Category Archives: On my table

Harvesting Mushrooms in the Danitaland Woodlands

Polymer clay doll faces by Danita Art. Getting ready to create a new batch of art dolls and toys for her whimsical collection of handmade dolls and toys.

My new upcoming big event is the 2019 Handmade Holiday Show, running from Dec 1st to Dec 9th,  where I will show my newest Art Dolls, Paintings and more.

Danita Art sews her hand made art dolls by hand, making each doll a unique work of art.

I’m making experiments with the new Danita dolls for Sale on the event. Besides using polymer clay for the face, I’m daring to to a little bit further in the construction of the body, specially the limbs. Since some of the dolls will be mushrooms, I want them to have a “just pulled out of the earth” look.

Each of Danita's art dolls is assembled with lots of love and care using organic materials and vintage items.

I’ve made mushrooms before but they had normal bodies with a mushroom cap. This time I’m daring to go more with my vision and less with the “safe” version, the one I know most people will like. I’d decided that I’m going to be more authentic with my creations from now on and I hope they’re well received. Going for the look I know people will like leaves me in a grey zone with a nagging feeling that I should have dare more and see where it takes me little by little.

A Danita Art doll in mid construction shows the care and precision Danita uses to assemble her unique miniature fabric art dolls.

The process is always painstaking, not only because of the labor I have to put into each doll, but also because there is an incredible amount of time devoted into researching. I take trips to the forest, look at my reference books and create lots of sketches until I am satisfied with my vision.

Even more, now that for this series of art dolls I will be truer to myself and my vision, and I will take more risks to create what I have in my mind instead of making what will be a safe, easy to sell creation.

An assembled art doll by Danita Art awaits to be dressed and completed with an top crown for this mushroom to be.

You can tell from the look of this assembled doll that I am pushing my ideas to a new level, using more organic shapes for both her legs and hands.

I am aiming for a grungy, “Just pulled out of the earth” look that will make her look like I just harvest them during an autumn walk in the Danitaland woodlands.

A finished Danita Art Doll. A magical mushroom that is part forest fairy and part wild mushroom from the Autumn Woodlands.

Adding mossy details, organic pigments that I brew and distill in my studio and new fabrics for the Mushroom crowns, this daring new creation filled my heart with joy.

It’s much closer to what I had in mind than my first Danita wild mushroom collection dolls, and I love knowing that taking a risk paid off.

Collection of Wild Mushroom Forest Faerie dolls by Danita Art. These hybrids between woodland faries and wild toadstools will be the adoration of any fantasy and fairy tale art collectors.

The collection will be available for purchase and adoption during the 2019 Handmade Holiday Show in Facebook.

Make sure you get a reminder by going to the 2019 Handmade Holiday Show page and click on the GOING button.  Facebook will remind you when the event is active and you will be able to adopt your favorite Danita Hand Made Mushroom Art Doll there.

See you soon at the event!!!!

SAVING ART SUPPLIES FOR A RAINY DAY

 

I got these amazing Caran D’ache Luminance Colored Pencil Set some time ago. They are some of my favorite and  most cherished color pencils. I love their creamy texture and how I can create color gradients with them.

But there’s a huge problem. I love them so much that I don’t want to use them. So they stayed in their box, and I only too them from there on special occasions. Kind of like the Good China our grandmothers used to get out of the cabinet on Christmas.

But no more. I decided that color pencils should be used, not staying on a box waiting for the perfect moment to be used.

So, I was brave and I took them out of the box and into a container I made for them. Now they are available for me when I need them, and I will use them! Oh yes! Just wait and see!

MORE DREAMY PAINTINGS

Orange Ink Watercolor and Gouache painting over vintage paper by Danita Art. Surreal whimsical Victorian family on a portrait over vintage ledger papers.

After the amazing feedback I had from my latest dreamy ink paintings I knew I had to make more paintings like this.

Working without a care is always a delight and now that I am feeling creative I wanted to make a few more of these lovely paintings.

Victorian ghostly images and photos inspired an amazingly beautiful watercolor ink gouache painting over a 19th 20th century used school ledger book paper

The crispy vintage paper lets the ink flow in a very unusual way, creating images with a ghostly quality.

Ink Watercolor and Gouache combined over a vintage late 19th or early 20th century school book on this Danita original painting that remind of amily ties going all the way to the Victorian families portraited on vintage photographs and other images.They are perfect for the ideas that I have on my mind now, combining memories from a distant past from my family and friends.

Original watercolor ink and gouache by Danita Art. Families and history make us what we are today. We are all migrants and we all belong to another place.Life experiences and ties between our ancestors make us what we are today. We stand on the shoulders of the ones that came before us to be what we are today, and even tough they may be long gone, their memories still live within us.

