Let’s paint a beautiful watercolor version of Little red Riding Hood. I decided to film the video on location to show you how fun it can be to just whip out your paint, your brush and some paper and enjoy nature. It was a relaxing afternoon, and you can hear the birds and insects chirping and buzzing around was I work. Like a mini holiday to the forest!
I hope you are having a great long weekend! After your fun day ends and you’re ready to sit and hit the internet, remember to check out my Memorial Day Sale. EVERYTHING IS 25% OFF my online gallery and shop when you use coupon code MEMORIAL2017 on your checkout.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.
- Sign up to receive my newsletter.
- 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.
|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!
I wanted to be more active in sharing my art experiences with my friends and fans, and a few weeks ago I wrote a review for the wonderful Derwent Inktense color pencils I use on my paintings and dolls.
The review was very well received and a lot of you sent emails requesting me to review more of the products and materials I use on my studio, so I am reaching out to you to see what you’d like me to review next. Leave a comment here on my blog, or send me an email with your thoughts on what you’d like to see next.
If the reviews get enough interest, I may start a regular feature where I review my favorite art supplies, along with new products that pick my interest.
I’m waiting to see what you’d like me to try out!
I like to read old doll making books because they have techniques for doing everything by hand (I’m old school like that) and I came across this quote.
It really hit a string for me, because it encompasses everything I believe about making my own dolls. Mass produced items have a perfect quality about them, but to me, they are soulless and nothing more than a pretty thing to look at.
That is probably the main reason why I very rarely repeat an artwork, not even if it’s a commissioned piece because someone missed the original work and they would love to adopt a piece just like her.
That refusal may sound as stubborn or pretentious at first sight, but there is a real practical reason why I can’t do it. Not even if I wanted to do so.
You see, I put a piece of my soul on every single doll I make. A tiny drop of my awareness and my mindfulness goes on each of them, and with that, all my emotions, feelings and thoughts will shape them. That’s why I can’t do it. It’s impossible to reproduce the moment that inspired them, they are a little moment of my life , frozen in time.
That is why I love my process, where I get to choose every single detail of the dolls I make, from the fabric of the dress to the buttons that hold the doll’s arms.
I set out to make this one a very pretty girl, but I really wasn’t aware of what I was making until the very end. All I knew is that she was going to be very special.
Each element is carefully chosen with the doll’s personality in mind, and I can swear to you that they talk to me about what they want to wear, how they want to look and everything they want to be.
I knew that I wanted her to be vintage looking, and when I found the bunny rabbit fabric hiding on my closet, I knew it was perfect.
We tried different hair colors, different clothe styles and different haircuts until we were sure that’s what we want. It’s an exhausting and repetitive process sometimes, because the doll is not sure what she wants to be, and I am known for starting all over again if I am not satisfied with an idea.
Other times, everything just flows, the doll and I are sure of what we want and it’s only a matter of finding the right materials and textures for each personality. This little girl was just that, perfect.
But… Something was amiss, and suddenly I knew what it was. She wanted to be like me, and I realized I was making a self portrait, so I used wool to felt fluffy bunny ears and she was ready.
See what I mean? She’s perfect! And so lovely, that she got adopted right away.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.