that tells stories, and cultural pieces. That being said, there are definitely some forms of art that I just don’t understand.
As far as artists?  There are so many- even ones I’ve had the pleasure of meeting- whose names I will, sadly, never remember.
But I’ll try:
Jo Jayson. OMG. She’s INCREDIBLE. I would love to learn to paint half as well as she does. And her Divine Feminine works are utterly brilliant.
Theo Jansen and his Strandbeests- Ohmygoodness. I will never be that level of cool, and I’m okay with that. But I would LOVE to share a beach space with any of his “beests” any day.
Pat and Ken Larson of Larson Clayworks.
Ever since I first saw their work I’m absolutely captivated.
I like Picasso- not necessarily the work itself, but the fact that he could do the very realistic detailed stuff, but chose to step out, break the rules and create new ways of considering what art can be.
Da Vinci, too- the imagination and invention- oh, that’s good stuff!
O’Keeffe comes to mind too- her voice and work I deeply appreciate being in this world.
What is the advice you would give new artists?
PLAY.
OMG, play with your art, please!
Art is about expression, about exploration.
Make mistakes. Learn how to turn them into something new and exciting. Learn how to make them look like they always belonged there.
It should on some level always be fun; it stays encouraging that way.
And get messy.
In every sense.
Get pastels imbedded in your fingertips. Discover acrylic paint in your hair a week after being in studio.
Get (safely) messy emotionally too- open yourself up. Get raw, get vulnerable. Or, get quiet and super still. Defy the norms you set for yourself and see where that takes you.
Any suggestions to artists who are stuck in a rut or in a feeling of inadequacy?
 Aside from playing?
Learn to Art for yourself.
Do it because there’s a voice in you that simply cannot be expressed in any other way.
Art as a product is always subjective.
Art as a process isn’t.
It’s personal and intimate and deeply intrinsic. It’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised; work it out, let go of the attachment to the end product and surrender to where the process of Arting wants to take you.
Oh, and OMG laugh at (with) yourself as often as possible.
When your inner critic gets too bossy, get them drunk on purposeful mistake after glorious purposeful mistake until s/he is so full they pass out. Then, joyfully create.
What is your all time favorite art supply?
Ooooh…. That’s a little like asking me to pick a favorite child. For the sake of all of them, I plead the fifth. 🙂
Check out Amanda’s Facebook page: Wild Priestess.

No inspiration?… no problem

No inspiration? That happens to all of us creative types. There are many reasons why inspiration is absent, and I have recently been in the middle of a painful situation that has robbed me of all concentration and inspiration.

Health is maybe the most important facet of life. Without health we have nothing or we struggle. I’m a reasonably healthy person but lately I have had a shoulder pain that has bothered me for days.

I woke up at 4 am one morning and had a burning pain near my shoulder-blade. It has since spread to make life very uncomfortable.

It’s not as bad as a toothache or earache if you’ve had one of those. Wowsa!

It’s like something burning and gnawing on my shoulder. Off to the massage therapist I go tomorrow!

That is just one example that can stop you in your flow.

However, I still show up at my art table. That is my commitment. I spread on paint on my pages without enthusiasm, and let it be at that.

I can always come back to the pages. I have my artistic dream, and pain is not going to hold me back. I might not feel happy, rather the opposite, but who says you can’t paint ugly painful art…?

art journaling

When I commit to something, like my art, I aim to move forward with some kind of art expression every day. My day feels wasted otherwise.

Life throws us curve balls and it’s up to us how we deal with them. You hear of successful people who have no arms and legs and still make a success of their life.

  • They choose to see and work on the positive they have in life
  • Pain won’t kill us but can become a sad excuse if we let it.
  • To have a purpose is good whether we carry it out fully or not.
  • It’s good to take action! Take action to heal, and do something you normally like to do. Every day.
  • Things can always get better! We may not feel better but we’ll feel better about ourselves when we take positive action.
  • Feeling like a victim or woe-is-me will make things worse.

