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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
Okay, you have everything you need? Let’s get started!
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.
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.
Let the crayons dry up, and you can throw away the paper wrappings on the recycle bin.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!!!!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
“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?
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 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.
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.