Category Archives: My life

The butterfly effect

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!

 

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Drink me

Remember I told you I was working to get ready for my upcoming class, EVER AFTER 2017?   I am joining 15 amazing mixed media artists to talk about our personal styles and how to develop your own, our art and we share our secrets in a series of video classes where we create a painting just for you.

SIGN UP HERE TO SEE ME PAINT ALICE!

Danita Art Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat Mixed Media Acrylic Pastel Painting Surrealist Original

Well, I finally chose a painting to show in the class, and it’s this one. Drink Me by Danita. It is a mixed media painting where I use an alchemy of materials like acrylic paintings, oil pastels, watercolor pencils, paper collage, soft pastels and many other elements, that combined, make a beautiful and personal interpretation of Alice in Wonderland frozen in a moment in time, and she is now available for adoption on my online shop.

Cheshire Cat Danita painting kitty surrealist Alice in Wonderland Illustration Mixed media

I chose Alice in Wonderland for many reasons. One of them is because it is my favorite fantasy story, non sensical and surreal as the things that go on my mind, and I love the anything can happen there.

Danita Bunny White Rabbit Alice in wonderland Painting Original Mixed Media

Another reason is because I am in a transitional phase. If you have been following my art for the past couple of years, you will see that lately I am focusing on more realistic and surreal images, I am evolving. And every time there’s an evolution, Alice in Wonderland comes into my art to help me move along. I talk a lot about that search in the interview in style development that you will be able to watch when you sing up to EVER AFTER 2017.

Danita Drink Me bottle Alice in wonderland Painting Mixed Media Surrealist Cheshire Cat White Rabbit

The whimsical, childlike images are changing into more mature and realistic faces, and I am working very hard on this transition, I want to be come a bigger, better artist than before. It’s taking time and that’s why you don’t see me as active as in other years and with very experimental themes and materials.

Dark Danita Painting Darknita Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat Mixed Media White Rabbit Self portrait

It’s been a very difficult journey, some of my fans do not like the change I’m going trough and, to be honest, I am struggling to keep my neck above water, but I must continue in the exploration of myself and my expression as an artist.

cheshire cat Danita Painting Mixed Media Original Alice in wonderland surrealist weird whimsical

One of the things I talk about in my interview is precisely that, how a having a personal style is good because it makes your art recognizable, but you can paint yourself into a corner if you are not careful. Evolving is a necessity to grow, and there are growing pains associated with that, but I really hope those pains are worth it.

Here’s a tiny preview of the things I talk about in EVER AFTER 2017. I really hope you can join me there and we can share what it takes to have a personal style and then sit down for a painting demo.

SIGN UP HERE FOR THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW!

In the meantime, Alice in wonderland is ready to be adopted on my online shop, as I keep on evolving and changing as an artist. Your positive words and constructive criticism are really appreciated, and believe me, that’s more true today than ever. If you have a minute or two, leave a comment telling me what do you think of my latest work in the comments section, and share this article to anyone who will be interested in the class 🙂

Love,

Danita.

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Rainbow Bunny Rabbit Handmade Crayons: A fun DIY afternoon recycle project for kids.

My kids love to color with crayons. And when I mean love, I mean LOVE. We have a bucket full of any imaginable color and type, and they use them when they feel like drawing and coloring their own creations.

Danita Tutorial Handmade Custom Crayons Color Kids Melted

The problem with crayons is that as they get used up, they get stubby, and sometimes dirty, and the tips are not so usable any more and they get neglected because they do not color as they used to.

You can buy a new box, but then you end up accumulating more crayons and there’s the environmental cost of not recycling and reusing what we have.

 

Color crayons background tutorial recycle crayola Danita

So we decided to recycle our crayons and learn a few lessons about color mixing, doing things by yourself and being good to our planet. All in one afternoon!

First, let’s see what you need. It’s not a lot and probably you will find everything you need right at home.

List of materials.

Okay, you have everything you need? Let’s get started!

Step 1.

