Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I like Candy....

I just read this quote on another blog [Style Rookie:]:

"I like making images that from a distance seem kind of seductive, colorful, luscious and engaging, and then you realize what you're looking at is something totally opposite. It seems boring to me to pursue the typical idea of beauty, because that is the easiest and the most obvious way to see the world. It's more challenging to look at the other side".
Cindy Sherman.

It reminded me of my last shift in Oriel Scala, my friend and colleague Susie came in with her Mother [whose in her 80's]. Susie's Mum saw my painting "Rabbit Heart [Raise it up] from a distance and said how beautiful she thought it was, and how it would look lovely in a little girls bedroom, Me and Susie both looked at each other and laughed nervously, Susie encouraged her Mother to look closely at the painting, as she got nearer I heard her gasp. She hadn't noticed the bloody heart, and blood stained jumper. After explaining the piece and the dolls, and assuring her I wasn't completely unhinged and in need of help, she remarked that from a distance my work looks "pretty" and its only as you approach it you notice that its not what it seems, which in turn the quote I used for my artist statement for my degree show [] its from Joshua Hoffine, he said about his horror film inspired photography [which to be fair looks like more like a Disney film from a distance]:

"I didn't want them [his photographs] to be dark or grungy. I wanted them to be shiny like pieces of candy so that you can look at them longer. I want them ultimately to be dainty, pretty things that you would want to look at but in the middle is something awful"

I guess I like the idea of luring people in with something pretty and shiny, and familiar and then once I have their attention make them view it in a completely different manner. So even if someone hates the work at least I will have hopefully challenged them, and made them think differently about how they view and perceive things?

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Fauna - Undressed

The downside to painting the dolls and putting them back into their dresses is that not all of the limbs are on full display so you can't always see the full painting, so since this doll had more to paint than usual I've posted photos of the undressed version - scandalous!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Helfa Gelf and Sonja's Dolls...

Last night me and Susie travelled down to Dolgellau to visit the studio of Sonja Benskin Mesher, an artist we've met a couple times before and is always an absolute pleasure to talk to!
I was extremely excited to see Sonja's studio, partly because I'm nosy but mainly because I'm fascinated by seeing were people create their work, what kind of things they surround themselves with, what cd's they have in their studio etc, for me its just as important as the work itself, its all the extra behind the scenes bits that help make up the finished piece - much like a film crew and production staff etc are just as vital and important to the process and end result as the finished movie is. Sonja's studio didn't disappoint from 'War of the Worlds' playing in the background to the clippings and postcards that adorn the walls and the piles of beautifully filled in sketchbooks. The massive bonus was been invited into her home along with fellow visitng artist Antonia Dewhurst. Sonja's cottage is basically an extension of her sketchbooks and studio, pieces of collected art, antiques, collectables, family treasures are shattered, arranged displayed in all sorts of wonderful places, vintage dresses hang like pieces of artwork, seemingly random objects are grouped together effortlessly and although completely different they all relate and interact telling a story. It was visually an Aladin's Cave of delights! I took some photos, mainly of some of Sonja's dolls, she has many dotted around her home, most of which completely freaked me out but thankfully none came to life!! Lots of interesting chat about life, art and the world in general followed.
It was my very first Helfa Gelf Studio visit and a very worth while visit to make. Trips like that highlight to me the extreme value of enterprises such as Helfa Gelf and similar Open Studio events which take place across the U.K. without these events you might never be able to catch a glimpse into the working practice of a certain artist, see how they work, the environment they create in, etc, all of these things can help people better understand and appreciate art, which is surely a good thing?

More info on Sonja's Helfa Gelf can be found here:

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Miss Fantazia

In my quest to find new and different kinds of dolls to turn into skeletons I thought I'd carry on which the kitsch theme [started really by Shirley the Spanish Dancer doll] and try a toilet roll doll, not only is she beautiful [and creepy] she also provides an elegant way to disguise unsightly spare toilet rolls ;)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Mixed Media

I was quite excited to get started on Fauna, she's slightly different to the other porcelain dolls I've done, as she's posed rather than standing straight, and therefore I can show the skeleton in action so to speak, the porcelain to soft body ratio is also slightly bigger so I can show more of the skeleton! I've tried to make each doll more and more detailed employing the techniques I've learnt from painting the last doll, so I'm pretty pleased with Fauna, I think she's turned out really well, just need more posed dolls to paint....

Monday, 6 September 2010


Mixed Media

Here's the second of the small doll heads [she's about 3 inches or so high] Managed to make this one more detailed than the last one [Destiny] mainly thanks to all the practice I've had painting the other dolls...

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Mixed Media

I think this could be the last "barbie"-esque doll for a while, I've been having a lot of problems with their legs, they don't seem to dry, they're always slightly sticky and tacky to touch. I thought it was the acrylic so I tried plastic primer but that was the same, rather than struggle on and put heaps of time and effort into dolls I can't exhibit [or sell] I'm going to stick to the porcelain ones for now. I do have some large doll heads of the plastic variety [larger versions of Destiny and Star] they just need painting...

Saturday, 4 September 2010


Mixed Media

Meet Melody, the newest of the dolls, she's a bit smaller than the others, which was trickier to paint but well worth the effort, especially once she got back into her dancers dress :)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Rabbit Heart [Raise it up]

Rabbit Heart [Raise it up]
Acrylic on Wooden Panel
35 x 55cm

[Detailed Shots Below]

Here's the end result of my 12 day painting challenge, its been hard work, but I'm proper pleased with the end result! As always there's tiny things I'd change but it's just me been nit-picky. I think I should do some explaining about the idea behind the painting, but think I'll do that later on, bit exhausted after all the rushing around hanging the new exhibition and painting...