After being sick for the last few months- (kidney stone) I’m finally well again. I still have to be very careful with what I eat, no wheat, very few grains, and now low sodium, but as my large intestine has improved, my hands have improved considerably. They still burn every once in a while, but it’s incredibly minor. My labs are great.
But the forced inactivity made me think about what I’d like to do in the immediate future. I’d definitely like to illustrate a book, but in order to do that I’ll have to retool how I work in order to become faster. At the same time I’ve been growing restless with the limitations of gouache. You have to be very, very careful when you overpaint, because it becomes active when it comes in contact with water. I hate oil, so that’s out (not oil paintings, but using oils myself), but I have always LOVED egg tempera. A lot. And my painting style is essentially drawing with a brush which makes it a good fit. So, that’s on my immediate future list.
In the meantime I went back to one of my earliest inspirations, medieval manuscripts. They inspired “Air,” up above. I made a simple outline drawing. Filled her in with a gouache base. Drew on top of the paint. And then painted the details. It was incredibly satisfying. So satisfying that I ordered “Alchemy & Mysticism”. Sure I have books on symbolism, mythology, and magic symbols, but this book is gorgeous. It also keeps my on track, style wise. I don’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of spending 2 months on a small painting anymore. I think this will help me divide my work between projects that are smaller, on paper, in gouache and pencil- and projects that are medium sized, in egg tempera, on gessoed board.
This one is Gucci. I think she looks like she could have walked out of a modern Decameron.
6″x8″ Pencil and watercolor
I’ve been wanting to do something with Disney princesses for a while and have had a very specific idea that I wanted to get out. Luckily, Charleen Juliet organized “Storybook Sundays” on Instagram which gave me the push to get to it.
A few years ago, Mikael and I saw an exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum which featured Sleeping Beauty concept art. Turns out she was originally based on Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina”. They also considered making her brunette, but Walt decided to make her blonde to round out the princesses. Snow White is brunette, Cinderella is strawberry blonde/redhead, and Aurora is the blonde.
I have a suspicion they based Aurora’s formal gown of Audrey’s Roman Holiday dress (which was also the inspiration for Bell’s gown in Beauty and the Beast).
But after Eyvind Earle created the amazing, highly stylized backgrounds, the characters were redesigned to match.
Instead of basing Aurora on Audrey (who I am an enormous fan of), I chose brigitte Bardot, who I feel matches the sculptured backgrounds better. I think it’s her cheekbones 😀 She’s holding a briar rose flower.
She was available in my Etsy shop, but someone purchased her through Instagram.
Next up- Rumpelstiltskin!
Most of my inspiration for my painting “Sirin” came from my general love of Russian Fairytales and Medieval painting. I spent a lot of time looking at 3 books I have on Russian Lacquer Miniatures. The art is usually on a black background with strong red and orange colors, with some lovely blue and green accents. This one in particular was very inspiring- “Sleeping Beauty.”
But I also used a few Pinterest pictures for reference and keeping me on track. With children about, I’ve found it easier to have a board rather than my usual pile of books. I still work with books of course, but I’m able to cut down on how high the stack gets by having my board up on the computer. –I made a separate board called, “Sirin.” At the top you have the “Maiden Tsar” from the Russian animated film, “The Magic Pony.” When I was a child, they used to show this movie all the time on KTLA’s Sunday Family Film Festival. In what seemed like a sea of wide eyed blonde princesses, she was a lonely island. Between her brown hair and her long, dark eyes with heavy eyeliner, she hit every mark on my childhood “pretty” target. Everything in this film is gorgeous. Don’t even get me started on the horses! Below, the two Ivan Bilibin pictures, as well as the image between them were helpful in my process of narrowing down my colors. I briefly considered a cream background. You’ll notice the Sirin on the left is holding a flower. She is proably a Gamayun, which were more likely to be shown with arms in addition to wings. I found this picture after I’d made my final sketch, but I still feel quite indebted to it. I gave my Sirin a sunflower to tie her to the Slavic solar god, (Dazbod or Belobog) as well as possible slavic solar symbols embroidered on her headdress.
Unfortunately Slavic mythology is still much of a mystery. A few beliefs which used to be taken for granted, like the Belobog/Chernobog dualism, are now questioned. (You may remember Chernobog from Fantasia’s amazing “Night on Bald mountain”.)
