Category Archives: Art

Alice in wonderland, or the evolution of an Artist

I have a new, very different series of paintings that I just finished about Alice in Wonderland, and you can enjoy the whole series on my online gallery, danitaart.com. But before you go there, I’d like to share with you the story behind the new series, and I invite to read on before you see them. I promise you it will be worth it.

I’m always in motion, always trying to learn something new or do something different, but for some reason, my art started to become static. I was being content with it because it was in the comfort zone, people like it and I can get by by being an artist. There’s food on my plate, I have a roof to live in and my kids are fed and go to school. So, things were fine.

Except for one tiny little detail. They were not.

There was this stirring on my soul, asking me, no, begging for change, and it was growing louder and louder by the minute. I realized I could not pretend it was not there any more. My changing nature was calling me.

I knew a change was coming, so I started preparing myself for it. I started hoarding my art supplies and my sketchbooks, and I spent my days furiously sketching and practicing for my new adventure while I struggled to find what my soul was trying tell me it wanted to do next.

It’s not always easy to obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul, and it’s very strange to realize there are things inside you that you did not know they were there, sleeping and waiting to be awakened.

And then, there’s the fear of rejection. My anxious mind will always play tricks on me, giving me thousand scenarios on why I should not go on, that it’s better to stay in known territory than moving along and threading in uncharted waters. What if no one likes it? What if your followers abandon you because you tried something different? What if you are booed at and you will never be an artist again and you will never be able to paint and you will end up living on a wet cardboard box on a backstreet alley until you die, old and forgotten?

And I said NO to that voice. I won’t die alone and forgotten on a cardboard box in an alley. I said NO, My followers will not abandon me. I said NO, they will like it. And if they don’t there will come the ones who do. They will understand the necessity I have for change, for movement in my life. I have been standing still for too long and I refuse to continue doing that.

And armed with that new found determination and my weapons of choice, I set out on a new adventure, and Alice in Wonderland was the perfect vehicle to find a new path. Like Alice, I set out to a place where anything is possible, and together we wayfared on a new world of colors, new faces and new techniques.

One of the strangest things I discovered is how a medium you know so well suddenly can become daunting and menacing when you want to do something different to what you’ve done before. Things that are familiar to you no longer feel safe, because you are now doing things that will test your head, and your mind, and your brain, too. I felt like Alice in front of the Red Queen, demanded to explain what I was attempting to, and why.

But I kept walking on Wonderland, one step at a time, one painting at a time. Loving the journey, loving the process, the learning and the joy of seeing my ideas come to fruition at last.

You can see all the effort and love I poured into my new work, the faces are different, more alive than ever, and the pieces themselves are darker in color but still dreamy. It’s funny because when I started I ran away from earth tone like the plague, and now here I am with dreamy, old style illustrations.

I called this an evolution in the beginning, but as I’m was done with the last painting of the series, I realized this was not an evolution. It was a revolution, a change so drastic and strong that after it things will not be the same.

Alice found the mad hatter and the rabbit in the end, and on my story, she decides to stay in Wonderland and start a new story there. Just like I will.

Up close and personal with my watercolor paintings

Although everyone is welcome to drop by to my studio and say hello, I know some of my friends are very far away, so I decided to film closeups of my latest watercolor paintings so you can appreciate the beautiful details and color swirls that only watercolor can create while I paint my beautiful girls and their unique eyes.

If you’d like to see more of them, you can visit my official website, danitaart.com where you can enjoy more photos of them, and if you decide, you can adopt one and take it home.

Buy maybe, you’d like to get closer? Close enough to feel the paint in your brush and the water on the paper?

Well, you can paint with me! Join my online watercolor painting class, “In love with Frida: a Watercolor affair“, and we will learn together all my secrets about watercolor painting.

This class covers all the basic and advanced techniques in in-depth videos about paper, types of paints and how to make the best out of them, while using one of my favorite subjects to paint: Frida.

After you complete the lessons, you will be able to start your own love affair with watercolor and your characters will come to life just like you dreamed them.

Enjoy a free, sample lesson about paint and color opacity. Once you are done watching it, head to danitaartclasses.com where you can sign up for the full class and enjoy all the lessons I have prepared for you!

Sign up today!

Watercolors like rain

Danita's beautiful watercolor portraits show her evolution towards a different style while she remains the same whimsical artist at heart.My newest watercolor in a series of experimental portraits are available on my online gallery, danitaart.com

As an artist, it is necessary to be in continuous renewal, or you run the risk of being immobilized and frozen. To me, change is a needed evolution an I always go out and do new things, techniques and materials to learn more and more. I know my lifetime will not be enough to learn all I want, and I wish to try everything.

My latest series of watercolors are a vivid example of that. Different faces, new techniques and materials, and the same time, surprisingly, still me.

