Tag Archives: Art show

Look at the Screen

Artwork looks much different through a computer screen. Some views are actually enhanced by an image. I see the details of the Mona Lisa much better in high resolution scans than when I looked through glass from the midst of a pack of tourists. I’m sure the experience would be very different if I were able to view the masterpiece face-to-face. In the real world, however, the computer screen may be one’s best option.

My Sculpture on the Screen

  • High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
  • Climate Report anthropomorphic art doll
  • Emu Incognito anthropomorphic art doll
  • Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
  • Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll
  • Too En Pointe? anthropomorphic art doll
  • Stroll anthropomorphic art doll
  • Upstart Crow anthropomorphic art doll
  • Happiness Isn't anthropomorphic art doll
  • Out of Water anthropomorphic art doll
  • Pierre anthropomorphic art doll
  • Secrets Locked anthropomorphic art doll

My much humbler artwork is definitely viewed best up close and in person. Sculptures of relatively compact scale need the viewer to move in close, and see all around. Needle felted wool adds a textural warmth to the surface of my pieces that does not translate as well in photographs. I could provide multiple views of each sculpture, but even those run up to the barrier created by the two-dimensional screen.

Experiencing an art show from the side of the artist has also been altered by the computer screen. I posted here presenting a few pieces each time, and then shared each post on social media. Then, I sat back and waited for blog comments, or likes and shares. Even though I had done these things in the past for my shows, now they are the show. A conversation with someone at the opening about what made one piece their favorite is replaced with a “thumbs-up” emoji. Seems that the show has been distanced in both space and in time.

On The Horizon

I am waiting on some direct links to share with you for other things we are working on for the gallery. HGA’s website will soon have a couple of additional pieces for sale by each of our member artists on the HGA website. The Square market where we have virtually shared our featured artist shows (like my current Three Narratives) will also feature a special new offering. Each of our HGA member artists donated a piece priced $100 or less with all proceeds going to the maintenance of the gallery. Shipping is included for all of these wonderful works. This up-cycled denim bag with needle felted embellishments is my donation.

Blue Butterfly bag
Blue Butterfly bag – 8″x11″x1/2″

I will share links to these two new places for you to access our art as soon as they are available.

Show Now Open!!!

“Three Narratives” Show Online at Noon.

The HGA April Featured Artists show titled “Three Narratives” goes live today at noon on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts web site. The anthropomorphic art doll sculptures I’ve been sharing here with you will be available* through HGA’s new shopping site.

*Blog Bonus Sculpture

D.I.Y. anthropomorphic art doll
D.I.Y.

I just completed this ironic little figure titled D.I.Y (Do It Yourself), so her image didn’t make it on the HGA page. But I will be adding her to my Available for Purchase page immediately after I post. D.I.Y. sits about 13″ high, and is working on a warm red scarf. This anthropomorphic art doll is extra special. Her wonderful wool curls come from the sheep of another HGA artist, Susan Hope. I love when I can incorporate things from others in our HGA family into a sculpture.

D.I.Y – W.I.P.

D.I.Y also features a bit of interesting work-in-progress elements that I thought I’d share with you. I needed to knit her red scarf, but didn’t have any needles, let alone any small enough. I created the little needles you see in the image by grinding and polishing the ends of a couple of 16d finishing nails!

Knitting D.I.Y. scarf
Knitting D.I.Y. scarf

There are several parts of art doll sculptures that each artist sort of developed their own strategies for sculpting. Noses, ears, and fingers are examples of such features. My method for noses involves shaping the basic nose, and then piercing where the nostrils would be. After I create the nostril hole, I have to keep it open to continue shaping. So there is a point in each art doll’s creation where as my child states, they look like they are getting a rhinoplasty.

D.I.Y work in progress image
Work-In-Progress on D.I.Y

Last Piece for the Show

The last piece I need to share is the one that our card designer chose to highlight, Pierre.

