Ep 49 - Maria Over - Nurturing Creativity through Daily Routine

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In this podcast conversation, we delve into the fascinating world of Maria Over, an artist, children's book illustrator, and creative spirit based in Munich, Germany. Maria shares her insights on managing her wild creative spirit while producing art commercially, building a supportive global community of like-minded artists, and nurturing her creativity through a daily morning routine. We'll also explore her impressive list of illustration clients (Random House, eeBoo, Ravensburger Puzzles, Joanne’s Stores, American Greetings, Calypso Cards, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Deutsche Telekom, Comedy Central, MTV, Audubon Society, Giorgio Armani, Verizon, Weleda) her artistic journey, and much more.


Balancing Wild Creativity and Commercial Art
Maria effectively manages the delicate balance between her untamed creative spirit and the demands of producing commercial art. She allows her creativity to explore freely but adapts it to meet client-specific requirements when needed.

Building a Global Artistic Community
Maria has cultivated a strong global community of like-minded artists through online platforms. This community provides mutual support, feedback, and inspiration, contributing significantly to her artistic growth.

Daily Morning Routine for Creativity
Maria's daily morning routine involves starting her day with a sketchbook and coffee. This ritual helps her stay connected to her creative spirit and sets a positive tone for her day.

Embracing Unique Creative Spirit
Throughout the conversation, Maria emphasizes the importance of embracing one's unique creative spirit. She encourages artists to recognize that art is not just about technique but also about letting their creativity roam freely.

Inspiration for Aspiring Artists
Maria's journey to artistic success serves as an inspiring example for aspiring artists. Her story reminds others to tap into their creative potential and approach art with playfulness and passion.

Managing Creativity and Commercial Art

Maria has mastered the delicate balance between her wild creative spirit and the demands of producing commercial art. She recognizes that her creativity is like a wild horse that needs to be tamed, but not completely controlled. Maria's approach is to let her creativity roam freely, allowing it to explore new ideas and unconventional techniques. However, when it comes to producing art for clients, she knows how to rein in her creativity and adapt it to meet their specific needs.

Building a Supportive Global Community

One of the keys to Maria's artistic success is her ability to build a supportive global community of like-minded artists. Through social media platforms and online forums, Maria has connected with artists from all over the world who share her passion for creativity. They provide each other with valuable feedback, support, and inspiration. Maria believes that having a strong community of fellow artists is essential for personal and artistic growth.

Nurturing Creativity Through a Daily Morning Routine

Another aspect of Maria's journey to artistic success is her commitment to nurturing her creativity through a daily morning routine. Every morning, Maria starts her day with a cup of coffee and a sketchbook. She spends a few minutes creating whatever comes to mind, allowing her creativity to flow freely. This morning ritual helps her set the tone for the rest of the day and ensures that she stays connected to her creative spirit.

Throughout our conversation, Maria's passion for art and her playful approach to creativity shines through. She reminds us that art is not just about technique and skill, but also about embracing our unique creative spirit. Maria's journey to artistic success is an inspiration to all aspiring artists who want to unleash their own creative potential.



Kate Shepherd: I'm really happy to meet you.

Track 1: Thank you for having me.

Kate Shepherd: Maybe you could tell us a little bit about yourself your work.

Track 1: I am a Maria. I live in Munich, Germany, but I'm originally Dutch and Greek I call myself an artisan illustrator and I think I'm a little bit of both. I think it's just what people understand when they see my work. I've come from an art background, like a fine art background.

I used to paint and sculpt and I went to art school and got an MA in fine arts. , I was in the us I was in New York City and I had to get a job to. Be able to stay there. Nobody ever told me about an artist visa, so I got a work.

visa and started as a web designer, and it was a late nineties, so that was really the thing to do back then.

You know, I was very impressed by everything digital art could do and the newness of it all, I got a couple of jobs in big agencies. I worked for all kinds of big name, companies, and I loved that for a while. It was very exciting and very fun. lots of partying and taking in New York City and all of the life that it has, you know. And then I moved back to Germany, I kind of lost this joy in working on computers and looking at screens the whole time. It was also a different work environment, less fun and more serious, And, I got, I got kicked out of a job, basically which was first a little scary, you know, when they told me, they were like, oh, I guess we don't really combine. and then I was like, hold on a minute. If I have a few weeks of rent, I can pay, I could also just do my own thing. So I took this as an invitation to start a jewelry line because it had been in the back of my head and I. Really wanted to work with my hands again. So I did that for a few years. I built that up. the jewelry still exists, but it's kind of taken a bit of a backseat now. a few years ago, I circled back to illustrating or to painting again. And first it was really terrible. It was really hard because I was like, oh, whatever was on paper did not look like what was in my head. You know, it's the usual conflict that we always have.

