Animation and Made in Magazine feature!


Hello Creatives! 

Sometimes it’s easier to explain things with a video rather than words. So i decided to create a video explaining that i love to give mojo sessions!  I hope you like it!  I had fun watching my art come to life with animation!

There’s more excitement over at Casa Violette! I’m so thrilled to be a part of Made In Digital magazine!

made in_pic

My feature is on page 70!  Please take a look! The Digital magazine is free so you can feast your eyes on inspirational stories from creatives around the world! 

Cynthia – the creator of the magazine did a wonderful job of putting all of these photos and interviews into one lovely package!  Thank you so much Cynthia for having me in your magazine!

Love, Violette xo

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    Book Review: Choices and Illusions by Eldon Taylor


    Today is a special post as I’m featuring Eldon Taylor’s new book Choices and IllusionsEvery now and then a Publisher sends me a book to review if they feel it’s a fit for me and my readers.  Even though Choices and Illusions is not a book about art it is of value to any of us who want to create the life we want and deserve! And who wouldn’t want that?


    I read the book and really enjoyed it – especially the parts about our beliefs and how so many of them have guided our lives in the wrong direction.  Choices and Illusions is like a guide to achieving your dreams.

    The book Choices and Illusions comes with a subliminal CD which i listened to almost every day.  I felt uplifted and empowered after listening to the CD which is layered with affirmations.

    Here’s a Q and A with Eldon Taylor: 

    1. There are so many self-help books in the market, what makes this one different?

    It is a well known fact that while most people can read an inspirational book, or attend a motivational seminar, however excited they are about what they have learned and however determined they are to implement the changes to improve their lives, that the vast majority of them will not. For the past 30 years, I have researched the mind, consciousness, self-image, decision making and so forth. I have learned much about the real reasons for our resistance to change and I have discovered a few solutions. Even if you never buy another self help product, this book will fundamentally change you. It basically turns the old models of success upside down and shows you not only what true success is, but how you can achieve it for yourself, right now.

    2. Choices and Illusions is an interesting title. What does it mean?

    It will probably surprise you to know that most of the choices you make each and every day really are not your own. They are choices that have been given to you through your upbringing, from your parents, friends, schools and so on. You may have dreams and aspirations, but you can never achieve them while your subconscious mind has conflicting desires. It is only by taking charge of our own choices, by reversing the negative programming that most of us receive, that we can ever truly find ourselves. And when it comes to negative programming, they say that for every positive input we receive, we also receive 90 bits of negative. On top of that, this negative input is much more powerful than the positive. When it really comes down to it, when we truly know who we are, then many choices just become a mute point.

    3. Who do you think will benefit the most from your book, the veteran of self-help or the total beginner?

    Quite honestly everyone will gain from reading this book. The knowledge you gain will empower you to reach your goals, whatever your background. I have seen these techniques work with people from all walks of life, from business executives to young house wives, from olympic athletes to prison inmates, from young children to those in their golden years. If all you want to do is lose some weight, this book will show you how. If you want to do better in relationships, find you perfect partner, be successful in business, have better health, age more gracefully, be better at sports, or even get closer to God, Choices and Illusions will show you how to do it because it really does reach the very core of the problems all of us face.

    4. Tell us a little more about yourself. What are your qualifications and how did you learn of the techniques you teach?

    I have the usual qualifications, doctorates in both psychology and metaphysics, but more importantly, I am a pragmatist. I am only interested in what works. My approach is very scientific and once I had put together the basic techniques for my programs, I needed proof that they worked. My programs have been researched by numerous independent universities and institutions around the world and been demonstrated effective. Researchers at Stanford have tested my program for alleviating exam anxiety and found positive results. At Colorado State University they looked at depression, at Bremen University in Germany they looked at weight loss and I could go on and on, but you can find all of these details in my book. I was actually a criminologist before I decided to focus my efforts on personal empowerment. My reasons for beginning my exploration in this area was because I was administering lie detection tests and I needed a way to reduce anxiety in the innocent person who was just afraid of the test itself, and heightening anxiety in the criminal. However, once I saw the true potential behind these techniques, I decided to bring it to a much larger audience.

