Tag Archives: the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts

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

 

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.

Princess Make-Over Art Doll

I know what you may be thinking.  Why would a princess need a make-over? Aren’t they already ideal? I do like to occasionally turn to fairytales and children’s literature for inspiration in my art doll sculptures.  Though it is very fertile ground for ideas, it is also a well traversed bit of land. Many of the images we hold in our heads of these characters are the saccharine sweet animated versions.  One or too may be so much so, that they can even cross the line to annoying for some of us.  I have to admit that I personally have had that reaction to the animated Snow White, and have long thought she could use some updating.

My “Different Snow”  art doll figure takes a cue from the writing of Gregory Maguire and perhaps a bit of flavor from the more current “Huntsman” movies. She is beautiful and strong, and can fend for herself, thank you very much.

art doll figure sculpture titled Different Snow by Lynn Wartski

Different Snow

My Snow did not get tricked by the poison treat she was offered.  She has it in hand, and instead has every intention of returning the gift to the giver, with perhaps an additional statement from her sword.  She is dressed a bit more appropriately for battle than serenading birds.

the “Different Snow” sculpture stands 15 inches high on a custom made stand.  She has an armored “leather” tunic over her red velvet dress.  Her battlefield crown sits on her helmet, and armored leggings are tucked into her heeled boots.

I chose to sculpt Snow’s face and hands from paperclay. The media allows for much more refined shaping of her features.  The image used is Work-in-Progress, as I added a bit of lip coloring and some additional refinement of her fingers before applying a sealing coat to the paperclay.

Snow is available and on display at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts.

 

The Girl With The Curl

Art Doll Leads The Way

Last week I wrote about working on art doll sculptures that were somehow related to earlier works.  I was working on one of those pieces, and she too led me to an interesting place by the time she was complete.  She even told me what her name should be.

I had been thinking about one of my own favorites among my art doll sculptures, Wednesday’s Child.  She is the piece that I use as my profile picture on my Lynn Wartski Sculptures Facebook page. I like this particular art doll because of the amount of expression and gesture I was able to capture in her copper features.  She is relatively simple in comparison to many of my figure sculptures.  Just a seated figure clad in black, but her posture and face tell you all you need to know about her mood.

Looking Back and Ahead

Wednesday went to a good home quite a while ago. I wanted her reprise to have a very different look, but capture the same feel.  I started with the same girl dressed at the turn of the 20th century look, but this time in all light hues.

seated art doll figure sculpture titled Girl with the Curl

Girl with the Curl

Where Wednesday’s Child had a very simple dress of black lace gathered at the neck, I chose to create a separate skirt and top with lace hems and cuffs this time.  Her clothes being much more complex lends that “poor little rich girl” feel to Curl.

My Name Is…

I must admit that I had a working title something more like The Second Wednesday for this art doll.  Her title screamed itself out the minute I decided to wig her with some of the natural wool I received from one of our other very talented Hillsborough Gallery of Arts artists, Susan Hope. I was going for sort of a “strawberry blonde” in the food coloring dye job I was doing. I put one single drop of red in with the twenty or so yellow I added, but bright orange it is.  I decided to go with it, and the wonderful natural curl of the wool.  I just couldn’t help myself in adding the accent curl that dips down into her forehead.  So, The Girl With The Curl (in the middle of her forehead) she is.

 

Girls in the Gallery… Art Dolls Around

Art Doll inspiring Art Doll

As I am working today in the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, it seemed a nice opportunity it to revisit some of my art dolls displayed around the space.  Many of my sculptures take their inspiration from their predecessors.  I often find myself thinking of how I would execute a piece differently the minute I finish it.  Most of the sketches I have been making for the work for my next feature show have been falling into this category.  Though I am not quite ready to start sharing some of the works in progress with you, I thought I’d share a few that might pop up in a new form sometime in the near future.

Fairytales Reimagined

art doll "...And the Pea" by Lynn Wartski on display at HGA

…And the Pea

Fairytales, folktales, and children’s literature provide a wealth of raw material for my figures.  Little Red Riding Hood and Alice in Wonderland are two that spring to mind immediately.  “…And The Pea” is my nod to the the Princess and the Pea tale.  My version is shown here reclining on several of her cushioned mattresses, and holding the source of her discomfort in her hand for the viewer to pay witness to. I believe my next fairytale inspired piece will involve some sort of poison fruit.

Mixing Media

art doll "Media" by Lynn Wartski on display at HGA

“Media” at HGA

“Media is one of my artist’s favorite pieces.  She is currently the image I have on my gallery bio cards.  Media is a great representation of my love of playing with all sorts of materials.  The puzzle presented creating a sculpture like Media is the type of challenge I love working on.