Is there any part of you life that isn’t working? Are you feeling victimized by circumstances?

What can you do today to take ONE positive step forward? Then build on that. Every major change starts with a small step.

It takes determination, dedication, and courage. But that is the way out of any situation you don’t like.

Then commit to the steps every day and see some tangible change for the better.

Life can be hard work, but before you know it, inspiration will flow again.

I want to be able to say that I made the most of my gifts and talents when the time comes to check out!

Pain is a good teacher and helps me take stock of my life. Taking stock is a good thing!

The weekend is coming up. What fires you up this weekend??

I have decided to enjoy myself. 🙂

Love, Maria xo

P.S. Looking for Christmas gifts?  My etsy shop is full of unique goodies, boho style! Earth and Faery.

 

Why people don’t follow their dream

Why people don’t follow their dream is not a single why, but many. As many as a person can make up.

If the desire is sincere, the artist has to START practicing!

why people don't follow their dream

Main reasons people don’t pursue something they long to do:

  • fear
  • lack of time
  • not feeling worthy
  • feeling inadequate
  • thinking it’s not important
  • thinking others will object

These are just a few examples. Since I’m a visual artist, I have only experience in that type of art, but I know for sure that if you want to be a good musician you have to practice A LOT.

Some artists might slap on some paint and create a huge painting in an hour. For the art to be effective, they would have had to practice and explore countless styles and tools in the past.

I’ve seen people create “sofa art” on home improvement shows. I can’t say it’s not art, but the subject won’t hit me in the gut or make me pause to really look, to absorb.

Art in any form is a life long exploration.

So what to do about the objections I posted above?

Fear: The only way to get past fear is to face it head on and start creating anyway. It will rear its ugly head time and time again, but you gotta get your brave on! Take some classes if you can’t get started.

Lack of time:  If you insist on that excuse, there won’t be any time, but if you’re sincere in your desire, you will find the time. Start with 10 minutes a day. Set up your art / craft / music / dance / supplies where you can see them as a reminder.

Not feeling worthy: That is old programming of shame and guilt. Engage with your dream anyway and know that the false programming is a scam to keep you “in line” and work for the Man. Tapping is a great help. Check it out on YouTube.

Feeling inadequate: Have you ever gone ice skating or rollerblading? You know it’s next to impossible to keep on your feet the first few times. But you laugh off the embarrassment of looking like a fool and keep going.

We all look like fools when we start something new. Get over it and practice.

Thinking it’s not important: Maybe you’re thinking of the wrong dream.  Maybe you’re not important.

Thinking others will object:  They probably will. They want you to be the same, not grow as a person. That might make them look bad and make them remember the dream they shoved into the closet among the spiders.

The mothers of the Lewis and Clark expedition members probably said “Don’t go,” when the guys stated they were going to explore vast uncharted wilderness. The mothers’ fear didn’t stop those intrepid souls.

We have got to explore what is calling us from inside!

It is your Lewis and Clark expedition. You  don’t have to face grizzlies and raging rivers, but you have to face your fears and give your passion some space.

I did write a blog post about Fear Holding You Back and what to do about it.

Have a creative weekend, folks!

Lots of love and inspiration to you.

Maria

P.S. I have some new things for sale in my etsy shop today. EARTH AND FAERY.

 

 

 

Inspired by emotion

Inspired by emotion is the title for the art journal video interview I had with artist Mel Bunny Sparkles. It was so much fun and she is full of inspiration and suggestions for new artists and veterans alike.

You will want to check out this video!

Bunny is the guest artist for June in my free 2017 Art Journaling Journey. If you haven’t signed up for the free prompts, you can do so HERE. You will receive all the prompts for this year via email. You can also join my Facebook group that is brimming with inspiration. CLICK HERE.

If you sign up for my regular art newsletter (top right corner of this page,) you will receive an art journal primer and a project to make. Great for beginners!  You have to start somewhere.

