Category Archives: Art Shows

art doll Balloon 2

Balloon Surprise

A New Balloon

My newest art doll sculpture features a young figure looking up with awe at her bright red balloon.

art doll Balloon 2

Balloon2

This mixed media art doll is a bit of fun, and another look back to an earlier piece. I wanted to feature gesture and expression with this figure sculpture.  Guess I hit the mark, as one viewer commented that she “really looked alive”.

I created Balloon 2’s head and hands from paperclay that is lightly tinted with watercolor paint. Her costume is sewn in place over a padded wire frame that is anchored through her shoes to her base.  I chose to wig this art doll with paper fiber as well.  Her curly pigtails are secured with blue ribbons that match her blue top and polka dotted skirt. Balloon’s boots are hand sewn faux leather with purple chord laces.

Looking up again

My first balloon themed art doll figure was apparently being taken away by the balloon she was holding.  This figure is being transported as well, but in a more figurative sense.  I’m not sure what about her balloon is surprising her so.  I guess that part of the story is up to the viewer.

I crafted the red balloon itself out of traditional papier-mâché, and used red tissue for its top layers to achieve its bright color.  The balloon “floats” atop a string made of cotton string wrapped around a steel core.

I have left the base unfinished for the time being, but I think that I will most likely paint it before she takes a trip to the gallery.  Balloon 2 will also make her official debut in June for my yearly Feature Artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.

I will probably not have a new sculpture to share next week. I am just putting the finishing touches on a commission piece, and she needs to go to her home first.

 

close up of facial features of Pinocchio art doll

Pinocchio Inspired Art Doll Becomes Real

It’s Story Time

It is once again time at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts when we to turn to things literary.  Each February, we team up with one of the many well known authors who call Hillsborough home for a show titled “It’s All About The Story.”  This year is “Volume V, John Claude Bemis.”

John is an award winning Young Adult author.  This is the first time we are working with a YA author, and the first time that all the HGA artists are using the same story.  Our previous four shows have drawn from short story collections by Michael Malone, Jill McCorkle, Lee Smith, and Allan Gurganus.

pinocchio's heart

pinocchio’s heart

Retelling Pinocchio’s Tale

 Out of Abaton: The Wooden Prince, is John’s retelling of the Pinocchio tale set in medieval Venice.  As you can imagine, a magical story with fantastic beasts, fairies, and the like would be right in a doll artist’s wheel house.  After much personal debate, and quite a few unfinished sketches, I settled on the main character.

close up of facial features of Pinocchio art doll

detail Pinocchio’s face

Pinocchio is not a simple puppet this time around.  He is a finely crafted automaton servant boy who is automated, like all of of his kind, by magic from the kingdom of Abaton.  His automation is slightly special and he is slowly becoming real as a result.

detail of panocha's torso

torso detail

I decided to depict my Pinocchio before his transformation starts.  I am working with the title , “Servant Before You Are Real”, and decided to create him mostly of wood like his namesake. The photos throughout the blog post are Work-In-Progress pics.  I will share a finished image when the show is installed in a couple of weeks.

image of panocha's heart door closed

heart door closed

As usual, this show will open the “Last Friday” of the month on February 23rd from 6-9pm.  HGA will also host a reading by the author on Sunday, March 5 from 4-6 pm.

 

 

Questions for Alice

A New “Alice” Art Doll

Chilly winter weather can sometimes serve to inspire new works.  I created a piece titled “Snow Day” on a snowy day when I wanted to use mostly materials from my indoor workspace. My latest, “Questioning Alice”, isn’t directly the result of cold weather nudging me indoors, however I was inspired by the idea of curling up with a good book on a cold day.

Full length view of Questioning Alice art doll

Questioning Alice

I created an earlier art doll sculpture titled “Paper Alice” a couple of years ago. Though not completely a paper creation, I incorporated elements pulled from Adventures in Wonderland in her design. This time I wanted to work as much with paper and paperclay as possible.  I’ve found myself enchanted by altered book sculptures, and wanted to create an art doll that had that feel to it.

Questioning Alice

Anyone who has read the tales of Alice’s adventures may have noticed that the stories contain a lot of inquiries and decisions to be made. Playing with that concept, I created this art doll sculpture.

