Monday, March 28, 2016

D.C. Spring Cherry Blossoms 2016

I am so so excited to say I was able to make in over to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms in bloom and they are gorgeous.

I truly dislike large crowds. Its frustrating trying not to trip over people who just roam right in front of you or stop smack-dap in the middle of the sidewalk with no way to get around them but the trip was worth the visit. I hope I am able to make it next year and plan to check out the Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival this year but early in the day to avoid those crowds!

AG: Custom Face Paint

Hello hello! So I am back briefly to share a recent project. More recently I've been focusing on life in general and other personal projects other than my dolls. However I did decide to try my hand with custom face paint on an American Girl doll.

Other "face-up" repaint doll artists' work I stumbled upon has inspired me to give it a go. For my project I selected a classic face mold doll, Isabelle, because I have way way too many classic molds floating around, Ruthie's grey eyes, and Julie's wig. I then used acrylic paints since that was my best option at the time.

Other face-up artist appear to use water color pencils, chalk pastels, and air brushing techniques. This posed as a problem for me seeing how I do not have airbrush tools and with chalk pastels you need to fixate/seal the pastel dust with a matte, spray on fixative for example. The issue for me would be protecting the eyes from a spray since I wanted the eyes in the head BEFORE doing the paint job.

So acrylic paint was the choice this time and I chose to leave the original lip and eyebrow paint in place.  My issue is that you can see the brush strokes rather than having a smooth finish.  In and of itself it is very interesting to look at but the style of that on the doll's face doesn't seem quite right.  It was also difficult finding the right balance of water to paint ratio when mixing colors because acrylic dries quickly and is difficult to remove.

  • Too much water cause the paint on the dolls face to separate and pool (like speckles).
  • Too little water left the paint thick so it looked flat and unreal on the doll's face.

All in all, I am pleased but  also have mixed feeling bout painting AGs in general.  They have a very simple... iconic kind of look.  Adding extra facepaint feels too forced and un-natural to me visually.  However, I tend to dislike the classic facemolds. It is the original mold used by the company and was derived from an even older German doll line (Gotz). The classic facemold is overly flay and simple when compared to more recent facemold such as Kaya or Sonali. Those molds have included details such as hints at eyelid folds and better defined noses so light alone will cast a shadow on the face,giving it more depth and realism while keeping to with the simplified, overarching style of the dolls' faces so they look like they belong together.
The classic mold does not have as much shadow depth. It pretty much asks for SOMETHING else to keep up with the newer molds.
But where do you draw the line before it goes too far?

If you'd like to learn more about Face-up artist who really know what they are doing, I recommend checking out the Nicolle's Dreams youtube videos.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Paper: 1,000 Origami Crane Challenge (30 down 970 to go)

Wish me luck! I have taken it upon myself the task of folding 1,000 origami cranes

Iwasaki Mineko in her memoir Geisha, A Life mentions a memory of her and her classmates making a 1,000 origami cranes for an ill teacher and delivering them to him at the hospital. Japanese legends exist, promising a person who folds 1,000 cranes will be granted a wish by the Gods. Other stories suggest that the owner of a set will be promised eternal good luck such as with health or luck instead of a signal wish. I tried looking into this further to find an actual story but the best I could do was find vague references to the legends through wikipedia and various blogs. I am not one to believe of superstitions and legends but i appreciate the stories (fun or with significance) from varying cultural backgrounds.

Ground rules:
- The set must be created within 1 year.
- The set must be created by 1 person alone.
- The set must be kept together by the same person. 
I take that to mean the cranes can be given away and still "work" but they cannot be parceled out. 
They have to stay together with one person.

Freshman year at college.
 Quick throw back: Freshman year I was paired to room with a girl studying abroad from Japan, Haruka. I was painfully shy then and she was always on the go so we did not talk much.  Even though we kept to ourselves during that time, we got along well. One of the gifts she gave me while we roomed together was a beautiful pack of origami paper. On the back of the packet were instructions for making cranes. The text was in Japanese but it was easy enough to figure out from the pictures. Whenever I felt stressed out I would fold origami cranes on my dorm floor. Over and over and over. Eventually I lost the habit up until recently when I decided to start the 1,000 origami cranes project.
But this time it is for fun rather than alieving stress.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

AG: Finally! I Have Access to the Outdoors

Apartment living is not quite for me.

I love to take pictures of my doll collection outside but doing so in public spaces makes me nervous. I prefer not having people passing by and gawking at the "weird adult with the doll" so it was refreshing to have access to a backyard again while visiting family over the holidays.

Although it has been a warm winter so far, Maryellen is decked out for snow in 1850's gear.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chalk: Wild Turkey

Did you know that wild turkeys can fly but domestic turkeys cannot?

In other news, I ran out of black chalk so it might be a while before I can procure more to make new drawings.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Chalk: Turkey Illustration Progress

I recognize the fact it is now after Thanksgiving but better late than never! 
Turkeys do not migrate or hibernate in the winter so technically they are a year round bird.

***Final pictures are soon to come***

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chalk: Flamingo

Aah... Plastic lawn flamingos, the crown jewel of 1950s kitsch. Americans have been bombarded by the stylized image of a flamingo, stamped across tacky t-shirts, jewelry you would find along beach front shops, lawn ornaments and so on. When I think of cliche and expected imagery of the tropics I envision happy cartoon palm trees and flamboyant flamingos.

QUESTION: So where did the pink flamingo lawn ornament come from?

ANSWER: Donald Featherstone in 1957. Union Products was looking for a sculptor to help create 3 dimensional lawn decorations. Prior to this step forward, the company had been creating flat, 2 dimensional pieces. Featherstone at the time was a serious sculptor but took the job opening with the company. After creating a variety of 3 dimensional pieces for Union Products, Featherstone was set with the task of creating a flamingo. It took him two weeks to create the model based off of the pictures in a National Geographic magazine and the flamingo was brought to life with new injection mold technology.

The plastic flamingos were favored for a number of reasons in 1957.  For one, Americans were quickly moving out into the suburbs in large numbers. The subdivisions people were moving into had house that looked nearly identical following WWII. "'You had to mark your house somehow,' Featherstone says. 'A woman could pick up a flamingo at the store and come home with a piece of tropical elegance under her arm to change her humdrum house.'" Plus new technologies in plastics allowed for brilliant colors to be readily available to consumers.

If you'd like to read more about the flamingo lawn ornament check out these sites.  Or google. Google is good too:
Useless Information
Mental Floss