Tag Archives: inspiration

Inspiration, where is it?

Inspiration, where to find it. It can be found everywhere. I often hear that question: what inspires you?  

I get inspired mostly by doing. When I get bored with one type of creativity I make something else. How people can continue to paint in one style or one subject is incomprehensible to me, but it’s common. Maybe they don’t make art that often? 

I love to try new things. Lately, I have been tired of making my mosaics, so I got this songbird pattern from Ann Wood and hand sewed a little bird. I used scrap fabrics I had painted and dyed in the past.

inspiration
inspiration
inspiration
songbird

I had a problem with the legs, but it worked itself out. So much fun to stretch oneself. Inspiration is in trying, to immerse oneself in something totally new. I have sewn before, but never a soft sculpture like this. I think I must make more! 🙂

What fires you up? What could you try today? 

I joined a local ceramics class this fall, and clay is harder to work with than you think.  I find polymer clay much easier since it’s more elastic. 

I made a series of critters and the glazing came out completely different when fired than I had envisioned.  

Inspiration is trying and finding out that the outcome might not be what you expected, but that’s half the fun. 

inspriation
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critter inspiration

One thing I’ve learned: Surprise keeps the freshness of creativity alive. 

Today, think of something you’d love to try, but haven’t. Gather the materials, take a class or watch some YouTube videos for inspiration. Then try your own. 

The more you’re used to making things, the easier it is to get started and follow through. 

To stay inspired it’s important to show up in the studio every day.

Even if you can only devote 15 minutes a day, that is enough to keep that creative muscle strong and ready for action.

I know I can go back to my painting and my mosaics whenever I want, but trying new things spark ideas.  I get tickled by possibilities. 

We’re heading toward another weekend. If you had 15 minutes to spare for creativity, what would you do? 

Do it, and you might find yourself inspired enough to keep going… 

To find Ann Wood’s sewing patterns, go HERE.

I have found that people really like my goddess / spirit doll faces. You can check them out in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great weekend!

Love, Maria

For more inspiration, check out my previous post on how to make a spirit box with an old Altoids tin HERE. 

Spirit box tutorial

Spirit box tutorial with pictures is here!  If you have followed my blog or posts on Facebook, you know that I don’t like to stay with one art medium for long.  I guess I’m half a crafts’ person / art journaler, and half painter.

Mood decides which side wins any given day.

Inspired by mixed media artist Lyn Belisle, I made these Spirit boxes. She wrote a how-to article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors a few years back and I saved said article to experiment with later. Here are my experiments. I made two boxes.

You might have seen my angel shrines described in some earlier posts. I had a couple of left over molded faces from that project and decided to use them for the Spirit box dolls.

First I cut out two pieces of heavy cardboard, 4×3.5″ and glued them together like a “cross.” I covered them with scrap-book paper.

The face is really too small for this. I should have used a smaller cardboard base.  But, I decided I would make it look narrower with some vertical stripes.  I didn’t get a picture of that exact process, but you can see the result in the finished picture.

spirit box
spirit box

I like to use twigs as a natural element to add dimension. I have some very tough branches in my backyard, and I don’t know the name of the tree, but you need to find tough dry twigs to use or they might break. I suppose you could use green twigs, but I haven’t tried that.

Hook and Eye, but only the eye…

I used a random metal eye to wrap with copper around the twig. I added a bead for some sparkle on the main focus point.

I made a cardboard halo and painted it gold. The second halo is a scrap-book cut-out of a clock face.

spirit box
spirit box

Spirit box
Spirit box

I chose random scrap-book papers and wrapping paper. I used hand-dyed strips of fabric and hemp string to make the parts dangling off the metal eye.

Hair and head are attached here with a large glob of glue. I used eyelash yarn in two colors, green and purple.

spirit box
spirit box

spirit box
spirit box

Where is the box part?

I gessoed an empty Altoids(tm) tin and inserted a metal wire, using an awl to punch two holes on the bottom end of the tin. See picture. The doll will be glued to the lid for unhindered access to the box.

You can glue a piece of paper to the bottom of the tin (that will face the wall when hanging.) Optional.

spirit box

spirit boxspirit box

I added more dangly stuff to the metal eye, buttons on hemp string in two colors, a prayer box charm.

spirit doll

Everything is glued on securely.  I believe in heavy application of glue… 🙂 Speaking of glue, below is a picture of the attached tin to the back of the doll.  As you can see, the lid is glued to the back. I added scrap-book paper to cover up any paper gaps on the back of the doll itself.

spirit doll

Doll number two.

I used various papers and strips I cut to fashion the “clothing” for this doll.

spirit doll
spirit doll

All my materials covered every inch of my work table.

spirit doll
spirit doll

spirit doll
spirit doll

Now make your own. It’s easier than you think. Use whatever materials you have on hand. You could use a thrift store doll face. Great gift idea, and you can put some special treasure in the box for the recipient to find.

I have some doll faces (more elaborate than these) for sale in my etsy shop. They are meant to be used in doll assembly, but would work as talismans or ornaments too. Check them out in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY.

Free shipping, yay!

You can find Lyn Belisle’s website HERE.  She has so much inspiration to share! I love her spirit dolls.

You can also join my NEW Facebook group for more sharing: HeART Inspiration.

Practice never makes perfect

Practice never makes perfect is true in some sense, though I believe that practice makes perfect if, say, you’re learning a new language. The art practice never ends. Some say that if you can paint something hyper-realistic you might call it perfect, but I bet the artist still strives for even more perfection.

Truth is, why strive for perfection in the first place? Artists want to get better at their techniques, of course. They want to execute their craft better for more personal satisfaction.

But what if you just want to express yourself, not perfecting the craft of painting perfect landscapes or faces?

Everyone can express themselves.  It only takes a willingness to try.

Trying involves getting some materials, like an art journal or old book that you can alter (use as an art journal.) Buy a few acrylic (fast-drying) paints in colors you love, get some glue or medium, a few brushes, some markers, and a bunch of old magazines.

You can paint a background with a couple of your paints, anything goes. Draw stick figures, paint them, cut out images from magazines, words that speak to you. Add more paint and writing if necessary. Add stuff until you feel it’s right, if not perfect.

Then you practice to let go. It’s good enough!

It’s a great way to see in color what is important to you in life, and art!

What it actually takes is to do it, no excuses.

Carve out some time for creativity. Explore who you are, your wishes and dreams. Expressing in art is an age-old practice.

practice does not make perfect
practice

Art journaling can be challenging, but no one has to see your pages unless you want to share them.

Even if you hate the pages, at some point you’ll hit on a symbol or mixture of symbols you love and that will inspire you to continue making more pages. You’ll collect more stuff to add to your spreads, a bit at a time.

practice does not make perfect
practice

practice does not make perfect
practice

I keep making art because I feel a need for it.  Maybe you won’t feel a need unless you really keep doing it, as with  exercise.  I can’t speak for you, but making art gives me a special kind of satisfaction, a feeling that it’s important.

I made a YouTube video of the first spread I made (above). You can watch it here to get inspired (hopefully.)

Without my art, my life seems to lack something. I go into my studio with anticipation and leave it feeling, oh well, many feelings, among them happiness, frustration, annoyance, challenged, inspired, accomplished. Every day is different.

I have more how-to videos on YouTube. They will help you explore your own creativity.

I have also made some more art journals for sale in my etsy shop. They will help if you fear the “blank white page.”  ETSY SHOP.

Have a creative weekend, folks!

Here are a couple of blog posts about facing your fear and lack of motivation.

The Dog Ate My Motivation

Fear Holding You Back?

xo

Maria

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.