Santos Dolls take their name from the Spanish word for Saint. In the 17th century, these dolls became popular. They were originally carved by priests as a tribute to a saint. They embodied a virtue or a quality that you wanted to bring into your life. They were used for in-home altars. If a small village didn’t have a priest, the in-home altar with the Santos Doll sufficed. Also, during times of war, especially in the 1700’s and 1800’s when people were unable to travel to church, their development flourished.
Julie Ann Lee taught a class on making Santos Dolls. Her dolls are more authentic with crackly faces to make them appear antique. I veered off course to make my own meaningful dolls. I enjoyed creating these little dolls so much that I decided to make several. They are not strictly Santos Dolls. This was where my creative impulse lead me. A ballerina with red galoshes for instance. A mermaid queen. A woman with a purple dress. And the androgynous figure with a magenta jacket. What’s it all mean?
Carl Jung would certainly have something to say about these figures who emerged from my own subconscious. None of these dolls was planned. For me, they were a very intuitively guided process. Entering into that place of being guided, is somewhat like being in a shared dream…you and your creation in communion.
I love to dance. To follow the inclination of the body and to get lost in the dance. Dance has the capacity to release what has been stuck through movement. The dance can be flowing or chaotic or anything in between, depending upon what I need in the moment. In fact, dance seems to be an imperative in these times. It helps to release stress and changes things up a bit. And guess what, the command to “dance like no one is watching,” might actually be true for some of us these days. So do, dance like no one is watching in the privacy of your living space. Move the furniture aside, put on your favorite dance music…and dance. Skype with your siblings, friends, children and grandchildren, choose some favorite dance music and dance together.
Make it happen!
This ballerina looks sturdy to me. She reminds me of a very staunch Russian ballerina. From the countryside perhaps. I can make up any story I like about her. Creating this piece came from a place of “letting go”. I found the freedom to follow my instincts. Try this, try that. Yes, you can place gold leaf circles within circles beside a ballerina. And why not add a little bird in the upper corner! Let go.
Perhaps that is the message of this painting “let go” of what isn’t necessary to make room for what wants to be expressed. We don’t always have to strive for perfection and follow the rules of what is allowed to co-exist on the canvas. We can step outside of the box of thought around what good art is and discover the emotion, the feeling from which art arises. Express it.
I began painting for the first time in the year 2014. I didn’t go to art school. I began with online classes. The way you get better at anything, as I’ve said before, is to practice. I stopped comparing myself with other artists or wondering whether or not I had any talent. I painted for myself.
So, you’re not an artist…really? You can FINGERPAINT! Make your own paints. Here’s a recipe from Martha Stewart…I’m sure you can find others online. Then paint away those pent up emotions. Notice how you feel afterwards.
- Food coloring Instead of food coloring, one viewer used used paprika, turmeric and matcha.
Stir 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 cup cornstarch together. Add 2 cups of cold water and heat over medium heat until the mixture is thick (the mixture will further thicken as it cools).
Divide into four or more containers, and add food coloring to achieve desired colors.
At the least, dance it out today!
As the social distancing continues, we are finding other ways to connect. It’s not easy. I took a walk with a friend for the first time in two weeks. We stayed six to eight feet apart. If anyone was approaching on the trail, we split further apart to allow the person(s) to pass. I have alcohol wipes with me when I shop for groceries. The checkout clerk wears plastic gloves and a mask. When I get home, I wash the packaging that my food comes in, the fruits and vegetables, etc. These are some of the precautions that I take at this time. It is difficult. And I do believe that deep inside each one of us is something that knows how to be with what is occurring at this time. I have no answers…except to give myself something to show up for every day. Blessings.
I don’t know the names of the variety of ballet positions. Except for one, plie.
Being in the phase of painting ballerinas, I was leafing through a magazine and came across an image of a ballerina stretching towards her toes. I believe it was by Degas but I could be wrong. He certainly painted a plethora of ballerinas!
Regardless, I wanted to try and paint her. In my whimsical style, with a touch of collage around the hem of her tutu. I remember how challenging it was for me to get her form close to being true. The arch of her back, the tilt of her head, her fingers that touched her ankle. The proportions. The angle of her face and neck. Even the color of her skin and the tonal values. Urgh. I wasn’t entirely pleased with it. But after a lot of tweaking and fussing, I called it done.
I named this painting The Sugar Plum Fairy as behind her is a fanciful forest of perhaps, trees of a sugar plum variety. And doves that form a heart.
Then there is the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker.
Today is a good day to STRETCH! Being homebound for now,
don’t forget that your body loves to streeeetch.