Pour the hot water into your plastic container. The water should be hot enough to peel off the paper from the crayons, but not too hot. Hot enough to take a warm bath should do the trick.

Danita Art Crayola Wax crayon custom handmade crayons tutorial by Danita

The paper will start coming off the crayons and they will be cleaner now. The idea is to get all the grime off of them so they are clean and ready for the next step.

Danita peel off paper crayon crayola tutorial DIY kids project handmade

Let the crayons dry up, and you can throw away the paper wrappings on the recycle bin.

Step 2.

Danita tutorial DIY crayons crayola recycle kids project

Start breaking up the crayons into small chunks so they fit in your silicone mold. Let your kids experiment with the colors that will mix on each try and get as many combinations as you can.

You can try different colors that will mix, or maybe different hues of the same color and encourage your kids to guess what will the final colors be.

Danita rainbow crayon crayola recycle DIY project kids children

Fill the trays and try to leave as little space as possible between the colors, but don’t overfill the tray. The idea here is that when the colors melt they will mix and they should not overfill the tray.

Step 3.

Take your silicone mold full of crayon chunks and put it in your oven. It’s time to see the magic start as you create your rainbow crayons!

The melting process took about about 30 minutes with the oven at 250F. , but keep an eye on the oven, the colors will start to melt and as soon as you see that they are melted and filling the molds, it’s time to get them out. They have a tendency to burn if you use a very high temperature so don’t leave your oven unattended.

Step 4.

Danita rainbow recycled crayola crayon DIY project tutorial kids fun summer afternoon

Let the mold cool down undisturbed so the different colors mix and harden as they get cooler. It should take an hour or so for the crayons to be ready to be taken out of the mold.

Carefully try to get one out. If it’s soft, leave it alone for a bit. Once they come out clean easily, it’s time to have fun!

DIY project Danita Rainbow recycled crayola crayons children fun activity tutorial after school

The crayon chunks mix and create very interesting patterns depending on the color combinations you chose. If you use lots of small chunks, you get a rainbow effect.

Bunny Rabbit handmade crayons DIY recycle crayola project tutorial by Danita for kids after school

If you use larger chunks, the crayons will have larger areas of color, and if you used the same hue, it will be a very nice solid color.

Step 5.

Kids fun proyect DIY tutorial recycled rainbow crayola crayons Danita Art

Time to enjoy your creations! My kids had a great time testing each one of the chunk crayons that turned up from this DIY recycled rainbow crayons!

Danit

They are perfect for kids. Their little hands have no trouble grabbing the colors, using and testing how they start changing colors as you use them. And adults love them too…. I had a blast making and using them too!!!!

Danita colorful DIY rainbow reused recycled crayons project tutorial kids

And they can be stacked and used for building too!

I had lots of fun while me and my kids worked on this DIY project, it’s perfect as a summer activity, or an after school project. give it a try at your home!

Ever After is ready to welcome you!

A watercolor painting by Danita, inspired by the incredible adventures of Alice in Wonderland

I am so happy to be part of EVER AFTER 2017, a collective effort put together by the fantastic Tamara Laporte with me and an A list of amazing artists.

Danita used her vintage copy of Alice in wonderland to create a beautiful watercolor painting for her online class

Together we will guide you through lessons on creativity, using fairy tales and fantastic stories to teach you our secrets and techniques on video tutorials.

Text from the encounter between Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire cat inspired this beautiful watercolor on paper painting by Danita Art

I will talk about  my creative process. Where my ideas come from, how I develop them from a simple idea, an event or an emotion and how I turn them into beautiful mixed media art.

A vintage copy from Alice in Wonderland inspires Danita to create beautiful mixed media paintings, art dolls and jewelry based on her paintings.

Using my favorite story, Alice in Wonderland, you and I will work on creating your own personal style and I we will tapthe endless well of ideas that awaits to be unleashed in your mind.

Once we are done talking about creativity, personal style, idea development and more tips on your art, it’s time to practice what you learn!