Victorian images and vintage photographs combined with the art of Danita to create a collection of Ink and Watercolor papers to make original ghostly and surreal images that invoke family and migrationI wanted to remember that we are all connected, we are all belong somewhere else thanks to our connections from our pasts. At some point, our families were migrants too. They arrived to new places, they were received with love and respect and thrived into what we are today.

Original ink and watercolor painting by Danita, linking ancestors and migration with surreal ghostly images of shadows of a distant past that live with us today in our ancestors and our memoriesThat is why I chose to divert from making realistic, detailed faces. They are like the memories of our ancestors, faded in time and space but still with us, on what we remember of them, our our family traditions, on our culture.

Even after all this time, lest us not forget that they came before us, some from distant places, always looking for a better future for themselves and their descendants. We admire them for their courage, and thank them for taking the risk of leaving  what they knew to try to make a better world for us who came before them.

I want to be… A WATERCOLORIST!

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.

It motivates me to paint even more, and now I have a few pieces I want to share with you as I show them and the process to anyone  on my instagram and facebook accounts. Head to my online store to see all of them!

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?

Send me a note with your thoughts! I’d love to hear what you think of my new work and direction!

Love,
Danita

DANITA AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD VERY BAD 2017


This year has been very tough for me. Really bad this time.

Bad as in having to put everything on sale just to get by.

You may be wondering why, on the busiest season of the year, instead of being burning midnight oil creating, I am almost silent on social media, not posting anything and not showing off my latest creations.

Well, there’s a reason for that. And it’s definitively not a good one. It’s so bad that I have to put everything on Sale. Keep reading to know what I’ve been up to.

Long story Short:

I’m having a 50% OFF Sale on everything on my shop.

Here’s the full story…

Strike One.

Due to very unexpected and difficult circumstances, I was forced to sell my home and move to my old house. Moving is a very difficult decision, and for an artist with a studio in their home even more so. Boxes and boxes of stuff have to be packed and put away.

On the busiest season of the year, no less.

That, I can deal with. I have moved before and although is very difficult, annoying and complicated, it can be done.

My Son and Daughter have to be dismissed from school and we had to look for a new school that will take them in the middle of the school year. Definitively not easy either.

Then, we get contracts signed, paperwork done and we’re getting ready to ask the people renting our home that we will need it so we can move back in. Lease has to be terminated early and we need to handle that. Expensive, but again, it can be done. And that is strike One.

 

My studio is just an empty room now. It sucks.

Strike Two.

And then, we discover our renters wrecked out our hose. Big time. Damaged carpets. Non working bathrooms. Filthy and moldy kitchen. Broken stove and fridge. Everything is left on a very sorry state. I would show you pics but they will make you cry. And they are gone and in Mexican law is not easy to sue your tenants, and the move is going slow. I even had to get my parents to come over and help.

Mr. Danita now has to take time off work to get things going, fixing everything so we have a decent place to move in when closing date comes, ripping out carpets, fixing windows and many other things. I also help but I need to pack everything.

The proceedings from the sale of the house now need to be used in fixing up what we expect it to be a livable home instead of the use we had for them. Bummer. We’ll work it out. That really made things harder, but we will recover. That’s strike Two.

Strike Three.

And then, today we get a call from our real state agent with the worst possible news we can get. Buyers are backing out and they are not signing. Without an explanation. On closing day.

We really are at a loss here, no idea what to do next. I’ve already moved my stuff in boxes and they are in Mexico, waiting to be unpacked at our home in the middle of an emergency renovation.

And now, we have no money to pay for the renovation because there is no sale. And on top of that, the mortgage payments will continue if we can’t find a buyer soon. That’s strike Three.

So, I am humbly asking for your help.

I will need to scramble whatever I can so that we can get back on our feet, but I have no studio to work on, no house to move in with my kids (Who luckily are now with their grandparents 4 hours away from where we live) and on top of that, on Christmas season.

That’s depressing me a lot, because on top of all my problems, the magic go Christmas is not home this year. We don’t even have a tree setup this year, and even if it sounds cliche, it’s making me depressed and crying. I really don’t know what do do.

To get funds and get by, I am having a 50% OFF on everything on the store.

I will be having a sale from today until the end of the year where everything on my shop will be discounted. If you were thinking about a handmade gift this Christmas season, would you consider one of my creations? Please? Anything will help me.

Believe me, I would not ask for your help if my situation was not so dire, but I am at a loss on what to do next. Hopefully next year things will get better.

