Monday, October 5, 2009

In the Studio with DJSART and a Giveaway!

I’m in the studio today with a relative newcomer to the Etsy family.  Please meet ... DJ.

FK: What's your morning nourishment to get you going each day?
A bowl of cereal!

FK:  Okay! I'll pour my coffee while you introduce yourself.
My name is Dolores Jablonski, but you can call me DJ. My etsy shop is I just started my blog, which is I hope to have a shop up and running on Zazzle soon, so I can have my artwork available on t-shirts, mugs, ties, etc.

My etsy shop hasn't been open for very long - I opened it in March of this year. About 3 years ago, I had just moved to Virginia Beach and re-married when I saw Etsy mentioned in a magazine ad. I was still painting, but I had shut down my business until the animals and I could get adjusted to our new life. So finally this year I started my business again. I've met some really cool, helpful, and supportive people on Etsy. It has been wonderful! When you work at home it’s easy to become isolated so this helps. I've learned new computer skills, started my own blog, joined two teams (VAST and AWEteam) - and there is still so much more to learn.

FK: Are you living in Virginia Beach now? Tell me about your family …

 I have two grown children and a new daughter-in-law. I'm recently re- married to a wonderful guy, my high school sweetheart 30 years later! I have two clowns in dog suits (Labrador) and three cats who keep me very busy. For the past three years I have been living in Virginia Beach. I grew up in Brooklyn, NY but spent most of my adult life in Wyoming.

FK: How did you end up in Wyoming?
I went to college in Kansas right after high school, met my first husband there and moved to Wyoming ... the rest is history.

FK: You told me you used to design teddy bears for collectors. Tell me about that …

Yes, I did design and make teddy bears. At the time my last name was Ribordy and I called my bears Ribeary Bears. I started making stuffed animals for children from store bought patterns and sold them at craft shows. The more I sewed, the more I began to understand the concept of sewing a three dimensional object. Mind you, I don't enjoy sewing, nor can I sew clothes, but I found I could sew pieces for a jointed teddy bear easily. The finishing was done by hand, which was right up my alley. I started to mix and match pattern pieces and eventually I started drawing my own patterns. Back in the mid 80's, the term “teddy bear artist” was a new appealing concept to adult collectors. I fashioned my bears like the antique bears and gave them their own personality. Older teddy bears were made from mohair, firmly stuffed and jointed, and eyes were made from glass or shoe buttons. I used these same high quality materials to make my teddy bears. It was a lot of fun and I met people from all over the United States and other countries. My teddy bear paintings are based on the teddy bears I designed. For example, my Button Fairy teddy bear note card or The Laundry Bears were actually teddy bears that I had designed.

FK: You use different media for your artwork. Which do you prefer? What are your favorite subjects?
My paintings are mixed media. I use watercolor, ink and then colored pencils to finish. I'm not a patient person when it comes to working with just watercolor or colored pencils; it takes time to get the layers right. When I mix the media together, I get the vibrant colors, texture and the dark shades that I like and I find it more forgiving.

Ink is my favorite. Because it is unforgiving, my mind is very quiet and focused while I work, and I find myself refreshed afterward. I'd like to do more ink paintings with just a little color, like the Christmas card Reindeer in the giveaway package.

My favorite subjects? Flowers, teddy bears, cats, Labradors, fantasy, fairies, dragons and such. I love the whimsical, the forgotten childhood. Life can get so busy but the whimsy is out there, when you watch a child play, when a cat chases nothing, when flowers seem to shine brightly.

FK: How long have you been an artist?
Well according to my family I have been an artist the day I took a crayon and drew what looked like an native American head, with full head dress on the wall behind the bathroom door! As a child, I was always creative, always drawing, painting, making my Barbi clothes, cutting paper, gluing, examining things, crafts, my head in the clouds. I've tried and worked in a number of different media, clay to quilting and anything in-between. I have been a working artist for close to 20 years; for twelve of those years I designed and made the teddy bears.

FK: What inspires you?
Life inspires me … memories of my children growing up, stories that we used to tell one another while we hiked or camped … a trip, a day out, sometimes a color, the seasons, holidays ... the silliness of my Labs, the sweetness of my cats … groups of trees, flowers I grow … my imagination … the question, "what if?" It can be anything. Take for instance, my painting The Doorway - it all started with a missing antique key and a tree and being awake at 2 a.m. LOL

FK: Where do you look – or go – for inspiration?
I love to walk, long quiet walks with my Labs. Most art journals have sketches, mine has work titles, written descriptions, colors or moods or reference photos. I'm always thinking. If I'm not in my studio physically working on a piece, I'm working on it in my head. Anything around me has creative potential.

FK: Where’s your “quiet place” – somewhere you go to rest, refresh, meditate?
Surprisingly my studio is the most peaceful place in my home. It's in the back of the house and very quiet. It has lots of light, no phone and lots of unusual stuff, anything from twisted branches, sea shells and rocks, to my children's art and some pieces of my own. Being outside is the next place for me to find solitude, whether it's at the beach or just in my own backyard.