I created my Alice primarily of paper mâché, paperclay, and tissue paper decoupage.  I sculpted the main figure over a wire armature.  The mushroom I formed over heavy cardboard rolls, and a corrugated support under the top. Alice’s clothes I created through tissue paper layering and tissue paper decoupage.  I added printed images of the classic Sir John Tenniel illustrations within the skirt’s top layers.  Text from the tales “tattoo” her paperclay sculpted face.  Questions asked to and by Alice were fit to spiral paths and then printed on to orange tissue paper. Layered within more orange tissue these form the mushrooms “questioning spots”.

Detail of Questioning Alice art doll

Alice detail

This Alice will be showing up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts the last week of January for, “Now and Again”, the Gallery’s 10th anniversary celebration show.  The show will celebrate the milestone and will include HGA’s current and former members.

 

 

Art, Holidays, and Updating

Hello, It’s Been A While

Well, I’ve certainly taken my sweet time in putting up a new post.  I started the draft of this post a while back, and had to edit out the items that had already passed. I began that draft by thanking those that turned out for my feature show at the end of September.  Seems in the interim, the holidays snuck up, and are here in full force.  Below is the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts‘ post card for this holiday season.  As you can see, it features my art doll sculpture “Glide”, and her shiny copper skates.  There are a lot of wonderful things by all of the talented HGA artist in the gallery right now.  If you are in the area, you should really check it out.

Postcard for HGA 2016 holiday show

Postcard for HGA 2016 holiday show

I have been busy the last couple of months refreshing my jewelry inventory, completing a commission, making holiday items, and working on background administration for our yearly juried show Resolutions 2017.

A New Art Doll Figure

art doll Juggle

Juggle

I created an updated version of an earlier art doll,  Jester.  I decided to go with the greater flexibility of paperclay for this sculpture’s head and hands. I wanted to push the expression in the face of this piece, and go a bit beyond a simple smile. He wears a wry smirk instead.  This Juggler seems to know something you do not, and will no doubt, only communicate it to you in the form of a riddle.

Back To Work

This time of year I seem to spend most of my time on the small holiday items.  I promise to not take so long to share new work with you next time. I have two special sculptures for the gallery shows in January and February.  I like where they are leading me.  In both cases, it seems to be into uncharted waters design wise.  I’ll give you a peek next time around.  For now I’ll leave you with an ornament card panel in progress, and a few of my  ornaments.

ornament card copper panel work-in-progress

panel for ornament card

copper holiday ornaments

a collection of hand wrought ornaments for the gallery

 

 

 

Art doll, "Sunshine on a Rainy Day"

Rain, Secrets and Art Dolls

I know it has been more than the promised “couple of days” since my last art doll in progress post.  I do however have two finished sculptures to share with you, so hopefully that can make up for the delay.

Art Doll Secrets Revealed?

My secret keeper review now has her complete costume and coiffure.

Art Doll, Secrets Kept

Secrets Kept

She appears to me to be a wise keeper who will not be sharing the confidences you relay to her. I’m not sure exactly what magic is contained in the blue gem she holds, but I can only guess that it is quite potent and effective.

This art doll figure has a half mask of hammered copper over a paperclay sculpted face and torch fired enamel eyes.  Her snowy curls are made of natural wool fibers.  Secret’s rich fabric clothes are sewn in place over a padded wire frame.

A Little Sunshine

My newest completed art doll figure sculpture is “Sunshine on a Rainy Day”

Art doll, "Sunshine on a Rainy Day"

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

This sculpture is also a look back at an earlier piece I titled “Spring”.  In my constant striving to introduce increased gesture, expression, and narrative into my work, “Sunshine on a Rainy Day” shows that she isn’t deterred by a little bit of rain.  Her umbrella bearing predecessor merely posed quietly showing off green boots and a parasol that matched her dress.  “Sunshine on a Rainy Day” in contrast seems to be enjoying her walk in the rain.  This art doll is costumed in yellows and greens highlighted by a pair of bright yellow boots. The umbrella she is holding aloft is made of copper tooling foil.  Sunshine has paperclay sculpted head and hands, and her eyes are made from dark iridescent glass beads that seem to glow on their own.