The importance of playing with your materials

This week I started playing with my watercolors after reviewing some of the videos for my online watercolor painting class, “In love with Frida: A Watercolor affair”.

It was one of these days when I did not feel particularly creative, but I felt the need to create something, and just staring at art books and my watercolor paintings (Something that always cheers me up!) was not enough.

So I took brushes, paper and paints and I just started with drops and swirls of color, mesmerized about how the paint dances and creates beautiful patterns on the paper.

I kept at it for some time, just playing with absolutely no purpose except watching the color swirl and mix on the paper.

Then, suddenly…

She happened.

And then her.

And her. And many more. Before I knew it, I had a collection of little portraits that I had absolutely no intention of making in the course of a week, but they happened. Just by playing with my materials, with no exact destination in mind I allowed my creativity to spark.

If you see the complete watercolor painting collection, you will notice that there is not a lot of consistency between them, because they were made on a whim, without judging and without any criticism from myself. I just let myself go and let art happen.

After a while I realized the power of playing just for the sake of playing, and how as adults we have lost the ability to lose ourselves into the world of our imagination and just get lost there.

Have you seen children play when you leave them with creative toys like dolls or blocks or boxes? How their play is pure imagination and nothing more, and how they get lost in their creations without judgement?

A cardboard box can be a fortress, then a spaceship and a minute later a giant dinosaur after them. They don’t care, they just use what they have and let their playful nature take command.

I encourage you to try it. Just get your favorite creative tool and let yourself go. Don’t worry about what you are using, or if it’s going to be wasted paper and paint. It will not be wasted.

By freeing your mind from restrictions and just play, you will change your mindset and you will explore your materials in a very different way than when you work. You will enjoy every little surprise, every little mistake will be joyful because you discovered something new.

You will have fun and will love both the process and the end result, and you will  be surprised when you realize what you are capable of after letting yourself go without inhibitions.

I know I was.

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Angels for Valentines Day

I always make special little things for Valentines day, my second most favorite holiday in the world. It may be corny and full of saccharine, but I like it. The combination of pinks and blues is one of my favorite and I always make time to enjoy the day with the ones I love.

 

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Each little angel girl is made on a 3×6 inches wood block with paper collage techniques and mixed media painting for their faces.

 

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Their eyes are deep and expressive, full of love for you.

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Their paper wings are covered with mica flakes to catch the light that shines on them when you hang them on your favorite wall or place them on a shelf.

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They arrive with a little gift wrap, ready to be given away as soon as you take them out from the packaging 🙂

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What do you think? Ready to adopt one from my shop?

The critters of love

You know I am always looking for excuses to create little wood kokeshi doll collections!

They are perfect because I love working on projects at the time and I rarely visit one of the projects, so these collection are perfect for me because I can make a collection while keeping them fresh and exclusive, and it’s always such a thrill to work with them. I love to make each one individually unique, with it’s own personality.


Since Valentine’s day is coming soon at Danita Art, I decided to create a pack of wild woodland creatures with hearts on them, and they have made my shop their home while they are waiting to be adopted.

Don’t worry, they may be wild but they can easily be tamed with love and candy bribes. They are already taking over my heart, and I am sure each one of them will steal your heart too.

See more of these beautiful dolls on my online shop, danitaart.com and choose your favorite, Don’t walk, run to my shop before they hop hop hop to their forever homes!

The road to perfection is full of bumps

Lady Clementine is one of my latest paper clay, handmade art dolls. She has a very interesting story on how she evolved and changed as I was bringing her into our world, and I thought it will be fun to show you.

Well, you already know that everything starts with an idea, and sometimes this idea is sleeping on my mind so deeply, that not even I know it’s there.

Lady Clementine started like one of my regular paper clay art dolls. I started painting her face with my Golden AcrylicsHolbein Watercolors and Sennelier Oil Pastels to give her a beautiful set of eyes and hand sculpted features.

Then, just like that, the idea came from it’s slumber and she awoke. She was coming from my world into ours and she needed my help. So, I gave her a glittery horn and a unicorn princess was born.

And being a princess, a unicorn princess to be exact, meant that she needed to be perfect. We tried lots and lots of hair until I found the perfect shade for her.

A perfect shade of pale pink that goes with her magical presence and her limitless innocence.

A lacy gown, pure white and vaporous like magic is what I had in mind for her clothes, so we got to work. Almost done!

But… Alas! Her face was perfect… for someone else. So we talked over and decided we needed to start all over again. No shame, no anger. She commands and I must obey.

Art behaves in very strange ways. Sometime I start with a very clear path but something happens that takes me in a totally different direction. Her eyes are now green and she has glitter in them to reflect the magic within.

Now her face has softer features, her eyes shine with magic and she looks much more innocent than in the beginning. She is ready to step into our world.

