Tag Archives: the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

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

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.

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
needle felted polar bear ornament

Storm Born Sculpture and Ornaments

Creating Ornaments in the Storm

Some may find being home bound for several days as a slow moving hurricane passes very frustrating.  I am fortunate enough to currently have power and materials close at hand. This presents an opportunity to sit down to some extended workbench sessions. This time of year part of my attention turns the coming holiday season.  In addition to my art doll sculptures, I create handcrafted original ornaments and some extra jewelry for the gallery.

Iceland Inspired Ornaments

Usually, these ornaments reflect what is currently occurring in my sculpture.  One influence on the items populating my sketchbook is a recent trip to Iceland.  A charming addition to the amazing and other worldly landscape one encounters is sheep everywhere.  In response to this, I have planned both art dolls and this season’s ornaments utilizing the technique of needle felting. I am still very much in the design phase, but thought I’d share a couple of works-in-progress images.

needle felted polar bear ornament

Polar Bear Ornament

Needle felted puffin ornament

Puffin Ornament

I snapped both of these quick shots in my studio with my phone.  There is one more arctic inspired creature, a reindeer, that I’m designing.  I will refine each a bit for production efficiency, and have a selection in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting in mid November.

Surface Experimentation

I was also finishing up a small completely sculpted little figure piece this week.  In stead of wigging and costuming as I do with my art dolls, I sculpted minimal clothing and hair from paperclay. I decided to do a bit of experimentation with the surface treatment of this piece. I created a “faux bronze’ finish with the layering of metallic bronze paint and a moss patina glaze.

Seated figure with faux bronze finish

Seated figure with faux bronze finish

With any luck Hurricane Florence will allow me to get a bit more accomplished today as well.

Hope- seated art doll figure sculpture with balloons

Paper, Paper, Paper

Paper.

Here are my paper inspired art doll figure sculptures that will be part of the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” featured artist show going up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts this coming Monday, March 26th. Opening reception Friday, March 30th from 6-9pm.

Paper Dolls?

You may have seen a few of these figure sculptures here, or even in the gallery already.  They all utilize paper in the form of paperclay and/or papier-mâché as the primary media.  Many are also connected to paper through inspiration found in the pages of literary works, sheet music, vintage notebooks, newspapers and more.

Hope- seated art doll figure sculpture with balloons

Hope

Seated figure, Hope, is a playful juxtaposition of color and black and white.

Tinker bell inspired art doll sculpture figure

Tinkerbell Never Lost Her Shadow

Wearing text pulled from the pages of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell Never Lost Her Shadow, is a hanging art doll figure sculpture that is all about light and shadow.

art doll book sculpture titled Boleyn's Ghost

Boleyn’s Ghost

I introduced Boleyn’s Ghost in my last post.  This art doll sculpture is based on the sister characters of Anne and Mary from the historical novel The Other Boleyn Girl.

Chef Sings - singing chef art doll figure sculpture

Chef Sings

Chef Sings was inspired by a ceramic figure sculpture I made in Jr. high school art class!

Prudence art doll sculpture

Prudence and Martha

The Prudence and Martha sculpture is born from the Beatles vast music catalog and the figures are clad in sheet music.

 

Local Star, Degas inspired art doll figure sculpture

Local Star

This sculpture is a rework of an art doll figure damaged by water.  She was inspired by a Degas painting, and her costume is made from the pages of the local paper.

Paper Alice II is an Alice in Wonderland inspired art doll

Paper Alice II

Another Alice in Wonderland art doll figure.  This sculpture features Alice examining the “drink me” bottle, and playing card motifs.

In The Gallery Now

Leonardo's Child art doll figure sculpture

Leonardo’s Child

Already on display at HGA, Leonardo’s Child, is a nod to genius and flight.

Running Free figure sculpture

Running Free

Running Free was a problem solving stop on the way to the next two minimalist figures I created for HGA’s “C-Note” show.

minimal dancing figure art doll sculpture

Dance

Dance is one of two art dolls that I pared down to their basic figure sculpture form for “C-Note”

Recline - figure sculpture

Recline

Reclining art doll figure at HGA.

These pieces and more will all be find at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting this coming Monday.  If you are in the area stop by and take a look! Hope to see you at the opening reception next week!

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.