Tag Archives: motivation

Every painting is a leap of faith.

Every painting is a new challenge. It can be scary to engage.

If you want to go deeper into your art, you have to attend to your feelings. What do you feel? All that energy can be fodder for your creativity. Say it in colors!

How deep do you want to go? When we allow our deepest emotions to stir to the surface and acknowledge them, we’re making a big leap forward (unless we push them back down.) You can make a pretty picture or a raw one.

When you see raw art, you pause. You might not like the rendition, but something speaks to you beyond the slashes of paint. It’s a remembrance. It reminds you of your own most profound hidden stuff, the wounded side we don’t want to look at. It doesn’t have to be dark and dreary, just direct and arresting.

Art is an excellent therapy if you’re willing to dive into the depths.
What comes out is raw and innocent.
Maybe you will paint a child-like picture of sunshine and smiley faces or perhaps slashes of dark colors.

If you don’t want to feel, paint safe projects. Make pretty pictures. That is okay as well. We all need brightness.

If you’re going to touch someone’s soul, you have to bare your own.
It’s all in the process, moving forward. It might take years to be vulnerable, but you grow your confidence to use your paints as a conduit. That is always a growth in itself.
What comes up in daily life is fodder for growth as an artist.

When you dive deep is when the wild side takes over and brings you into the “cauldron” of transformation. The answers to your questions then appear in your paintings. Honesty is the most important aspect of showing up to create.

When you feel short of honesty, you choose “pretty and safe.” I do it; we all do it, but there is always a longing to discover more depth.
I don’t know, is it only me?

Do you ask the paint what it wants to do? Do you ask it where it wants to go?
Do you invite the canvas to accept the paint?
I always feel into those things, but sometimes I cop out in the middle and choose the easy way through the project.

It’s the “instant gratification syndrome” rearing its head. I want to see the art finished, but I know that’s not what the canvas wanted. It’s hard to be patient and put the painting away for another day. The risk is that you’ll never go back to it. That happened with this painting recently. I don’t know what she wants, but I’m waiting to hear.

unfinished painting

I have several unfinished paintings and some that I paint over. At the time of their creation, they bloomed, deformed maybe, but expressed their gift. So, they offered their gift and then turned into a memory, possibly harshly judged as poor art.

Can we allow art to be what it wants to be?
Yes, for me anyway. I don’t always like it, but the breakthroughs are worth all the pain of waiting, the frustration of walking down blind alleys, and poor concentration.

How do you allow this process?

You have to sit with the discomfort and allow the frustration.
Be in partnership with your art making. Treat it with respect as you would a good friend.
There is no need to conquer or perform.
It’s okay to take baby steps.
It’s okay to slash paint all over the canvas without thought.
It’s okay to be angry, but what is that all about? Ask your anger. It has a strong message for you that can propel you forward.


Stick with the practice, set a time when you will enter the studio, and show your respect by showing up.
Art is a living being, a force of magic and brilliance. You want to dance with it, don’t you?
Art will grow you as a person; it promotes change. It can be subtle, but it’s there.

It can be a wild beast or tame as a kitten. In the long run, it never lets you down! Make art your best friend.

If you missed the art self-care boost during the first week of February, you can check out the first video on YouTube HERE. There are five in a row, marked with numbers.
It will give you a boost toward continual art marking. You can also join my creative group on Facebook.
Looking for some affordable art journaling e-courses, I have a few evergreen ones HERE.

Lots of love,

Maria

Resistance–we all feel it

Resistance is more than the brave people who worked during WWII to defeat the Nazis.  I’m talking about resistance, the Nazi within.  We all have it, and I think creative people have many close encounters with the beast, probably once a day or so.

As an artist, I walk into the studio every day with the hope of being productive and inspired.  Many times I walk in there with the need of coffee or some other stimulant to keep myself alert.

Truth is, energy is available in vast abundance.

Resistance shows up in many ways:

Don’t try these new paints, they won’t work well.

Don’t repaint that old picture.

Cleaning your fridge would be a more effective use of time…

The studio is too dirty to work in, clean it!

Painting is an iffy proposition–at all times.

Don’t waste the paint on that old painting.

You;re too tired to paint…

It goes on and on. Why is it that so many excuses pop up when we’re about to do something that we actually enjoy.  It’s like starting over every day.

Maybe creativity is that way.  What will show up on the canvas is uncertain, so why even try?  Every new day is a challenge.

Should I use my time better, do something that needs to be done (chore) or do I stick with the plan?

Since I made the agreement to stick with my art years ago, it has become simple to stay in the studio, but Resistance will show up in sneaky ways, holding hand with its cousin Excuses.

It’s never easy.

