Tag Archives: mixed media art

Using a stretched canvas in a creative way

Using an already stretched canvas for a different type of wall art inspired me to make this project:

The deep-edged canvas is 6×6″ and the back has a “cavity” that I used for displaying the figure.

I don’t have any pictures of the process, but it’s not hard. I covered the canvas with many layers of tissue paper that I painted and distressed with paint washes of various colors. The front is a window made from cardboard and plaster strips. I like the way the plaster makes lots of texture. I slathered on a layer of wet plaster on top and let some of the strips bleed through.

I added some tissue paper over the dried plaster and painted the front to look like the back. Then I added some positive affirmations to the sides. I formed a box inside the back of the canvas from cardboard and added tissue paper to get some texture. I then painted it with a burnt sienna wash.

The figure was the hardest part since it had to fit inside the opening. I used a styrofoam ball that I cut in half for the head and added a torso of crumpled foil. I covered the whole with epoxy clay and sculpted the hands, face, and heart. After it all dried, I painted the figure with acrylic paints.

Epoxy clay will adhere to just about anything, so it was easy to fix the parts to the main figure. I then sprayed the whole thing with glossy varnish and put a hanger on the back.

It is available in my etsy shop: Earth and Faery.

Making clay bowls

I had a bunch of air dry clay that needed to be used before it dried up, so I made some bowls or dishes. When they were dry, I painted mandalas on some and sculpted a face with wings on another. That one has some interesting vines on the back. See the pictures below.

I added a YouTube VIDEO on how I paint the mandala on the clay bowl.

A strange bird

I also made this strange bird this month…

I look back on September and conclude it was a good month even if I didn’t make as many art projects as I normally do. I’ve been trying to think outside the box and challenge my creativity. It’s exciting but also difficult.

In one project I was trying to pour resin over a picture that I had enhanced with “jewels”. It turned out that they were plastic and mostly melted making the resin turn blue. The jewels turned into flat mirror disks, and the project was ruined. Live and learn. I don’t use resin much since you can’t fix the booboos, but it’s an intriguing medium.

I wish you a very creative and happy October!! πŸ™‚

Lots of love,

April was a good and busy month

April was good though I went through a lot of changes with my art. I resisted painting my fantasy flowers even though they were fun and oh-so-colorful!

I always feel I should paint something else after painting five or six of the same motif. Do you feel that way too, or do you love to explore the same motif until you’ve excavated all that it can give you?

After these two paintings, I went in a slightly different direction:

Still flowers though, inspired by spring no doubt. Then I went in a different direction:

The still life was great fun, so I’ll explore more of that style in the future. It’s funny how art goes in various directions if you let it lead you. I feel that I’m always learning more, and that will never end.

I also had time to make some clay sculptures, which is always an effort in trial and error. This “cage” doll started out as a thrifted candleholder. It took me a while to finish, but I was happy with the result.

The one below is built around a blue agate geode. I used Apoxie Sculpt for both sculptures.

All of these items are available in my etsy shop Earth and Faery.

I also made some narrow flower paintings / collages, which was fun. I usually don’t paint tall and narrow, so it was a challenge.

We’re coming into the hot months here in Florida now, so I’ll be spending more time indoors to escape the heat. I’m pondering more art classes to add to my class site. I have two available now: How to Make a polymer clay whimsy girl, and How to Make a mosaic box with clay tiles.

You can check out those offerings HERE. I’m gathering supplies to make spirit dolls using my sculpted faces, and I’m thinking about designs. I will make several dolls in the course.

I made a simple, mostly no-sew, one a while back on YouTube that you can check out HERE.

What have you been working on lately? A day without making art is partially a wasted day in my opinion, but we do the best we can.

Lots of love and inspiration to you!

Be brave in the face of inner struggles

Be brave, “don’t listen to the inner critic” people say. It’s trite but true. No matter where you are in your artistic career, you’ll face new and daunting challenges. “I quit,” you say, “I can’t get my mojo back”. In the big scheme of things, a few days (months) of no creative urge don’t matter much.

I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003, and when I look back, it has been a pretty wild ride from then to now. The urge to paint never went away, but I went through long periods of not knowing what to paint next. My mind was blank.