But then I kept

on going and going and going, and I knew there was something I needed to express and really get out. I started by painting on shop windows because I had all these jewelry clients in the shops that had my jewelry, and I just went onto them and asked them, could I maybe decorate your window? make it pretty for spring or for some theme. And everybody was like, yeah, go ahead Maria. Just do whatever you want to So that was really my entry into it, And I think from that just kind of came other things, like I got into children's book illustration and editorial illustration, all kinds of things from there. And now I would say that I mostly watercolor,

I. And I work for all kinds of clients in publishing, and I do jigsaw puzzles. I do lots of, um, surface design, I guess, you know, pattern and licensing and all these things. But I'm also very, very interested in keeping my own work going

and, um, really express myself through all of it.

Kate Shepherd: It seems like that's a really common intersection. A lot of us find ourselves at right. Like we. Find this wild, creative voice inside of us, and it begins to come to life and then we follow it for a little while and it actually takes us places. we start to enjoy some success. Through expressing that and creating from that place. And then it can even become sort of a commercial thing or a business thing. And then we suddenly have to balance. Those two things, you know, the sort of commerciality of our work and the raw pureness of it. I mean, you've worked with some really huge clients like random house and American greetings And the Audubon society. i'm curious how you have managed to strike a balance between your raw creativity and producing art commercially

Track 1: I think I'm quite stubborn about it. I dunno if there's a


way to say that?

but, um, I. I have managed for some reason to, I think it's maybe posting on Instagram a lot and just posting without any, you know, any scheme or any looking at success or numbers or anything. I just post because I really want to share.

I wanna say, look what I've done, and people actually respond to it and it's so nice to just talk back and forth. And I found a really wonderful community. You know, it's really nice when you post something and something really comes back and so I, I think I kept on posting and I kept on working on my own works because often you can also not talk about your book for a year or something. So, Um, in the meantime, of course I'm always busy doing 50 other things, which maybe I shouldn't be doing, but I am because I'm just driven to, you know, get these things out. And I think they're often like long-term projects and I have to kind of sprinkle

short-term projects in my own work in between that to stay alive really mentally and with my heart.

since last year


noticed. a point that where I was really being hired

to do paint work for the things I I'd been doing for fun, you know, for myself. And that's a really magical moment when you think like, wow, I love to paint birds. suddenly


come up to me and go like

could you please paint birds for us? And so I think just by . Keeping on going with my own work. I think it's kind of reflecting back on me now

people feel the authenticity with it because it really comes straight from me and from what I, what's important to me.

Kate Shepherd: If we're really going to devote ourselves to living a life. Fueled by creativity immersed in creativity and where we began to sort of trust creativity to guide us. A really key part of that is people. And I find sometimes it's actually hard To like those people don't necessarily all live on my street. How have you navigated finding your people in the world

Track 1: they're not in Munich. I have to say . There's some really nice people that are here. mostly I think I've connected to people who have maybe looked a little outside of their own community or their own . Little bubble and they've connected to different people or maybe they've moved a lot in their lives like I have.

They understand different cultures or different backgrounds, like maybe some have been artists like me and then moved on to doing commercial work, but they kind of understand both sides. and I think it's mostly an online community. Like I do connect with people. I have friends that I. Chat with on Zoom, like we have biweekly meetings.

We chat every day on, on WhatsApp and we give each other feedback. We, we hold each other accountable for our goals and really what we want to do and what's important to us. We help each other when we are down, when we are up, you know, it's, it's really sweet it's this feeling that you have about some people, that some people are just kind of dear to you and they feel you have a good feeling about them and that you're kind of on the same path.

you start a group, like book group, you know, or something, and maybe that's not even something that gets you very far, that gives you very much, but something happens out of it that leads to the next and leads to the next and the next.