Pierre anthropomorphic art doll
Pierre 4″x13″x8″ $400

Pierre, is a fox who is all set to hit the slopes, but probably in a bygone era. I had a bit of fun creating his vintage styled skis, poles, and warm wool ski wear. Pierre, stands about 13″ high, and his skis and poles provide his interesting base.

Show Here, Show there

Pierre, and his *friends can be purchased directly from me here, or through the HGA website starting at noon today. You may notice slightly different pricing, that is because the shipping, handling, and processing costs have been added in on the HGA site. Hope to see you online today!

Adapting On The Fly

I found myself staring at the keyboard for some time today. It wasn’t a case of writer’s block, but more along the lines of not knowing exactly where to begin. Along with creating and introducing new work, I’m adapting to an ever changing landscape for sharing and showing my sculpture. I should be at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts right now installing my Featured Artist show, and the opening reception would have been this Friday evening during the Last Friday Art Walk. Of course, none of that is happening now. Instead, my show will open online Friday on the gallery website. That in itself is a bit anticlimactic for anyone reading these posts regularly. I’ve shared most of my new anthropomorphic art doll sculptures with you, and they can be seen on my Available for Purchase page right now.

Three New Friends Today

Stroll anthropomorphic art doll
Stroll

Stroll is another of those pieces that looks like he stepped right out of the pages of a storybook. He features a handsome walking stick that provides a him stability to stand on his own, and also appear to be in motion. The bright dotted pattern of his tie playfully reflects his own spotted patterning. His brightly colored waistcoat features embroidered embellishment.

Out of Water anthropomorphic art doll
Out of Water

I created Out of Water in different sequence from most of these sculptures. I didn’t have an idea of the complete composition to begin with, just the koi itself. Sometimes I like to let the figure take the lead and tell me where to go. Her Japanese parasol was a fun construction challenge, and presents a nice color contrast to the fish itself.

Secrets Locked anthropomorphic art doll
Secrets Locked

Secrets Locked is a quiet little piece. Turtle shells are such unique examples of nature’s engineering. They readily lend themselves to imagining other or additional purposes. My turtle serves as a lockbox for one’s secrets. He has several different types of locks’ and doors and gates. His hat style is borrowed from a woodblock print described as depicting a medieval locksmith.

Adapting the Gallery.

As I mentioned already, my Featured Artists show with Nell Chandler and Michele Yellin, Three Narratives, opens this Friday on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts website. The HGA site should soon have several choices for you to view and purchase art. We are still working on and shaping how those all will look and work. I will share links and information as soon as we have it all worked out and up and running.

Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll

A Bard Bird, A Book Cat, and Bags.

Literature often serves as a fertile idea source. Today’s sculptures do not pull from specific stories, but they do have book related themes.

Crow by the Book

My elizabethan crow is titled Upstart. A playwright contemporary of Shakespeare named, Robert Greene, referred to The Bard as an “upstart crow”. Greene was university educated and thought that actors like Shakespeare should stick to delivering lines, not writing them. The joke is now on mister Greene, as most of us only encounter his name when looking up the origin of the phrase. I first read an explanation on the bag of a bookstore with that name, and there is also a British sit-com by the same title.

Upstart Crow anthropomorphic art doll
Upstart

My “Upstart” is apparently delivering some grand soliloquy. His feathered cap, and white ruffed collar seemed the only elements needed to place him in time and context. Getting his bird form into a human posture and proportion was key with this piece. He commands much more attention than his 12 inch frame would normally attract.

Literary Cat and Her Book

Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll
Literary Cat

I do admit to having favorites among my creations, and the needle felted cat sculpture I titled Literary Cat is one of them. The inquisitive feline appears ready to tell you something she just read in her book. With her wire rimmed spectacles and scarf she is ready to get comfortable and curl up in the corner of a bookstore or library. This calico is right at home in a show titled “Three Narratives.”

Something Different?

