Tag Archives: art doll

"Blank Pages" seated art doll

Art Doll Selfies

Material Shift

I noticed myself incorporating more and more paperclay into my art doll figures. This shift in medium has been gradual.  I think that it has been influenced by two main factors.  I’ve increasingly given myself permission to edge away from my copper sculpture roots, and I don’t feel as obligated to have metal present in every piece.  Figures with hand wrought copper faces were the launching point for my art dolls, but I have allowed them to grow and evolve as all my work has over time.  My work has become almost exclusively figurative, I want to explore and refine the elements of that type of sculpture.  Working with paperclay facilitates my ability to develop facial expression beyond the more mask-like visages of my earliest dolls.

Art Doll Selfies

I decided to take some “selfies” of the pieces that were sitting around the studio this morning.  As you can see, all three of these art doll sculptures have faces that I sculpted in paperclay.

"Blank Pages" seated art doll

Blank Pages

Blank Pages is a seated figure contemplating the pages of the journal/sketchbook in her hand.  “Pages” has her pencil in hand, and is captured in that moment before free reign is given to creativity.  She does have several predecessors in my gallery archives. There is a portrait piece and a couple of commissions within that number.  This is obviously a theme I enjoy returning to.

face of commission piece

commission face

This second doll selfie is the face of a recent commission piece.  As she will soon be a gift, I can’t divulge any details about who she is, or what she is doing.  I can tell you that her task involves deep thought and concentration.  She certainly looks focused on what she’s doing.

face of Balloon 2 art doll

Balloon 2 selfie

This last shot is a closer look at last week’s Balloon 2.  I was trying to capture surprise and wonder in her expression.  I  concentrated on providing her with a face with more childlike proportions

 

You can see how the choice of media has allowed me to expand what I can incorporate and capture in the faces of my art dolls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Pinocchio and Flying Dreams

Giving flight to Imagination

My newest piece, “Giving Wing”, revisits the form of a metal sculpture of mine from a few years ago titled “Change”.  This time around, however, the similar looking figure sculpture is rendered in different media, with a different theme.

Giving Wing figure sculpture

Giving Wing

image of metal figure sculpture Change

Change

“Change” was wrought in mixed metal with a concrete base, and was about metamorphosis and what can happen through transformation.  “Giving Wing”  depicts a similar lithe winged figure shortly after emerging from its chrysalis, but centers the ideas of imagination and and flight. Literally “Giving Wing” to one’s ideas.

I created “Giving Wing” out of papier-mâché and paperclay.  The color incorporated in the piece is obtained by layering the top layers of papier-mâché with tissue papers.  I utilized a technique for printing on tissue that I first tried with “Questioning Alice” to again incorporate text into the piece.  I guess I might refer to this as a sculptural collage. The trunk and branches of the tree bear quotes about dreams and imagination.  The chrysalis pod’s quotes center on flight and wings.

The wings of the butterly figure form a book.  I’ve purposely left the pages of the book, and the figure itself blank as a contrast to the patchwork riot of color of the wings “book cover”, and an invitation to the viewer to write one’s own story.

Detail Giving Wing

Detail Giving Wing

Another look at Pinocchio

I promised last week a that I would share a full length view of my Pinocchio piece for the “It’s All About The Story” show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. For my Pinocchio’s title I’ve turned to another piece of children’s literature, The Velveteen Rabbit.  The Skin Horse starts his explanation of becoming real for the Velveteen Rabbit with, “Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you.”

Full length view of Pinocchio art doll

Real Isn’t How You’re Made

The show  will be installed in the gallery on Monday, and the opening reception is next Friday, February 24th, from 6 to 9 pm.  There is an author’s reading in the gallery with John Bemis from, Out of Abaton: Book 1- The Wooden Prince, on Sunday, March 5th from 4 to 6pm.

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

 

 

 

Go Figure!

Go Figure!

Go Figure! Is the title of the show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts featuring new work by painters Linda Carmel, and Marcy Lansman, and art doll sculptures by yours truly.  The show installed Monday, and the opening reception is this Friday, September 30th, from 6 to 9 pm during Hillsborough’s monthly “Last Friday” art walk.  All three of the artists featured this month’s show highlight figures in our current work.  I took a few shots with my phone after we had the show all installed Monday as a preview for you.

Show Images

Art dolls Dreams Adrift, Lacing 3, and Sunshine on a Cloudy day

Dreams Adrift, Lacing 3, and Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Marcy’s vibrant pantings feature family and children, many are adapted from her own family photos.  Linda’s highly textured paintings are over sculpted modeling paste, they depict female figures with connections to roles and image.

Cello and Secrets art dolls in feature show at HGA

Cello, and Secrets

With my own pieces, I wanted to push gesture and form of each sculpture to bring my art dolls to where they invoke a narrative for the viewer.  I noticed after we had installed the show that many now appear to look like book illustrations to me.  I think that can be said of the work of all three of this month’s featured artists, and it provides a nice connection between our work beyond their merely being figurative works.

Getting Lift art doll

Getting Lift

As I wrote earlier, the opening reception for “Go Figure!” is this Friday from 6 to 9pm.  We hope that you can come out and get a closer look at all of our work.

 

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

 

Work Back in Progress

I have been away from the studio for a couple of weeks traveling, so I do not have a new completed art doll to share with you.  However, I did have one figure waiting patiently on the work table for my return for completion.  I’m not completely set on a title just yet, but she is a new take off on an earlier art doll sculpture titled “Secret Keeper”.

Unlike her predecessor, who was costumed in sort of an “Earth Mother” type style, this doll is covered in rich fabrics in an ornate style. Perhaps she has more valuable secrets she is guarding.

work in progress image of Secret art doll

Work-in-progress of Secret

At the moment, she looks a bit alien without her hair. I will be sure to share some new images when she is complete in a couple of days.

Art Doll and a Doodle

Newest Art Doll sculpture

This week I completed an art doll that recalls my very first figure sculpture that crossed that figure sculpture to art doll line.  That piece titled “No Rag-Doll” was a mixed media mash up of a non-floppy rag doll, and a metal sculpture.  It was that piece that hooked me, and made me want to explore figure sculptures expressed as art doll more.

My new not-so-floppy rag doll is titled “Rag-doll Retool”.  She is a reimagined steampunk version of a rag doll.

Rag-doll Retool seated art doll figure sculpture

Rag-doll Retool

For this piece I started with a sculpted polymer clay face, with layered paint and glaze eyes. Metal facial elements were sculpted over the baked clay then drilled and glued in place with miniature metal hardware elements. Her body is my usual padded fabric over wire fame, with the addition of a fabric soft-sculpted head and hands. All elements of this art doll’s clothing are hand sewn in place, as is her natural fiber wigging.

My Rag-doll Retooled will make her gallery debut in September during my gallery show.

Steam Doodle Pendant

Steam Doodle pendant

Steam Doodle pendant

I needed to work on some more jewelry pieces for the gallery this week as well.  The Steam Doodle pendant above is just that, a doodle that started with a piece of wire rather than a line on a paper.  The initial twisted shape I then added to, until it felt complete.  I’m finding with these wire wrapped pieces that this more improvisational approach seems to work.  Start simple, add a piece here and there, and sort of let the jewelry design itself.   This pendant is paired with a ball chain, and is available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.