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Friday, September 28, 2012

Dolls in Progress

This is a doll I've been working on for a couple of months. The face mold is made of PaperClay which I prefer over Sculpey because it air dries, is lighter in weight, and it's easier to get off your hands that Sculpey. She looks like a being from outer space with that endearing yellow/green skin!! I used a soccer shirt scrap for her face covering (I'ts some manmade fabric), and I don't suggest anyone ever use that  for covering a face mold. It is NOT cooperative and it fought me every step of the way. However, I can be stubborn, and I didn't want to start all over on the skin, so I just kept adding extra Elmer's Glue and holding it down where it wouldn't stick with pins. Finally it gave up before I did, stuck and dried, and I could take out the pins.
Then I added some PaperClay to a couple places where there were folds or wrinkles in the fabric. This doesn't usually happrn with cotton, but I had them with this fabric. She'll eventually have hair, so I really didn't need to patch the top of her head, but I wanted to, just in case I change my mind about the hair.
Next, I added three coats of gesso to prepare the doll for painting:
The first coat of gesso was white, the second bright pink, and the next the light pink you see here.  I'd tinted the gesso for something else I was working on, so this doll got the same stuff.
Next, I paiinted her flesh color and painted her mouth, but I didn't like the mouth, so I painted over it. I had drawn on some eyes with a pencil, but didn't like them either. They were too small and I decided I wanted a child doll, not a woman doll; this means that her eyes needed to be bigger and her lips less full than I'd had them, so I painted over them and went to bed.  This morning, I drew an eye the size and shape I wanted it on a piece of "sticker paper." This can be an address label or whatever. I always save the part of an invoice that is sticker-paper and use that, or sometimes I save and use the margins from sheets of stick-on mailing labels. I never waste that stuff, because you really don't need very much to make eyes on. Then I stuck the blank eyes on the doll's face and penciled in the pupil and iris of the eyes-- sometimes I draw the eyelid fold, too. If you want realistic eyes, it helps to look at every eye you can find: eye's on people you know, eyes on people in magaizines, model's eyes, movie stars' eyes, children's eyes, any eyes you can find. The nice thing about using sticky paper is is that you can move those eyes around on the doll's face until you get them where you really want them.  
     Even though I have made lots of dolls and painted lots of faces like this, I noticed that I had one eye a lot closer to the bridge of the nose than the other one. This is SO easy to do, and unless you look at your doll's face really closely, you might just miss it. So I had to move the eye on the right over a bit, to where you see it now; I decided I like them where they were now, but  I had already penciled in eyebrows (I should have waited--I tend to work too fast and live to regret it), so I had to erase the right one and pencil in a new one. It's good to pencil everything lightly, and only use a white eraser. Some mechanical pencils have white erasers; if you don't have pencils with white erasers, you'll need to buy one. Pink erasers tend to leave a pink mark.
     So now, she is close to being ready to paint, and it would have been good if I'd stayed away from the paint until this point, but as I said, I tend to hurry things and then I'm sorry. But I like this girl's face now, and I will probably paint it today. I've already blushed the cheeks lightly, as I like to do that when painting the skin color; I mix a little of the shade of pink I want with the face paint and use that. Be VERY careful when painting cheek color on dolls; too much and she'll look like a harlot!!
I doubt that this doll will have ears, but if I decide she should have braids, or have her hair in a "updo," I will add them then. I can make fabric ears and stuff them a tiny bit, glue them to the head, and then gesso and paint them, or I can make PaperClay ears,  cover, gesso, and paint them, and then glue them to the head--with either style of ear, it's up to you when, in the process, you glue on the ears--before or after gessoing and painting. The tops of the ears should be just about even with the tops of the eyes, and the size varies a lot from person to person and thus from doll to doll.
    That's all for today. The decluttering is coming along--slower than I want it to, but I'm finding I just don't have enough extra time to devote large blocks of time to it. So I do what I can in small segments of time and keep the effort moving forward.
The next time I post, which I hope will be Tues or Weds (it's Friday now), I will report on my Art Journal Workshop, which is Monday, Sept 29. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Art Journaling, a New Adventure