I am going to take a little detour in introducing my anthropomorphic friends, to share a couple of additions to my “Available for Purchase” page. Last year I added two sculptural felted purses to my feature show, and they were well received. They each quickly found their way to good homes as functional pieces of art. This year, I went a slightly different route. I’ve up-cycled some old jeans into bags that I then embellished with needle felted sculptural elements.

Both bags are fully lined, and have jean button closures. The Poppy Field bag has an additional interior pocket. The Slow Daisies bag has an adjustable handle that allows it to be used as a shoulder or crossbody. Both are one-of-a-kind originals. Size and price details can be found on the “Available for Purchase” page.

Fashionable Anthropomorphic Climate

High Fashion Girrafe

In my last post, I detailed how this newest body of anthropomorphic figures grew out of the creation of a single white rabbit. This was an additional nod to Alice in Wonderland, an inspiration I’ve returned to a number of times. The first idea that appeared in my sketchbook was the slightly absurd image of a giraffe wearing two pairs of cloven hoof pumps.

High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
High Fashion

Dressing a Giraffe

I have to say that giraffe morphology is quite unique. I poured over reference images online, and then worked and reworked her form. There is a balance between realistic and illustration that I’m trying to strike. I don’t want my animal figures to look like stuffed animal toys, but I also don’t desire them to be hyperrealistic either.

I also find a balance is needed in imbuing each with their anthropomorphic elements of human attire. This seems driven by each individual piece. High Fashion really only needed a few items to relay her idea. Additionally, I didn’t want to detract from the bold body conscious animal print jumpsuit she’s modeling. Especially, when it took what seemed like a lifetime to form and add each one of her brown patches and spots. Her shoes were also a labour of love to attain the oxymoronic effect of high end pumps made for the foot of a giraffe.

What Else Would an Anthropomorphic Polar Bear Do?

Nell Chandler, Michele Yellin and I decided on the title Three Narratives for our feature show. It seems appropriate for my figures to not only appear pulled from a story, but perhaps have their own tales. Last winter I created a number of polar bear ornaments for the holiday season at the gallery. This larger version, Climate Report, appears to have quite a bit more to say than his diminutive brethren. If a polar bear were a reporter, one can imagine that the news would revolve around the elements of everyday polar bear life. Any changes and impacts to that life would be noteworthy. My intrepid reporter is busy doing just that work. He is stylized more like he stepped out of a black and white film than a children’s book. After all, he is dealing with non-fiction issues.

Climate Report anthropomorphic art doll
Climate Report

Pieces, Prices and Pics

I’ll share one or two more of these new anthropomorphic pieces in a few days. I’m working on a few last items, and getting things ready for the launch of the online gallery on the HGA page. I will share it all here with you here as soon as it’s ready.

Art show in the Time of Corona

Open Art Show Online

It is not very hard to come up with a topic today. There is seemingly one thing on everyone’s mind, the Covid-19 pandemic. Artists and galleries are no exception. I’m guessing you may recall that I am an artist/owner of a collectively run gallery. We shuttered the brick and mortar Hillsborough Gallery of Arts for the duration of the North Carolina stay-at-home order. We have not, however, stopped showing and selling art. Last week we launched our first online art show. The March Featured Artists show “Glimmer to Spark” opened online last Friday at noon.

Climate Report

My Featured Art Show

I am one of the three artists scheduled to be featured next month in HGA’s April art show. Our show, “Three Narratives” is scheduled to open on April 24th. That will not be occurring, so like “Glimmer to Spark” we will be opening online. While the work from home concept is certainly conducive to getting studio time in, the challenge is sharing that work with an outside audience. This is especially true when that audience has many other things on their minds.

Clicking around my site here will reveal some new items. There are images of new work for you to take a look at in the Available For Purchase gallery. I switched my purchase inquiry to that page as well, so you do not have to click elsewhere if something catches your eye. You will find two image galleries on the Past Works Gallery page. One contains most of my sold art dolls, and the other a selection of previous mixed media pieces.