    5. What is the “no-don’t syndrome” and the “subtraction game.”

    We are all brought up hearing the ‘no-don’ts’ – no, don’t do this or no, you can’t do that. We hear it from our parents, our peers, those in authority and those we care about. All of these ‘no-don’t’ teach us limitations to what we can do or be. This is a real problem because unless you believe you are capable of achieving a goal, then the likelihood is great that you will not achieve it.

    The ‘subtraction game’ is basically a coping mechanism we have for the limited beliefs we have about ourselves. If we do not think highly of ourselves, then by thinking less of others, we can feel better because we are not at the bottom of the pile. So if I am not good at something, I will feel better when I focus on how much worse most other people are.

    6. You talk a lot about forgiveness in Choices and Illusions. Why do you think this is so important?

    It really comes down to self responsibility. When you are blaming someone else, or even if you are blaming yourself, then you are holding on to the past. It is only by forgiving and letting go that you can move on. It is only by accepting full responsibility for everything in your life that you can find a way to fix it. After all, if your problems are someone else’s fault, there is nothing you can do about it. I actually discovered the significance of this with my work in the prison system. The criminal always has an excuse. He basically believes that if you and I had been in his situation, then we would have turned out the same. The fact is, this is simply not true. Self responsibility and forgiveness go hand in hand.

    7. What do you think is the most important teaching in Choices and Illusions?

    Most people believe that self-help and self-improvement is about rags to riches, failure to success, and so forth, when indeed it is the beginning of a journey into self- discovery. True success is when you can put your head on your pillow at night and feel good about who you are and what you have achieved. Inside every human being is an eternal truth and a life purpose. Using our mind power is simply starting the engine on that journey of self-discovery and highest self-actualization.

    8. One of the chapters in Choices and Illusions is, Mind is not a Local Event. What does that mean?

    Precisely that. Most people think of the mind as somehow only being directly connected to the organ brain but its powers extend way beyond the physical. Work has been done that showed group meditation for peace resulted in a drop in crime rates, that there is evidence for life after death, that psychic phenomena are real, and there are a number of scientists today who are gathering even more evidence. This becomes important in self help because when you fine tune the power of your own mind, so many more things are possible. Whole new worlds open up for you. Choices and Illusions is not supposed to be the be all and end all, it is merely a starting point of a wonderful journey. What this book does do though, is empower you to truly help yourself. It frees you from the old ties and enables you to truly live freely, experiencing the life that you truly want.

    9. If you could sum up one factor that prevents people from being successful, what would that be?

    Most people hold beliefs that are mutually exclusive. For example, Money is the source of all evil and I want to be rich; Thank God it’s Friday and I want a successful career. When you inner beliefs are not in line with your stated goals, then success cannot follow. Self sabotaging methods will come into play. The classical example is the opera singer who loses her voice, or the runner who sprains an ankle. I have given seminars around the world and my standard question is, who wants to make a million dollars this year. Most people put up their hands. Then I instruct them to say to themselves, “I will make a million dollars this year.” It only takes a few seconds before you see people smiling or even laughing. The common thoughts that go through people’s minds are things like, “Yeah, and pigs will fly,” or “I don’t think I would make a good bank robber.” Another example is the person who wants to be successful in their career but is terrified of public speaking. This fear of public speaking is eventually going to kick in and they will not perform their best when put to the test that could mean the big career promotion.

    10. You also state that ‘it is never too late.’ Do you really believe that?

    Yes, most definitely. There was a time in my life that I was definitely not the nicest person. Most people around me in those days would be surprised at what I am teaching today. There was a time in my life that I thought it was too late for me. But my life has changed. Today I see my work as having a much greater value. I know for a fact that everyone can experience a life that brings them a sense of satisfaction and it only takes a few small changes.

    To view the Trailer video go here.

    Eldon Taylor

    Eldon Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author and is considered to be an expert in the field of subconscious learning. He has made a lifelong study of the human mind and has earned doctoral degrees in psychology and metaphysics. He is a Fellow with the American Psychotherapy Association (APA) and a nondenominational minister. Eldon has served as an expert witness in court cases involving hypnosis and subliminal communication.

    Eldon was a practicing criminalist for over ten years specializing in lie detection and forensic hypnosis. Today he is president and director of Progressive Awareness Research, Inc. Since 1984 his books, audio programs, lectures, radio and television appearances have approached personal empowerment from the cornerstone perspective of forgiveness, gratitude, self-responsibility and service.