Snowy Day

art doll "Snow Day" by Lynn Wartski on display at HGA

“Snow Day”

Snow Day, was created on a day that felt a little too cold to hammer metal in the outdoor studio, and was my first use of polymer clay in one of my art doll sculptures. I used one of the  design choices from my very first art doll “No Rag Doll” by creating a face plate that is sewn on to a stuffed fabric head.  This sculpture is a bit larger and free standing, both ideas that I’d like to incorporate in future art dolls.

Delicate Landing in Window Sunshine

art doll "Delicate Landing" by Lynn Wartski on display at HGA

Delicate Landing in the window

“Delicate Landing” is a very recent sculpture created for our January show titled “Flow.”  We worked with several local poets to honor conservation efforts along the Eno River.  I decided to go all in on our nature theme, and use biodegradable materials as much as possible in her construction.  The wings of this wood sprite art doll feature text from Thoreau, Emerson and Aldo Leopold on nature and conservation. I like the extra point of connection provided by incorporation of text that might have played in the inspiration of a sculpture.  I first explored this with my “Paper Alice” art doll.

I look forward to sharing where these and other past sculptures lead me next.

 

 

Art Doll, Show, and Missing Post

Missing Post

I just realized that a couple of weeks ago when I shared my latest art doll sculpture, “Santos Caitlin”, that I had promised to share details on the opening reception, and reading by Alan Gurganus.  Well, we hung the gallery, I missed the opening due to another commitment, and we had the reading this past Sunday.  So very sorry that I didn’t get the dates and times to you, but thank you to all that attended anyway. Luckily, the gallery promotional mechanism is much more regular that my bog posts.

But, never fear if you wanted to see the show, because it will still be up at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts until March 20th.  Here’s a sneak peek.

 Lynn Wartski art doll in "It's All About the Story: " show at HGA

“It’s All About the Story: IV Alan Gurganus”

You can see my “Santos Caitlin” cage art doll sculpture on a pedestal against the far wall.  Many of the pieces have accompaning text describing their inspiration from the Alan Gurganus novellas we read.  There was a nice write up on the show in our local news paper The News of Orange.

New Art Doll Creation

I now turn my attention to building a new body of work for my own upcoming feature show in September.  It seems like a long way off, but early images and information for publications about our shows sometimes need to go out months in advance. It is good to have several pieces to choose from when they are called for. This means that I now have to start the yearly process of creating new sculptures that I sort of hold back from bringing into the gallery or putting up online for sale.  Don’t worry, I will still share any art doll I’m working on here with you, but many will not be available until the feature show.

I will be showing with two uber talented artists, Linda Carmel and Marcy Lansman.  Our show will be titled, “Go Figure”, as the work of all three currently contains human figures.  As for my own work in the feature show, I like to have a connected theme between the pieces I put in as well.  I think I have my working idea, but I’m going to let it percolate for a bit before I share.

 

Art Doll for a Story

Almost time for “It’s All About The Story”

My latest art doll sculpture is a santos cage doll based on a character from Alan Gurganus’ novella “Saints Have Mothers“.  As some of you may be aware, each February at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts we present a show entitled “It’s All About The Story” in conjunction with one the many well known Hillsborough authors.  This year we were lucky enough to play with the content of the three novellas in Gurganus’ collection Local Souls.

The stories in Local Souls are all set in Mr. Gurganus’ fictional town of Falls, NC.  In “Saints Have Mothers” we are introduced to the character of Caitlin Mulray through the eyes of her mother Jean. Caitlin is an almost too good to be true character who is off during high school summer vacation volunteering in Africa.  She is reported missing and dead by a scam artist, and before she is able to return, her mother and other members of the community start to plan a memorial celebration that mushrooms out of control.

art doll Santos Caitlin cage doll

Santos Caitlin cage doll

Cage Art Dolls

In researching my design for this sculpture I came across santos dolls.  I had seen other cage art dolls before, but hadn’t made the connection between them and santos dolls. Most often seen dressed in elaborate robes for saint days and other festivals they are a type of folk art of sorts. The traditional forms are usually a carved and painted wooden head and torso that is set atop a cage base made of wooden slats or wire. For an art doll based on a character from a story about a local “saint” the connection seemed almost too good to be true. I decided that my Caitlin sculpture needed to be a cage doll.

Santos Caitlin features a web of tiny shoes within her cage skirt. One of the saintly tales of Caitlin’s good works was that she was constantly giving things away to charity, these contributions included most of her mother’s shoes. I find the use of copper and brass foils for her face and halo-like head piece add the look of an icon to the sculpture as well. Likewise, Caitlin’s midriff revealing top recalls the armor of Joan D’arc.

My Santos Caitlin art doll figure sculpture will be at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts starting the last week of February.  I will post dates and times for the opening reception and the author reading once the show is installed.