My latest doll is a little girl with astonishing green eyes, who happens to love cotton candy.
I was thinking about my childhood delights and how much I loved to eat that delicious pink and fluffy cotton candy when I visited the fair or the zoo.
It felt like eating clouds, so soft and unsubstantial, but it still left that sugary taste in your mouth. I loved to think I was a bird and I flew to the sunset clouds. Now that I am a grown person, I don’t indulge on cotton candy that much, but I still remember how it made me feel and I wanted to evoke that feeling with this doll.
I didn’t think it was a good idea to use real cotton candy for her treat, so I dyed wool, needle felted it and placed it on a stick so she sn have an everlasting sweet. Yay!
Her dress is special too. I picked up a very light cream fabric with pink and yellow flowery accents, because, after all it’s Spring! I think it goes very well with her dark wool hair and her sweet face.
Did you know that sometimes I spend more time choosing the fabric for her dress than any other step? To me it’s very important, I need to be super extra sure that it’s the right one for the doll and she always helps me choose. I show her several fabrics and she decides which one will it be, and so far, all of them have always been delighted with their choice!
And finally, the shoes. Another important decision! This time she chose to wear high boots with pink lacy bows on them. I had the perfect silk ribbon for them, and they are just lovely!
Just like the hands on my dolls, they are custom made. I pour ceramic and resin into vintage, early 20th century doll molds for each of them, so each one has a very unique and one of a kind outfit and body.
I really believe that going that extra step of making each one of them old school, by hand instead of mass producing them or ordering premade items makes each doll special, just like the person that will adopt her in the end.
Do you like Belle and her cotton candy? We hope so! Drop me a comment here my blog, or via email after you see all the pictures of her in her official photo shoot page. There’s lots of them to enjoy!
Remember how I lately I have been obsessed with Alice in wonderland? The last product from that obsession is this beautiful Alice doll!
Let me share with you how she began and the steps I followed to let her come to life in my art studio in the course of a week.
I started out with her legs this time. Not my usual way, but for some reason I had striped socks in mind and that’s how started.
Then, I sculpted the head using paper clay, then I painted her big expressive gray eyes using my favorite mixed media techniques.
Then, I worked on her underwear. Totally handmade, I cut the fabric with my own patters and sew everything to perfection using hand and machine techniques. Once I am happy with one piece of clothing, she can wear it!
See what I mean? Here she is in progress as she now has her beautiful head and her hand painted legs attached to a torso. Excuse the mess behind! I like to have everything at hand and sometimes I do runs to my favorite stores to find the perfect fabric or accessory.
That’s where I found the perfect accessory for her neck collar. Some lace applications over her striped blouse that I made from a fabric scrap I collected from a thrifty store and she is looking great!
Now she has arms I decorated with lacy sleeves for her blouse. At this stage, I really did not know who she was going to be, but I already knew she was going to be a beautiful handmade girl.
I had a great idea next… A blue skirt with soft flowing fabric! Yes! that is what she was going to wear over her super cute underwear. She is finally taking form, but still there’s a very important detail missing.
The hair! I started rummaging in the collection of materials I keep for my handmade dolls, and then I came across this beautiful curly blond hair. Once I saw it I immediately knew who she was going to be… Alice in wonderland!!
And once I knew who she was going to be, I knew what to do with her. she was going to wear a big black bow on her hair, and she was going to have the “Drink me” bottle in her hands.
All that was left was to take her official photos. The white clovers on my garden are blooming now, so it was the perfect setting for her! And she was ready!
I have a new, very different series of paintings that I just finished about Alice in Wonderland, and you can enjoy the whole series on my online gallery, danitaart.com. But before you go there, I’d like to share with you the story behind the new series, and I invite to read on before you see them. I promise you it will be worth it.
I’m always in motion, always trying to learn something new or do something different, but for some reason, my art started to become static. I was being content with it because it was in the comfort zone, people like it and I can get by by being an artist. There’s food on my plate, I have a roof to live in and my kids are fed and go to school. So, things were fine.
Except for one tiny little detail. They were not.
There was this stirring on my soul, asking me, no, begging for change, and it was growing louder and louder by the minute. I realized I could not pretend it was not there any more. My changing nature was calling me.
I knew a change was coming, so I started preparing myself for it. I started hoarding my art supplies and my sketchbooks, and I spent my days furiously sketching and practicing for my new adventure while I struggled to find what my soul was trying tell me it wanted to do next.
It’s not always easy to obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul, and it’s very strange to realize there are things inside you that you did not know they were there, sleeping and waiting to be awakened.
And then, there’s the fear of rejection. My anxious mind will always play tricks on me, giving me thousand scenarios on why I should not go on, that it’s better to stay in known territory than moving along and threading in uncharted waters. What if no one likes it? What if your followers abandon you because you tried something different? What if you are booed at and you will never be an artist again and you will never be able to paint and you will end up living on a wet cardboard box on a backstreet alley until you die, old and forgotten?
And I said NO to that voice. I won’t die alone and forgotten on a cardboard box in an alley. I said NO, My followers will not abandon me. I said NO, they will like it. And if they don’t there will come the ones who do. They will understand the necessity I have for change, for movement in my life. I have been standing still for too long and I refuse to continue doing that.