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      Interview with artist Kym Stromberg


      I’m so excited to share this interview with my friend Kym Stromberg of Blissartworks.  Without further ado we’ll just launch into it! Enjoy!


      Can you share a little bit about how we met at Journalfest.

      I met Violette at JournalFest, which is an art retreat that was put on by artist, Teesha Moore and her husband, Tracy.  JournalFest, held in Port Townsend, WA, was an offshoot of ArtFest, but with a focus on art journaling.  I was standing in the dinner line next to Violette and I was eyeing her very cool Passport journal, which she’d made in a workshop earlier in the day. 

      I told Violette that I read her blog, introduced myself, and asked if I could get a better look at the Passport journal she’d made.  What a treat that was.  I can’t wait till my passport expires so I can make one of my own.  As a side note, I found out that if you live in the States you can get a passport with extra pages.  Highly recommended for those wanting to make art journals out of them.

      Violette and I really hit it off and have been email friends ever since.  Because we currently live rather close to one another, we’ve gotten together in person quite a few times as well; most recently at her cute Magic Cottage.


      You mentioned to me before that you have learned more at art retreats than you ever did in art school (where did you go to school?). Can you elaborate on that and also speak on the community aspect of it (like-minded people and compatibly weird people.)

      I went to art school before I switched majors and went to pharmacy school.  I attended Columbia College in downtown Chicago, alma matter of Journal Girl, Samie Kira Harding!  I, however, went years before she did.  I was there in ’79/’80.  My focus was on graphic art and photography.  We followed a curriculum rather than focusing on our own thing, as one would certainly expect.  This was fine for that time in my life.  I’m absolutely not complaining, because I learned many things there, including things that I would never have thought to study on my own.  I enjoyed it immensely.  I wish I had never left.

      I’m very grateful for that 2-year time period.  However, I would say that I learned more about the kind of art that I want to do *now*, from having attended art retreats.  Because at the retreats you pick and choose what is of interest to you (and what artist you want to learn from), rather than taking classes that meet a requirement for a degree.  Since the participants at the retreat are all choosing what classes they are interested in, it is easier to find like minded people, who may very well become lifelong friends.  I know I’ve met many.  And finding these kindred spirits is really life changing.  It has been for me anyway.

      There is a quote I like by Dr. Seuss. 

      “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” 


      And I think it is not only true for romantic love but also for friendships.  At the art retreats it is easy to find some compatibly weird friends.

      You are a Pharmacist by day but  have the soul of an artist.  Can you speak a bit about that?

      I’m a pharmacist primarily because I worked in a drugstore in high school.  I sort of just fell into it.  And I was also urged by my friends and family at the time to choose a career that was more reliable and income generating than the career of an artist.  Not everyone agreed.  My high school principal urged me to go to art school as did my high school art teacher.

      We cannot go back and live our lives over to see what would’ve been the better path.  I used my best judgement at the time.  Now I try to find pharmacy jobs that are rewarding.  You just have to look.  No matter what your career field is.  Find the best job out there.  Keep looking.  Be the one who seeks it out.

      It is quite possible that I was not ready to be an artist when I was younger.  In fact, I don’t think I was.  Timing is everything.


      Who is instrumental in getting you on the current path you are on?

      Teesha Moore is the person who is most responsible for getting my on my current art path.  I had all but given art up after I left Columbia College.  But I saw her flyer about ArtFest tucked into an order I had placed for some of her rubber stamps. 

      And I tucked that idea away in my mind.  I let a few years go by before I actually signed up for it in 2010.  Luckily I currently live in Washington State and it was quite convenient for me to go to her art retreats in Port Townsend, WA.  I went to 5 of her retreats over the years, when she was still running them.  Plus I took a couple of classes she taught herself, when she had a studio in Seattle.


      What are you experimenting with right now? What new techniques are you delving into? (mention your series of mixed media pieces for the pub). What are your favourite tools/supplies?