High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
High Fashion

Burying the Lede (just learned that spelling)

From the images on this pages, you may notice that my work for this next show is a bit different. All of the new pieces I created for this show are somewhat surreal anthropomorphic figure sculptures. After sculpting a white rabbit titled “Alice is Late” last year, I decided to look a bit more at anthropomorphic figures. I was happy with the form and effect of the finished sculpture, and viewer response to him was great. I love how now that I have a dozen of these figures gathered together for photography that they look like a mass escape from some bizarre and unknown piece of children’ literature.

In the past, I shared just one or two pieces from an upcoming art show because the idea was to entice people to come and see them in person. It is best to see any art, especially sculpture, first hand. This time around I have several weeks to share at least 12 new friends with you, so I’ll be posting a new piece or two every few days. Keep an eye out. My posts will certainly be much more frequent then they’ve been in the past.

Carolina Songbird needle felted panel with cardinal

Carolina Songbird

Songbird for Author Show

It is almost time for the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts to present the yearly “It’s All About The Story” show tied to the work of a local author. I have a Carolina songbird, the cardinal, as my subject this time around. In a twist on our usual format for this show, we decided to honor the work of a songwriter and composer with Hillsborough ties, Billy Strayhorn.

Carolina Songbird needle felted panel with cardinal
Carolina Songbird

Take the A Train

Strayhorn was a jazz composer best known for his work with Duke Ellington and his orchestra. He composed what came to be known as the Ellington theme song, “Take the A Train“, based on Ellington’s written instructions for Streyhorn to get to his house.

I am not well versed in big bang jazz, so I decided to approach this theme as if we were looking at the work of a poet. I found my inspiration within the lyrics of a song titled Rose Room.

For their musicians are the birds and bees
And they will sing us a song
As we are strolling along

More Familiar Inspiration

I found additional inspiration for this piece in the photographic work of an artist even closer to home. In fact, within my own home. My daughter is a talented young photographer with an ever growing portfolio of impressive work. She snapped a striking image of a rather persistent male cardinal just outside her window.

Cardinal image by Alexcina Wartski
Cardinal inspiration by Alexcina Wartski

You see that the panel I needle felted is a stylized slice of this image. I was drawn to the strong contrast, and the play of depth-of-field in this photo. I tried to replicate those elements in the panel.

Show Opening

Come See Carolina Songbird and all the work inspired by Billy Strayhorn at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, February 24 through March 22. The opening reception for the show is during the Hillsborough art walk Friday, February 28, from 6 to 9pm.

Tattered Swan art doll

Green Swan?

Writer’s Block

It really has been much too long since I updated readers on what’s going on in the studio. I have been busy sculpting away in the studio these past few weeks. Much of what I’m working on is for my yearly featured show this coming April, so I’ll keep that under wraps for just a bit longer. In the mean time, let’s look at “Tattered Swan”. She is my piece for HGA’s next show, “Green”.

Tattered Swan art doll
Tattered Swan

But First, Some New Year’s Resolutions…

Each year, somewhere in late summer HGA puts out a call-to-artists across North Carolina. This call is for our yearly state-wide juried show “Resolutions”. Some 200 or so pieces were submitted from artists across the state. 38 wonderful works in a wide variety of media were chosen for inclusion. The show “Resolutions 2020” will be on display at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts January 6-26.

Green Swan

Following our yearly Resolutions show, the member artists of HGA mount two yearly group shows. The theme of the first of these shows is “Green”. I chose to interpret the word green as sustainable. Sustainability being my focus, I decided to begin with my material choices. As felted wool has been my material of choice for the past year or two, I looked first at the source of my fibers. I first purchased wool roving for this figure directly from the farmer at a local farmer ‘s market. My second fiber choice was to recycle. I saved dryer lint from loads of laundry over a period of months. and used it for my second source of fiber. You find this unconventional material used in the figure’s wings, hair, and costume.