(PS- This is not a Danzig logo)
The Sirin in the center, with the red sun stayed with me, because for many decades I’ve had a reoccurring dream of a world lit by a black sun, black, not red like this picture- a sun that looks like an eclipse. The last time I started having the dream again was when I first got sick in the Fall of 2015. I made a few drawings and took some reference photos, but they’re somewhat sad and make me uncomfortable. It’s still there sometimes, that world lit by a black sun.
Russian headdresses, often called kokoshniks, vary from region to region. I have a little notebook with all the ones I’ve collected so far which I’d love, time permitting to turn into little paintings. Headdresses from the north usually feature freshwater pearls, while those from the south are more likely to have copious amounts of gold embroidery. I chose the more crown-like one on the upper right as my main inspiration. I loved the contrast of the blue ribbon and gold embroidery on the bottom left, which I incorporated, changing the blue to pale green. The totally bonkers beautiful bird woman in “Sadko” makes me want to track that movie down. The colors in the center picture made me change the background from black to a softer grey. The “Last Unicorn” has been on my perma watch list this winter. Amalthea has the best hair in animation, along with Aurora. The bottom center picture is a favorite of mine- midcentury art is the last time we saw art with small, dark eyes on a regular basis. Not soon after this, the adorable Dollybird’s with their saucer eyes began their beauty domination. And finally the amazing iridescence of raven wings. It helped me to be brave and add blue and green to the wings.
I have plans and sketches for more, but next I’d like to finish and paint my wolf girl sketches from November. Then, perhaps I’ll return to the “Land Beyond the Blue Mountains.”
gouache, acrylic, and pencil on 185 lb paper
I love Russian fairytales, folktales, and Slavic mythology. The Russian Sirin is thought to be a descendant of the Greek Sirin. Said to reside near the Garden of Eden, they sang beautiful songs of joy. Some stories tell that only truly happy people could hear the Sirin.
The Sirin often has two similar companions; the Alkonost, who sang sorrowful songs that inspired forgetfulness and oblivion in the listener, and the Gamayun, who sang songs of knowledge. All three birds were considered prophetic.
In line with my New Year’s resolution, I had planned on putting her up for sale, so that she could sing joyful songs to whoever wanted her. I even asked around to figure out a good formula for pricing my work. The “by the hour” doesn’t work for me. My work is too detailed. I ended up going with the “linear inch” model, which multiplied by our minimum wage gave me a fair price, at least fair in my mind. So, 9 + 12 = 21 x $12.00 = $252. But my husband ended up asking me to please not sell her. He’s grown quite attached to her, which is unusual for him. So, she’s staying here.
A photo of the finished painting. Unfortunately neither the scan above nor the photo capture the creaminess of working with gouache, but I still thinks she’s lovely. If you’re not familiar with gouache, it dries to a matte, suede like finish. Not fuzzy, but incredibly soft looking. It’s quite unlike anything in its strange, subdued beauty. Two of my initial sketches (there were two more that may become different paintings later). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to show her feet as well, but I decided to focus on her face, so I went with the sketch on the right. I took a photo for reference and started drawing.
I finished the drawing and transfered it to paper. I use a heavy duty 185 lb Canson paper that’s actually made for acrylics.
I love drawing hands. And here is the finished drawing on acrylic paper, ready for paint. I left out a lot of the details because I knew they would be filled in later by paint. I scanned her in and created a color key. The color key helps me to make sure my colors have some contrast and that I don’t end up with some random color in there which would stick out like a sore thumb. I also created a color map (not shown), which is where I took these colors and rough colored the drawing in photoshop to get an idea of where they would go. In that way I balanced the deep red of her crown with the deep red of her sleeves. After laying in the background color in gouache, I used burnt sienna acrylic to paint the outlines with a tiny brush. Next I did the coloring book colors. This part is always very hard for me because it looks like such a disaster. I felt much better once I had a chance to work on the background. The long process of creating the wings starts. I was inspired by iridescent raven feathers to use green to contrast with the red-orange.Sirins typically have bird bodies, but I wanted it to blur the line between whether she’s wearing a dress or whether those are her feathers growing out of her body.
Hanging out with Van Eyck’s Mary for inspiration. My photo reference is up so I can get the pink on her hands right.
