Yay! I just finished choosing the images I wanted to use for the 2019 Danita desk calendar and I am so happy!
This year I chose a series of watercolor portraits with different themes represented in their hair. Each one as unique as the month they represent, they will brighten your days all year long with their beautiful faces.
I’m still adjusting to the big change that we had to go over last year. As you know, I had to sell my house and after a huge amount of problems and situations, I moved back to my old home.
This house is old, has a lot of issues that need fixing and it’s not as nice as the one we had before, but I like it. It’s the place where I brought both my kids when they were born and when’re they took their first steps and said their first words. It’s got family history.
Unfortunately, now that I have two kids and one of them is on the brink of being a teenager and the other one an incredibly active first grader, we don’t have a lot of space. I had to give up my former studio to give each one of them a room, and I took over the living room as a makeshift studio.
That means we are still living under a lot of unpacked studio boxes, containers and who knows what else. I am missing half of my materials because I have nowhere to put them, but art calls and I need to work.
My creative brain needs to work, my bills need to be paid but I don’t have a lot of space… What to do?!?
I had to take the situation with a little humor and remembered one of my favorite books, “It’s not easy being a bunny” (Believe me… it’s not!) where he wants to be a lot of things besides a bunny.
Like P. J. Funnybunny, I said to myself… Now I want to be… A WATERCOLORIST!
And you know what? I LOVE IT!!!! I had worked on watercolors before, it’s one of my favorite mediums and I even teach an introductory online class, but I never took it as my main medium because there are so many things to work on!
But I am so glad I took this detour in life. Having to work in a little space and with limited resources has made me appreciate the magic of water and pigment doing their work even more than I used to, and letting my artistic soul take over my brushes and paints and do it’s thing. It’s magical. And loving the process has allowed me to take my time, improve and experiment even more.
I am so happy with the process that most of the pieces I have been making find homes before they are even finished. And that fils my heart with joy. As an artist, it’s one of the greatest honors.
My style is also taking a new direction. More detailed faces and different themes. They still have the same melancholic eyes and mysterious faces, it’s just a new different me. What do you think of them? Do you like them?
Children are free, and I want to learn from that freedom!
I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day! Here at home it is a very important date for many reasons, I love the colors, the hearts and all that sticky sweet aura that surrounds the day.
My kids always make us something with their hands and I love the “surprise” because they are always asking for art supplies, they hide to make the gifts and they are constantly asking for advice on how it’s going. I love it.
But what I really, really love is the creative process that kids have. It’s FREE. They draw and paint what they feel, without a care in the world. To them, art is art, and art is beautiful.
My son is still very young, you can see it on his lines and shapes, but in his lack of experience lies a beautiful secret. He knows his limitations and uses them to his advantage without knowing.
He used basic shapes and colors to paint a happy scene. With very few lines he managed to create a very happy scene where we are riding a fox. And if you pay attention, you’ll see that each figure is very distinctive and representative. Very short hair for Mr. Danita, Long hair for me. He’s the one in blue in the bottom, and he’s riding an cupid’s arrow piercing a heart.
I fell in love with the simplicity of this drawing, and how in his naivety, he create a beautiful piece of expressive abstract art.
My daughter is older, almost a tween now, and she is obsessed with Japanese manga and chibi. She is now exploring different media and recently picked up watercolors thanks to a gift from one of my best friends.
She decided to make a fox family for us, and I loved to see her explore the material without a care in the world on how expensive it is, or if the paper will be ruined if she makes a mistake.
The red spot on the fox’s cheek was a paint spill, but she thought quick and turned into an ice cream smear, and then she drew an ice cream on it’s hand.And there’s a lot to learn from these two simple artworks. The freedom they were made with. The lines and themes flow with ease. It takes years of practice to regain that freedom and naivety as an artist, and it was very interesting to see them come to it naturally.
I started thinking, how can I learn to be free? And the answer was lying right on my face. My sketchbooks. I started looking and I realized that I can do it without noticing.
