Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Week in the life of an Artist

Another week has passed living the life of a full time artist.  I am still trying to find my balance and establish a routine.  A friend of mine mentioned that it may take six months.  I love waking up every day to the knowledge that my day will be spent engaged in my art but it takes enormous self-control not to chase every fleeting artistic fancy that floats across my mind down the rabbit hole while focusing on completing my current project.  I remember reading a post on Facebook not that long ago that compared the artistic mind to having all your browser pages open on your computer at all times. Whoever wrote that comparison hit the nail on the head.

My current project, a tuck comb inspired doll named Bridgette, has kept me immersed within Jane Austin’s time. While watching a show on Netfilx about the  Highclere Castle with my husband Bob, I noticed a beaded face screen by the fireplace on the show.  I had to share with him what it was and why it was used.  Why would I know what a face screen is you may ask?  Well, Mary Ann Tate so kindly shared another Jane Austin website on which I found information about face screens (just part of my never ending search for the end of the internet).  They were beautiful beaded screens placed between one’s face and the fireplace to protect one’s face from the heat of the fire.  Some say it was to keep the wax make-up from melting off.  During Jane Austin’s time women often huddled up close to the warmth of the fire while engaged in the fine art of needlework.  The thoughts of these women sitting by the fire with needle in hand filter into my mind as I sit in my home engaged in the many hours of intricate needlework I am completing while working on Bridgette’s costume.  I have been using timeless embroidery stitches to create bullion roses, lazy daisies, and fly stitch borders on her dress.  
The life of an artist truly can be bliss!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Start Living the Life of a Full Time Artist

I have almost completed my first two weeks living as a full time artist.  I am finding that the first key to success as an artist is establishing a good working routine.  There are pitfalls to working at home without an established studio and I am trying not to get pulled into them.  I try to start each morning with an early morning walk, a green smoothie, and pot of tea.  I check my email, check Facebook, look at pictures of vintage dolls on the net, and then settle in to work on my current doll project.   I am learning that I need to limit my ipad time and not fall into the trap of searching for the end of the internet because I don’t believe the end really exists.   
The current project I am working on is a tuck comb inspired, ball jointed, needle sculpted, cloth doll with a face overlay.  When I am not working on the doll I am immersing myself into her time period.  I watched a movie on Netflix called Mansfield Park put on by PBS based on the book written by Jane Austin.  I assure you it was just for the sole purpose of costume research and the time was well spent because I had cloth and needle in hand during the entire movie.  In my spare time between doll making and sleep I have been reading Mansfield Park and Mummies by Vera Nazarian. As you may have guessed it is a parody on Jane Austin's Mansfield Park.  And during my endless search for the end of the internet I have found this website   that has everything you might want to know about Jane Austin.

I started working on this doll about 10 months ago while working full time in a demanding job outside of the art field, driving a ridiculous amount between work and home, and trying to keep up with the daily ebbs and flow of life.  I was able to experiment with and create some beautiful ball jointing techniques for this doll during this time period.  Typically I start with the head first but I was so excited about trying to develop different ball jointing techniques that I started with the body.  Unfortunately by the time I got to the head and costume during this time period I was exhausted and out of steam. The first head and beginnings of her costume reflected this and I tossed them into the dead head and dead costume pile.  I redesigned the head to have a more realistic shape and used a cloth overlay to cover that unsightly middle of the face seam often found on needle sculpted cloth doll heads.  I believe she reflects the contentment and balance that I am starting to feel as a result of entering this new phase of life.  Don't you agree?