As soon as my house is in a livable state I’m going to use a temp room and a table to start creating again, and I’ll keep you posted on the progress of things. Once I am back on my feet, I will make my studio nice again, and I’ll share the progress with you.

But for now, it’s time to figure out what to do. There’s a saying in Spanish, Uno pone, Dios dispone y llega el diablo y todo lo descompone. (One plans, God decides and then comes the Devil and messes everything up) So true now.

But I know things will get better. I know.

Danita.

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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Met the spooky spool doll family!

It’s this time of the year again. I am in Halloween mode again and after the success I had with my paper clay art dolls (Thank you, they are almost sold out!!) I decided to make something else.

I found these wooden vintage thread spools I got from my grandmother and thrifty stores and set out to make a new set of Kokeshi art dolls.

I started out choosing the best spools, and then I glued wooden heads to them. I like how they look with their huge heads and their whimsical air.

Then, I sketch out who will they be with pencil and wait for the glue to dry.

And while they are drying, it’s time to try out different outfits! That’s a very fun part! Paper hats, vintage fabrics, crepe paper, tinsel and what not I find in the studio.

This year, I upped my game with them. Their faces are not only hand painted, but also carved out with fire. Each doll has a custom face I drew, burnt and painted to make each other very special.

Then, cones the painting. Following the lines I used to draw the faces, I paint each one them. very carefully with my fine brushes and artist’s paints, each doll has a very special personality.

Then, the dressing! Yay! Each doll has their own outfit designed according to their personality. Some are whimsical, some spooky, and all of them are made with lots of Love.

The final details, their paper hats. And now they are off to their official photoshoot before they are ready to be adopted.

Do you like them? I do! And looking how humble materials like vintage spool threads, wood spheres, little pompoms, paint and collage paper become art dolls makes me very happy.

Now, meet the entire family on my online gallery and art shop, danitaart.com

Happy Halloween!

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It’s all about Frida!

Danita handmade Kokeshi Art Doll Kawaii Frida Kahlo Diego Rivera

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.Danita Art Handmade Kokeshi Kawaii Art Dolls Frida Kahlo Diego RiveraLet’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!

Danita Art Frida Kahlo mixed media painting blue house pop surrealist

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?

She is available as a signed paper print and mounted wood blocks here.

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Hand painted watercolor art dolls by Danita

Since I was child I have been obsessed with dolls. Paper dolls that you could cut and then set and dress in a million ways. I would take old JC Penney catalogs an cut the dresses for my dolls.

Now that I am older (And supposedly, wiser… ) that obsession was going to wane so I could concentrate on adult things like making a living and paying taxes.

SEE THE COMPLETE PAPER DOLL COLLECTION

So, one day a few weeks ago, I took my pencil and proceeded to draw a face on one of my favorite watercolor papers. I had the intention to start a new painting. Honest.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. All those childhood memories came rushing back and I changed course. I was going to make a paper doll.

I laid out the initial drawings and sketches and decided they were going to be cut-out, dress-up dolls like the ones I used to play with when I was a child.

After the first inking, I was hooked. My family knew I was up to something, and when they saw me grinning after I walked out to the studio, they knew it was going to be one of those weeks.

One of those weeks when I disappear from reality and hide in my studio, and I do not talk to anyone. Or go out. Or eat. Or Sleep. I’m in one of my art attacks.

The dolls were all inked up and now it’s time to paint them. So I got my watercolors and started to paint each one of them. They are unique and each one has their personality, so they deserve to have unique and one of a kind outfits.

See what I mean? Alice in wonderland even has her own bottle of Drink Me, An Eat Me cookie and a white rabbit to hop along with her down the rabbit hole.

Then it’s time to cut each piece by hand, and then start assembling them. This is kind of delicate because I have to make sure that each piece fits as expected, and some adjustments are required. So you have to be careful with your scissors.

Here’s one of the dolls with all her pieces put together, ready to be assembled. It’s not fun to see dismembered dolls all over my studio tables, and then I have to make sure I did not miss a limb!

Some magic and lots of work and sleepless nights, they are ready for the world! Each doll is articulated and can be posed any way you want.

I even had a piece of wood painted with chalkboard paint so I could play with them! They are a lot of fun! You can draw whatever scenario you want on the chalkboard, and then have lots of lots of adventures with them.

I also made stop motion animations with them, because why not?

She’s ready for adoption! #available #danita #danitaart #paperdoll #artdoll #paperartdoll #watercolor #ink

A post shared by Danita Art (@danitaart) on

With these dolls, you can create your own happy place. It brought me so many memories from when I was a child and your world is safe and everything is possible.

You can start a collection with them, and if you are a responsible person and not a big kid like me, you may want to preserve them in a beautiful frame.