In comes the doodles and the testing of art supplies! (Thank God for that.) Back in the day, I committed to making some art every day, and I have pretty much stuck with it. I get antsy if I don’t make something artsy every day.

So I’ve painted abstracts, geometrics, funky figures, florals, aborigine-inspired art, portraits, spiritual “beings”, and through it all, I’ve made clay mosaics since 2008. I still have pictures but my earliest attempts were lost in a computer crash, but here are some from 2009.

I look back at my old art and realize how different my art is now, but I suppose the vibe is more or less the same.

The artist’s journey

As stated above, when you’re an artist you journey along with your creativity. I never know where it’s going to take me next, but lately, I’ve been painting funky florals. Who knew?

It makes the artistic path exciting. I made a YouTube video on how to paint a similar floral. Check it out HERE.

I have no idea where I’m going next. My mind has been blank for quite some time, but I was painting over an old painting and realized I had the beginnings of flowers, and the rest is history as they say.

Trust

Trust that your muse has your back. As you change and deepen as a person, so will your muse take you on the next leg of your art journey. You don’t need to know a hundred miles ahead, just the next step.

When you trust that everything is as it should be, your next step will be revealed. Don’t ever quit! All you do is prevent yourself from new artistic exploration. In the beginning, I wanted to paint like Marc Chagall. That never manifested but I added a few funky chickens (roosters) like his in my art now and then. πŸ™‚

Marc Chagall painting

I get inspiration from all kinds of artists, but I feel better when I inspire myself. πŸ™‚

Keep making your art! Don’t be afraid to explore. Doodle if nothing else works. I have doodled on packing paper, deli paper, napkins, printing paper, paper towels, and junk mail. You can make your own delicious paper to use in your paintings or art journal. I made a Mark Making video for you. Check it out HERE.

If you are in the market for floral art, I have some for you in my etsy shop. πŸ™‚ Earth and Faery.

Also some nature spirits in clay, and some sewn songbird sculptures that are new. Next, I’m going to make another clay chicken! I’m almost out, and Easter is coming fast.

Happy creating, and lots of love. I’d love to hear from you.

Maria

When in a creative slump

When in a creative slump, it’s easy to panic and think that the well has dried up for good. You feel uninspired, unmotivated, moody, a lack of general energy, and you look at things negatively. The last thing you want to hear is “rise above” or “do it anyway” or “buck up, it’s not the end of the world.”

While some of those expressions are true in many ways, it’s easy to dismiss them and stay in the doldrums.

When in the dumps you can make a conscious choice to change, but it’s not easy.

So basically how you feel is a choice. I can hear arguments coming at me, but let me explain. How do you “rise above”? I personally do it by meditation to feel better, and then everything seems easier, even if it isn’t.

Practice is a great fall-back.

When you’ve been in a slump several times, you know they don’t last, so experience makes it easier to bear.

When I feel a longing to create and do it, no matter what, I feel progress even if everything came out as mud on paper.

I suppose you could call it “do it anyway.” I have written about that before, and it boils down to a habit of going to the studio and make attempts at creating every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes. You feel progress, if not satisfaction.

The thing about experiencing a slump is part of the process of being an artist. It’s as sure as the sun rising in the sky. You feel it especially hard if you’re changing your art expression by trusting that an old style no longer works.

I’ve looked at my progression of styles over the years and it’s mind-boggling how many times things have changed! I get bored easily.

I especially dislike the “buck up” version of friendly advice. Let me just wallow in my misery, okay? πŸ™‚ I guess I’d rather not admit that “bucking up” is a valid choice…

Anyway, IF YOU JUST SHOW UP, things will turn around and you’ll think you wasted a bunch of days on misery.

That said, I’ve changed a lot recently, and it shows up in my art. However, a friend of mine said, “I can always see YOU in all of your art styles.” That made me feel good as I have been worrying about changing from something that worked in the past to something new.

My clay art is much easier than painting. Check out my latest funky chicken, Elmer:

When in a slump, make a clay chicken…

And here’s Selma:

Selma, the sassy chicken

I made some mixed media art /paintings, and had a huge struggle to get past the super messy backgrounds. It was as if I threw everything single technique at them before I could see any steps forward. It was a messy slump indeed, but I gritted my teeth and moved one inch forward every day. I hated the panels!