Art Dolls in Art Show.

Both of these new art doll sculptures will be part of my upcoming featured artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts later this month.  I will share more details on the show and the opening reception as we get closer to installation

 

Art Doll, Show, and Missing Post

Missing Post

I just realized that a couple of weeks ago when I shared my latest art doll sculpture, “Santos Caitlin”, that I had promised to share details on the opening reception, and reading by Alan Gurganus.  Well, we hung the gallery, I missed the opening due to another commitment, and we had the reading this past Sunday.  So very sorry that I didn’t get the dates and times to you, but thank you to all that attended anyway. Luckily, the gallery promotional mechanism is much more regular that my bog posts.

But, never fear if you wanted to see the show, because it will still be up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts until March 20th.  Here’s a sneak peek.

 Lynn Wartski art doll in "It's All About the Story: " show at HGA

“It’s All About the Story: IV Alan Gurganus”

You can see my “Santos Caitlin” cage art doll sculpture on a pedestal against the far wall.  Many of the pieces have accompaning text describing their inspiration from the Alan Gurganus novellas we read.  There was a nice write up on the show in our local news paper The News of Orange.

New Art Doll Creation

I now turn my attention to building a new body of work for my own upcoming feature show in September.  It seems like a long way off, but early images and information for publications about our shows sometimes need to go out months in advance. It is good to have several pieces to choose from when they are called for. This means that I now have to start the yearly process of creating new sculptures that I sort of hold back from bringing into the gallery or putting up online for sale.  Don’t worry, I will still share any art doll I’m working on here with you, but many will not be available until the feature show.

I will be showing with two uber talented artists, Linda Carmel and Marcy Lansman.  Our show will be titled, “Go Figure”, as the work of all three currently contains human figures.  As for my own work in the feature show, I like to have a connected theme between the pieces I put in as well.  I think I have my working idea, but I’m going to let it percolate for a bit before I share.

 

Art Doll for a Story

Almost time for “It’s All About The Story”

My latest art doll sculpture is a santos cage doll based on a character from Alan Gurganus’ novella “Saints Have Mothers“.  As some of you may be aware, each February at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts we present a show entitled “It’s All About The Story” in conjunction with one the many well known Hillsborough authors.  This year we were lucky enough to play with the content of the three novellas in Gurganus’ collection Local Souls.

The stories in Local Souls are all set in Mr. Gurganus’ fictional town of Falls, NC.  In “Saints Have Mothers” we are introduced to the character of Caitlin Mulray through the eyes of her mother Jean. Caitlin is an almost too good to be true character who is off during high school summer vacation volunteering in Africa.  She is reported missing and dead by a scam artist, and before she is able to return, her mother and other members of the community start to plan a memorial celebration that mushrooms out of control.

art doll Santos Caitlin cage doll

Santos Caitlin cage doll

Cage Art Dolls

In researching my design for this sculpture I came across santos dolls.  I had seen other cage art dolls before, but hadn’t made the connection between them and santos dolls. Most often seen dressed in elaborate robes for saint days and other festivals they are a type of folk art of sorts. The traditional forms are usually a carved and painted wooden head and torso that is set atop a cage base made of wooden slats or wire. For an art doll based on a character from a story about a local “saint” the connection seemed almost too good to be true. I decided that my Caitlin sculpture needed to be a cage doll.

Santos Caitlin features a web of tiny shoes within her cage skirt. One of the saintly tales of Caitlin’s good works was that she was constantly giving things away to charity, these contributions included most of her mother’s shoes. I find the use of copper and brass foils for her face and halo-like head piece add the look of an icon to the sculpture as well. Likewise, Caitlin’s midriff revealing top recalls the armor of Joan D’arc.

My Santos Caitlin art doll figure sculpture will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting the last week of February.  I will post dates and times for the opening reception and the author reading once the show is installed.

Art doll Delicate Landing mixed media figure sculpture

All Natural Art Doll for “Flow”

The holiday season took quite a bit of my studio attention to keep up my inventory  of ornaments, jewelry items, and ornament cards along side art doll sculptures in the gallery.  Now that the new year has begun, the the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts returns to it’s normal cycle of monthly feature shows, and it is time for me to return my own body of work.