When I am doodling ideas for my next piece, I draw on sketchbooks and I really don’t care too much about them or the materials I use. I just lay done the ideas as they come and the result, like the ones you see here, are free, naive and fun.
I’m at a crossroad here, because my painting is getting more and more complex and detailed, and I’m wondering how to keep that childlike creative process while my paintings become more and more detailed and realistic.
Maybe I’m going to reach a compromise. My dolls and some of my paintings will remain naive and child like, while I ask my inner child to remind me of her freedom while I sharpen my skills and paint in a new direction.
I’ll show you very soon how it goes, because I am working on a painting that will need both, Danita the serious artist and little Danita the naive child.
Finally, I am able to sit down and paint on a makeshift studio.
hope you had a good weekend and you had a great time if you are a Football fan. I’m not a fan myself and we used the time to try to clear out the clutter and make the house a little bit more livable.
When we had to move everything, I mean EVERYTHING was packed and crammed into boxes and containers, and the studio takes a humongous amount of space. Finally, this weekend we managed to unpack a TV and a couch. You can see it in the back before we unwrapped the couch to have a place to sit in. We have been living without a TV for who knows when. Weird.
I managed to complete your super generous orders (Finally, down to the last packages of the 200+ orders!) in a very very tiny space. Fishing some of the originals that got boxed is a challenge. My deepest apologies for the delays, It’s really inexcusable but the circumstances were extraordinary but I really thank you for your understanding. From the bottom of my heart. Now the last packages should arrive by the end of the week.
Still, in the midst of the chaos, I managed to create a few things. An oil painting that was half done when I left and now a royal princess has come to existence on a beautiful background.
And a few small watercolors on paper because that’s all I have space for right now. It’s really, really tight and I have to move around carts to sit down, then surround myself again when I sit to work so I can reach for the materials. It’s comical actually because now it looks like I build an art supply fort when I work and I have walls made out of paint tubes and a watercolor moat.
I have to pull the carts, move my chair, pull the carts back in and then surround myself with them again. It’s definitively a challenge!
But the show (and the art!) must go on. I am now seeing this as nothing but a bump in the road in life and I will welcome the challenge. After this, I am coming stronger, wiser and a better artist, you’ll see. Well… Enough rambling. Would you like to see what I have been up to? Here they are!
All of them are original Danita watercolors, they measure 5 x 7 Inches on thick watercolor paper. Just click on each painting and it will take you to the link on my online gallery and shop for you to adopt them.
Some say that inspiration cannot be beckoned, it’s sacred and you have to wait for it come to you, and always ready to read the subtle signs that will tell you when it arrives. I have proof of that now.
I had been totally dry of ideas and I had this girl on my desk, waiting for inspiration to arrive, but to no avail. I kept on sketching on her, but none of my ideas really convinced me.
My last sketch turned out to be some kind of wings on her back, maybe butterfly wings, but I was not really sure what I wanted her to be.
I got frustrated, so I got up from my table and got out of the studio earlier than usual to pick up my kids from school. Maybe a walk could help me gather my ideas.
And just like that, I found it, right on my doorstep. It was a beautiful butterfly, flapping it’s wings on the sidewalk. It looked like it was hurt and trying to fly again but was not succeeding.
I thought about it and I carefully picked it up and took it inside. Maybe she just needed some water and food and she will be ready to fly again.
I put it in a box so it would not get hurt with a little sugary water in a bottle cap, and set out to pick up my kids from school.
I showed the butterfly to my kids and they took turns looking after it, they love animals and they were fascinated with it. My son took his art supplies and started sketching it, and my Daughter took a magnifying glass to study it while it was in the box.
What they didn’t know, and I really had no heart to tell them, was that the butterfly was not doing that good. It looked like it was her last day.
Next day I went to the box to see how it was doing, and as I expected, it didn’t make it.