They will look great on a wall too! Just make sure you get them out of the glass from time to time so you can play with them… There is no fun in being a doll if no one is going to play with you!

You can visit the complete collection on my website, there is a special collection dedicated to them right here.

SEE THE COMPLETE PAPER DOLL COLLECTION

Thanks for staying with me! Don’t forget to share and comment your thoughts, I would love to hear your opinion on them!

Product review: Derwent Inktense color pencils

 

Derwent Inktense Color Pencil Product Review by Danita Art

They say that the UPS truck is the adult version of the ice cream truck. And you know what? They are right!

Today the truck arrived and left a package on my doorstep that I have been waiting for a long time. Want to see what it is?
It’s a huge box of Derwent inktense color pencils. Yay!

Danita reviews derwent inktense 72 pencil color box tin

The first time I heard about them, someone recommended them to me as an alternative of the wonderful Stabilo art pencil, my weapon of choice for all my pencil artwork and drawings in my studio, but they did not do what I wanted them to do at the time so I put the Inktense I got aside and continued working.

But now that I have been experimenting with watercolors and a new illustration style, I read about the wonders they can do so I gave the ones I got another go. And you know what? I loved them! I loved them so much that I ordered five, and then I ordered a tin of 24 and now I ordered a box of 72 and I wish they sold boxes with more colors.

Danita unbox and test of Derwent Inktense 72 color pencil artist grade box

What makes them so special that I changed my mind and I love them so much?

Well, they are not like ordinary watercolor pencils, they are heavily pigmented and produce solid color layers. Their secret is that when you add water, they do not release watercolor pigment, instead, they release ink, and it becomes permanent when it dries, so it opens the possibility of working with layers that remain when you paint over them, giving you a range of creative choices that are impossible to reproduce when you use plain watercolor. Once they dry, it’s done and will remain bright and undisturbed and will not mute or muddle when you add pigment over them.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErOrWGaSZ_Q[/embedyt]

I experimented and I found that the only way to mute the colors is to control the amount of water you use when you lay your initial layer, and it’s very important to keep them wet as you work with your painting, and you must make sure not to add too little water, because if you did not dissolve all the pigment, it will activate once again when you add water and your next color and will mix. It happened to me while I started to work with them. It can be a blessing or a curse, and will puzzle you when you use them for the first time.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C48CdxIiQhk[/embedyt]

There are several ways to work with them. You can touch a wet brush to the tip of the color and then use it as a regular watercolor over your paper for a permanent wash or an under painting. You can also use them as regular pencils and then fade the lines with a clean brush as you spread the color on the paper. And if you are daring, you can dip the tip on water and then draw with them as the water dries on the paper.

Danita tests derwent inktense color pencils

Each technique will give you a very different result, and a wide range of possibilities that you will be able to incorporate as you get familiar with them.

I tested how they mix with each other too and I used the different watercolor techniques for the sake of science… and fun!

Dry on dry, dry on wet, wet on wet and mixed separately on a metallic palette yield different results, all of them beautiful and fun to do.

A review of derwent inktense color pencils by Danita Art

No matte what technique you use, you can always pick up the excess and cleanup using a very absorbing paper towel to pick up the water and try to erase the color or reduce the intensity.

Color sample tips of Derwent inktense color pencils

One of the secrets to use the derwent inktense color pencils that you need to be very aware of is that what you see on the tips is not always what you get, so I will advise you to create a sample color chart for each color so you know how they look when they are wet, and how they dry and with how much intensity and value each color renders.

Danita uses derwent inktense color pencils to create a color chart

Start with a strip of watercolor paper and write down the number and name of each pencil in the order they are in the box, and make the commitment to keep the box tidy in order to be able to reuse your chart.

Danita reviews derwent inktense color pencils in a color sample chart

Take each color and draw a few lines with a fading intensity towards one side of the paper, so you get nice gradient chart for each color. Then the fun begins!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6Trhhir3UQ[/embedyt]

Apply the same amount of water to each line and create the intensity gradient to see how transparent the color becomes, and keep on doing it for each color on your set. Be. Be careful not to mix each color with the next,  Because you want each color to be try to the intensity, hue and value in your chart. The end result is a very beautiful color chart you will keep as a reference as you work with them in your artwork.

Derwent Inktense color sample chart by Danita Art

All in all, these color pencils are now a permanent part of my arsenal of art weapons whenever I have one of my art attacks. They are way above what I was working with before with watercolor pencils and I can definitively recommend them to use as the main focus of you art, or as accents like I use them when I create the faces and big, beautiful eyes of my handmade art dolls.