I don’t have any process pictures, but these happy summer motifs came out of all that angst and disgust. To top it all, the art looked happy, the colors bright, full of joy. Go figure.

They are different than my previous painting expressions, but I felt good about the new direction. Who doesn’t like a happy summer day?

I also tried some wood panels, and I LOVE THEM! Painting on a hard surface is easier than canvas somehow. You have to experience it to know.

They are a mixture of messy paint, decorative papers, and in one case, scraps of lace.

The painting below ended up with loads of paper strips for hair. It was painstaking but I liked the result.

Air fairy

I have been admiring dioramas on Pinterest, and I made a couple, though I had no idea what I was doing. It was loads of fun! Something for you to try if you get into a creative slump??

The fairy in the second picture was store bought, and I created the landscape around her.

So when all else fails, try a simple collage or a diorama! Painting has been my hardest taskmaster. Crafts are more relaxing and not half as challenging. So, in conclusion, to grow we need to do more of what challenges us…

If you missed my last tutorial on funky paper dolls you can check it out HERE.

Have a great creative weekend!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. The above items are for sale in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

If you’d like to get my newsletter once a month, sign up a the top right corner under News.

Gold dust makes everything better!

Gold dust comes in many forms, but in this case, I’m referring to the stuff that comes in a plastic tube purchased at Michael’s. I don’t use it often, but I wanted something special for this latest “book” box I made this weekend.

I spread some gloss medium over the surface and sprinkled the dust while chanting “abracadabra.” (Kidding)

Too bad you can barely see the twinkles in the pictures. I tried from many angles.

gold dust sprinkles
Gold dust aside, I went for a mature setting.

There are many layers as you can see, and lots of texture.

Lately, I have been stretching my imagination to make different things, using some of my mosaic tiles, but trying other types of layers. I have a pretty extensive collection of ephemera that I gathered over the years.

It has not been easy

I struggle with new ideas all the time, and often I feel stymied, either for lack of tools, but more often fighting myself and doubting that the piece will turn out well. It’s a constant challenge to try to picture what the finished product will look like, and I have to trust the process and just do it.

I’m used to the struggle, and in that, there is a blessing. By showing up in the studio regularly, I have learned to ignore my doubts. In other words, the trust muscle keeps growing the more I show up to create.

I don’t always like what I make, but I’m kinder to myself than I used to be.

A tip for you: When you see pictures you like, cut them out and save them for later.

I’m always on the lookout for new fodder, and I keep them in storage bins from the craft store. I sometimes (always) forget what I have, so I have to rummage through every time.

Last month I made a bunch of shrines out of old Altoids tins. I have made more mosaics this month. Here are some examples:

gold dust shines on this shrine
Gold in this one too, but the style is new to me.
shrine in a wooden box
Virgin Mary shrine — small wooden box.
Shrine plaque
Virgin Mary wall plaque
Virgin Mary shrine
Virgin Mary and child shrine
Seascape dolphin wall plaque
Seascape dolphin wall plaque

Talk about being out of my comfort zone

The seascape plaque above was wholly out of my comfort zone, but I decided to do something with waves and stay with the blue/green range of color when I made it. All I had was a wooden plaque and a cutout of a dolphin.

It was a bear to cut out the polymer clay and make sure the pieces fit the heart and butted up correctly to the other waves. It came out okay, maybe a bit lame. I like to make some kind of statement with my art, but this will remain pretty and nothing else. πŸ™‚

What are you working on now? I hope you got some creativity buzz this weekend, but if you didn’t, there is always TODAY.

The struggle is real, but so is commitment. Art making is a happy addiction. It sure beats most other things, including chocolate.

All the above pieces are available in my Etsy shop, Earth and Faery.

Have a great week!

Lots of love,

Maria

P.S. If you need some more inspiration, check out the Instagram artist feeds. There are some fantastic makers out there. My username is @greeneearth if you want to connect.

If you missed my previous post on how to make one of these mixed-media “book” boxes, check this out: Magic Journal Box Tutorial.

Spirit box tutorial

Spirit box tutorial with pictures is here!Β  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.Β  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.Β  But, I decided I would make it look narrower with some vertical stripes.Β  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.Β  I believe in heavy application of glue… πŸ™‚ Speaking of glue, below is a picture of the attached tin to the back of the doll.Β  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.Β Β 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.