FK: What part of being an artist is the most gratifying? What’s the hardest?

I love being an artist. I get to play with all the colors of the rainbow ... I get to be creative all day. I find that being an artist challenges my mind, which is always working, always searching for something new.

The hardest part is the business part. How do I put a price on a piece that is a part of myself, part of my heart and soul? And I may know what the market is, what's trendy, but it's not what I want to do, it's not a part of who I am, but I need to make a living. It's tough for me to make those calls and be happy with it.

FK: What do you do when you’re not being an artist?
When I'm not in the studio, I enjoy roller blading, biking and my favorite, walking. I love reading, going to the library, movies, some TV, being with my husband, visiting with my children, exploring new areas.

FK: Anything else you we should know?
I do want to let people know that I have signed my name in different ways in the past: Dolores, Dolores R. or Dolores Ribordy (before divorce), and A.Ravenlee. If you see one of these signatures, they're my paintings. Since my re-marriage I’m DJ, and that’s how I sign my art.

Thank you, Felicia, for allowing me to visit. Peace and hugs to all!
FK: And thank YOU, DJ, for telling us more about you and your beautiful art.

DJ is offering the following very generous giveaway:

Two each of these three Christmas cards


Four of these Fairy Bouquet cards!

All you need to do is comment here about any of your favorites from DJ’s shop. The winner’s name will be drawn by random number generator next Monday, October 12.  Be sure to leave an email where we can contact you.

While you're here, stop in and try your skills at the latest Let's Play Charades contest:  There's three ways for you to enter to win.


  1. I love orginal painting 9 x12 mixed media, in watercolor,ink,colorpencil, animal, dog,new DJsArt !

    cal_rubies at yahoo dot es

  2. ACEO, artist trading card, original one of a kind painting, new DJsArt has just got to be one of my favourites and as an aceo atc collector i would love one of yours in my collection
    ACEO, artist trading card, original one of a kind painting, new DJsArt

    Q: Why don't mummies take vacations?
    A: They're afraid they'll relax and unwind!

  3. My favorite from the shop is the original painting of the dog sleeping with the pumpkins! So very cute

    maryrich4 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  4. I love the sand castle painting:

    urchiken at gmail dot com

  5. I love all of DJ's work!!! Thank you for introducing us to her!!!

    As an ACEO creator and collector - I especially loved the "Summer Solstice" oringial ACEO!

    thecreatorspalette at gmail dot com

  6. Wonderful interview & beautiful art! I have to go with Doorway as my fave

  7. I love the puppy in the pumpkins!

    hrfarley at gmail dot com

  8. I love the Mystic Cat, looks like my cat! Very very talented artist!

  9.'s hard to choose just one. They are all beautiful! I really love "INCUBATION" but the flowers and teddy bears great also.

  10. Absolutely gorgeous works!
    My favorite is herbal remedie's
    egateris at gmail do com

  11. My favorite is the Original painting, 4 x9 mixed media, watercolor,ink,color pencil,new DJsART

  12. Hi, thanks for introducing this artist! My favorite is the "Mystic Cat" and also the cat mask painting you featured in this article. I really like her style!

  13. Can I just say that DJ is my favorite! I really like her Mystic Cat and any of her flower works.

  14. I love the Teddybears Blank Notecards-very talented artist!

    Elaine R

  15. I like the REDHAT ROSE notecard

    tiramisu392 (at)

  16. I love the notecard made from an original painting that D.J. made of sand castles. Thanks for the chance to win some of her beautiful cards!

  17. All the art is beautiful. She is very good. My little pomeranian loves the yellow lab next door. I have to go with "Incubation".
    V G Marcel
    cudjojo at

  18. Harebell Pixie is so cute, a little whimsical and well done.
    Liveleisurely at

  19. The teddybear with the hat looks just like my granddaughter, so Redhat Rose
    is my favorite.
    Barb Elisabet
    keysbmv at

  20. Incubation is special. Shows such caring.
    barbroshronts at

  21. My favorites are INSPIRATION and THE FUSHIA FAIRY original paintings :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  22. I like the mixed media painting the Fushia Fairy. The colors are just wonderful.

    ajolly1456 at gmail dot com

  23. My absolute favourite is Incubation:
    Reminds me of my dog in our garden, haha! But all of your designs are lovely.

  24. As always it's hard for me to pick just one of DJ's pieces, she has so many beutiful pieces, but I guess I have to pick the piece called HANK, it was never on her website, but it was done for a friend of my whose's puppy has Kidney disease.

    I do have to say I love the labrador in the pumkin patch that is one of my favorites.

    best e-mail is

    I really do think that I am lucky to know such a woderful artist, who not only did me a huge favor recently, but who is also helping me get throuhg one of the thoughest times in my life.
    Thank you for everything DJ.


  25. I love cats and think that Mystic Cat is wonderful!!



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