I added gold paint to a few places. And some gold on her sunflower.Fin~
“Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!”
As I mentioned before, Elstir is supposedly an Irish version of Esther, which means “star”. I like that she’s my dark star. I finally scanned her in and tried to color correct her so that she’s close to her real colors, at least on my mac. And to wrap this painting up, here is a collection of my Elstir wips that were originally on Instagram~
Before Pinterest I used to have stacks of paper all over. I’ve written before about how Pinterest’s feed change made it useless, but it’s still very useful if you actually need a place to store images.
The idea, drawing, and color palette for Elstir came first. But afterwards I went through some of my favorite boards, like Magick and Princess Witch Palette so I would have a concise (for me) set of images to keep me on track through painting. Even though I painted her in September and October, I feel like Elstir is more of a Winter painting than and Autumn painting. Now that we are back from a ridiculously terrible family Thanksgiving trip, I can finally look through my sketches to see what to do next. Ideally I’d like to finish a couple of drawings before I start another paintings, but we’ll see ;D
I finally finished Elstir. She started as a postcard for the Bat World Sanctuary charity. I liked the drawing so much that I really wanted to make it into a painting. I’ll eventually scan her in and add her to my portfolio, but until then I took some photos. The top picture is the closest to her actual color- at least it is on my mac screen. The middle one isn’t too far off, but the third one I had to angle a bit because I wanted to try and photograph the gold paint, which is no easy task. Now I know why some of Klimt’s paintings look marvelous and some look terrible. When I captured the gold, the rest of the picture bleached out, but when I got the rest of the picture, the gold disappeared. Oh well. She’s lovely in person. Well, as lovely as a monster can be, I suppose 🙂
gouache, acrylic, white charcoal, and gold paint
12″ x 16″
I wanted a name that meant “star” and stumbled upon an Irish version of “Esther,” which is “Elstir.” I already had decided that her bat ears would be wrapped like double hennins. She wears a thick medieval style crown with a bat cameo in the center. She has a shear white veil embroidered in gold stars and gold edging. Her eye makeup is actually a very deep blue.
Painting wise, I’m very satisfied with her. She hits that sweet spot that I was trying to express- my love of medieval illuminations, like “Tres Riches Heures,” Russian miniature lacquer box art, Andrew Wyeth’s lovely tempura paintings with their delicate hatching, Van Gogh’s beautiful movement, every Pre-Raphaelite ever, and obviously my beloved Klimt. Klimt with his long necked, long fingered women who are either beautiful or ugly, depending on who you ask.
I learned something very, very important from this painting, and that is, that I have to make smaller paintings. Elstir is 12″ x 16″ and she took a long time due to my meticulous painting style. My next paintings and drawings are all 9″ x 12″, like “Roxanne.” I do wish I could paint looser and in a smoother manner, but it doesn’t please me personally. Whenever I’ve painted in a smoother style things start to feel too soft and rubbery. I like all the hard little lines, imperfectly blending when you’re close. They give my eyes something to grab on to. It’s very much like the sensation I have when I watch the sea or a great mass of trees on a hill. I never get tired of looking at all the tiny colors.
I had an amazing time doing Drawlloween. It helped me loosen up and be less self conscious about posting sketches and off the cuff drawings. As soon as I finish painting “Elstir” I have a couple of these to refine and paint. I found it deeply inspiring and over all so much fun. And, it looks like I’m not the only one mourning the end of Drawlloween. The wonderful Hoap put together an awesome Dravember list.
But first, my Drawlloween drawings~
“Haunted House” -Crimson Peak -I finally saw Crimson Peak. It’s basically a mash up of Fall of the House of Usher and Rebecca, which means I liked it. Nothing groundbreaking- but the costumes and sets are top notch. It’s definitely set in Del Toro’s universe and follows its rules, which is cool. I did find the story and characterization to be a little too slight. I thought that worked for Pacific Rim(one of my favorites) bc that’s essentially an amine that happened to be live action. But I would have liked more backstory on the Sharpes.
“Mask” – another old one from about 15 years ago. This is pretty much the genesis of me putting animal masks on people. The front is a cross between a noh mask and a kitsune, while the back is a storm spirit.