      Right now I’m making a series of mixed-media art for Simon’s Tavern in Chicago.  This very fun Swedish tavern is owned by my good friend and former high school pal, Scott Martin.   He saw one of my Viking paintings and decided that he’d like a series of them.  We decided on a dozen mixed media paintings.  They’re parodies of song lyrics, for the most part.  The text in the pieces mention the Swedish Christmas drink, glögg.  I like to call them comedy pop-art.  They will be on display at Simon’s Tavern during the Holiday Season.  Scott and I are both from a Swedish heritage.  My grandparents lived in the Swedish neighborhood where his bar is located.  Scott grew up there.

      stencil machine

      antique stencil

      A vintage stencil machine is used to make some of the words I use in my art.  I may use them as a collage element or as a stencil.  I found it on Craig’s List and I had no idea how much I would put it to use.  I used it to make the header for my blog as well.

      I like using oil sticks (mostly Shiva brand) to apply oil paint over the acrylic paint in my pieces.  They are solid paint in stick form and they dry in 24 hours.  They give an interesting and sheer color.  I will be using these more and more in my future work.

      I also enjoy using Daniel Smith Luminescent Acrylic paints to add an iridescent shimmer to my work.  I’ll be buying more of those.  They have lots of great colors.


      Something I’ve done in a few of my pieces is to make a stencil out of a manilla file folder and use spray paint with that.  It gives my art pieces a bit of a graffiti-street-art-urban feel.  But usually with a girly twist like with some glitter thrown in.

      What would you say is your super power when it comes to being creative? 

      Willingness to try new things, including new art supplies.  And new online classes.  I like to try new foods too, for example.  I ate llama in Bolivia! I went sky-diving once.  I took a class in silver-smithing.  I became a massage therapist.  I travelled in Europe alone.  I think you have to get out there and be willing to try things that may end up not working out.  Because some of the stuff WILL work out.  I get out of the studio and see the world.


      What do you do when you are experiencing a creative block?

      I usually do something different for a while.  I will watch a movie or read a book.  Write an email.  Maybe I’ll make a few phone calls and knit while I chat.  Possibly I will look at an art book for inspiration.  I will browse the internet, watching some of the videos of my favorite artists, whether in an online class or on YouTube.  These things usually leave me feeling inspired.  If not, I just start painting a background, even if I do not know what it’s going to be.  I don’t get too stressed out about it.

      Have you always been creative?  What is your earliest creative memory?

      I remember being in about 5th grade and doing an art project and the teacher picked my piece to hang up on the bulletin board.  I still remember it.  It was a painting of a dog.  I was proud of that. 

      My mother once showed me a photo of me painting at a young age.  Maybe 6.  And my sister was reading a book in the same photo.  She would have been 4.  It was pretty indicative of what our future interests were going to be.  In high school I was an art major and I worked on the year book committee doing a variety of layouts and photography.

      I have also taken several classes in creative writing.  One was a prerequisite general class for pharmacy school.  I enjoyed it. 


      How do you bring art/creativity into the every day?

      Even at work, I try to bring some color.  I buy fun post-it notes or brightly colored markers, for example.  I wear fun and chunky jewelry, which the customers like as well as my co-workers do. 

      I buy accessories that are made by artisans.  I have an artsy leather purse, for example, which I bought at an artist’s studio, Turtle Ridge, rather than at a mall.  My rings are made by the fabulous artist, Leilani Jensen.  I have 3 of them and I’m having her make a fourth one for me.  Again, bought directly from the artist.

      My iPhone case features art by Juliette Crane.

      I have a tattoo that was mostly designed by Penny Poorly, of Poorly Drawn Things.  While her work can be a little dark, the work she did for my body art is not!

      I buy a lot of clothes at the thrift store.  I would say I get most of them there.  It becomes a treasure hunt.  It’s more fun and more cost effective than buying in a mall.  Seattle has great thrift stores.

      Once I move and I live in my own house, I have plans to paint the walls in fun colors.  My friend, Jenny, has a mango-colored bedroom and I am now in love with mango for a wall color!  I may paint a custom lampshade!


      What is your advice to someone starting out in Art Journaling or Mixed Media art?

      I would say, try to set up an area in your apartment or home dedicated to doing art.  So you can leave things out.  When your art supplies are out, you are apt to make art more often.  Do art as often as you can.  The more you do it, the more you will notice your skills improving.  You don’t need a lot of time.  You can create something in even a half an hour each day.

      I also recommend online classes.  Take a few and find out which instructors suit your own tastes the best.  When you find artists that you like, you can sign up for even more of their classes.  These artists can become your mentors.  I particularly like Mindy Lacefield, Alisa Burke, and Juliette Crane.