But what worthy endeavor is?

It’s also hard to be self motivated. We learn early on to follow orders, never questioning their importance.

Taking charge of your life and actually DOING something you love on a greater scale can be scary.

Flying without a safety net.

For many, that is a nightmare.

It is the trickster within that builds things out of proportion and say you can’t have a life that is outside the norm.

Let’s say the trickster is the ultimate expert, the father of resistance and excuses.

When you recognize these guys, just laugh.

You have enough confidence in yourself to know you’re being tricked.

A solid commitment to the art, or craft, is a must. If we haven’t made the DECISION to make art no matter what, we don’t have a strong foundation.

A strong commitment and habits to produce will strong-arm those negative voices aside.  It’s really important to nurture the commitment. With time it becomes very strong.

Every painting is a risk of failure, but what isn’t?

It’s worth a try.  When inspiration seems to be absent, spread some paint on a canvas anyway. It could become a good foundation for a masterpiece.

Practice allows the door to open up and magic step in.

It’s a special joy to see the process through, and the rewards can be great. You never know on any given day.

Another post that might inspire you when the negative voices are loud: My inner critic on rampage.

Another post: Who is in charge?

I’m working on this goddess painting. It will need some tweaking, but it was a great process of seeing her emerge from the chaotic background.

resistance

I don’t know what will appear today on the next canvas. Time to find out!

Have a great creative weekend!

xo

Maria

P.S.  I have lots of goodies in my etsy shop, Earth and Faery. Check it out. 🙂

 

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.

 

 

 

Mortifying memories

Mortifying memories remain very vivid in my mind. Isn’t it funny how we remember the “bad” things more than the good?

It’s about 90 degrees here today and I’m sitting at my computer sweating. It brought me back to some memories of snow. Let me tell you a funny story.

I grew up in Sweden and it was plenty cold, dark, and snowy for maaany months of the year. Think same latitude as Alaska.

Skiing was something everyone did in the winter. Sometimes the snow glistened like diamonds with a soft layer over packed snow. Perfect skiing surface, and gorgeous to boot.

Around age of sixteen I got interested in slalom. I was never into taking classes at the time, but I went with a friend’s family to ski a mountain.

It started out with my dad buying mountain skis that were too long for effective use. The downhill boots hurt my ankles, but being young and strong, I endured.

The first time I went up a ski lift I fell off as I tried to get on it. My pants ripped in the ass and filled with snow. A totally mortifying experience as everyone watched. My memory is a bit hazy, but I think I fell off three times before I got the hang of it.

Not only did that happen but I had to spend the whole DAY with my undies showing through the rip and being cold from wet snow.

It took a long time to get down the mountain and I fell plenty, replenishing the snow in my pants. I realized I would have to learn how to slalom if I was ever going to enjoy the downhill experience. My ass was close to frost bite that evening. To my delight, I did get the hang of the ski lift…

Needless to say, it was a trip of mixed joys…

My folks didn’t have a lot of money, so classes were out of the question, but during dark winter evenings, after school, I used to hoist my skis on my shoulder and stagger down to the local slalom hill (converted sand pits.)

There I started low to the bottom and practiced my slalom skills. No one ever showed me how, but by watching others, I got some kind of hang of it and ventured up steeper hills.

Chicken as I was, I never dared to try the highest ones but I got courageous some evenings and went down the medium hills. It was a thrill.

The ski lift there was rough. You had to hang on to a handle and the handle pulled you up on a thick wire. You needed to have your skis aligned or you’d fall off and then you had to move sideways on skis up the hill, which was tedious beyond belief.

I almost killed myself there when my scarf got rolled into the wire and as I got to the winch at the top I had to quickly untie the scarf or get strangled and mangled. (Another mortifying memory.) The scarf came out at the other end no worse for wear…

The point of this story:

  • I stuck to the routine of learning slalom, almost every night, and I was sad when the snow melted and I had to give it up.
  • I went alone every time. It showed me that I could take initiative and do things without others’ approval.
  • It was frickin’ cold but I did it anyway.
  • One time I did cross-country skiing every day to recover from a severe illness. I was fifteen and took that initiative. Sometimes slushy snow made things difficult but the skiing made me feel stronger every day.
  • Something inside me pushed me to do self-care and to grow my confidence.
  • That something has been with me all my life and urged me on. Learn more, be curious about life, always learn more. Be a student of life.

It’s always about self-care! What do you allow in your life that is not good for you? Can you quit doing it? What can you learn today? Is life an adventure or a drag? Sometimes it’s a drag, but if you have a good foundation, you can rise above and still move forward.

The point is, question your routine and see how you can make it better. Let the years get better, not like some fading lamp of old age.