Tell me a little bit about your studio. I'm always very curious about other artists and their process. For me, I have to have my stuff with me all the time. It has to be close at hand. Otherwise I forget about it and I lose the routine. And so my house. My art supplies are. All over the place, they kind of take over the dining room table and. They're on the kitchen counters and there's stacks of paints and. Jars with paintbrushes stuck in them. And it really is kind of taken over my home. And sometimes I feel a little bit. Bad about that. Cause it. It's a big mess. It's a big, messy mess of chaos. And. Do you, have you managed to contain your studio or. How does that look for you

Track 1: It's everywhere. No, it's really, it's. I work from home and I have to say I'm a single mom, and it's just been the most practical thing to do. When my kids were little, now they're like 10 and 13, so it's not that hard anymore, but when they were little, I mean, it was this thing working while they're napping and ,

so I have, I have a table that I call my computer table. I have my Mac there and I work on digital stuff. And then I have my painting table and it's all in the living room. And the rest of the living room is pretty much taken up my stuff. I have a closet full of fabric and lots of stuff on the walls, and I brainstorm basically.

Put everything up on the wall. And then, I have lots of samples all over the place, . And then I have a little, um, place, it's called a Logia. I don't know what, it's kind of a, a windowed, um, little teeny tiny room. But I do my, I make my jewelry in there and it's right next to the bedroom. So that's my other little space.

You know, I have decided that I need to see things in front of me. I need to really have them visually around me to be inspired. I need to see my paints. I need to see my colors in my jewelry. I need to see all the beads and the little stones, and. You know, if something has gone, it's just gone out of my mind.

It's going to get layered over by 20 other projects. So I like to really have things lying around and sometimes I do get a bit embarrassed because when I have, you know, friends who have really stylish art coming over, I'm like, oops. Um, well . But I love it like that. I mean, I've come to terms with it, I And pretty much my kids, I think, are used to it being a creative place and you know that I'm just kind of everywhere and they can be everywhere and it's just, yeah, it's a place to create and to be happy

Kate Shepherd: Are there specific routines or rituals maybe even that you do every day that you've come to find really support your creativity.

Track 1: I don't know what you would call a ritual, really, but I've come to the realization that even though I'm not a morning person by the minute the kids are out of the house, like I sit down with my coffee and I have all the energy in the world because I'm free. I. You know, they're out and I have, if it's good, if I have no appointments, I have eight hours of work ahead of me and I cannot wait to dive in.

So I think that's my little ritual. I kind of hold onto my big mug of coffee and I get started. Often I try to really make a list the night before. I try to be a little structured, you know, and just make priorities. even if I have a really strict deadline, like I try to make at least an hour or two time in the morning when I feel the best to play.

Maybe it's my sketchbook, maybe it's a watercolor pad, just anything, you know, it takes priority.

a lot of us. Do the opposite, sort of, we feel like play isn't as important as like getting the, the, the to-do list done, or the thing like, I'll let myself play after I get those things done.

What made you make that decision?

Track 1: I realize that I tense up a lot. I get so unhappy having to finish something and sometimes it's, you know, days and weeks without a break and it's really tense and it's just a lot. And I feel like if I just have little escapes in the middle, I just feel so much better. It's like a release and then I can go back to my work and continue.

And I feel like even if you. Think you're losing in parentheses one or two hours, you're really not losing them. You're kind of giving yourself energy to go on with the big project.,

Kate Shepherd: I say often that creativity is the intelligence that's animating the entire universe, so I feel like.

It's the same thing that tells a little carrot seed when to open and how to open, and then what to do next, and how to make the sprout, and then how to grow the carrot. Like all of that is contained within this tiny impossible, like it's impossible that it's all contained in that little seed. That intelligence, I believe, with all my heart is.

Is the intelligence that's animating everything. It's what's keeping this computer running or not. it's, it's the thing that wants to write a poem through you. , it's, it is what creativity is.

And, and that, and then the other thing I say is that humanity's glitching, because we've become woefully disconnected from. That intelligence, we're scared that it won't be considered acceptable. We want people to like us. We don't really trust our own voices. We were, some of us were told directly, you don't have anything useful to say.

You should just be quiet. You know, there, I mean, there's so many things that we've done to silence that voice. And then I think of creativity as a channel. And we're a channel for letting that out. And some of us had our channels kind of severed more than others.

And how, how has your relationship, has it always been easy for you to let it out or did you, was there something you had to learn or unlearn or let go of in order to be more creatively free?.