I will teach how I work with my mixed media materials as we create an original painting from a blank page. Once we develop our character, together we will draw, paint, stain and shade using my techniques and secrets.

It will be like sitting with me for an hour on my studio, working and laughing while we do what we like to do best. Make art!

Are you ready to join me on this beautiful journey?

GOOD! SIGN UP TODAY HERE!!!

Ah! And before I forget, you can use an early bird discount!

Use coupon code MAGIC2017 when you sign up, and you will get 20% OFF your registration fee.

See you in class!!!!

Don’t admire, enjoy your art supplies.

This weekend the mail arrived with a big box of Caran d’Ache Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels. I have a small box that I use in my mixed media paintings and I really wanted to give the 30 color set a try, so I patiently waited all week for them to arrive.

Danita Art Uses Review Caran d'Ache Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels

 I admired them when I got them out the packing box and opened the metal tin that holds them, and I really did not want to do anything with them because they are so perfect and new in their box.

But this being a family of artists and creative fellows, it’s a known fact that when the mail truck drops something in our doorstep, it’s going to be something interesting  to explore and my kids immediately come to investigate the contents of the boxes.

Danita review art supply Caran d'Ache Classic Neocolor II Water Soluble Pastels

I turned around for a second and my son took over the box, ordering the colors so it looks like the rainbow and announced that I got very neat crayons in a very nice box.

Danita Review Kids Use Caran d'Ache Classic Neocolor II Water-Soluble Pastels

And right after getting them ordered neatly, he went to his room, picked up his paper pad and asked my daughter if she could draw him so he could color the drawing, and after getting his portrait, he set off to work.

I really was not paying attention until I turned around and saw him working with them. My initial reaction was shock. He was using the very same expensive artist’s set of colors I was so afraid to use because they were new, perfect and just out of the box and he was using them to color the art of a six year old.

But just like that that, It dawned on me how careless he was using them, just enjoying the process and not caring at all what pedigree they have or what they are supposed to be used for. He just got a new box of colors, so he did what seemed natural. Use them and enjoy them! By the time he was done, two of them were broken, all of them were blunted and with the paper peeled and clearly showing signs of use.

He colored himself with blue hair, the T-Shirt and shorts he was wearing and eating (One of his favorite activities!) His drawing is free, careless and just for the thrill of watching the colors run on the paper.

He was so proud of what he accomplished that he gave it to me, so we took his work and placed in the art gallery that also doubles as a fridge.

And you know what? I realized I was very much OK with him using the watercolor crayons. He taught me a very important lesson about my art supplies and what I’m supposed to do with them.

They look perfect in their boxes, neatly arranged in piles and drawers, a heaven of order and perfection. But my studio is not a window display. It’s a place to create. Having my material sitting there, pretty and perfect because I’m unwilling to use them because I will mess up their perfection is not what I should do with them.

I must get messy, create, tear, break and stain my things to show them I want to create with them. I will no longer be afraid of a new box of art supplies because they are pristine.

I will see it as an opportunity to begin a close relationship with them, feel them glide over paper and canvas and enjoy them fulfilling their purpose. Because that’s what are supplies are for, to create, to let us unleash our creativity and let our beautiful world of ideas into the open, where we can enjoy what artists love doing the most.

Making art.

Ever After 2017 – A blog hop and give away for my latest online class!

I am super exited!! I will be teaching an online class on the collaborative online workshop “Ever After” this year!

“Ever After” is a mixed media art & style development course with a fairytale theme hosted by Tamara Laporte from Willowing Arts. I will be joining Tam and 11 mixed media art teacherson this class. Together we will share beautiful fairy-tale inspired lessons with you and we will also share our hints and tips on how each one of us developed our own style and how you too can find your own unique voice as an artist! 🙂 Yay!

My chosen fairy tale for the class will be Alice in Wonderland, one of my favorite themes to explore and develop in my artistic adventures, and i will show you how the tale has inspired me to find my style and creativity while I show you the mixed media techniques I use as you watch me create a painting with Alice and her wonderland companions.

