Thursday, June 25, 2009

Body of Evidence or Mad Scientist at Work

I've had so much fun stuff on my art to-do/wish list, and tonight I finally got to make a dent in it. Actually, my list of things I want to do includes both art and writing. With work (a lot) and sleep (a little), it's hard to get very far on my 'what I'd really rather be doing' list.
But thanks to a burst of inspiration last night, I got some writing out of the way that is due July 3. I've been lucky enough to receive the Rylan Harris Memorial Scholarship to the Midwest Writers Workshop July 23-25 in Muncie, IN. Not only am I excited that the cost of the workshop is covered, but I am thrilled beyond words that the fiction and poetry I sent in were apparently good enough to earn this award.
There will be sessions with published authors, literary agents, writing contests and manuscript evaluations. To warm up to my writing, I wrote a review of my recent visit to the American Visionary Art Museum for the 'guest reporter on location' spot on Vintage Indie. For the writing workshop I needed to have done the first five pages of my proposed novel, a synopsis and query letter, another five pages of a short story for a contest, and five pages of poetry for the evaluator. Most of that was done at midnight last night, with poetry from midnight to 2 a.m. Then I started reading a book on writing non-fiction memoir and got sucked in until 3:30 a.m.
So tonight I was determined to make a doll out of a fat canvas and porcelain doll parts like Lisa Kaus and Beth Quinn have done. See those here and here. I got this particular doll head from Kris Hubick at Retro Cafe Art, and I've been saving it especially for this project.
I set up my art table and got out the supplies I would need, knowing that some would carry over into what else I wanted to accomplish. I had already painted my 4" x 4" chubby canvas that I got on Ebay (although you can get even fatter ones from Dick Blick).
I cut out some scrapbook paper that I had gotten at Archiver's into the shape of a dress. Then I embellished that with several layers of ribbon and lace, and some scraps of sheet music and a page from a children's book.
Once I assembled the dress, (after tea-dying the biggest piece of lace out in the sun for awhile), I attached everything to the canvas with Golden's gel medium. I used E6000 to attached the head to a bottle cap and then to a fabric covered disc and then to the canvas. I used wire and eyelets to attach the porcelain bisque legs and arms.
I finished my dolly up with some jaunty vintage millinery in her hair and an exquisite passementerie flower and leaf that I had received in a swap. Then I brushed a thin coat of melted beeswax over the entire canvas. I added a sawtooth hook on the back for hanging. Not sure if she will stay or go to my Etsy shop. Lisa's dolly canvasses have been featured in Romantic Homes, Somerset Studio and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines and regularly sell out immediately for $200 or more.
While dolly was drying, I grabbed a couple of smaller old German doll heads and some paper clay. Both of the heads were broken at the neck, and in one case part of the cheek and the end of the nose were gone. So I built them up with paper clay as you can see above, and now they'll be usable in a project.
With the paper clay out, I sculpted an owl and a mushroom by hand, hoping to paint them as cheerfully as Pam Garrison has done here. I can't stop looking at her critters. I love her journaling, too. I only hope my paint job turns out half as cute as hers did. Paper clay takes about 24 hours to dry, and then you smooth any cracks with a little household spackling and water. Dry some more. Then paint. Big fun.
You can see in my pencil doodles I tried to emulate Pam's owl there also. I've been admiring all the talent in Suzi Blu's art group as well and can't seem to stop doodling girly faces. A few pages a night seems to be what the art doctor has ordered. I like doodling best with woodless graphite pencils. Then I spray a little fixative to keep it all from smudging away.
Lastly, my 17 pages for the Marie Antoinette Mail Art fat book collaborative that I blogged about pre-painting here, were ready for me to start painting the faces. I drew the face I wanted in my sketch book first, then I traced it on tissue paper. Next I cut 17 of these faces out of tissue paper and adhered them directly to the book pages with gel medium.
After letting that dry awhile, I painted the faces with Golden's liquid acrylic in titan buff and then I painted the hair with Golden's white, adding some white Pearl Ex pigment for shimmer, some Gesso to thin it all out, and some Golden's molding paste to give the hair texture. So far, so good. I have my ribbons, rivets, filigree findings, gold leaf and fabric at the ready to finish my pages, well before the July 20 deadline. Can't wait to see how they turn out. More importantly, can't wait to get my finished book back. There's so much talent in this upcoming book. It will be fit for a queen.
Although I was kept busy tonight and last and although I always try to stay chirpy on this blog, I am deeply saddened by all the deaths today. It is strange feeling to hear about the icons of one's childhood- icons in some cases one's same age almost-dying much too soon.
I grew up tearing Michael Jackson pictures out of Tiger Beat from about third grade on. I remember my dad driving us past the Jackson's house in Gary back in the late 60s. We lived nowhere near Gary, so I think we made this a side trip in addition to visiting the Indiana Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan. Such a talented family, those Jacksons- five, six, seven of them-how ever many performed in addition to the core group. One has to wonder what will become of Michael's three (or is it four?) children.
Farrah Fawcett. Who did not want her hair when I was in high school? Or for that matter her job or her bathing suit body. I spent many hours forced to look at her famous poster in a boyfriend's room. I wonder if he is thinking about her tonight.
And Ed McMahon. Didn't we all feel comforted closing the evening with Ed and Johnny, waiting for the television set to go to snow after their show?
Icons of my generation for sure. They will be missed.


vivian said...

so much loss this week! but Michael.. I just loved him! I too cut the pictures out of teen beat and tiger beat magazines way back then! He sure did have amazing amazing talent!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Love the doll!
Have a great time at the conference! Sounds like fun!

Karen Burns said...

Just stumbled onto your blog -- GREAT doll. I am always looking for more things to do with those wonderful German doll heads.