For artists: Make art every day! Learn something new. Take risks. Be bold. Enjoy the process.

I had a delightful chat with artist Trisch Rosema about art journaling. My little gift to you today. 🙂 You can watch it HERE.

If you want some more motivation, read this blog post: The Dog Ate My Motivation.

Or this post: Trusting Yourself.

What pushes you to improve?

xo

Maria

A bunch of Mondays

A bunch of Mondays was something I used to say when I had a bad week. Nowadays I love Mondays. I love every day in fact, but Monday is a day full of possibilities for the week. “The world is your oyster” as they say…. or “where there is a will there’s a way.

a bunch of MondaysSquirrels don’t care if it’s Monday or Saturday. They want to eat bird seed and they don’t give up easily when the opportunity is there. They are opportunists, as are most animals when it comes to food. They see the possibilities in life.

People are like caged animals, something we created for ourselves.

Why did we divide the days into weeks in the first place? Cavemen went by the rising and setting of the sun (I surmise.)

People hate Mondays because it heralds the beginning of ANOTHER week, also called the grind.

I used to think Saturday was my favorite day of the week. I could go out shopping and meet up with friends and loved ones. There was always some party or event at night. Those were a bunch of Saturdays…

It got boring fast. I bore easily, but the one thing that never bores me is my art. Art is new every day. Sometimes it’s a struggle, but I would never exchange it for the grind.

When we do more of what we love, the days get filled with possibilities. You get a more positive outlook on life in general. bunch of Mondays

Living life from the perspective of possibilities and joy gives existence a whole new meaning.

We can break out of the cage. First, you have to discover what you really love to do. What comes easily to you? What did you want to do as a kid or teenager?

Do more of it. Sometimes it takes courage to choose a new path, but you get more brave with every step. As you keep on walking you discover that it is the only way to live.

Even if you are part of “the grind” do things that fire you up in your free time. Build dreams, see possibilities.

The inventors of the past were admired because they saw possibilities and took dedicated steps towards realizing their vision.

You don’t have to be an Edison or a Tesla to have an extraordinary life (dream.)

All you have to do is to acknowledge that you have a dream and GO FOR IT!

Monday will become the best day of the week if you do. 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some new and exiting things in my etsy shop. CHECK ‘EM OUT.

 

The dog ate my motivation

The dog ate my motivation. Good excuse, right?

We get inventive when it comes to excuses to avoid that which we REALLY want to do if we weren’t so scared.

A lack of motivation usually stems from fear. Sometimes we realize that what we have been doing isn’t working so we lose motivation.

I have been sensing a shift lately. I don’t lack discipline (but strong discipline can sometimes work against me.) A feeling that things weren’t working out has bogged me down in the last week or so.

I felt cornered. I made this art journal spread to express my feelings.

art journaling

Then I realized that I have to go back to the moment, to let my intuition guide me. So often I “push through” which is not guided by my intuition, but by my force of will.

I’m stubborn and I want things to happen NOW, not later or on a universal timeline.  As frustration sets in I have to surrender, and then I find myself back on track, motivated to step forward again.

Our body is a great indicator whether we’re “pushing” or allowing. How does if feel? Like rolling a rock up a mountain?

Water flows easily around obstacles. Be like water.

Listen to that inner urge, the subtle force that propels us forward. The turtle wins the race…

If you don’t feel motivated what can you do? If you want to make art, set aside a no-excuse time to do it and stick with it! Everyone can find 15 minutes a day.

Put your art supplies out on a table or counter somewhere. They are a reminder of what you want to do.

Find creative ways around chores and children or involve the tots in art making with you. You might inspire a future artist.

Watch art how-to videos on YouTube. I have a channel with lots of INSPIRING VIDEOS.

To get on track we have to engage with the things that inspire fear. Art is easy as you can’t go wrong! Look at is as exploration.  I’m only addressing art here, but if you have a different dream, what is holding you back?

Cultivate discipline but don’t let it consume you and your inner sense of what is right. There is a balance to everything.

Trust the sensations in your body. They are never wrong.

When you feel inspired, act! Don’t put it off.

When you don’t feel inspired, listen within and trust that everything is okay.

Make a habit of creating some art every day. It bears repeating. Make friends with your art materials. Sometimes unknown materials can be scary. Remember, your art is never wrong. Accept the ugly with the beautiful and keep going.

Stop making excuses, period. Stand “naked” with the pain of frustration and indecision. Allow the stuckness until you feel that inner “go” again.

Make some bold moves.

Don’t blame the dog! 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. I have some inspiring and affordable e-courses if you’re looking for tutorials. CLICK HERE.