Currently, HGA is hosting our second annual state wide juried art show, “Resolutions 2016”.  A wonderful selection of work in a variety of media awaits the gallery visitor.  It is well worth the time to check it out.  The show is up in the feature gallery through January 24th.

Our next show is one of two yearly group themed shows featuring all of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts artists,  The show opening January 29th is titled, “Flow”, and it is a collaborative fusion of visual art and poetry, featuring the words of several local poets.  All of the work for Flow is inspired by the natural environment, and will honor the Eno River Association’s work on conservation. I’ll fill you in on more of the show and reception details in a week or so.

My piece for our Flow show is, “Delicate Landing”.

Art doll Delicate Landing mixed media figure sculpture

Delicate Landing

Delicate Landing is a mixed media art doll sculpture executed in primarily natural biodegradable materials. She is paperclay over carved wood with her hair, skirt, and wings crafted in various forms of paper.   Delicate Landing is touching down among the trees on a “moss” carpet of needle felted wool.  In keeping with the theme and form of the “Flow” show, Delicate Landing’s wings gain their lift from some of the words of Thoreau, Emerson and Leopold.

Delicate Landing will be on display along with the work of the other HGA artists and our guest poets starting January 25th.

…And The Pea Art Doll, New Show

New Art Doll

The latest art doll in my series of fairytale inspired sculptures is based on the tale of the Princess and the Pea.  This doll I have simply titled, “…And The Pea”, and she is currently reclining on display at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.

reclining figure art doll ...And The Pea

…And The Pea art doll

…And The Pea is perched on top of the last four of her hundreds of mattresses.  I chose to return to hammered copper features and hands for this art doll to contrast with her other overly cushiony and fabric elements.  The sculpture holds the source of her nocturnal discomfort in her hand for the viewer to see.  The pea in this piece is a shiny green glass bead.  …And The Pea’s wonderfully touseled “bead head” is made from crinkly paper packing material, and she has bright blue torch fired enamel eyes.

New Art Doll Show

This morning I installed a show in the 3D display at the Carol Woods retirement community in Chapel Hill.  Each month, the members of the community’s Arts Interest group invite a pair of artists to show in their beautiful community center.  I do apologize for the image quality, but there really wasn’t any combination of lights on or lights off that would allow you to see the figures in the case while also eliminating glare on the glass.

Two art dolls in Carol Woods display case

Carol Woods Display

There are three sections to the display, and it currently houses 10 of my sculptures and art dolls.  Tomorrow evening there will be a small reception at 4:30,  and a 15 minute presentation by each artist in the media room, followed by dinner with the Art Interests group.

More new work on the way next week, but in the meantime, I need to go and finish up creating my slide show for tomorrow night’s presentation.  If you are in the Chapel Hill area tomorrow, please feel free to show up for the show’s opening reception.

 

 

Art Doll Motorcycle III

More Parts and Pieces

The little motorcycle sculpture is now ready for its art doll riders.  This past week I added all the remaining parts and pieces that a motorcycle enthusiast would expect to find.  The art doll riders will sit on their padded “leather” seat and grip copper, hardware, and polymer clay handlebars. The addition of a button shaped brad gas cap, knee guards, tank rondel, a glass gem headlight, and brass brad gauges complete this miniature steampunk machine.

steampunk mixed media motorcycle sculpture ready for art doll riders

motorcycle is ready for art doll riders

Now the Riders

As with most of my art dolls, the riders will start in my metal studio where I will hammer out their faces from a circle of copper stock. They are on the bench awaiting some sanding and polishing. In the meantime, I got started on twisting together the dolls’ wire skeletons.   Here you see the beginning of the driver sitting on the cycle.

wire frame of driver on cycle

wire frame of driver

Last Chance to See Art Dolls

art doll Media at HGA

Three of my art doll pieces in “Our Art Is…”

This is the last weekend for my featured artist show, “Our Art Is…“, with painters Eduardo Lapetina and Pat Merriman at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  The show runs through Sunday.  It has been a fun show with lots of wonderful feedback. Several of the dolls will be making their way to their new homes when the next featured artist show installs on Monday.