And it got me thinking, it was alive one moment and the next, it was gone. Poof, just like that. After that, a tidal wave of thoughts and emotions flashed trough and I knew what to do.
I did art. It’s the best way I have to explain all my emotions and ideas and pour them out to the world. I painted the same butterfly wings on the girl I was working with, and I knew it was the right thing for her.
I had been depressed lately, with this feeling of uncertainty about my future as an artist and wondering if I really should continue this path or not.
After seeing this fragile creature hang on and bringing beauty to the world until it’s very last day, I knew I could not give up.
I painted that uncertainty I was feeling on the girl’s face. She is pondering about the future and knows she is fragile, but she is also beautiful.
She stands strong, because she knows that while she exists, there are things to do, places to explore, art to make.
even if you did not know her story, she is still a powerful image. I love the way she is standing, ready to take flight and explore the world.
and now that you know her back story, I think it becomes a much more intimate image. One that speaks of my hidden fears and how I overcome them day by day.
And of course, you know me. Once I start, I cannot stop, so I kept on painting all my feeling and emotions onto canvas until I ended up with a beautiful series of new paintings.
Some of them have my recurring themes, like the obsession I have for twins. You know, two minds, one body. I find the idea so fascinating.
I love the face on this girl, defiant yet gentle and sweet. I like to think that she is my self portrait.
Then I was thinking of the blue fairy from Pinocchio and the movie AI, and the beautiful butterflies I saw in Costa Rica, and I made a blue butterfly.
And last, a girl with a chrysalis on her back. She is waiting for the change that will come. She is not sure when or where it will happen, but she knows it will be one day. It’s a matter of waiting.This was a very emotional series for me, finding that butterfly really got me thinking if this was just a strange coincidence, or if there’s something looking after me and sending subtle messages and letting me know I should keep on making the world a beautiful place.
What do you think? Let me know on the comments section!
Working with the Drawlloween challenge has been A LOT of fun. I got to experiment with new ideas and themes, and my ghoul even got me on the creature feature for that day, as well as the WHAT IN THE WORLD IS SHE DOING???? section of a lot of people, and got everyone wondering where my art is going.
And you know… I don’t know! I have a dark side that I’m starting to explore with new materials, techniques and new ideas… But I can only draw with a pencil, a brush and one color for so long.
So, I got my colorful watercolors out of the box, and started out with my usual style for the last Halloween stretch before I put Darknita back to sleep in her coffin for the year.
And here they are! Silly and whimsical creatures of the night with beautiful eyes, sorrowful expressions and the tiniest hint of that little something that makes them so special.
I was reorganizing the studio looking for materials to start making new art dolls, and then I found a box full of kokeshi doll bodies I forgot about. So, what did I do? Fridas!
I made a pair of super cute kokeshi dolls as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the famous artistic couple. Frida is a source of inspiration for me, and since I recently visited their homes in Mexico city, a homage to them was in order.
The original set sold immediately, and I got requests for more sets of these adorable handmade kokeshi art dolls. So, here they are. I still have a few unpainted bodies to share with you.Let’s go from unfinished bodies to a beautiful set of hand painted kokeshi art dolls, customized with your favorite colors to match your personality and decoration. What do you say? Will you get a set for you?
But I did not stop there… and I really don’t think I can make them any smaller than this.
In the box I found the original kokeshi bodies I found a few sets of tiny kokeshi doll bodies! I was on a roll and I took my finest brushes to make a few sets of micro Frida and Diego sets.
They measure just a little less than one inch tall (2.5cm), and they are adorable! If you like tiny things (I do!) you are going to love them… just see how huge a regular pencil looks next to them. It looks like I have a giant pencil laying around the studio.
The sets are only $35.00 each and I only have 4 of them. If you are interested, better head to my shop and choose your favorite!
I also made a painting too! A commissioned Frida with a house in her hands.
I had this commission almost finished when I made the dolls, so it felt like cheating when I added it to the newsletter… but then she is so beautiful it’s hard to resist not sharing her, right?