Friday, April 1, 2011

Sweeping down the cobwebs

So... earlier today, I was on the phone with a friend and (naturally) doing double-duty with the phone in one hand and my wooly duster thingy in the other. You know how finding one cobweb in the corner just leads to another? Eventually, I got around to all the up-high corners of my studio. Once off the phone, I ended up pulling down some unfinished projects and being struck by inspiration. So, yes... out came the paperclay.

Lately, I've been just fascinated by Paula Nerhus's incredible work. Paula is a fellow Doll Town artist who I was first introduced to when we did the ADO Wonderland challenge last summer. Her dolls have fabulously HUGE wide-set glass eyes that captivate you... and quirky, creepy, beautifully executed details. Looking at her stuff sent me paging back through my sketchbooks to some ideas I had been working on a while ago.

This is a rough sketch of a doll I had wanted to make about (yeeks!) two years ago, I think. I got as far as a very basic paperclay head, which has been sitting on the shelf ever since.. with just blank spaces where the eyes should be. I'll admit, I was not at all clear on how I was going to accomplish the eyes. I've never worked with glass eyes before and would have no idea how to incorporate them. But, I was rightly inspired today to get the head back out and at least add another layer of clay.

Use your imagination, folks... it's a work in progress for sure!

I decided to go with paperclay eyeballs...adding just sort of flattened balls of clay, which I made as smooth as possible and then wet-set them in. Then I worked on adding another layer of clay over the cheekbones and skull. Once dry, I'll work on building up around the eye socket. I'm hoping I can paint these eyes, then add Diamond Glaze (or something) over the top for a glass-like appearance. We shall see!

Here is a bigger view of the sketch... which I plan to use for reference only, as this doll is already looking different than intended. I do put my ideas down in sketches first, for the most part, because the time I actually get to spend working on a piece is so limited. My sketchbook and pencils are often the only creative outlet I can squeeze in.

For this doll, I definitely want the slender body and limbs... and wispy, ethereal look. I've been drawn to dolls with these big shadowed eyes and slim bodies ever since I first saw Black-Eyed Susie's creepy big-eyed Gothic dolls in Art Doll Quarterly.

It's honestly really hard to not feel like I am copying someone else's idea when inspired by dolls of a certain style and trying to re-create my own version. I gratefully give credit for inspiration to these ladies and to so many other artists as I keep trying out skills and looking for my own style.

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