Art Gallery – Portrait by Dan Howard

I’ve loved Dan Howards’s art for years, ever since I saw it on a message board we were both members of. I’d always wanted wanted to commission him but things never worked out. Until now! Things came together at just the right time, and I’m very happy.

He did a great job capturing the details that were important to me, like my hair and my accessories, while still staying true to his personal style. I also love the low collar of the kimono! Especially since he’d never drawn accurate kimono before and was going by some vague references I sent. The pop of red is great too. It adds a great little racy touch and contrasts so well with my beloved teal/peacock colour palette.

Please go check out his work on his website, Dan Howard Art.

Daruma Colouring Page

Here we are in the first day of a new year. Twenty-eighteen was rough for a lot of people, and I think we’re all hoping for a happy, healthy, rewarding twenty-nineteen.

To start the year with focus and intention, I’ve created this Daruma colouring page. Daruma are traditional representations of a monk named Bodhidharma. When you purchase one, usually from a temple, there are no eyes painted on it. When you set a goal or wish for yourself, you paint in the first eye. When you’ve accomplished it, you can paint in the second eye.

Daruma can be painted in many different colours, based on your goals, but red is the most traditional and versatile, There are often characters painted on the front, again varying depending on your goal, but like the red colour, 福 (fuku, good fortune) is the most common. 

Here’s my daruma. I have set a few goals and dreams for myself this year. I’m no good with resolutions, but maybe this will encourage me to focus better. If and when I manage to accomplish any of them I will complete it and share again!

Here are a couple of blank versions, with and without kanji, for you to colour. Feel free to colour it digitally like I did or print it out and use more traditional methods.

If you colour it in, I would love to see! And I wish you all the best for this upcoming new year.

Art Gallery – Floral Fans Colouring Page

Recently while browsing Pinterest, I came across a lovely colouring page with fans on it. However, the scan was very small and blurry, which would have made it quite difficult to colour digitally. So I decided to redraw it from the ground up before painting it on my Surface. I really like how the end result turned out, so I thought I would share it with you.

If you’d like to colour this yourself, here is the clean version of the lines. Whether you print it out and colour it traditionally or do it digitally like I did, I would love to see!

Zen Garden Miniature Diorama

First off, please let me apologise for the lack of updates recently. The weather is still miserably hot, and it’s killing both my ability and my motivation to do much of anything. Work has also been busier than usual. I may not have found the time to change the mannequin lately, but I did want to share this little miniature project I completed recently.

The more I make dioramas and miniature-scale things, the more I realise how much I love it. The Japanese-themed dollhouse was such a pleasure to make that I wanted to do something else with a similar influence. These gorgeous glass and metal terrariums I found at the craft store seemed like an excellent place to start.

I laid in a base of rocks and fine sand to serve as a neutral foundation for everything. The tree was made from scratch, I started with a wire armature, covered it in tape, then covered the whole thing in textured clay. I painted that in shades of brown to mimic bark and then glued on clusters of foliage to give the whole thing a windswept bonsai look. The little pond is resin, with a base of blue glass beads, stones, and tiny shells.

The Buddha is antique ivory. It was my grandmother’s, and my father used it as a teething soother when he was a baby. Eventually I will find a suitable replacement that’s a little smaller and holds a lot less sentimental value, and possibly a tiny stone lantern, but for now I think he looks rather at home there. Looking at the whole thing relaxes and grounds me, and I couldn’t be happier.

Japanese-Inspired Dollhouse

 

Something a little different today! If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram, odds are good that you’ve seen little bits and pieces of this Japanese-inspired dollhouse project I’ve been working on for quite some time. It’s finally complete, and it’s so satisfying to see everything together.

I started with this Romantic Nordic Cottage kit, but essentially only used the base structure and wiring kit. I liked the clean lines and open feel of it, and thought it would suit a Japanese aesthetic well. I kept the basic layout the same and used a few of the pre-cut pieces but also added a lot of custom furniture and accessories. I made a functional tansu and a sort of tokonoma out of popsicle sticks and stained with cherrywood stain markers. The markers made things so much easier, the small tip is the perfect size for this scale. The walls were covered with an assortment of embossed paper in neutral tones instead of using the busy and overly shiny print-outs included in the kit.

The bedding, hanging kimono, zabuton cushions, and chair upholstery are all actual kimono fabric scraps, as are the items inside the tansu. I tried to use pieces that had smaller-scale designs, to fit the general scale and dimension of the house. While I tried to make or at least alter nearly every piece, I bought the sushi, edamame, and dishware at a miniature expo. The decorative bowls and small cooking pot in the kitchen came from there too.

The original kitchen included in the kit had no sink, and the oven front was nothing more than a print-out I was supposed to glue onto a piece of wood, but it looked very unfinished. I used some heavy reflective paper to make a metal sink and build an oven door out of more of the same paper and some matchsticks. I even put on a tiny tea towel, made of shibori fabric.

The aquarium is quite possibly the thing I am most proud of. It was my first time working with resin, and I’m so pleased. I built the structure out of more popsicle sticks, used some gorgeous chiyogami paper from The Rare Orchid as the background, and I decorated the inside with some plant matter, teeny tiny shells, and polymer clay goldfish. I also had so much fun making the kokeshi doll in the little decorative shelf. Pretty sure that’s the tiniest face I’ve ever painted!

I really loved doing all the tiny detail work and decoration. I used a lot of beads and minuscule little knick-knacks I had lying around, and these sorts of things really help the whole thing feel like a real, lived-in home. There’s prints in the kitchen, including some vintage Japanese advertising and an adorable Sushi Cats print, and the art hanging in the tokonoma is by Ichiro Tsuruta, whom I’ve mentioned here before.

The tatami flooring is actually tatami repair stickers! The tile in the kitchen is adhesive vinyl cut into 1cm squares, and the flooring in the dining area is  more of the same imprinted heavy paper used on the walls. To give everything a more polished look, I finished off the edges with more stained coffee stirrers. It’s hard to see, but the bathroom is also “tiled” with more self-adhesive vinyl, and I made a mirror with the same reflective paper used in the kitchen. There are little bottles and toiletries made of beads. The initial kit just had clear acrylic walls in the bathroom, but that felt very exposed to me so I used some semi-opaque paper and decorative wire mesh to give a feeling of privacy.

This project was a labour of love, and reinforced how much I love working with miniatures.

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