Tag Archives: sculpture

A Boleyn Art Doll Plays Rock, Paper, Scissors

It is the final countdown to my featured artist show at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  My newest art doll and sculpture creations are part of the show that will have its opening reception from 6 to 9pm on March 30th titled, “Rock, Paper, Scissors”.

My pieces are intended to be the “Paper” part of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, and will be displayed along side the silver and natural stone jewelry of Arianna Bara, and the textile creations of Ali Givens.

Art Doll or Book Sculpture?

This year, I created several sculptures that land somewhere in the intersection of book sculpture and art doll.  One such piece is Boleyn’s Ghost.  It is literally and literarily ripped from the pages of Philippa Gregory’s novel The Other Boleyn Girl.  I must admit to a mild obsession with historical fiction, especially those set in Tudor England.  I’ve always felt that Gregory’s title could refer to either of the Boleyn sisters, Anne or Mary.  You can look from the perspective of who was established first at court, or who had greater historical impact.  I think they both had reasons enough to return as a specter to teach a lesson or two.

In this piece I strive to achieve several things.  She is a ghost. I think she should appear light and etherial.  I also wanted to utilize the book pages and paper not only to highlight ideas, but mimic the patterns of rich textiles described.

art doll book sculpture titled Bolyn's Ghost

Bolyn’s Ghost

I cannibalized my own well read paperback copy of the novel for fragments of text. The application to layers of tissue paper,  though time consuming, helped to achieve the look I was going for with her gown.  Likewise, I made the design choice to utilize a glass gem backed with a reflective holographic art paper in place of a face.

This ghostly figure-sculpture-art-doll-book-sculture will haunt the Featured Exhibit gallery of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting March 26th.

 

Prudence art doll sculpture

New Year, New Work

I’ve been working in the studio on some new art doll figure sculptures for several upcoming shows.

Resolutions 2018 in Last week at HGA

Currently, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is featuring it’s yearly North Carolina state-wide juried show Resolutions 2018.   This show features non-HGA artists from across the state.  It runs through this weekend, so if the snow has melted in your area you have a couple of days left to see it in person.

C-Note

Starting Monday, January 22nd HGA will have C-note.  A special themed show of HGA member-artist work all priced at $100.  I created two minimalist “figure sketch” sculptures for this show. It was a challenge to create work to a specific price point that still fit within my usual body of work.  With “Recline” shown below, and her sister piece “Dance”, I’ve paired down the detailed features and costuming of my usual art doll sculptures to their elemental core.

Recline - figure sculpture

Recline

It’s All About the Story

Our February opening show will be our yearly “It’s All About the Story” show based on the work of one of Hillsborough’s many noted authors.  This year we read “A Broom of One’s Own” by the recently named Piedmont Poet Laureate, Nancy Peacock.  I will share a bit more about Nancy, the show, and her author reading in a month or so.  For now, I share a peek at “Doris”.  The book shares memoir tales of Nancy who supported herself, and her writing as a house cleaner. I decided to bring to life a character that brought together her two disparate occupations. Doris is a member of a hotel housekeeping staff Nancy met in a restroom when attending a writer’s event. For me, Doris just needed to be incarnated as a rag doll with attitude.

Doris art doll for "It's All About the Story"

Doris

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Lastly, I’ll give a a sneak peek at the pieces that i’m putting together for my upcoming featured artist show in March.  Titled, ” Rock, Paper, Scissors”, I will represent the “paper” in the trio of artist.  The art doll sculptures I am creating for this show have paper as their primary media and inspiration.  The first of these pieces is Prudence.

Prudence art doll sculpture

Prudence

Prudence is based on the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, and as you can see, she has “come out to play.”  She is accompanied by her sheep dog (Martha, my dear?) and they are running across a musical landscape flying a kite.

 

 

 

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.

screen shot of Walden Nap in International Doll Artists magazine inaugural issue

Wartski Art Doll in Magazine

Walden Nap art doll in International Doll Artists.

Walden Nap, appears in a brand new doll artist publication, International Doll Artists.   It is a quarterly publication that is by artist for artists, but I’m sure collectors, enthusiasts, and admirers will find something of interest as well. The print copy of this first issue is on it’s way, but you can purchase and download a digital copy right away. They include digital version with hard copy purchases as well. Be sure to register when they prompt you in the subscription process, so that you can receive your link for downloading digital copy.

top half of International Doll Artists vol1

International Doll Artists vol1

This publication is an outgrowth of the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild.  I have been a member of this creative and highly talented group for a few years now. The art doll form started to take over my sculpture portfolio of work a few years ago.  I found that these figurative sculptures had a unique and distinct audience, as well as a whole new world of tools, techniques, and materials.  Finding some online groups in this genre to interact with has helped my art doll sculptures to evolve, and has pointed me to new venues in which to share my work. the PDMAG participates in doll shows, develops new artists through an apprenticeship program, and connects artists with each other and educational and marketing opportunities.