Material Challenge

The dryer lint presented me with a puzzle to solve. Its fibers are quite short, and their varied sources make the “Felt-ability” highly variable. I first turned to wet felting. The result was something that resembled home recycled paper, but was devoid of any tensile strength. It crumbled to the touch. I took this fragile material, and sandwiched it with paper thin layers of recycled quilt batting that I had peeled apart. This provided much needed long fibers, and crosswise stability. I needle felted these layers together. The result was a tattered and weathered looking fabric.

Swan Inspiration

I often have my iPad propped up with something playing on it in the background while I work. I had just rewatched the movie Black Swan the idea of creating another dancer figure seemed long overdue. My intension was not to pull directly to the movie imagery, but rather relate to the way it captured both the distress and beauty of ballet. I also strove to create a figure in a snapshot of movement, caught at an instant without connection with the ground. The result is the piece I’ve titled, “Tattered Swan”. I chose to utilize the local wool and the felted lint just as they were without additional coloring through dye or bleaching. I like that this has the effect of the piece looking somewhat classical. Almost as if she were carved out of some sort of material.

Check out Green

“Tattered Swan” and all of the HGA artist’s interpretations of green, will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts beginning January, 27th. The opening reception for “Green” is Friday, January 31 from 6-9pm.

"lush" bag with needle felted butterflies is something different

Something Different, and Reminder…

Pencil Us In.

Before something different, I think I will start with a schedule reminder. If your calendar looks anything like mine this week, a reminder might be a welcome thing. This Friday is the first official Last Friday of the season in Hillsborough, NC. That means that the Art Walk will be accompanied by music on the court house lawn, vendors, outside activities, and more. But, most importantly, this Last Friday is the opening reception for my featured artist show April Showers, Art Flowers. I hope to see you there Friday from 6-9!

Something Different

A few years ago when my work was more mixed media of a steampunk flavor, I created a little steampunk bag for the holiday season. I fondly recall that piece, and how happy I was that it was purchased for a friend as a gift. I am enjoying my creative play with needle felting so much, that I though that I’d include a couple of sculpted bags along with my cast of figurative characters for this show. The first bag I created is a fantastical evening clutch being “Clutched” by a aqua octopus. ”

"Clutched" clutch bag with needle felted octopus is something different
Clutched


Lush

"lush" bag with needle felted butterflies is something different
Lush

I titled my second sculptural bag “Lush.” This shoulder bag features bright blue butterflies and sunny yellow flowers. Tendrils and leaves complete this bag that looks as though it grew, rather than was made. Both bags have a large glass bead and loop as their closures, and hand sewn linings. I really enjoy the idea of creating items that will be a wearable pieces of art.

See you at the gallery

If you have the chance stop in at HGA this Friday night from 6 to 9 pm. You can see these one-of-a-kind bags, my new sculptures and have the chance to say hello. You can also check out the amazing new work By Chris Graebner, and Susan Hope.

Time for a Feature Show

New Work, New Materials

Any regular reader here might predict that my newest works are created utilizing needle felting techniques. My most recent felted wool creations will be featured at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this coming Monday, April 22nd.

April Showers, Art Flowers

“April Showers, Art Flowers” is the title of my upcoming feature show with painter Chris Graebner, and glass artist Susan Hope.

Rain or Shine needle felted art doll by Lynn Wartski
Rain or Shine

“Rain or Shine” is the first art doll sculpture created for this year’s Featured Artist show. I like to start with a piece that speaks to the title of an upcoming show whenever possible. This sunny little figure popped straight into my head and onto the page of my sketchbook

As you can see, I took a a departure from the almost monochromatic look of many of my paper and book based art dolls. I embraced the vibrant color available in wool roving fiber. The wool allows me to use the same materials for the sculpting, costuming and wigging of the figures.

I have a few surprises for this year’s show, but I’ll save those for next week’s post after the show is installed. For now, here are a couple of other figure pieces heading to HGA on Monday.

A Few More Featured Friends

'Conversation" art doll figure sculpture by Lynn Wartski
Conversation
'Spring Dreams" art doll figure sculpture by Lynn Wartski
Spring Dreams