I also have many helpful art journal videos on YouTube under my own name. YOUTUBE CHANNEL. There are videos for beginners and for those who are looking for tips and tricks to jazz up their art journals.

art journaling
life at the beach

Have some fun, summer is here!

Lots of love and inspiration!

Maria

P.S I’m selling art journals ready-to-use in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

Fire for no reason

Fire is a fickle thing. It shows up for no reason. It can be a struggling flame in damp wood, a red smoldering under ashes, a good warming fire or a blaze out of control. I find that inspiration works the same way.

Some days there is nothing but a damp flicker and some days I don’t have enough hours in a day to fulfill the creative urge raging within.

You would think it would be a more controllable scenario, but to control fire you have to kill it or at least bank it to a level that is manageable, but that’s equal to holding yourself back from creativity.

If you don’t allow the fire to burn, you kill the creativity that is longing to be expressed.

fire
smolder

It’s better to ride the wild blaze of inspiration when it comes and be grateful for it!

fire
sun

The Universe is a filled with chaotic blazing infernos. That is the enormous power of creation, constantly in flux, constantly evolving.

As with fires that happen by accident, we get struck by random ideas that can grow into great fires of inspired action. All they need is one small flame and something that catches it.

When that flame appears, it’s your task to respond to it and grow it into a blazing inspired roar.

fire
fire

If we don’t ride the wild blaze it will die and smolder under the dampness of our fear and indecision.

When you get a great idea go with it immediately. Don’t question the quality of it; don’t hesitate to take action. Follow the flame and  it will lead you to something greater than your everyday mind.

Creativity, when allowed its full expression (even if it happens randomly) makes YOU larger than who you think you are. It reveals a glimpse of genius, of the greatest part of you, life itself.

How to manifest the idea is not for you to worry about. You take the first action, and then the next, and the next.  By instinct the idea knows its end result and all you have to do is follow the cues, one at a time. Trust is something we have to learn along the way.

Most people ignore those inner flames when they come and they sit for years smoldering under the damp of everyday life, showing up like longing. Pay attention the next time you experience a deep sigh. What were you thinking about?

The other day I was struck by inspiration and I took immediate action. I created this video called Life’s Song Unfurling, a mixed media art journal spread.

Then I was inspired to work out an online course with the title Life’s Song. It is about incorporating memories into your art, and also create all the ephemera from scratch. The e-course will be available shortly and I will keep you posted.

You can sign up to my newsletter HERE to stay informed.

Love,

Maria

I thought I would be bored

I thought I would be bored in the long run making polymer clay mosaics. Ever since I came across Laurie Mika’s book Mixed Media Mosaics I have been hooked. That was years ago and I still make them.

polymer clay mosaic
Polymer clay tiles

Check out that cute elephant. I pretty much use dragonfly charms for the center tile, but I’ve had this special charm for a while.

I used to do stained glass mosaics on tables and such, but that is very fiddly and I wasn’t really into beautifying furniture for life.

My main gig is painting, but I have a strong streak of “craftiness” and I find it soothing to plug away at crafty things, namely mosaics. Though I also make some handmade journals for those who don’t know how to start art journaling. Starting with a painted page is easier.

To go back to mosaics, my You Tube video on how to paint polymer clay tiles have gotten more views by far than any of my other videos. Lots of people into polymer clay these days, and that’s great!

If you haven’t seen the video, here is the link.

It’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it.  The variations are endless.

follow your heart
polymer clay mosaic wall plaque

I like to add some inspiring words to the art. People should be reminded to follow their dreams. Otherwise, life is pretty much wasted in my opinion. We all need something inspiring in this day and age….

mermaid
Believe in magic

If you’d like to find out more about making polymer clay mosaics like these, I have an e-course where you would make a box (similar to the one above) from beginning to finish. I show you every step of the progress.  The course is ONLY $23! Check it out.

Back to painting now! Wishing you a creative and happy weekend.

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. You can check out the journals and other things in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

 

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