Tag Archives: art

Anthropomorphic Art Dolls Moving On?

…But they’re not gone!

This week is the last Friday of the month. A new featured artist show, Construction, is going live online for HGA. But, Three Narratives isn’t really going anywhere. My anthropomorphic art dolls will remain available both within the gallery featured sales pages, and here on my Available for Purchase page.

Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
Multitasking 12″x7″x12″

At the Gallery

Those same anthropomorphic art dolls are now at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts awaiting our controlled reopening. As you can imagine, a space where patrons linger, converse, and touch objects is rife with contact concerns. The HGA owner artists are carefully considering all the angles we can think of to safely start to welcome visitors back. The current plan is to offer private appointments one weekday, and open a few hours with precautions on Saturdays. Details on both options are still being finalized. I will share all that information with you here, as soon as I can.

High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
High Fashion 7″x18″x10″

Not Just Anthropomorphic Art Dolls.

Even with the move towards careful reopening, we are building and refining HGA’s online sales offerings. As you might imagine, something that required building on the fly has experienced a hiccup or two. The experience of the past few months has taught us that we need to develop this side of our gallery further. Keep checking in with me here. I will continue to share new developments. In the mean time, take a second look at our special Art Under $100 show. This show features pieces donated by the HGA member artists, and all proceeds go to maintaining the gallery.

Blue Butterfly Bag
Blue Butterfly bag 8″x11″x1/2″
Flower Necklace -purple and turquoise needle felted flowers on leather chord
Flower Necklace

Making Lemonade

Marketing art at the moment is, as you might imagine, an interesting challenge. For both my own work here on this site, and for our co-owned Hillsborough Gallery of Arts the learning and adjusting curves are quite steep. In both instances, sharing more online seems to be the short answer. The answers about how, and what is most effective are much longer and trickier. The cliche of “turning lemons into lemonade” is the guiding principle, and an increased online presence using a variety of attacks is the strategy being employed.

Newest Lemonade Stand

On the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts website there is a new choice on the top menu bar, Art Shop. This page offers a selection of work by all of the HGA artists that you can now purchase online. Take a moment to check it out. There is a wide variety of media, styles and price points available.

Wise and Magical anthropomorphic wise-woman owl sculpture
Wise and Magical

My latest anthropomorphic art doll sculpture titled Wise and Magical is one of the two pieces I have available on that page. She is a colorful wise-woman owl who has apparently been forging for some herbs for her medicine bag. Wise and Magical is perched on a natural stick base.

DIY anthropomorphic art doll
D.I.Y.

D.I.Y. also is available now on the new HGA Art Shop page. I shared D.I.Y. with you a few posts back, and only had her available here on my site. I also took the opportunity to update her image as well.

Also New This Week..

The new Art Under $100 donation page that I wrote about last post will be up this Friday, May 15th at Noon. Remember, my Blue Butterfly Bag will available there as well as donated items by other HGA member artists with all proceeds going to keep the gallery going while the doors are shut. Shipping is included on all items there.

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

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.

Performing Creatures

I admit it. I fall prey to finding humor in puns, and some of my new creatures are obvious candidates for punny titles. My swan dancing in her toe shoes titled, “Too En Pointe?”, is a prime example.

Too En Pointe? anthropomorphic art doll
Too En Pointe?

Swan Lake is the world’s best known ballet. I choose to depict this most recent dancing figure as a swan. I think that choice might be a bit too “on point” for some. For those not familiar with dancing terms, dancing up on toe shoes is called being “En Pointe.” I suppose I could have made her title an even greater head shaking pun if I had called her “TooToo En Pointe?”

Title aside, I enjoy how this sculpture came together. She is a commanding figure at 18 inches tall and her wings spread wide. That she somehow can maintain her en pointe posture dancing on water makes her just a bit magical.

More Performing Creatures

If you are familiar with the romantic comedy Notting Hill, you might recognize the title of “Happiness Isn’t.” There is a painting, La Mariée (The Bride), by Marc Chagall that plays a role in the story. The main characters Anna (Julia Roberts) and William (Hugh Grant) discuss the imagery of the painting. Anna states,”It feels how love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky.” William quips, “With a goat playing the violin.” To which Anna responds, “Yes, happiness isn’t happiness without a violin-playing goat.” That clever exchange was the inspiration for “Happiness Isn’t.”

Happiness Isn't anthropomorphic art doll
Happiness Isn’t

Even though the goat in the actual painting appears to be holding a cello, I chose to depict my figure with a violin too. He is one of those figures that just brings a smile, and has no other job than to contradict his own title.

Stay Tuned…

Things are changing quickly as we navigate sharing and marketing artwork online. I’m not sure this month’s Featured Artist show (changes Friday, April 24th) on the HGA website will be presented in the same way as the current one. There are some new gallery offerings going up just about every day. Keep checking in both here and on our Hillsboroughgallery.com site to see what is new and available. I just made some pricing updates on my own “Available for Purchase” page. You may want to recheck your favorites. I’ve revised the newest back to last year’s scale, and I have taken in to account the need to add on shipping costs.

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.

"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.