Track 1: I think I've been relatively free because I've, I haven't had anything severed. Luckily, I'm, I'm very lucky to have that. Um, parents who always supported me and they were very nice. They weren't excited about me going into fine art, but when I was a kid, I was allowed to do everything and mostly I was drawing and doing all kinds of crafts

When you go to art school, , there's still this notion of what is art and what is not art. And especially in Europe, it's very like there's high art, you know, and then there'sstreet art or commercial art, and it's all kind of lower than real art, you know?

So I was imagining all of. The opportunities that were available to you living in New York beyond just what you just shared. You know, even working with big companies and the jobs and the, and I think that's kind of the dream, right? The artists always think about New York City but for those of us, you know, for the people listening to this episode right now going, okay, well I can't move to New York,

what would you want someone to know? What would you give them from your time in New York that might help them have like a surrogate experience through you?

Track 1: I think today, I mean, New York is a great experience. Many big cities are because there are pockets of people everywhere and you find your tribe and your people there. finding people that feel like home to you and that really understand you and that I think today you can find everywhere.

It may not be in your hometown, you know, and I, I haven't found them in Munich. Like I, I have dear friends here. But only one or two of them really get it, you know, . All the other ones are like friends, you know, and we talk about other stuff, but at the same time, these people who really get it may be, may be far away, but I think today we don't need the big cities anymore.

You need a good connection. You need to find those people.

Yeah, that, and for me that was one of the silver linings of the pandemic was. Getting past my need to be in person with people. 'cause I, I am a real in person. Like I connect and I'm really about energy and stuff. I even have a, I have an amazing therapist who I have, she doesn't even live in this city and I never thought that was possible before.

So I think it's true You know, it's about finding the connections and then you can use online to keep it alive. Yeah. I really love that.

Track 1: And I mean, of course it's a million times better if you meet up in real life and you know, you can hug each other and really spend time and, and talk into the night and all these things.

Kate Shepherd: I wanted to go back to the creative voice question just for a minute. I'm curious about whether there was a time, like it's very clear through looking at your work right now, that you, that you have that authentic connection with yourself and you're making from a place of joy and you're making the birds and the things that you really wanna make, and the world is reflecting back to you, yes, this is it, this is what we wanted you to be making, right?

Track 1: Yeah.

Kate Shepherd: Was there a time when you just couldn't find your voice when you couldn't, like, you had the feeling of what you wanted to come out, but it wasn't happening. Do you remember that in your.

Track 1: Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think especially in the beginning when I felt like I did want to go back to painting and to touching paper and feeling paint, but it just looked crappy. It was so bad, you know, what I was producing and I mean bad. judging myself and it, there was just such a big gap, and at the same time, I needed.

To get something out, like it was feelings I needed to get out, just some expression. And I was at the same time, very by myself with it. So there was nobody around me to like really share things or thoughts with, yeah, that was really hard in the beginning. So

So how did you do? How did you find your way? How did you let it out of you?

Track 1: a lot of online classes, And really trying to think what is important to me and keep on going, going, going, going. I mean, of course I stopped many times and I got busy doing a million other things and I had my kids and you know, There's so many things that sidetrack you, but at the same time, there's this need to just be creative because it calms you down.

It, it makes you happy. I just know that like whenever I go sit in my studio, like I just be drawn into it and be completely calm and forget about everything else in my day, and I would just come out of there happy and smiling. So that's therapy, you know?

And feeling that feeling even, even if it's just for a little while, that's just magic, you know? So I kept on chasing that.

Oh, what a beautiful thing to chase. Yeah, when I think about. Creativity as an intelligence. 'cause I really is, how I've come to think of it is that it's this, it's this alive. It's a being almost like an invisible being. That's everywhere. That's how it feels to me anyway. and when I think about. How it communicates with us.

To me it's like it gets us, it kind of hooks us in with like, Ooh, look at that pretty purple tube of paint. Or that gorgeous gemstone or that empty pad of paper and that beautiful fountain pan, like whatever it is, it kind of plants those like, come with me, little tantalizing thing. And that's how it gets us.

And then it draws us in and then it it, before we know it, we're in a flow state and we're creating this beautiful thing and we're having that therapy. I think a side effect is, Sometimes we create beautiful products from it and sometimes we don't. But the, the point is, it gets us to, but what do you think it's trying to do?

Like, it, it seems very determined to get our attention. It seems very determined to, to lure us in and tempt us and collaborate with us. if you were to give a personality to it and a voice to it, what is your take on what it's trying to do?