“Addams Family”- “Morticia and Ophelia” -I wanted to show Morticia and her little known older sister Ophelia as teens. This would be shortly before they met Gomez. Ophelia was initially betrothed to Gomez, but he fell in love with Morticia. Ophelia was decidedly NOT brokenhearted. I gave them vaguely late 60s Biba era dresses, with Morticia’s dress being a nod to how she dresses her daughter, Wednesday.
“Witch” – I ended up posting 2 for Witch- “Striga” and “The Great God Pancake”. I have more witch drawings than I know what to do with! “Black Cat” -I haven’t been since they changed it, but the original painting featured a beautiful woman who partially turns into a panther. I can still remember how beautiful her white dress was and how deeply thrilling it was to see her change. And finally, “Skull” – Like everyone else from my generation I discovered the Death’s Head Moth courtesy of “Silence of the Lambs”. But, fun fact, there are different varieties of the Death Head’s moth and one of them is Acherontia Atropos. Acheron is a river in the Greek underworld, and Atropos is the Fate that cuts the thread of life. I’d like to do a painting of this one once I work out the kinks in the drawing. Her right hand holding the stork shears needs to be moved and redrawn.
And now I’m on to Drawvember!
If you’re already following my Instagram these are old, but what I love about my blog is that I’m able to talk a little more about them.
I love drawing werewolves. The first two are from about 7 years ago, inspired by the Warren Zevon song, “Werewolves of London.” I had read a great story before that that I’m pretty sure is apocryphal about what inspired Zevon’s song. The story went that he’d gone to England and saw a bunch of punks, hence, “I saw a werewolf walking with the queen of England…” Unfortunately, that story is most likely false and the song was actually just a nonsense song written while he was coked up.
And this lady is their far more respectable aunt, Mrs. Norther. I created her for my Sketchbook Project. Her title is, “Dangerous Pleasures,” which is the flower meaning of the tuberoses she’s holding.
“Come and play with us, Danny. Forever… and ever… and ever…”
The Shining scared the ever living crap out of me when I was a kid. I remember thinking that Jack Nicholson turned into a werewolf and was chasing his son through the maze. If you get a chance, watch “Room 237,” a documentary about people theories of The Shining. Some of them are completely insane, but quite a few of them are completely amazing.
For Drawlloween, I’m going to try to post Tuesdays and Fridays.
I had a great time working on this commission. I don’t get to draw men as often as I like. The client was very specific, but also incredibly easy going which made for a delightful working relationship. I’m fairly in love with the color choices. I originally have a deep, deep red background, but he asked if it could be made into more of a teal, which looked great. I got to choose the Blade Runner-esque type for an 80s throwback vibe and used a pencil texture to color it, giving it a rougher look.
If you’re a gamer, you can visit Jason on his twitch page: http://www.twitch.tv/xredjayx/profile
A few years ago I drew my disheveled unicorn, “Keeping the Dream Alive.” It was a bit of a joke on the perfection of unicorns. After all, it takes a lot of work to look that magical. Afterwards I sketched out my “Brunette Unicorn” to kind of continue the joke. Honestly, it was a bit how I felt growing up in the land of blondes, aka Southern California- a dark pool in a field of wheat. As I was doodling in my sketchbook it occurred to me that there would surely be a ginger unicorn or a black unicorn. I mean, why not?
These two ladies are finished, drawing wise, and waiting for paint. I have 2 more in my queue that I may be able to wrap up this week, leaving next week to begin painting!
I first read Dune as a teen and every few years I go back to it. It never ceases to put pieces of my life into perspective. For years I’ve wanted to name a cat “Muad’Dib”, which inevitably metamorphosed into “Meow’Dib” because I love puns and am obviously incredibly lame. I can’t recommend Frank Herbert’s books enough- although for your own sanity avoid the horrible “prequels” that came out.
I wanted to show Paul with the waterfat cut away and old, slightly sad eyes staring out from his still youthful face… but, you know, as a cat. Crazy kitten Alia always makes me laugh. And the cheering “Furrmen” atop the Sandworm shout, “Meow’Dib!”
Available as a T-shirt for men, women, & children, as well as a print.
Next up- Unicorns for everyone!
I have a painting in the Jedi July show at Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. The show opens July 11th.
The painting is titled, “The Force is Strong in My Family.” 9″x12″ Gouache and Acrylic in 185lb paper.