Ever After Danita Online class 2017 Alice Wonderland Learn How To Tutorial Techniques Painting Online

Registration opens on May 17th, 2017 and classes begin on July 1st, 2017.

 

 

 

So if you want to start your summer drawing and painting fairy-tales, exploring your own personal story and style and hang out with a wonderful creative community of like-minded souls,be sure to join once registration opens! 🙂

And… I have another surprise! I can give away 1 space on Ever After to 1 lucky winner on a class giveaway!

So, what do you say? Do you want a  a chance to join this amazing class with me and 12 more mixed media artists?

To enter the giveaway, you need to

  1. Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Sign up to receive my newsletter.
  3. Leave a comment on this very blog post, letting me know why you’d love to join Ever After this year.

The winner will be announced on May 15th.


And if you follow the blog hop (see below for links and dates) you can up your chances of winning a space by entering all the other give-aways also! 🙂

2nd May 2017 Tamara Laporte willowing.org/blog
3rd May 2017 Andrea Gomoll andrea-gomoll.de/blog
4th May 2017 Danita Art blog.danitaart.com
5th May 2017 Effy Wild effywild.com
6th May 2017 Kara Bullock karabullockart.com/2017/03/happily-ever-after
7th May 2017 Karine Bosse kabostudio.com/blog
8th May 2017 Katrina Koltes katrinakoltes.com/2017
9th May 2017 Marielle Stolp mariellestolp.wordpress.com/blog
 10th May 2017  Micki Wilde  thesecrethermit.blogspot.co.uk
 11th May 2017  Roberta Laliberte  prairiefairydesigns.com/blog
 12th May 2017  Sarah Trumpp wonderstrumpet.com
 13th May 2017  Stephen Lursen  http://stephenlursen.com/blogs/stephen-lursen-art
 14th May 2017  Tiare Smith  tiaresmith.com
15th May 2017  Toni Burt  toniburt.com.au/blog
16th May 2017  Ivy Newport  graceandivy.wordpress.com


Good luck, and see you in class on July 1st!

 

An art doll mini tutorial by Danita

I am having a great time and work creating an art doll collection. I have been working non stop on the dolls and I thought it would be fun to stop for a moment to tell you the story of the doll creation using images from the doll making process and turning the tale into a mini tutorial.

Danita Art Doll Materials Tools List Messy Desk

Look at my desk… Someone told me that a messy desk is the sign of a creative mind, so I guess that makes me one of the most creative people in this planet. No contest on that.

But hidden within the mess, there are secrets to be found, like all the materials and tools used when you create an art doll. Can you spy them all in this picture? There’s one you can’t see but it’s the most important one of all… Love for what you do.

Danita Art Doll Making Dollmaking Dollmaker Tutorial Steps How to

The first thing you want to do is pick the fabric for your doll bodies. Something resistant and sturdy that is also breathable is my weapon of choice, but you can choose anything you wish as long as it’s workable into small flexible pieces.

I create the patterns from my dolls from a standard but usually let the doll dictate what she wants to be, so the dolls are never the same, always different from one another. I really insist on that to give each doll a personality.

Danita Art Doll Handmade Techniques Tutorial Stuffed Bodies Muslin Polyfill

Once your bodies are cut and sewn, it’s time to stuff them! The perfect time to do this is while binge watch on my favorite TV shows and movies. I always buy a huge bag of Poly-Fil, grab my trusty stuffing tools and set to work!

Danita Art Doll Heads Tutorial Paperclay Paper Clay How To make

Once the bodies are filled and my binge for TV and movies satisfied, the dolls move to my working table to start making the doll heads using paper clay, my sculpting tools, and as a new addition to my dolls, glass eyes!

Danita Art Doll Sculpting Sculpture Paper Clay Tutorial How to Secrets

Making a doll face with paper clay starts with a very rough surface that you have to sand and work until you have a smooth surface as a foundation, and let’s be very careful not to scratch the glass eyes with your sanding block.

