I was thinking recently about why I make these paper dolls, and whether I have actually shared the reasons behind them before. They aren't simply to play dress up (although that is a big factor in it.) For a number of years, I have had a fascination with clothes and how they transform you.
Back when I was in grad school, I remember waking up everyday and deciding what to wear based on how I wanted people to perceive me on that particular day. If I was headed to my internship, I would pull out my "therapist clothes." (My masters is in Art Therapy, FYI.) If I had to go to class, I had my "student clothes."
Even today, on any given day I have my "artist", "teacher", or "swing dancer" clothes. The point is, in each of these roles, I want to be perceived differently (maybe as an authority figure, quirky person, vintage fashionista), and so my clothes for each place are different.
The idea of a paper doll seemed to fit this whole concept perfectly. You have a blank paper doll girl. You know nothing about her, in fact she has no personality, until you give her some clothes to wear. In an instant she is changed into anything imaginable. She can be from any era or fill any role.
This most recent set of paper doll clothes have all been drawn to fit the same figure, but I have tried to make them as different as possible so that her personality changes are as dramatic as possible.
What other roles do you see this paper doll girl filling?
I have been reading a lot about the foundation garments women wore in different eras- corsets, panniers, hoops, etc. Someone like Anne Bolyn, second wife of Henry VIII, would have had so much stuff on under this dress, it is a wonder she was able to move around very well. I guess that is why these royal women didn't do all that much.
Do you guys know what a Gibson girl is? They were the pin-up girls of their day, illustrated by Charles Dana Gibson in the 1890's and early 1900's. The Gibson girl was the epitome of beauty in her day, tall and slender, always perfectly dressed, and at ease in any situation. She was intelligent and beloved by all men, (although she often didn't have any need for them.)
I have always been fascinated by Gibson's drawings, and can't resist, whenever possible, putting them into paper doll form.
You can purchase postcards, greeting cards, or small matted prints of this piece in my Red Bubble Shop. More images, sizes and products coming soon!
Several months ago, Matt and his team wandered in to the studio and asked if I would be willing to do an interview for a video they were producing. They ended up interviewing myself and my friend Christina Nicole, and the resulting video is really great.
If you have a few minutes, take a look and get a glimpse into why Christina and I do what we do. Big thanks to Matt Stephens Productions for including us in his project! (And, Matt, forgive me for taking so long to post this!)
I know I have said on multiple occasions that I am not a watercolor painter. The way you have to approach creating a watercolor is totally different from how you approach creating an oil painting. And I am just stubborn enough to not want to change how I do things.
But, doing paper dolls in watercolor on paper solves a few problems that I have had difficulty overcoming on canvas. When I create my dolls, I draw and ink the figure first. Then, I lay another sheet of paper over the top of the figure and use it as a guide to draw the clothes. I can't do this with an oil on canvas. Instead I have to create a pattern of the doll and trace it on the canvas, which, no matter how careful I am, doesn't ever make an exact copy.
So, I have been trying to hone my watercolor skills. I still have some things to work on, but I LOVE this painting. This was just a piece that worked well from start to finish (which does not happen as often as I would like).
Also, the big news for the day is that you can now purchase greeting cards, postcards, and matted prints of this and my other recent watercolor paper dolls in my Red Bubble Shop. New images, sizes, and products will be coming soon!
More than two years ago I made a few changes in my day-to-day routine. I took on several teaching positions, added a few more private students, and even started a part-time job. All of this was in order to make the everyday cost of living a bit easier to bear while I worked on my art business. Some things have helped (wow, health insurance is great!) while some have gotten in the way of my ultimate goal. And I have learned a lot, about my abilities, my stamina (over many 13+ hour workdays), my patience, and myself.
I am sitting in a coffee shop on this Monday afternoon, simply taking inventory of my life and how it jives with my future plans. The to-do list I have sitting beside me is immense, but instead of dread, it fills me with excitement. There is so much I can do, including several things that I have ignored over the past couple of years. It is a hopeful day, not an overwhelming one.
Why should you care about all this? Maybe you don't. In that case, just skip on to the next blog in your reader. I will have more art posted tomorrow for those of you visiting for the images, not for my waxing on about life.
But, I hope all of you that are fans of my work will be glad that I am making lists and making plans. Because it will mean more art, more shows, more interesting posts, and much more excitement to come. Expect to see a whole new line of watercolor paper dolls and a new paper doll print shop. I am working towards self-publishing a line of paper doll coloring books and an e-book on creating your own paper dolls. Keep an eye out for more shows, more classes, and more "stand-ins" for those of you who make it down to the studio.
Thank you friends for your support, encouragement, and for sticking with me over the last few months blog break. You can do me a favor by sharing my blog with friends, signing up for my newsletter in the sidebar of this blog, or heading over and "liking" my Facebook page.
And, please keep coming back to the blog! I am planning on posting every weekday, so visit often for new artwork, looks into my process, inspirations, and maybe even a guest or two. Until tomorrow!
I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long. Marie Antoinette
This is a little watercolor and ink paper doll inspired by that notorious queen of France. She may have been frivolous, but her clothes were amazing!
For many months now, I have been without a computer. In fact, the floor of the new apartment is still littered with the carcasses of long dead computers. This has been much of the reason for my long blog silence. As much as I love my iphone, the Blogger app still leaves a bit to be desired.
But, thanks to an amazingly kind sister and brother-in-law, I once again have a working computer and can get back to the fun of posting my most recent art experiments and upcoming shows. Now, if I can only get the internet working again... ShareThis