Maria Over: I dunno if I've ever seen it as a personality. I see it more as something that is everywhere and it kind of, it's in the air, it is in everything we do, but it's um, Something that really brings you to being you like to your core, sort of, if that makes sense. Like it's. Kind of an entryway to learning about yourself, to experience yourself, to really express things that I could not express with words.

For example, I express with images, and I haven't even reached the point where I can, where I feel completely free because I feel like very often you still have to kind of give them a shape and a form or something. But there's definitely always a core and people, I think, read whatever they want into it.

I see it as some, I, I guess what you call creativity, I almost call nature and it's like the most, um, natural thing to human beings and to all beings,

Kate Shepherd: Do you think it's got a, a mission? Do you think it's trying to achieve something and use us to do that? Because it's, cer certainly is a lot of energy goes into, into it. Like it's spending a lot of energy. what's it up to? Why does it do that?

Maria Over: I dunno if it has a mission. Um, I don't see it as a, you know, like you're saying kind of a person or being it's really coming back to who we truly are to, human beings are creative. I think that's my belief. And so many, I mean, like you're saying also we've lost this connection to creativity and, um, it's just unhealthy for us. So maybe that's what it's really trying to open doorways or open passages to being, through creativity, to becoming really your true self and.

Be happy and be content and yeah, because I think so many people search for things. So many people buy a million things and you can surround yourself with a million things. I mean, that's nothing new, but you will never really find the same joy that you find when you really get creative.

And it could be just something like cooking, gardening, getting your hands into earth. That's creativity as well. everybody has a different way and everything's valid. And like we don't do ourselves a favor by . Disconnecting and stopping ourselves. So I'm trying to really come as close as I can to finding it and getting it and being in tune with it.

on that journey to connecting with it and expressing it, there are a lot of ups and downs there's times when you're thinking, I found it, like right now I'm going through this time in my life where I feel like I've found the paintings that have been trying to get out of me my whole life.

I'm very excited about it. And then that felt very free for a couple of days. And then I've noticed that, there's a little bit of like a contraction around, trying to do it right and it's just this like up and down and I know to breathe into it and to just let it keep coming and to walk.

Like I, I've learned enough through all the cycles to not be so like err uptight about it. looking back. Yeah. Over your creative journey so far, what do you think some of the bigger ups and downs have been or the bigger challenges have been for you?

Maria Over: with being creative, you mean, or being feeling

Well, yeah, you're somebody who has, has dedicated your life to this thing, to creativity, and that's a, that's a little bit unconventional, really. Like, you know, you didn't, you don't have a job at a nine to five, you know. And there's nothing wrong with having a nine to five job. I think there are many things about it that I think would be great actually.

Sometimes I think that, um, but you've decided to live this sort of unconventional life that's led by this other sort of mysterious thing. and what have been the pitfalls, the ups and the downs of that.

Maria Over: it's an up and a down, that what you do stays with you 24 7. I. And I think to me it's a total up . But at the same time, there's of course no disconnection from stuff. You know, I work nights, I work weekends and like you really have to stop me. Um, and very often I find myself in situations where I'm like, ah, I'd rather be at home and, you know, do my stuff

So, You get a little obsessive with that, but, um, I think the downs maybe really when I stray too far. When when I did have, in my case, you know, when I did have full-time jobs because I had some sort of necessity to fill or bills to pay or, you know, situations like that, to me it was not a fulfilling thing.

Like it felt good, but I also noticed that I got bored of it really quickly. Like, you know, you learn everything. It's really exciting for a while and then you are like, okay, I've understood it. Now I can move on. And that , you know, and that doesn't really happen when you, when you find something that truly fulfills you.

Things change shape and I think when they, when there are transitions, that's really hard because it's scary and you don't know what's coming next. But this whole uncertainty is really part of being an artist, I think, and part of being creative. And I am trying to embrace it as much as I can and not get freaked out.

You know, this whole. Where does my rent come from? Well, I don't know, maybe sometimes I really don't know. , you know, now it's getting a little better, but you know, still I will never be rich or, you know, have my, what do you call it? Like everything secured until I'm 80. Like these are big question marks in my life.

So that's definitely a down, if you would ask somebody who thinks more rationally, but I. Have also learned in my life that I always find a way, there's always something that happens, you know, and something that, a new door that opens, and that's also being creative. Seeing that door, really knowing that something will happen.

It's, it's going to open up and finding it, you know, looking for it and finding it.