 As if I needed yet ANOTHER interest, I purchased a book on making art journals in July, on our way  (mine and Karla's) to Puyallup (that's a native placename, for those of you that don't recognize it; it's pronounced Pew AL up) for doll club. Traci Bunkers' book is called: The Art Journal Workshop: Break Through, Explore, and Make it Your Own. And I can truthfully say I have done that.
     Although most art journal blogs are written by younger women in search of self-discovery, I believe that older women like myself can also "get into it," with an emphasis on our lives and times.
     I had  recently read the book Leaving a Trace: on Keeping a Journal, by Alexandra Johnson, and so I had journaling on my mind when I laid eyes on Traci's book. I think that is why I was so attracted to it; I was "primed." I picked it up once, leafed through it, put it back (deciding I shouldn't spend that much), and walked off to another part of the store.
      But I couldn't leave without it! It was in a Joann's store, the nearest one to my town (50 miles away) and they'd recently reorganized the store--moved  EVERYTHING around. I had real difficulty finding my way back to the aisle where I had seen Traci's book. (WHY do stores DO that to us?!?!?!? I may as well have been in a strange store I'd never put foot in before!!!)
   I finally located the aisle with Traci's book, and  even put back a magazine I'd planned to buy, so I wouldn't feel guilty about buying it. Since then I have been on the proverbial roll, buying old books that I won't feel TOO bad about destroying--think of it as giving them a new life, as these books were within days of going to the dump. Going through gesso like a house afire, and dragging my barely begun art journals around for all my friends and acquaintances to see. I have even set up a workshop day at our co-op gallery, so I can introduce them to the art of art journaling; that will happen a month from today--I thought October first would be easy for everyone to remember, including me.
    I guess the best way to describe an art journal is that it combines classical journaling (writing about your life, etc) with art and or/ scrapbooking. Some scrapbookers also journal on some of their pages. I guess the difference would be that scrapbooks are mostly photos, with a few words added, and art journals tend to be more words and art, and fewer photos. The thing is, your art journal will not be like anyone else's; if it is, then you aren't being original. I would say that if you are nervous about "doing your own thing" at first, using another person's page (IF it fits you, as well) as a guide is probably permissable, but ONLY at first and ONLY if you credit the originator of the page on YOUR page. Giving credit where credit is due is important and only fair.
     As for me, the days are long gone when I felt nervous about "doing MY own thing." (My friends and family will attest to this fact.) I have started one art journal titled "My Dolls and Other Things I've Made," another called, " Welcome to My World," about me and what types of things I enjoy doing (I'm "leaving a trace," as Alexandra said in her book.)
      Speaking of giving credit, I was intially introduced to art journals by a doll maker, elinor peace bailey, in around 2004. Our son Kevin had died shortly before I took a class from elinor at Doll U that year, and the pages I began then were about him. I used an old ledger book I'd gotten at a garage sale, as that is what elinor used. I'd only done a couple pages in that book before I put it away. I'm hoping to keep working on that one, too.
     I have two more art journals started: one called "Art Rocks" that I think I will just use to play around it and see what I come up with, art-wise, and another one called, "Gratitude," in which I feature things that I am thankful for in my life. Will these four journals overlap occasionally? Sure, but that's OK. Elinor was hoping to have a journal to leave with each grandchild who wanted one, and I'm thinking along those same lines; I have three granddaughters now, but I'm hoping to have more grandchildren in the future, so I'll definitely make more than three. If some of my progency are not interested in having one, I can always leave them for our local museum, which is what we did with my grandmother's diaries and journals. They will be safe there and if any of her extended family down the line are interested, they will be able to find them there.
      Here is the cover and first two pages of "Welcome to My World:"

    Here are the covers of two of the other art journals I've begun:

     I really enjoyed playing with paint to make these covers, as I'm a doll maker, not a painter and so this is a different and new art form for me and I'm having a lot of fun trying out painting methods and seeing how they come out. It seem it's always a surprise.
     Here I am gessoing pages in the hardbacked books I'm preparing for the workshop. It's a warm day and the pages are drying very quickly outside. It will be different in the winter, but I'll still be able to get them dry near the fireplace. (just not TOO near it!)

     And here is my "studio:"  Too bad I don't have one!!

     Well, that's more than enough for today. The next thing I'm going to do it to make a list of topics I want to include in "Welcome to My World." And, of course, I'm making sheets to hand out to the participants of the Workshop at the Gallery, too. I never run out of things to do, but I ALWAYS run out of hours, every single day!!! Stay tuned.
     Have a good September, everyone. Stop in at Traci Bunkers' blog: it's https://www.tracibunkers.com/blog and is called "Welcome to My World." I didn't realize that's what it was called!! Sorry, Traci!! Remember, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!!!"
PS. Yes, for my ever-watchful cousin and some of the rest of you who are wondering, I am still working on organizing my home; I have moved such things as picture frames out to the garage, and am doing some organizing out there, too; I have given many items to our Starving Artists' Yard Sale and just yesterday, took some items to a PAWS yard sale, so yes, I AM making progress. Is it fast enough to please me? NO!! But I keep on anyway. Today I am trying to hook up my wireless router and our new TIVO machine. My doctor recommended it so I'd get to sleep at a decent hour; I should have had him fill out a prescription for it! LOL.