Our photographer said she was a challenge to capture her beauty. Like the magical creature she is, she proved to be elusive and mysterious, but in the end with some convincing she let herself photograph. Definitively, Unicorns are very difficult to catch on camera.

And here she is, in all her royal glory. Ready to be adopted and loved in a home that will teach her all about the human world. Will you take her home with you and protect Lady Princess Clementine?

Running out of wood blocks for the calendar

Thank you for the overwhelming success of my 2017 ACEO calendar! I almost ran out of wood blocks on the first day of sales!

The wood blocks I use for the calendars are vintage toy wood blocks from the 1950’s (I really insist on them being vintage!) and they have been harder and harder to get over time, so the supply of wood blocks for the calendars get shorter.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on another box of wood blocks and I have a limited supply of bases to prop your 2017 ACEO calendar on your desk.

The Danita 2017 mini desk calendar. 12 beautiful ACEO prints to keep you inspired all year long.

This sale won’t last long! Hurry up and pick your calendars before I run out of wood blocks. They are great stocking stuffers!

Showing at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque, USA

Remember the paintings at Among princesses and wolves this year? After the show was over, I sent them to Stranger Factory in in Albuquerque, NM.  where they are currently showing on their “Winter Salon VI” art exhibit.

I am super exited to be part of the exhibit, there are great artists showing there during the month of December, and I’m honored to be along with them.

I’m also very very happy to read their description they wrote for one of my paintings, “Merry Go Wolf” It’s one of my favorite paintings and I really liked the dark and sweet combination on it.

Also, I had “Merry Go Alice“, My favorite work and one the centerpieces of my summer exhibit “Among princesses and wolves” sent to “Winter Salon VI“. I was very surprised when the let me know I did not make it to the opening night.  It sold on the day they received it! Someone saw it while it was being unpacked and now Alice is living on a private collection.

If you happen to be In Albuquerque, NM and you want to see amazing art, drop them a visit and send me note letting me know what you think. You’ll get to see my largest paintings, touch and try out my latest jewelry and lots of other cool things from amazing artists.

A new batch of dolls has been adopted!

It’s time to make dolls! I got the urge to get my doll making materials and create something!

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As always, everything starts with an idea. I work on my sketchbooks and then I go back to them to get the best ideas for my new girls, and I start making the bodies using the same techniques I use in my online class, “A Doll Story”

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While I am making the bodies, I use paper clay to sculpt the faces, and I carve the facial features after the initial shape of the head is setup.

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Then, it’s time to paint the faces! Using the mixed media materials like pencils, pastels, acrylics and oils that I always use on my paintings, I create beautiful faces on their heads, with eyes and a soul within them.

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Layer upon layer of acrylic paint, pastels, pencils and oil paintings are used to create the beautiful shine I give to my doll’s eyes. When you gaze into their eyes, you can be sure that a little piece of me and my memories lives in each one of them.

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It’s time to let them dry, so I go ahead and I start designing their clothes using my collection of fabrics I have collected over the year on my visits to thrifty stores and other unusual places.

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After the heads are dry, I start making their arms and legs using the techniques you have learned from my online doll making class, “A doll story

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And as I attach the arms and legs, I take the fabrics I selected for the dresses and start to create personalities for each one of them, thinking about how they want to look and what colors will suit them best.

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Another thing I do is attach porcelain arms and feet as I attach the arms. I bought vintage molds to create the arms and legs and I pour each arm and leg using liquid clay and porcelain in my studio ahead of time so I always have a batch of arms and legs to use whenever inspiration strikes.

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Finally it’s time to start dressing them up! I design, cut and sew each one of their clothes and sometimes I create several layers of clothes for them. Like this girl, who will have very fluffy underpants to wear beneath her handmade skirt.

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Final details on their clothes like hand painting their boots are next, and those little details are, to me, the most important details that will give the doll a real life and personality.

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But something is still missing…. They are bold! So, it’s time to pick up 100% natural wool and give them hair on their heads.

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So much to choose from! I have to decide on a color, and a style, and a hairdo. Lots of work but finally, each one of them tell me how she wants to look.

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After all that work, they are almost done! It’s a matter of giving them accessories and to start preparing the boxes they will live in.

And then, the final step is to send them to my photo studio, where they get their final photos and they are ready to be adopted!

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Pauline

(Adopted!)

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Darlene

(Adopted!)

Elouise, a beautiful art doll in paper clay and fabric created by Danita.

Elouise

(Adopted!)

 

I hope you enjoyed this look at the process of making these beautiful art dolls, they are a lot of work, but for me, it’s worth every second I spend making them. Bringing them to life from raw materials fills me with an incredible joy and happiness.

And I want to thank you, because as I was typing this post, all of them got adopted. They are very happy to have found a forever home, and I know they will be loved when they arrive to their families.