I gave Leia a green lightsaber to reflect her original last name, “Organa” and connect her to the element of Earth, as well as inverted triangles. I designed her costume to mimic Princess Yuki from “The Forbidden Fortress,” one of Lucas’s inspirations for Leia’s character.
I also wanted the painting to have the colors of a woodblock print. I scanned in a couple of my favorites, as well as my pencil drawing of Leia. Then I played around with colors until I had the whole color map. I use gouache so over painting isn’t really an option. If I completely screw up a color I have to start over.
Next up I’m working on a T-shirt design for myself!
I created some art for the Murdock the Marvelous T-Shirt! Here’s the link if you’d like to pick one up~
A little about Murdock from his owner, Anna:
“Murdock was brought to the Sonoma Humane Society as a stray when he was only a few weeks old. He had a chronic infection in both eyes that had caused them to rupture. I took him home with me to take care of him & he never left.
I didn’t plan on keeping him while I was fostering him, but we went through so much & were very attached to each other by the time he was finally fully recovered. He was really sick for a long time & almost didn’t survive his first surgery. He had to have a blood transfusion & was hospitalized in an oxygen chamber.
Even while going through his trials, Magical Murdock has grown into a very loving and happy cat. His positive attitude and sweet disposition steal the hearts of many. He continues to thrive and doesn’t let his disability slow him down. He’s a true inspiration!”
Anna and her family are wonderful. She works full time and on top of that fosters animals 😀
My sketchbook will be in Los Angeles, CA
Friday 6/26: 4:30pm – 8:30pm
Saturday 6/27: 3:30pm – 7:30pm
Sunday 6/28: 12pm – 4pm
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
One of the things I wanted to accomplish with my 2015 Sketchbook Project, “Princess Witch,” was to actually use it as a way to narrow down which ideas I wanted to paint. I started with “Roxanne,” which although simple, is one of my favorites from the series. I chose “Roxanne” as a name bc one of its meanings is “bright” and I like the idea of a how a hypercube looks like a diamond.
9″ x 12″
Gouache and Acrylic on 185 lb. Paper
I’ve been wearing my new dress non-stop lately. The weather here has been bonkers- HOT-COLD-HOT! I find this little cotton dress to work in whatever temperature. I’m so in love with its pretty gold geometric print.
And now, some of my other favorite “Roxanne”s~
I was lucky to be asked to contribute my illustration, “Power Animal” to Black Hill Press’s anthology, “The Cost of Paper: vol. 2.” !
Friday 6/5: 4pm – 8pm
Saturday 6/7: 12pm – 4pm
Sunday 6/7: 12pm – 4pm
Ponce City Market
I got an early Mother’s Day gift from my husband, a book called,”Wonder Woman- Amazon-Hero-Icon- ” Which was fun because I’d just finished an illustration of Princess Diana on Paradise Island before she becomes Wonder Woman- sort of a “what if?” Anyone following my Instagram knows how long I’ve struggled with this picture. It took forever to come together, but I’m finally happy with it.
A few years ago I was drawing superheroes with my son Karl. When I drew Wonder Woman I drew her costume a little differently each time (she’s had so many). One was a variation of this one & I really liked it. I love “Gladiator” and wanted to incorporate a Greek/Roman look, without falling prey to over designing it. While I’m also not a big fan of everything in comics having to be realistic or somehow “make sense,” I’m not opposed to a created world having its own logic.
Wonder Woman’s costume is constantly redesigned. For some reason people can’t deal with her swimsuit. Personally I love it. But the redesigns are usually a mess- not even a hot mess because there’s nothing hot about them- they’re just a mess. So, I set about figuring out why WW wears what she wears. I hit upon the idea that the Amazon’s think America worships Zeus bc of the American eagle on Steve Trever’s uniform. I expanded that to the Amazon armor having the animal totem of each Amazon’s patron goddess. In Diana’s case, a stag for the goddess Artemis. When she wins the contest to become Wonder Woman and travel to Man’s World the Amazons make her American armor with Zeus’s eagle.
Oh, and my dream Wonder Woman went to 1940s America with Steve and then went back to Paradise Island, only to eventually return to the US in the present day. Something she can do bc the Amazons are immortal- DUH DC Comics. Sheesh! Each reboot makes everything so ridiculously convoluted. She’s a magical princess! It’s so easy!