      If you can go to an art retreat, do it.  You will meet fabulous people.  Having art friends is a glorious treat.  Hang out with them as often as possible.

      What does your typical day look like?

      Well, since I have a day-job, many of my typical days include going there, to work.  On days off, I like to go to a cafe with my boyfriend, where I hang out and converse with him for a while.  He is a fun and kooky eccentric.  Breakfast is our favorite meal to eat out.  We both like to go to a thrift store, so we often do that together.  I like to walk for exercise and I usually do that during the day, usually while listening to music.  After those things, it is into the studio to work on my current project, whatever that may be.  Later on I may go to the UPS store to ship out some art to its new home.

      What is next for you?  What is your next project?

      I have this idea of doing Nautical Goth art.  Something like Gargoyles in sailor hats.  I told you I like comedy.  And combining a nautical theme with goth has a lot of possibilities.  Since I will be living in Wisconsin soon, I will be seeking places to show my art in Wisconsin.  I will not be abandoning the Viking theme either.  I’ve had a lot of fun with those Vikings.

      Anything else you’d like to speak about?

      I can’t think of anything to add!

      Thank you Violette for interviewing me!

      You can find Kym on Instagram: Blissartworks or on her blog Blissartworks

      Love, Violette xo

      P.S. we are going away to Shuswap for holidays – hopefully doing a bit of kayaking.  I will be posting erratically here and on facebook!  See you soon!

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        Interview with Quilter and Art Journaler Debbie Humphrey


        Hello my friends!  Today I’m delighted to be interviewing my friend Debbie – I have known Debbie since we were in Elementary School – I’m not going to say how long ago that was Smile.  We had lost track of each other for a couple of decades (yes – we’re that old Smile) until one day Debbie was driving along and began following this vehicle……..glittergirl van

        Why – it was the Glittergirl van!  Ha ha ha!  On the back of the van I had my website and an inspirational quote.  Debbie took one look at the name “violette” and the funky hippy van and decided that there must be only one Violette who would DO THAT! So When she got home she dashed to her computer and to the website and saw my picture – sure enough I was her childhood friend.  She e-mailed me and we had coffee together.  I was delighted to find that we had much in common – Law of Attraction, Health and Nutrition, Creativity and more.  Needless to say reconnecting has been such a blessing!  Without further ado HEREEEEEEEEEEEEE’SSSSSSSSSS  DEB……..

        Debs Studio

             1.  You’re one of the instructors teaching at Into the HeART retreat coming up in September. Tell us a bit about that and what you are teaching. 

        Yes I am one of instructors teaching at the fabulous Loon Lake Resort this September. I have always been a fan of art retreats and the Fraser Valley hasn’t had an event bringing talented artists and crafters together in one venue for a long time. I am looking forward to being part of this movement to bring this back. I have been creating with fabric for about 30 years now. Anything from quilts to stuffed creatures and onto clothing. I love teaching others how to take their creativity to the next level and create their own inspired pieces. I have put together a practical carrying bag with an individual flare. My students will each make a completed bag using free motion quilting techniques as well as drawing, doodling, painting and embellishing.

        Deb_Langley Studio2 (2)

        Deb’s Studio

               2.  You are an expert quilter – or at least you’ve been creating some awesome quilts for quite some time. How have you transitioned from quilting into art journaling or mixed media art?

        Over the years I have taken many quilting classes to move from a basic square assembled quilt to a more free spirited art quilt. I am always looking for another technique to add to my quilts be it, paint, sharpie pens, beading or just recently light molding paste. Art supply stores are where I have found more ideas and it’s where I found a whole new level to take my fabric creations. The bag I am teaching at the retreat uses art journaling techniques making it a very personal piece when completed.


        Deb’s journal bags

             3.  I can tell that you are really jazzed about the possibilities regarding using your art in your creative projects. What are you experimenting with right now? What new techniques are you delving into?

        On a trip to Seattle recently I purchased a Gelli Plate. These were discussed at the last Art Journal Jam and I went straight to YouTube to get some education. I have made my own in the past using plain gelatin but they don’t last past one or two applications. My first attempt was printing on fabric as I saw this as a way to add colour and texture to a quilt piece. I am also going to print on paper for my art journal.