Needle felted wall hanging "Travel Photo #1" for Other Dimensions

Other Dimensions

The Challenge

Create art that takes you out of your usual display space. This is the challenge we gave ourselves for the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts group themed show, “Other Dimensions”. The initial idea was for 3D artists to create wall hanging art, and 2D artists make pedestal top pieces. However, each artist interprets the challenge in their own way. The results will go up on the walls and pedestals of HGA’s Featured Exhibit room this Thursday. Opening reception for Other Dimensions is this Friday, February 22nd from 6-9pm.

My Other Dimensions

I decided to take this themed show challenge at face value and create some wall hanging art. Currently, I am working on several needle felted art doll pieces for my upcoming featured artist show in April. I shared in earlier posts how much I am enjoying working with this new and versatile medium. The results are two felted “tapestries” that I am calling my “travel photos.”

Needle felted wall hanging "Travel Photo #1" for Other Dimensions
Travel Photo #1

I took a “slice” out of a couple of photographs from our family’s recent trip to Iceland, and used them as the basis of needle felted hanging relief panels. The result of the first of these is “Travel Photo #1.” I took the original photo for this piece at the first of many waterfalls we encountered. There were several more dramatic falls along our itinerary route, but something about the moody sky and bright wild lupins in the foreground drew me in. The finished hanging is approximately 12″x 22″.

Travel Photo #2 Collaboration

My second “travel photo” is based on an photo by my talented student photographer daughter, Alexcina. Alex’s original image is of an Icelandic horse who appeared to be very aware of just how magnificent he looked with the wind blowing through his mane.

Needle felted wall hanging "Travel Photo #2" for Other Dimensions
Travel Photo #2

This diminutive hanging is approximately 5.5″x 10″. Both of the “travel photos” are muslin backed and wired for hanging, and you can see them at HGA starting this Thursday.

Weaving Dreams celestially colored art doll seated on the crescent moon

Summer Work

Dream Weaver at HGA

Travel and other summer distractions have kept me away from the work table somewhat the past few months.  That doesn’t mean that my studio has been completely fallow, just a bit more relaxed.  The last piece I delivered to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is Woven Dreams.

Weaving Dreams celestially colored art doll seated on the crescent moon

Woven Dreams

This piece is a papier-mâché and paperclay sculpture.  I began with the crescent moon which I sculpted over a corrugated cardboard under structure.  The moon contains an internal sandbag to keep it tilted at just the right angle to accommodate the seated figure.  The dream weaver herself is paperclay and papier-mâché over a wire armature.  I created her unique skin tone with strips of torn tissue paper, and a tiny bit of silver paint.  Her “other worldly” eyes are fashioned from iridescent beads.  The entire sculpture was then sealed before the addition of her silver tinsel hair, wire and beaded weaving, and glittering tulle skirt.

I’ve also been busy finishing up sculpture commissioned as a present.   I will share a few images of after she is delivered to her new home.

Back to the work table.

 

 

Paper Penguin papier-mâché holiday ornament

Find New Holiday Ornaments at Hillsborough Gallery

New Holiday Ornaments at HGA

Monday I added some new hand crafted holiday ornament designs to the selection at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  Each November, we install our holiday show titled, “The Art of Giving”, when the preview show for the open studio tour comes down.  I always add two or three types of original hand crafted ornaments to what I bring in.  For several years now, I have created copper and pierced aluminum stars and hearts, and some small snow fairy figures.  Recently, I have found myself drawn to working more and more paper and text into the creation of my art doll figure sculptures, so I decided to create some new papier-mâché holiday ornaments this year.

Paper Penguin Ornament

Paper Penguin papier-mâché holiday ornament

Paper Penguin Ornament

The first papier-mâché holiday ornament I designed is this penguin who appears to be singing.  I start by layering recycled newspaper and office paper over a balloon with a twist in the top.  After the base layers dry, I pop the balloon, and add cardboard to form the beak and wings.  Patterned scrapbooking and origami papers are applied to create the surface color and patterns.,

Balloon Rider Holiday Ornament

Balloon Rider Ornament papier-mâché and polymer clay original

Ballon Rider Ornament

My balloon rider ornaments are a design I came up with last year.  I updated them this year and used polymer clay for the little figure sculpture.  Last year I modeled the tiny balloon rider out of paperclay, but that required a wire form inside the clay figure.  The polymer clay allows me to be a bit more efficient with my time. The balloon construction is the same as the penguin body.

Ball Dancer Ornament

Ball Dancer ornament

Ball Dancer

The Ball Dancer is my third ornament design this year.  It starts with a ball I create over a balloon like the other two ornaments.  I sculpt a small dancing figure out of recycled corrugated cardboard or scraps from my studio foam core stash.  Strips of origami and scrapbooking paper complete the surface.

HGA Holiday Show

My ornaments, art doll figure sculptures, jewelry, and the beautiful work by all 22 of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts owner/artists will be on display and available for one of a kind gift giving now through New Year’s.  Join us on Friday, November 24th for the holiday show’s opening reception from 6-9pm for some decidedly non-stressed “Black Friday” holiday shopping.