Below is a peek of the top of the page that Walden Nap appears on, but you have to get your own copy to see the rest.  As you can see, I also share a bit more information about Walden Nap,

screen shot of Walden Nap in International Doll Artists magazine inaugural issue

Walden Nap in International Doll Artists magazine

Earlier Publications of Art Doll Sculptures

You may recall that an article, “Dolls From A Different ToolBox”, about my work appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Art Doll Quarterly magazine. In that article I shared how the tools and techniques of my earlier metal and mixed media sculpture influenced choices I made in art doll design and creation.

Last year, the Professional Doll Makers Art Guild also published a 25th guild anniversary book, that features work by more than 150 guild artists. That book can be found on the guild’s web page.

 

Seated singing mermaid art doll "3rd Time Charm"

3rd Time Charm, Mermaid Art Doll

Sometimes, the third time can be a charm.  My latest addition to my portfolio of art doll sculptures is a rework of a rework.

Seated singing mermaid art doll "3rd Time Charm"

3rd Time Charm

How she started

I created the first incarnation of this art doll, Mermaid’s Song, in late 2014.   She was a steampunk mermaid with the hand sewn tail you see.  I fashioned this first figure sculpture the way I did the majority of my pieces at the time, with a hand-hammered copper face and hands, and a fabric body over a padded wire frame.

Sometimes, there are certain elements of a piece you really fall in love with, and others, not so much.  This art doll definitely fit that description.  I was quite proud of the tail that I pieced and sewed from some faux leather from the Scrap Exchange.  I weighted this tail with an internal sand bag that would allow the sculpture to lean her upper body back a bit to sing out loud.  Her body I wasn’t as enamored with.  In an attempt to make my mermaid more androgynous, I think I just made her kind of spindly. Also her face, though satisfactorily wrought, I applied with just a bit too much space behind it.  This had the effect of creating very deeply set eyes, that appeared a little mad.

art doll mermaid song

Mermaid Song – $260

So I changed her

I decided to rework this sculpture with a paperclay head last year.  This second version I thought possessed kinder eyes and a mouth more open in song.  I left the torso of the piece the way it was, but changed the fabric to a more “watery” color and pattern.  This version was an improvement over the original, but I wasn’t completely happy with the face I had created.  She appeared a bit too caricature-ish to me, and was still quite spindly.  I  think that the fact that I can’t find an image of this version tells a bit about my satisfaction with her.

Mermaid Song needed another makeover, so I kept only her tail, hands, and the internal wire frame.  I re-sculpted the rest of the art doll out of papier-mâché and paperclay.  The surface color and her hair I created through tissue paper collage, and I also changed her proportions and positioning.

I am renaming this art doll sculpture 3rd Time Charm, and she now seems aptly titled.

 

"Learning to Defy Gravity" art doll figure sculpture

Imagination, and Good and Evil in Art Doll Sculptures

Canvas on canvas

I have two new figure sculptures to share with you this week.  That must mean it has been a few weeks since I last posted.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my pieces in which I’ve incorporated text or images onto surfaces of the sculpture.  There is an additional level of play and thought that this can bring to a figure.  As with the last art doll sculpture I wrote about, “Local Star”, my  two latest art dolls continue to explore this.

Ode to Elphaba

“Learning to Defy Gravity” is my interpretation of Gregory Maguire’s main character Elphaba from the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.  For those not familiar with the book, or the award winning Broadway musical adaptation, it is a retelling of the Oz story.  In Maguire’s book the “Wicked Witch” isn’t so really wicked, nor is the “Good Witch” all she seems to be.

art doll "Learning to Defy Gravity"

Learning To Defy Gravity

I captured my Elphaba just as she is first getting her broom to rise from the floor.  This art doll sculpture is a mixture of papier-mâché and paperclay over a wire armature. The color and clothing on this piece were sculpted in place using tissue paper.  The magical elements of the figure, her hat, broom, and boots (shoes are always magical) are adorned with excerpts of text from the book.  I chose passages from Wicked that question the nature of good and evil, and our preconceived notions of each.

"Learning to Defy Gravity" art doll figure sculpture

Elphaba portrait

A Boy Dreamer

My second art doll sculpture this week is titled “Imagine“, and yes, he is inspired by John Lennon’s song of the same name.  My young figure is laying on his back watching the clouds go by.  Is he my version of a young John, thinking such thoughts?… Possibly.  I just like the posture of the figure and the positive message, so decided to create a doll that captured that feel.