Anyway, here’s the lovely Princess Diana as she goes to investigate the mysterious crash off the coast of Paradise Island. (Yes, I know it’s Themyscira, but Steve can’t pronounce that so he just calls it “Paradise Island”. Poor Steve. He’s such a hot, good natured himbo.)
My sketchbook project, “Princess Witch” is online over at the Sketchbook Project: https://sketchbookproject.com/library/16064
I have trouble expressing how happy this project made me. It provided me with final drawings for future paintings- one in the works right now- and crystalized my vision of this little world that I’ve been working on for the last 5 years. It’s a wonderful feeling to get to a place where you’re finally happy with something you’ve created (until you look at it the next day ;D ).
“Princess Witch” explores the 4th dimension intersecting with our own, time perception in animals, pictorial language, identity, and magick with a K- all wrapped up in a pop culture love letter to Twin Peaks and clothed in pretty 1970s Biba -esque dresses.
My book is currently on tour!
Some places you can get free and/or discounted coffee today on National Coffee Day~
Shhhhhhh! I don’t want to hear any grousing about made up holidays when they involve free coffee ;D
And yes, I definitely got my Agent Cooper on and had a damn fine cup of coffee!
Along with my permanent musical inspirations- Bowie, Roxy Music, and all things late 60s/70s- there are a few more current musicians that I find inspiring.
Of Monsters and Men- My Head is an Animal- an Icelandic group with whimsical, cheery music. They’re like listening to a weird and wonderful children’s book.
Florence + the Machine- Ceremonials. Lush music that reminds me in some ways of Siouxsie and the Banshees. It’s like listening to velvet. Florence is also heavily influence by the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, which is also why I love her! Doesn’t she look like Ophelia here?
Arcade Fire- Neon Bible. Oh My Goodness, is there anything better than “Black Mirror”? The lyrics will float up from my subconscious at those quiet moments. A few months ago I woke up at 4:30am with this on perma play in my head-
“The black mirror knows no reflection
It knows not pride or vanity
It cares not about your dreams
It cares not for your pyramid schemes
Their names are never spoken
The curse is never broken
The curse is never broken
Un! Deux! Trois! Dis: miroir noir!
Un! Deux! Trois! Dis: miroir noir!
It may have something to do with us having a black framed mirror (thanks Ikea) as well as my ambivilent attitude towards tv. I love shows and movies, but I just can’t sit and watch something without doing something else at the same time. It makes my husband a little crazy bc it’s his go-to way to relax, but I don’t find sitting to be relaxing at all. Our nighttime hour of show watching is definitely something I do bc I love him- although we have been watching a slew of shows that have captured my interest! I’ll post about them next time.
Despite what the calendar says, September is the beginning of Autumn! The days are hot, but the afternoons already show the long shadows typical of my favorite season. Fall also means I’m feeling invigorated. My table is full of projects that I feel great about. The work of the past year is finally coming together. It’s so nice to create something and be satisfied with it.
A few things I’m working on-
Clothed in her retro 70s Biba style dress, Kora is busy adjusting her black gloves in a grove of abstracted, shimmering Art deco trees…
Here’s a work in progress shot that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago-
Generally, my work flow is something along the lines of first getting visual inspiration. I watch my favorite movies or shows (like Twin Peaks), browse books and magazines (my favorite drawing books, Rackham, or Pinterest), &/or listen to music (Of Monsters and Men has been on perma play). Then I make a quick sketch in a small notebook (upper left). I take photo reference & print it out (upper right). And then I make a sketch in my large sketchbook. Sometimes that gets scanned into Photoshop, tweaked, and printed. But even then it may not still be right, so I’ll cut up the print and move things around, taping them until they finally look right. After that I transfer the drawing to thick Acrylic paper or canvas.
The color process involves going back to my sketch in Photoshop & slapping some color on there for a general idea before I actually put paint on the paper or canvas.
Some more wips (works in progress) in this same series-
As well as the dolls that are part of the same series-
Sigh, I have been dreaming of Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I’ve already had 4 so far. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I explained to him that they’re seasonal and so they’re gone after Thanksgiving. He was tempted, but decided to stick with his ice coffee.