I love how you framed that, how even. The trusting that something that it's gonna work out is an act of creativity. I love, like, I love that. I think that's, I don't think I've ever looked at it that way. I think that's really beautiful. I wanted to talk to you a bit about something that I think has been a, like a challenge for you a couple of times in your creative work, which is around people kind of taking your work or just, I'm just outright, I'll just say it.

Stealing your work and using it unlawfully. Okay. Um, can you tell us a little bit about some of those experiences that you've had?

Maria Over: , it's kind of a sad subject, some people just think it's okay and have zero understanding of the work that we do as artists, and that we don't do it for fun only, but we live of it and we feed families with it, you know? And, um, it's important to respect it and.

pay for the work, you know, as you would pay for everything else. You, you kind of fight for that very often with, you know, getting paid as an artist, but also when people straight up go and steal your art. And that happened last November. And then again, I think around April this year, I went online and I have a couple of images that are doing really well on Pinterest.

, A couple of moths that I have painted, they just kind of went through the roof and got repinned and that's all nice and good and I'm happy about it. But some company in China got hold of them, erased my signature and printed them onto a million, I dunno, embroidery kits and diamond painting kits and all kinds of things.

And I. Really innocently went to Google. You know, there's a reverse search that you can do and I, I saw my image everywhere and I was so shocked, you know, like just going and seeing more and more and more. And even at, um, Kmart and Walmart, I think it was like big companies and like some big European chains as well.

And, It, it was kind of like a virus, you know, where you felt like this is just going from one to the next and it's jumping quicker than you could ever even stop it. So it was really very, very disheartening and I didn't even quite realize it at the time, you know, because I, I had this for a day or two and I was completely.

Exhausted and trying to write emails to people. I reached out to lawyers and then I was like, no, you know what? I'm going to put this on Instagram. I'm going to, because I'd seen a few other artists that share when things are getting stolen. I was like, I, I'm going to do the same thing. And I just wrote a really honest text.

I was like, you know, I like to keep this a positive place and I really like to share beauty with the world, but this and this, and this happened and it's not right. I got so, so, so much feedback and it was wonderful because everybody really reshared it and I made sure that basically they understood that you also need to educate people.

You know, people often just out of lack of knowledge, don't understand that this is something that needs to be protected. and you know, the sad thing is I think I got rid of most of these links and everybody pulled their things back and they were like, oops, sorry. And I was like, well, it's not, somebody even said sorry for the inconvenience.

It's like, it's not an inconvenience, it's. theft, you know? And I went online I think two weeks ago when I saw another 10 pages with the same art again. So it's out there, you know, it's just being handed from one to the next to the next. And the sad thing is if you get a lawyer, like each of these shops would be about a thousand euro just for the lawyer fee.

And there's no guarantees that, you know, it'll even have an effect. So that's a depressing part about it.

It is really frustrating. If you were to get philosophical about it, and I don't, I don't have any, like, I don't know what I would think. I'm, I'm, and it's fine if you don't even know yet, but I'm always looking for the gift.

Like when a terrible thing happens to me, almost right away. I've kind of trained myself now to ask myself, okay, where's the gift in this? There's a, because there is, there's always a gift in it. So if you, if you were to get philosophical and ask yourself, okay, is there a gift in this experience? Can you, can you think of one or not yet?

Maria Over: Yeah, I think definitely. Well, I, no, I think once I got over the, the exhaustion, because really it, it kind of pulled me down. I realized that, , the this artist community and just community of people who love my work. We're really upset about it with me, that it means a lot to them and that my work actually means something to people.

That's really, you know, when you sit in your room and create, you are just in your little shell and you don't realize that. But essentially, this is what we do. We connect with people. We give them something that they want to have in their life. Like we accompany part of their life and we make it prettier, maybe more beautiful, more meaningful if in the, in the best case.

You I have decided to be a little more careful , because maybe I should be, you know, and just protect myself. But at the same time, I I don't want to lose that spirit that I have, you know? And like I want to keep on sharing and just being myself. And I think the positive.

Sharing that I'm doing and the the art that I share with people is so much stronger than, you know, these people who just deal for me.

Kate Shepherd: I don't know if you heard yourself say that, but what I heard you say was that you learned how to. Stay open and keep giving and protect yourself a little bit more at the same time. And I think that that's a beautiful lesson that so many of us need to learn. Like it isn't about shutting it down, it isn't about keeping it all to yourself or, you know, closing the door, but you can actually learn how to protect yourself a little bit more and keep your heart open

What are you most excited about right now? What's next for you? what's your most exciting project in front of you right now?