             4.  What would you say is your super power when it comes to being creative? (I’m thinking you are pretty fearless – not afraid to try new things).

        I have been told by many as they have watched me walk through life (I never run!) that I don’t ever approach things with an “I can’t do that” attitude. If it looks interesting and I want to give it a try I just go for it. Not with great results all the time but the experience usually leads me to something new and exciting.

             5. What do you do when you are experiencing a creative block? 

        Creative blocks are hard. I flounder when I know I want to start or finish something but I can’t seem to get there. I will walk away from my studio for awhile, dive into my other creative side in the kitchen (note from violette – Deb is an awesome chef!) and let it just roll around in my brain until it feels right to give it another try. I have a camera on me everywhere I go (yay IPhone) and I take pictures where I see texture, colour, or combinations of colour that I use to jumpstart a project. I cruise the internet and see what others are doing.

        Deb_Freemotion quilting

        Deb free-motion quilting

             6.  Have you always been creative? What is your earliest creative memory? (I know you come from a creative family).

        I have always wanted to be creative but not always had the confidence in my abilities. It took until my early 20’s to just sit down and start a project and see where it went. My husband built my first studio for me in 1981. Before that it was the kitchen table. Sewing was my passion at that time and stuffed creatures were where I could stretch my creative side. I did sew clothing especially for my kids and also special occasions for others but I liked the funkiness of a large green frog. I have tried to keep a photo journal of creations as the years go by, especially as a lot were given away.

             7.  How do you bring art/creativity into the every day?

        I am fortunate to be retired. Although family seems to take up a good portion of my time, I am always thinking about current or future projects. I try to fit in time each day in my studio even if it only to clean up after the last and organize for the next.


        Deb’s Art Journal

             8.  What is your advice to someone starting out in Art Journaling or Mixed Media art?

        I think the hardest part to art journaling/mixed media is to find your style. I am still striving for what mine will be. It builds in layers, start simple and move on adding more until you feel it works for you. Cruise the internet; see what techniques others are using. Pull bits and pieces together and see if it tells the story you want. There are many great books covering art journaling. Take classes like the art retreat this September where you will be able to choose two different classes and come away with more experience to add to your style. It’s all about layering.

             9.  What does your typical day look like?

        Family plays a big part in my life. I am blessed with 3 lovely Grandkids and a day doesn’t go by often that they are not a part of it. I try to fit in something for my brain (reading the paper, doing the Sudoku), my body (good food, brisk walk, bike ride) and my family. That leaves the smaller portion of time going to my creative endeavours but it enough to satisfy the craving.

             10.  What is next for you? What is your next project?

        I have a mixed media idea forming in my brain right now. It will include light molding paste for texture, gelli plate printing for colour and more texture, free motion stitching and embellishment. There is a fibre art show through the White Rock Community Center in October and I hope to have this completed by then.

        Thank you so much Debbie for taking the time to be interviewed!

        Just to let you know that Deb’s Art Journal bags will be on display at the Good Day Sunshine Cafe for the month of June!  Hope you drop by and check out the Art Journal Show there!

        I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

        Love, Violette xo

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          Sunny Carvalho Interview!


          I am so excited to be interviewing Sunny Carvalho today!  I first heard about Sunny through my friend Nicci who met Sunny at Artfest.  Sunny was teaching there and Nicci was raving about her class as well as what a fabulous person Sunny was!  So I am so happy to be sharing an interview with the whimsical and talented Sunny!


          Sunny demonstrating her painting technique

          Could you please tell my readers a bit about yourself and your background – how did you arrive at being the artist you are today?

          I feel as if I have lived 2 separate artistic lives. I made porcelain dolls for about 15 years before beginning the artistic life that I have today. 6 years ago, I had reached the end of my inspiration with the “normal” dolls and became interested in doing something different. I wasn’t sure what that would be but I attended my first Artfest and came home bursting with joy. As I walked through my garage upon my return, I spotted a piece of plywood in my garage and I suddenly knew that I would paint on wood. I still have the original 2 paintings that I did in that frenzy of “finding myself”. They hang in my bedroom and remind me of where I came from artistically.

          Sunny’s dolls

          Have you always been artistic?