If you’re in St. Louis, MO please check out The Bees Knees Show at the Alexi Era Gallery.
“Public Opening Reception : July 19th 7-9PM
The Bees Knees is an awareness and fundraising exhibition for Honey Love, urban bee keepers and activists trying to help our honey bee population. The Exhibition will feature 100 artworks on postcards from artists all around the world. All postcards will be priced $5-$50, and available to take home right away showing your support along with a honey tasting feature local harvested honey. On the back of each postcard is a special message about how you can help the bees. 100% of all sales go to HoneyLove and their commitment to save the bees! We aim to raise awareness, bring hope and also create a dialogue about the importance of bees.“
I contributed a postcard to the show~
4″ x 6″
It depicts two of my ladies communicating a message in the language of flowers.
In retrospect, I wish I’d made the background something other than blue. I feel it clashes with the purple. The background should have been cream or lilac. I’m thinking of doing a larger version with greater detail for myself, so we’ll see how that pans out.
I have two notebooks dedicated to doll ideas. My doll ideas have gone through an evolution from when I first started. Years ago, I wanted to do something with the 25-27cm Volks Dollfie bodies. They came in a range of skin colors, height, and bust size (recently discontinued). But, I knew with my schedule that it was going to be a while before I was able to tackle another craft like doll customization.
Flash forward a few years and while pinning away on Pinterest I came across this little beauty:
There was so much to love! The sweet little expression! The tiny detailed clothes! The utterly beautiful hair from wool roving! And, she was made of cloth. I’d seen and owned cloth dolls when I was a child, but none as sophisticated as this. I was instantly drawn to the idea of combining two things I love: dolls and sewing. How hard could it be? (famous last words)
I mulled over which dolls I really loved and of course Blythe was in the top 5. She’s very popular in Japan and if you’re lucky enough to have a Kinokuniya Bookstore near you you can find issues of “Dollybird” Magazine with clothing patterns and customization tips for her.
They’re so cute! But I don’t make big head art, so after a few tries making dolls with oversized heads I realized that they weren’t going to make me happy. They are just too far from my own aesthetic, which is more mid century, 60s and 70s.
I started focusing on dolls that were closer to my artistic style~
Barbies from the late 60s to early 70s are my favorites (pre Superstar face mold). Characters such as Barbie, Francie, Casey, Julia, Stacey, & Christie. You used to be able to buy Barbie & her friends as blonde, brunette, or redhead- even as different shades of each. And characters like Francie, her mod cousine from England had brown eyes and a straighter body to reflect the Carnaby Street Twiggy look. I love me some side eye!
Les Petites Mains makes these lovely cloth dolls with wool roving hair. Her color palette is so dreamy.
The amazing Nadya Sheremet. Look at the face on this doll! The face embroidery is so fine and I love that the hair is made from embroidery floss.
Delphine Manivet This was a lovely little doll made for flower girls, but is no longer available. I flipped for this doll. I loved everything about it. The simple face, and the slim arms.
The mighty Momoko. Momoko is a Japanese doll who stands 27cm. She features the side eye that I go crazy for as well as the most beautiful clothes.
Japanese dolls in particular seem to be addicted to giving the side eye. I think what I love the most about this is that the expression is ambiguous from different angles.
And of course cloth dolls based on the doll patterns of Edith Flack Ackley–
It was the Ackley dolls and patterns that crystallized a few things for me like the neck construction. I also borrowed her foot construction as well:
Before that I had the typical cloth doll legs with the seams running down the middle. I’m too embarrassed to show you them bc they make me so unhappy!
Next I’ll post about some of the books and tutorials I used. I had never made a doll before and definitely needed help. The most frustrating part is that you don’t know how good your pattern is until the very end. You have to draft, transfer, sew, cut, and stuff before you can see the flaws. That’s why my house is littered with past dolls, half stuffed and then I had to stop bc suddenly there was a huge problem staring me in the face. Whew! I’m so glad to be done! Now I get to move on to the infinitely more fun part of designing clothes!
After an embarrassingly long development, my dolls are almost done. Posy the Rabbit is roughly 12″ tall, not counting her ears. I made her 12″ to fit into 1/6 scale furniture, in case I wanted to stick her in a Barbie sized apartment. For something so simple, these dolls took forever. It was a constant process of paring them down. I actually don’t like overly realistic dolls, which is why I like Barbies from the 60s & early 70s better than modern ones.