Maria Over: I just finished two jigsaw puzzles and I always love them because there's these images. My last one, I can't really show it to your listeners right now, but it's just an image that I painted and it's huge. And I got so entangled in all the details and then really living in my image.

So that was beautiful. I really enjoyed that. Um, I. Am right now. What am I doing? Well, I'm, I just finished a collection, which is really meaningful to me because I worked with a publisher to create a collection that I basically pitched to them talking about, um, You know, when you take walks, not just as a creative, but as I think many people, you take walks and you see beautiful things.

It may be a leaf, it may be a shell on the beach, or just something really teeny tiny. And when you look at it close, see how nature is just perfect. Like every little detail is just the way it should be. And it's just amazing how it can even exist like this, you know? So I like to pick up things on the side of the street and really I, my pockets are full

I always find things, you know, when you pick up a coat after the winter again and you find a little pebble that you picked up months ago, it's the most beautiful thing.

Oh my God. We're the same. We are so similar. I'll tell you.

Maria Over: We're like sisters.

You know, it's just, this is what I really wanted to convey. So I water colored little leaves and twigs and, you know, snail houses and, and shells and all kinds of little things that you find and that are basically getting a stage now, you know, there, it's kind of like a flat lay and there's going to be a whole stationary collection with them, which is really, really nice.

It's also, you know, it's, it's meaningful.

I can't wait to see that you have, can you send me an email when that's ready? I really wanna see that when it's ready.

Maria Over: Yes, it's coming out at the end of September, and the other thing I think I'm really excited about is that I, I'm trying to use all the nooks and crannies of time that I have right now to work on a few manuscripts,

I really want to write my own stories and illustrate my own books. And I have a few people, I'm talking to these about the ideas and

I've really been thinking about how the same thing that you are asking yourself, like how are people so disconnected from what their true calling is and how can we all get so sidetracked? Um, When we have decisions to make and we all think about what parents think, what society thinks, what you should be doing, you know, oh, I studied this, so I have to keep on going on that path.

So I want to make an illustrated book for adults to convey this message or like, try to ask a few questions that I think are important to ask. open the door maybe that people didn't even see before. And have them ask these questions and be like, is this really what I need to do?

Or maybe I should pivot and try to gather the courage to do something else that's more meaningful to myself and to my path, to my true path.

Kate Shepherd: Oh, well, I'll be following along to make sure that I don't miss a thing, but if the listeners wanna follow you online, what is the best place for them to, to find you online and, and follow your journey and be ready to see these things when they come out into the world?

Maria Over: the best way is either my website, it's maria over.com, or my Instagram, which is Maria over O V E R,

I'll put that all in the show notes. So if you're listening to this and you're driving the car, don't, you don't have to pull over, but, but write it down as soon as you do. 'cause you're, you, you are gonna wanna follow along because I just think the journey you're on is so wonderful and I can't wait to see what's next for you.

I have. One last question and I I ask it at the very end of every episode, it's the billboard question. So, you know, we were talking about, the thing that, that inspired the book that you just shared with us that you wanna write and what, it's the same thing that inspired this podcast, which is we have these limiting beliefs that hold us back and, if you had a billboard that.

Every single person in the world who longed to be more creative or who had that feeling of like, Hmm, this doesn't feel quite right, like, how else might I be living my life? But just felt like that kind of fulfillment or that kind of expression, or that kind of access to creativity just because of all these societal beliefs just wasn't available to them, but they were gonna read your billboard and the message that you were gonna share on that billboard was gonna get right into their heart.

What would you put on the billboard?

Maria Over: it would be something very simple like, just start . Don't think start, please start. And seriously, please, because. We, we all stop ourselves like the most talented, excellent, brilliant. People are so full of self-doubt and so full of, oh, I can't do this. And you know, once you start, once you are on your way, you keep on going and going and don't stop, you know, but it, it gets easier.

The start is the hardest part, hardest. So you don't need anybody to give you permission. You just give yourself permission. That's it.

Thank you and thank you for making time for me today. I'm so happy I got to meet you and spend this time with you. I it's been wonderful to connect with you. Yeah. Thank you.

Maria Over: Isn't that wonderful? Me too. Me too.

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