 

"Imagine" art doll figure sculpture

“Imagine”

Art doll figure sculpture Inspired by John Lennon's "Imagine"

“Imagine” portrait

"Local Star" mixed media art doll ballet dancer

A Dancer Art Doll and FA Show Closes

Last Week of Featured Artist Show at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts –

My featured artist show, Up Close, at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts will be coming down next Monday, the 24th of July.  I know there is street construction all along the gallery’s storefront, but there is still access all along the sidewalk closest to the buildings.  Many of my newest art doll sculptures will still be around HGA after the show closes, as they are incorporated into the gallery collection throughout the rest of the space.  So, your favorite may still be here.

Newest Art Doll is a Local Star

I titled my latest sculpture doll “Local Star.”  Star is a papier-mâché and paperclay figure over a wire armature.  I focus on the elements of movement and surface in this art doll piece.  Local Star is modeled after Degas’s 1876 painting “The Star”.  My Star is a slightly caricatured ballet dancer figure trying to emulate the Degas painting. Her unique costume and wigging are created from the pages of the local news paper.

"Local Star" mixed media art doll ballet dancer

Local Star

I play here a bit with the idea of the hometown dance/music/art studio, and the local mistress or master instructing all of their own little “local stars”.  They may or may not go on to be true stars, but they certainly are in someone’s eyes.  The local paper is just the place that would carry the announcement of her upcoming recital or show.

Star’s eyes are torch fired enamel.  The paperclay’s “antiqued” surface tone was created with a tea dye. All the sculpture’s paper and paperclay surfaces are sealed with decoupage medium.

Polly seated art doll figure sculpture

Featured Artist Show

Featured Artist Show at Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

I snapped a few iPhone images of my newest art doll figure sculptures after installing the show Monday at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. The show’s opening reception is this Friday from 6-9pm during Hillsborough’s Last Friday Art Walk.  I, personally will not be in attandance at the opening, but please stop by and visit my newest work if you are in town.  If, however, you are also not around Hillsborough… Here’s a peek.

Featured Exhibit

Featured Exhibit

A look through the door to the Featured Artist Gallery shows my work along with painting by Linda Carmel, and textile art by Alice Levinson.

 

Walden Nap on display at HGA

Walden Nap on display at HGA

Walden Nap looks peaceful on a solitary pedestal in the center of the FA gallery.

Sketch and friends at HGA

Sketch and friends at HGA

Middle grouping of pedestals.

Polly at HGA

Polly at HGA

New sculpture, Polly, inspired by a visit to a small pond with a healthy population of tadpoles.

It's Wednesday Again at HGA

It’s Wednesday Again at HGA

A new look at an earlier piece “Wednesday’s Child”, based on the well known nursery rhyme.

 

March-ed at HGA

March-ed at HGA

March is walking with a purpose.

Balloon Too at HGA

Balloon Too at HGA

Balloon Too wonder and movement in a moment captured from childhood.

Athena Sharpening Spear at HGA

Athena Sharpening Spear at HGA

My Athena in full battle gear to fight ignorance.

 

Giving Wing at HGA

Giving Wing at HGA

Giving Wing was created for a show earlier this year, and fit in well with my other new pieces.

Hope you get a chance to stop by.

 

reclining mixed media figure sculpture art doll Walden Nap

Featured Artist and Art Dolls

Up Close

Up Close, is the title of my featured artist show with painter Linda Carmel and textile artist Alice Levinson.  The show will open later this month at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.  The art doll sculptures that I have been sharing in my most recent posts will be included in this new show. Up Close runs June 26th through July 23rd, with an opening reception on June 30th from 6-9pm during Hillsborough’s “Last Friday” art walk event.

I admit that I tend to horde my newest pieces as I approach each year’s featured show. Several new figures are in the studio awaiting installation the last week of June.  I took the opportunity to photograph a few more this week.

Walden Nap

I quite literally (or is that literature-ly?) pulled this art doll from the pages of Thoreau’s writings.  My serenely napping figure is sculpted out of paperclay and papier-mâché.  I photocopied pages containing favorite passages for the surfaces of the sculpture and the art doll’s hair.

sleeping art doll figure sculpture, paperclay and papier-mâché

Walden Nap

Spinning or Weaving?

This magical art doll figure is creating some type of magic from the fibers in her hands.  This figure sculpture is unnamed at the moment.  Something along the lines of Dream Weaver seems a bit too easy.  Her hands and face are sculpted from paperclay.  The body is a padded wire armature with clothing sewn in place.  I played a bit with needle felting some wool fiber to create her rising magic over a wire frame.  Her “dreadlocks” are made from a thick blanket yarn.

seated art doll figure sculpture, paperclay, fabric, wire, wool

untitled

Sketch

I shared a “selfie” of Sketch in my last post.  Here you see the completed art doll.  I have several past reading and writing figures in my portfolio, but I think this is the first that is specifically drawing in her sketch book.

seated art doll figure sculpture, paperclay, fabric, and wire

Sketch

These art dolls and a few others will be in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting June 26th.

 

"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.