And armed with that new found determination and my weapons of choice, I set out on a new adventure, and Alice in Wonderland was the perfect vehicle to find a new path. Like Alice, I set out to a place where anything is possible, and together we wayfared on a new world of colors, new faces and new techniques.
One of the strangest things I discovered is how a medium you know so well suddenly can become daunting and menacing when you want to do something different to what you’ve done before. Things that are familiar to you no longer feel safe, because you are now doing things that will test your head, and your mind, and your brain, too. I felt like Alice in front of the Red Queen, demanded to explain what I was attempting to, and why.
But I kept walking on Wonderland, one step at a time, one painting at a time. Loving the journey, loving the process, the learning and the joy of seeing my ideas come to fruition at last.
You can see all the effort and love I poured into my new work, the faces are different, more alive than ever, and the pieces themselves are darker in color but still dreamy. It’s funny because when I started I ran away from earth tone like the plague, and now here I am with dreamy, old style illustrations.
I called this an evolution in the beginning, but as I’m was done with the last painting of the series, I realized this was not an evolution. It was a revolution, a change so drastic and strong that after it things will not be the same.
Alice found the mad hatter and the rabbit in the end, and on my story, she decides to stay in Wonderland and start a new story there. Just like I will.
Although everyone is welcome to drop by to my studio and say hello, I know some of my friends are very far away, so I decided to film closeups of my latest watercolor paintings so you can appreciate the beautiful details and color swirls that only watercolor can create while I paint my beautiful girls and their unique eyes.
If you’d like to see more of them, you can visit my official website, danitaart.com where you can enjoy more photos of them, and if you decide, you can adopt one and take it home.
Buy maybe, you’d like to get closer? Close enough to feel the paint in your brush and the water on the paper?
This class covers all the basic and advanced techniques in in-depth videos about paper, types of paints and how to make the best out of them, while using one of my favorite subjects to paint: Frida.
After you complete the lessons, you will be able to start your own love affair with watercolor and your characters will come to life just like you dreamed them.
Enjoy a free, sample lesson about paint and color opacity. Once you are done watching it, head to danitaartclasses.com where you can sign up for the full class and enjoy all the lessons I have prepared for you!
Lady Clementine is one of my latest paper clay, handmade art dolls. She has a very interesting story on how she evolved and changed as I was bringing her into our world, and I thought it will be fun to show you.
Well, you already know that everything starts with an idea, and sometimes this idea is sleeping on my mind so deeply, that not even I know it’s there.
Then, just like that, the idea came from it’s slumber and she awoke. She was coming from my world into ours and she needed my help. So, I gave her a glittery horn and a unicorn princess was born.
And being a princess, a unicorn princess to be exact, meant that she needed to be perfect. We tried lots and lots of hair until I found the perfect shade for her.
A perfect shade of pale pink that goes with her magical presence and her limitless innocence.
A lacy gown, pure white and vaporous like magic is what I had in mind for her clothes, so we got to work. Almost done!
But… Alas! Her face was perfect… for someone else. So we talked over and decided we needed to start all over again. No shame, no anger. She commands and I must obey.
Art behaves in very strange ways. Sometime I start with a very clear path but something happens that takes me in a totally different direction. Her eyes are now green and she has glitter in them to reflect the magic within.
Now her face has softer features, her eyes shine with magic and she looks much more innocent than in the beginning. She is ready to step into our world.
Our photographer said she was a challenge to capture her beauty. Like the magical creature she is, she proved to be elusive and mysterious, but in the end with some convincing she let herself photograph. Definitively, Unicorns are very difficult to catch on camera.
I am super exited to be part of the exhibit, there are great artists showing there during the month of December, and I’m honored to be along with them.
I’m also very very happy to read their description they wrote for one of my paintings, “Merry Go Wolf” It’s one of my favorite paintings and I really liked the dark and sweet combination on it.
Also, I had “Merry Go Alice“, My favorite work and one the centerpieces of my summer exhibit “Among princesses and wolves” sent to “Winter Salon VI“. I was very surprised when the let me know I did not make it to the opening night. It sold on the day they received it! Someone saw it while it was being unpacked and now Alice is living on a private collection.
If you happen to be In Albuquerque, NM and you want to see amazing art, drop them a visit and send me note letting me know what you think. You’ll get to see my largest paintings, touch and try out my latest jewelry and lots of other cool things from amazing artists.
Place it anywhere where you need a tiny calendar that does not take too much space to remind you of important dates and events and inspire you through the year, it comes with an optional vintage wood block to keep it standing anywhere you place it.
Arrives neatly wrapped in a cute vintage style package, ready to prop it or give it away… It’s a wonderful stocking filler! And once you are done with each month as the year goes by, the cards can be kept as little art prints, bookmarks or part of your very own art projects 🙂
Are you ready for the first snow fall of the year? Here on my side of the world things are just starting to get cool and snow may still be far away, but that does not mean I can’t start getting ready to create holiday art so you can decorate for Christmas, right?
I found some plastic dolls on a thrift store and I took them home with me to give them new life. Then I made new heads for them using paper clay and I hand painted each one.
Next I took some fabric scraps from my art doll projects and created onesies for them, and then I decorated their clothes and hats with vintage style tinsel and pompons.
A little more paint and lots of love to give them a vintage, kinda shabby look to remind me that old, discarded things can be given a new lease on life and that’s it!