          I have considered myself an artist since I was a child, even when I had no focus or skills! I just knew I was an artist and that someday I would do that for a living. I first had to get my children to a stage where they were more independent and when that happened, I truly pursued learning the techniques that I use today. I am still learning. Experimentation keeps me from being bored and no 2 paintings have the exact same techniques.

          Sunny’s popular Mermiees

          Do you ever experience any creative blocks and if so how do you move through them?

          I do struggle from time to time with creative blocks. That is probably why I do so many different things. When I don’t feel the inspiration to paint, I sculpt or sew. The creativity and inspiration will come back around if I just focus on something else. Occasionally, I do have to push through it and just keep moving forward. The inspiration will eventually find me, usually with loud music!

          I love your original whimsical style – how did that style emerge? Recently on your blog you spoke about finding your style and being original. Could you say a bit about that as I’m sure many of my readers are worried about not being able to find their style.

          Honestly, I feel that I have only found my true style in the last year. Prior to that, I was painting what I call “Pretty Girls” with beautiful faces and perfect eyes. The first time I painted an “Ugly Girl” and I laughed out loud, I knew that my path had changed. I think finding your own style comes in many forms. If you are struggling with that issue, first look at what it is that really inspires you. Is it a beautiful quote, a song lyric, a lovely face that speaks to you? Look at the art of artists whose work attracts you. It’s not that you want to copy their work, it’s more “how can my own work speak to me in that way?” For me, it’s humor. I love odd little people in strange situations.


          How do you feel about surrounding yourself with folks who believe in you and your art? Do you think it’s important?

          That’s a tricky question. I think you need people who believe in you and your art but they may not be in your own family! My husband is very supportive but he is not even remotely interested in art and my own mother has actually asked me, “why can’t you just paint a landscape?”!! I find the support that I need in 2 ways: the internet and retreats. FaceBook has become a lifeline for me to connect with people I admire and people who are interested in seeing what I do. I also think retreats are so important. Whether you are teaching or attending as a student, it is a place to connect with others who are interested in the same things that you are, picking up new techniques and finding inspiration. I know it’s often expensive but I feel that it’s cheaper than art school and way more free creatively! Honestly, I found at my very first Artfest that I am not a very good student. I tend to do my own thing so I started teaching simply so I could attend!

          Sunny’s Display table

          How did you get into teaching? You taught at Artfest  – was that a wonderful experience for you? It sounded like a great time!

          Artfest was more than just a wonderful experience for me. It truly changed my life. Not just artistically but in every way. As I told you earlier, I returned from that very first Artfest bursting but without focus. I remember that I was already making art but I truly can’t remember what I was doing at that time. I know I was given the opportunity to vend that first year even though I was a student but for the life of me, looking back I have no idea what I sold!!! Even so, apparently Teesha and Tracy Moore saw something in me and invited me to apply to teach for the next year. Not only did I not know how to teach…I didn’t even know how to actually paint! I had one month to put together a class to submit (that ended up being those 2 paintings that I mentioned earlier). I was completely shocked to be accepted! I have never been so nervous in my whole life as I was that first year teaching at Artfest.

          What I found though, was the most supportive, accepting group of people I have ever known. People who were willing to tell you their artistic “secrets” and lift each other up without thinking about “competition”. This was very important to me coming from the doll and miniature industry where I felt that people protected their secrets rather than sharing. I ended up teaching at Artfest for 5 years. I’ve often joked with Tracy Moore that one day they would discover that I’m actually an imposter who doesn’t have any idea what she’s doing!

          Legions of Ceramic characters

          Tim Burton is one of your biggest influences I see. What about his style appeals to you and how does his influence show up in your work?

          Tim Burton and Mark Ryden are probably my 2 biggest influences. Tim Burton’s characters speak to me because they are mostly ugly, with jangly teeth and stitches but there is an underlying sweetness in most of them. That juxtaposition is what fascinates me. It’s not actually his movies that I love so much as his line drawings and stop-motion characters. I love Mark Ryden because of the absolute beauty in the faces of his girls…and the strange situations he puts them in! Again, the contrast pulls me in.

          Your art can be found in many magazines – How did this come about – did you pitch the magazines or did they find you?

