I am Leira Cruz Cáliz, I am from Puerto Rico, born in 1988, and moved to the United States in 2014. I recognize myself as a mixed media artist, however I have no formal training or education in the arts. I mainly work with watercolor and pencils, mixing in markers and inks in the process, as well as collaging at times. In 2020, I started working in concept called Juanas; female characters that are based on important women in my life and women in Puerto Rican history. Atabey, is based on Taíno Indian culture, goddess of Earth and all bodies of water. During the pandemic, I wrote a short verse that inspired me to start this piece.
I am Leira Cruz Cáliz, I am a mixed media artist. I draw and paint with anything I can get my hands on, especially watercolors, pencils, inks, markers and at times collaging. I have no formal training or education in the Arts. Like most artists, I started at a very young age, with a blank page and a hefty crayon. I am self-taught, so I don’t really do not have a unique way of starting a piece.
What I usually do is draw line art with color pencil. I find it that if I leave mistakes at this stage, I can cover them up or simply use them. Then come in the watercolors, or acrylics. I like to use a CraftSmart angular brush, 1.27 cm, because it lets me go loose. That way, my finished piece doesn’t seem rigid or forced. After I lay down my foundation colors, I reach back to color pencils or inks to draw in more details; add more colors with an even smaller brush, and then finally add highlights with a white marker, and lines with a felt brush pen.
I do art simply because it feels weird doing anything else. I personally don’t have a goal or personal reason to do art, other than I love it.