Well, the launch of SPECIMENS OF THE SECRET FOREST, my latest online class came, maybe, at the worst of times.Maybe not, I don’t know. The world is going crazy. But I decided not to give in to the madness.
For me, this amazing opportunity to be a part of Jeanne Oliver’s network made my day. I’ve admired her for a long time and now, after working for months on this project, it is finally released and you can sign up to escape from madness for a while and visit the enchanted forest and their beautiful inhabitants when you click on this link.
After I got the news that the class is ready for enrollment and I should start letting you know about it, I started thinking and debating internally if I should be this happy when the world is on fire, and after a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that, yes, we ALL have the right to be happy, even in these days.
Because happiness is force of nature. Happy people have hope, and with hope comes the will to overcome things. And we will overcome this. Together, let’s create more happiness and spread it to the ones around it who need a ray of light to brighten their day.
Go and hug your pet, tell your love ones you love them, make art, help the ones in need. I promise you, it will be worth it.
The universe sends you unexpected gifts, and it’s up to you to accept them or not.
My son had been asking for a cat of his own since we got Echo, my daughter’s emotional support cat. To be honest, we were putting it off because we already have one cat, but the universe had other plans for us.
This void started showing up at our doorstep, meowing loudly and looking hungry, so decided to feed him and didn’t think much of it, the neighborhood cats hang around our house so we thought he was looking for a free meal.
He kept hanging out at our front porch for a week in the mornings and cuddled to my son before he left for school, then came back looking for him after he came back from school in the afternoons.
The day before thanksgiving was very rainy and cold and he disappeared, but on thanksgiving he showed up cold, wet and super hungry… He ate two cans wand asked for more! We setup a shelter for the night and decided to take him to the vet the next day.
Our vet said he was in good health, had no fleas or ticks so she gave him his vaccinations, some pills and wished us on our merry way. My son was grinning all the way home, even more when the cat wanted to get out of the carrier to sit with him and purr really loud.
His name is Loki, AKA The Void. He is so dark that if he closes his eyes all you see is a cat shaped hole in the fabric of reality. This was their first night together. He curled up next to him and slept, and slept, and slept. You could hear him purr all across the room! To be honest, I had never heard a cat purr that loud!
I had never owned a cat before, much less two so I had no idea what to expect, but Loki settled up very well and Echo accepted him well, so now I have a shadow that follows me around everywhere I go in the house.
He kinda knows how to cat. He never had toys so he didn’t know what to do with them until Echo showed him his catnip trout, and the laser pointer is a total mystery to him. He does not climb much yet but is very curious and my plants and furniture are under attack, but it’s OK, he’s learning the rules of the house. He took over my laptop as soon as I sat to work. The god of mischief demands pets.
Echo took over my favorite chair and now Loki took over the one in front of it. Now I’m going to need to buy another one so I can read at night! I am truly in love with this cat, his dark fur make me think of magical powers and he will truly be an inspiration on my work. I am already studying the movements of my mini-panther and you will see him and Echo in my work very soon.
And you know what else has been funny? Since he arrived I have been getting lots of good news and opportunities that will make 2020 a very interesting year. Black cats bring good fortune after all.
I’m still adjusting to the big change that we had to go over last year. As you know, I had to sell my house and after a huge amount of problems and situations, I moved back to my old home.
This house is old, has a lot of issues that need fixing and it’s not as nice as the one we had before, but I like it. It’s the place where I brought both my kids when they were born and when’re they took their first steps and said their first words. It’s got family history.
Unfortunately, now that I have two kids and one of them is on the brink of being a teenager and the other one an incredibly active first grader, we don’t have a lot of space. I had to give up my former studio to give each one of them a room, and I took over the living room as a makeshift studio.
That means we are still living under a lot of unpacked studio boxes, containers and who knows what else. I am missing half of my materials because I have nowhere to put them, but art calls and I need to work.
My creative brain needs to work, my bills need to be paid but I don’t have a lot of space… What to do?!?
I had to take the situation with a little humor and remembered one of my favorite books, “It’s not easy being a bunny” (Believe me… it’s not!) where he wants to be a lot of things besides a bunny.
Like P. J. Funnybunny, I said to myself… Now I want to be… A WATERCOLORIST!
And you know what? I LOVE IT!!!! I had worked on watercolors before, it’s one of my favorite mediums and I even teach an introductory online class, but I never took it as my main medium because there are so many things to work on!
But I am so glad I took this detour in life. Having to work in a little space and with limited resources has made me appreciate the magic of water and pigment doing their work even more than I used to, and letting my artistic soul take over my brushes and paints and do it’s thing. It’s magical. And loving the process has allowed me to take my time, improve and experiment even more.
I am so happy with the process that most of the pieces I have been making find homes before they are even finished. And that fils my heart with joy. As an artist, it’s one of the greatest honors.
My style is also taking a new direction. More detailed faces and different themes. They still have the same melancholic eyes and mysterious faces, it’s just a new different me. What do you think of them? Do you like them?
Some say that inspiration cannot be beckoned, it’s sacred and you have to wait for it come to you, and always ready to read the subtle signs that will tell you when it arrives. I have proof of that now.
I had been totally dry of ideas and I had this girl on my desk, waiting for inspiration to arrive, but to no avail. I kept on sketching on her, but none of my ideas really convinced me.
My last sketch turned out to be some kind of wings on her back, maybe butterfly wings, but I was not really sure what I wanted her to be.
I got frustrated, so I got up from my table and got out of the studio earlier than usual to pick up my kids from school. Maybe a walk could help me gather my ideas.