That sword I’m using to sew with is a doll needle. It’s 5″ long.
Tucking and sewing the rabbit ears.
Just like in my paintings, her extremities are also blushed.
And here she is next to her original sketch, which also shows her costume that I’m making. I’m having a lot of fun making early 70s inspired clothes for her. I love Biba and Ossie Clark so I want to explore that very lovely and romantic look.
I’m very excited that my Sketchbook Project: “Here Be Dragons,” was chosen to go on the 2014 national tour. It was originally part of a small tour last year called, “The Mysterious Maps.”
I’ve pasted the tour info below so if you’re interested in seeing my book in person, please check it out when it comes to a city near you!
3/29 – 3/30
The Goat Farm Arts Center
Church Street Entertainment District
The Contemporary Austin
Fort Worth, TX
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Norman Arts Council
San Diego, CA
San Diego Museum of Art
5/30 – 5/31
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
6/6 – 6/7
1st Friday Art Murmur / Saturday Stroll
San Francisco, CA
SF Center for the Book
Portland Art Museum
Emily Carr University
Madison Public Library
Fergus Falls, MN
9/18 – 9/21
The Distillery Historic District
Maine College of Art
Feeling incredibly rejuvenated. Karl is back in pre-school. Finished a large job for a client. And I have personal projects organized and ready to create. Today I put on Grant Morrison talking on Keven Smith’s Fatman on Batman podcast. I loved Morrison’s “Supergods,” which made me feel like I could accomplish anything despite my anxiety. I knew that since I was going to begin painting “Brooksie,” that I would need an extra shove to get me started. Strangely, the detail work on a painting is the least stressful for me. It’s actually very relaxing to take each piece and tap away with my tiny brush. But the initial laydown of color always freaks me out. I start procrastinating. But I knew Morrison’s unique abundance of creativity would inspire and loosen me up- and it did. So much so that I started putting together a muslin of Karl’s shirt while the layers of my paint dried.
And I finally signed up for Instagram. Yes, filters are fun.
Tove’s commentary on modern art ;D
And her thoughts on being an artist.
The beauteous Snorkmaiden, beloved of Moomin.
The Moomins go to The Riviera. Snorkmaiden meets “The Great Little Audrey Glamour,” (Audrey Hepburn).
Snorkmaiden tries her first lipstick and bikini.
And meets a Riveria rake.
The Mymble and Snorkmaiden encounter adorable pirates and promptly fall in love.
But even in the early 1950s Pirates love rum.
My illustration, “Yellowcake,” was featured on Redbubble’s blog today celebrating National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. Not real? I disagree, we celebrate almost everyday in my house.
Thanksgiving was delightful and now we’re gearing up for Christmas. We keep things very low key and try to focus on enjoying just hanging out. It’s cold up here in Northern California- not Mid West cold, but when you can see your breath, it’s cold.
I’m mostly recovered from the “mini flu” and sinus infection and slowly getting back into working. I’ve reached a pretty good place with my dolls, pattern wise, and now I’m painting their little faces.
I’m really excited to start their tiny clothes! I’ve had their clothes sketched out for ages and it’ll be delightful to actually see them put together.
You were a mostly terrible person, but I find you endlessly fascinating probably because I have questionable taste in people.
p.s.~ I was on vacation and am now frantically trying to complete a medium sized commission. But I have lots to blog about, including a NASA museum!
My Mail Me Art piece, “Power Animal” will be exhibited at The Framers Gallery from July 30th to August 3rd. It’s available for pre-sale now at Mail Me Art. All the proceeds from the sales of the original mail is being donated and shared between these charities: Animal Aid, The Teenage Cancer Trust and WaterAid.
I sent my sketchbook off yesterday. It was slightly uncomfortable. I’m not used to being parted from my art, so this is still a new experience for me.
I signed up for the “Mysterious Maps Tour.” I chose the title, “Here Be Dragons,” which is often* written on maps to signal unknown and therefore potentially dangerous places. I mapped the interior world of the mind/emotions and showed their connection to my body.
*actually it was usually “Here be lions.” “Here be dragons” appears on one map, but I liked the sound of it more.