Your hands and the sculpting tools will be of great help here. I polish, remove and add clay all over the place until I am happy with how things are looking. It’s a very labor intensive process so it’s important that you take your time working this step.

Danita Art Doll Head Face Paper Clay Paperclay Sculpture Handmade Dollmaking How to

They always look very strange while you work the doll making steps. Next, after I am happy with the way the face is looking, I start to trace out features with a stabilo pencil because the next step is to paint the face.

Danita Art Doll Painted Head Paperclay Paper Clay Tutorial WIP

I use a lot of materials at hand here, specially with pan pastels and stick pastels, ink pencils and acrylic paints with the same techniques I use on my mixed media paintings. Getting the right amount of blush and color on the eyes is crucial to make the doll very realistic and with a lovely expression.

Danita Art Doll Handmade Eyelashes Painted Detail Face Techniques Tutorial

Once I am finished with the face, it’s time to add more features to it to make it even more real. I love how I have learned how to bring my mixed media and watercolor paintings into the real world with my Art dolls.

Danita Art Doll Dress Hand Made Sewing Tutorial Clothes for dolls

And did you know that sometimes I spend more time choosing the perfect fabric for the doll that making it?

A piece of my soul goes into each doll I make, to me they are alive in a way and I can hear them whispering what they want. Sometimes they know right away, sometimes they will take their time choosing who they want to be, but it’s a very important step and I must get it right.

Wouldn’t you be the same if you were given the freedom to choose who you want to be? It’s a very important decision and one must take all the time it’s needed.

Danita Art Doll Clothes Trouser Handmade Tutorial Tecniques

All the clothes on my dolls are handmade, most of the time from scratch. You can see here that I took a piece of fabric and turned it into trousers for this little girl.

I insist on everything being handmade. It adds to the uniqueness of each doll and to her final personality.

Danita Art Dress Handmade Fabric Clothes Unique OOAK Tutorial How To Make

The dress is made with a fabric I found on a thrifty store somewhere during my travels. I will collect fabric, lace and props I find during my too frequent visits to antique and second hand stores and when the time comes, I will be ready for the perfect doll to wear it.

The lace on her also came from a very old box of lacy thing I was given by a friend. They are very precious to me because some of them come from another time, and there will never be one like it again. Using old, used things with a new purpose makes everything magical.

Danita Art Doll Choker Gold Cameo Handmade Corset Tutorial

Once I’m done with the dress, I will add accessories to the doll. She is wearing a very nice choker with a cameo I made myself here in the studio with golden colored flakes and jewelry resin, like the ones I use on my original jewelry, only very small.

The dolls are pure mischief when they are finished. I really love to play with them in the studio while they impatiently wait for their final photos. We have lots of adventures and sometimes they even help to make other dolls.

Danita Art Handmade Doll Paper Clay Paperclay Sculpture Fine Art Toy Finished For Sale

Now the final step is to place them for adoption on my online gallery and shop, where they will sit on my virtual showcase, waiting for the perfect match that will take them to their forever home.

Penelope was very lucky! She did not last five minutes on the virtual shop front when her new adoptive parents picked her up. She is now very grateful to the people who gave her a forever home to start a new story in their hands. I’m really looking forward to hear from the stories and adventures they will have together.

I really hope you liked this little insight into my work. I wish I could live closer to my friends and fans so we could get together and learn what I teach on my online classes.

Danita Art Workshop Live Classes Dollmaking Doll Making Mixed Media Painting Tutorial How To

And luckily, the opportunity to spend some time learning with me in person is coming very soon. I have been invited by NW Country Art Retreats to teach a 4 day workshop in their beautiful place near Mount Rainer in Washington State.

I hope you can join me. Together, we will create a beautiful art doll just like the one we saw how to make on this tutorial, plus much more. And I will be just delighted to be in your company, working, laughing and sharing a beautiful time together.