And just like that, I found it, right on my doorstep. It was a beautiful butterfly, flapping it’s wings on the sidewalk. It looked like it was hurt and trying to fly again but was not succeeding.
I thought about it and I carefully picked it up and took it inside. Maybe she just needed some water and food and she will be ready to fly again.
I put it in a box so it would not get hurt with a little sugary water in a bottle cap, and set out to pick up my kids from school.
I showed the butterfly to my kids and they took turns looking after it, they love animals and they were fascinated with it. My son took his art supplies and started sketching it, and my Daughter took a magnifying glass to study it while it was in the box.
What they didn’t know, and I really had no heart to tell them, was that the butterfly was not doing that good. It looked like it was her last day.
Next day I went to the box to see how it was doing, and as I expected, it didn’t make it.
And it got me thinking, it was alive one moment and the next, it was gone. Poof, just like that. After that, a tidal wave of thoughts and emotions flashed trough and I knew what to do.
I did art. It’s the best way I have to explain all my emotions and ideas and pour them out to the world. I painted the same butterfly wings on the girl I was working with, and I knew it was the right thing for her.
I had been depressed lately, with this feeling of uncertainty about my future as an artist and wondering if I really should continue this path or not.
After seeing this fragile creature hang on and bringing beauty to the world until it’s very last day, I knew I could not give up.
I painted that uncertainty I was feeling on the girl’s face. She is pondering about the future and knows she is fragile, but she is also beautiful.
She stands strong, because she knows that while she exists, there are things to do, places to explore, art to make.
even if you did not know her story, she is still a powerful image. I love the way she is standing, ready to take flight and explore the world.
and now that you know her back story, I think it becomes a much more intimate image. One that speaks of my hidden fears and how I overcome them day by day.
And of course, you know me. Once I start, I cannot stop, so I kept on painting all my feeling and emotions onto canvas until I ended up with a beautiful series of new paintings.
Some of them have my recurring themes, like the obsession I have for twins. You know, two minds, one body. I find the idea so fascinating.
I love the face on this girl, defiant yet gentle and sweet. I like to think that she is my self portrait.
Then I was thinking of the blue fairy from Pinocchio and the movie AI, and the beautiful butterflies I saw in Costa Rica, and I made a blue butterfly.
And last, a girl with a chrysalis on her back. She is waiting for the change that will come. She is not sure when or where it will happen, but she knows it will be one day. It’s a matter of waiting.This was a very emotional series for me, finding that butterfly really got me thinking if this was just a strange coincidence, or if there’s something looking after me and sending subtle messages and letting me know I should keep on making the world a beautiful place.
What do you think? Let me know on the comments section!
Working with the Drawlloween challenge has been A LOT of fun. I got to experiment with new ideas and themes, and my ghoul even got me on the creature feature for that day, as well as the WHAT IN THE WORLD IS SHE DOING???? section of a lot of people, and got everyone wondering where my art is going.
And you know… I don’t know! I have a dark side that I’m starting to explore with new materials, techniques and new ideas… But I can only draw with a pencil, a brush and one color for so long.
So, I got my colorful watercolors out of the box, and started out with my usual style for the last Halloween stretch before I put Darknita back to sleep in her coffin for the year.
And here they are! Silly and whimsical creatures of the night with beautiful eyes, sorrowful expressions and the tiniest hint of that little something that makes them so special.
I was reorganizing the studio looking for materials to start making new art dolls, and then I found a box full of kokeshi doll bodies I forgot about. So, what did I do? Fridas!
I made a pair of super cute kokeshi dolls as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the famous artistic couple. Frida is a source of inspiration for me, and since I recently visited their homes in Mexico city, a homage to them was in order.
The original set sold immediately, and I got requests for more sets of these adorable handmade kokeshi art dolls. So, here they are. I still have a few unpainted bodies to share with you.Let’s go from unfinished bodies to a beautiful set of hand painted kokeshi art dolls, customized with your favorite colors to match your personality and decoration. What do you say? Will you get a set for you?
But I did not stop there… and I really don’t think I can make them any smaller than this.
In the box I found the original kokeshi bodies I found a few sets of tiny kokeshi doll bodies! I was on a roll and I took my finest brushes to make a few sets of micro Frida and Diego sets.
They measure just a little less than one inch tall (2.5cm), and they are adorable! If you like tiny things (I do!) you are going to love them… just see how huge a regular pencil looks next to them. It looks like I have a giant pencil laying around the studio.
The sets are only $35.00 each and I only have 4 of them. If you are interested, better head to my shop and choose your favorite!
I also made a painting too! A commissioned Frida with a house in her hands.
I had this commission almost finished when I made the dolls, so it felt like cheating when I added it to the newsletter… but then she is so beautiful it’s hard to resist not sharing her, right?
You already know what happens when I get obsessed with a theme, right? I will not stop until I am utterly and completely satisfied with exploring every option and technique about it.
This past days my obsession has taken me to work with Little red riding hood, and I have been watercolor paintings, paper dolls, classes, and now, an art doll.
Working with her all night, I just had to add her to my ever growing collection of art dolls. Each one of them holds a little piece of my soul, and I just love making them. Now, Little red riding hood is looking for a home! Go and see more of her on my online shop!
I made here while I was in the forest last month, filming my latest online tutorial “Sketching in the woods” where I teach you how to paint a little red riding hood watercolor portrait just like this one.
And then, last, but not least… A little red riding hood paper doll! I have been working on this original paintings turned into poseable dolls.Now you can create your own with my downloadable pattern. It’s ready to be printed, colored and assembled so you can have you very own Danita Paper doll.
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.