          I’ve been turned down WAY more than accepted! I emailed picture after picture to the magazines only to get responses of “we don’t know where your art fits in-but thanks, anyway”. Finally, I just boxed up 3 dolls, 3 paintings, 3 bags and a few other things and just sent the box! I expected to wait, maybe about a year but I heard almost immediately. I was so surprised! I was recently turned down on my pendants so I boxed up a bunch of them and sent them last week! We’ll see now if they are interested! Hahaha! The point is to not give up. I do think you should know where you are artistically before you send anything in simply because you have a better chance of getting accepted if you have found your own path. But don’t give up if you have been turned down, keep trying.


          mixed media painting (ceramic body)

          I hear you are developing an online class! How exciting! Could you please tell our readers a bit more about it and when it will be available?

          I am truly struggling with that. I have filmed the entire class but have barely begun to edit it. I think I am struggling mostly because I want to make sure that I give people something valuable for their money and I have NO idea how to arrange an online class! I’m much more comfortable in person. I know I have to get past that insecurity but it sure is hard! I will know within myself when it’s time. I’m thinking this fall sometime I will really get busy with the editing and see if I think it will be worth while for people. For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about giving people something of value.

          Sketch – before……


          Mixed media painting – after!

          What materials do you like to use in your mixed media paintings?

          Ooooh…supplies (rubbing hands together)! As I mentioned earlier, I paint mostly on wood but technically, I paint either on bookboard or paper adhered to wood. If I’m working on bookboard (this is the brown board that is like the back of a cereal box), I paint directly onto the board (already adhered to wood with Gel Medium). Otherwise, I draw on regular paper and then size the drawing on the copier, cut it out and adhere it with liquid Matte Medium (NOT Gel Medium). That’s why it looks like some of my paintings are raised. As for paint, I typically use a little of everything: fluid acrylics, Liquitex Ink, Dr. PH Martin’s Radiant Watercolor. I love to use paper napkins, old text and small antique digital art, as well.






          You are quite a versatile artist – you create mixed media paintings, make purses, pendants and dolls! What do you like creating best of all?

          Absolutely the pendants (and then the paintings). I’ve only been making the pendants since the beginning of this year. I just wondered how they would work out and started playing around with some designs. I’ve had to learn (sometimes the HARD way) what can be done and what can’t. I’ve been firing for about 18 years but these require different techniques (that there aren’t actually any instructions for since I am flying by the seat of my pants!) and I love the challenge of working out all the details. I’ve got it pretty well figured out now but I still get surprised from time to time. I will say this though: there is absolutely nothing like opening that kiln after a fire and seeing all that color and how things mixed and mingled!! I would love to do a book on this subject at some point.

          Idea book

          Do you keep an art journal? Where do you capture your ideas?

          Of utmost importance to me is keeping what I call an “Idea Journal”. I’ve spoken about that several times on my blog. I tried to do the beautiful art journaling that everyone is so into and found that just wasn’t for me. I started to do really simple line drawings of absolutely ANYTHING that popped into my head. I draw very quickly and I draw in pen, so no erasing. I’ve found that if I don’t quickly draw a thought or idea, it’s gone forever! I can’t tell you how often I find a drawing in my journal that I don’t even remember drawing. These little drawings become the fodder of my paintings.


          Sunny’s lovely boho skirt

          Is there anything else you’d like to say to artists starting out?

          The main thing I’d like to say to new artists is this: “never criticize your own art”. Every painting that you finish will build on the last one that you finished. I literally learn something new with every single painting but it took me a while to feel like I knew what I was doing. If you criticize your art, you will discourage yourself from continuing. Be proud of each step that you take.


          Bootsy mixed media painting

          Is there anything new and exciting happening in your world right now that you’d like to share?

          I have several new things going on. Since the ending of Artfest, I have signed on to teach at Art Is…You, Petaluma and Benecia in September 2012 and a couple of retreats being discussed for 2013. I also have a licensing trip on the horizon although I have no idea what that could mean! I am simply excited to wake up each day and see what the world has to offer and what I can offer the world. Life is wonderful.

          Where can we find you: blog, Facebook, Etsy, Twitter?

          my blog at : Sunny Carvalho 

          my Etsy shop 

          The absolute best place to find me, however is on FaceBook  -  I always post a link there when I put new things into the shop and I post all new work there before anywhere else.

          Thanks so much for taking the time to be interviewed Sunny!

          Love Violette xo

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