Friday, June 3, 2011

2 completed Commissions!!

Yes, it is true, once again, Life, in all it's details has kept me from blogging over the past month. Sometimes you just can't avoid the nuances as they reach you one by one, day in and day out. Fortunately, over my absence I had been arduously working on completing the commissions I had on my table while preparing for other major events in my family life as well.

A little word about commissions. I love to get them, but admit, they can be the MOST stressful things in the world! Like most artist, I am certain we much prefer to continue to create, doing the things that come to mind while we work, having our own liberties to our devices. While keeping this in mind, it is true, thus far, my commissions have pretty much given me the free reign to design as I seen fit, only giving me eye color, hair color and costume color of their choices. This has been my preferred method of doing commissions and thus far, everyone has been happy. It works for me and it works for them. These have been the best commissions to work on and I am grateful to have received such wonderful clients to work with.

This being said, I last mentioned I had a commission to create for a wonderful gentleman a grouping of 4 dogs of his that had passed over the years. This wonderful man is one of my favorite person's in the world as I have known him quite some time through the vet's office that I work in. So, I know how passionate he is about his pets and how much this sculpt meant to him.

Well, over the last month and a half, I struggled to create balls of clay into replicas of his well-loved critters until finally, I had to stop and throw in the towel. Everyone has their limits, and apparently mine is sculpting animals at the moment. While I can sit and draw them all day long and paint them in pastels, I just could not create them in clay. It could be that I had too many irons in the fire and have been preoccupied with daily events, but no matter how many times I set it aside and went back to it, that sculpt just did not want to produce itself. But, to be fair, the photographs I had to work from, were not the best in my opinion. 2 of the pets were beagles, and those I could probably have done as I had different views from different angles of them. The other 2 were larger breed dogs and both were laying down on over-sized dog beds. Unfortunately, these were the ONLY pictures I had to work from, therefore, I could not determine the relative size to the beagles, or make clear the colors and pattern markings of their fur. I am certain that this was the major culprit to the demise of the project, but even still, it was just not in my abilities to create it at this time. And, so, with a leadened heart, I had to tell my dear friend I could not create his well-anticipated project for him. What started out in high expectations, ended on a low note. It broke my heart to tell him I could not do it for him, and I could tell he was disappointed too. But, I did tell him that I learned a valuable lesson....that you can't always take on the world and at some point in time, one must realize their own limitations. He helped me to find my limitations and for that, I am very grateful. He does sculpture work in metal craft at times, and I think he understands exactly what I meant...that some times, things just don't work out the way we think they should no matter what.

At any rate, now that you guys know my humiliation and limitations, I wanted to share with you the commissions that I did manage to finish. Apparently, sculpting human-like figures is still in...realistic animals are out. On the other hand, painting animals is alright, while portrait work is a no go. haha I wonder why that is? Any who....here are the 2 pieces.

The first is "Veronica" and she now resides in Connecticut. I hope you like her!
Veronica1
Veronica3
Veronica5
Veronica2
Veronica4

Every once in a while, you will see a baby pop up in the knoll as with this next one. She was commissioned for a sweet little baby that was born on 4/5/2011, whose name happens to be Adilyn. Therefore, her name is appropriately named "Adilyn"! She now lives in Miami, Florida. (At the clients request, she wanted it to have pointed pixie ears. haha) I hope you like her too. I'm considering on creating some more pixie babies in the future, so don't be surprised if you see a baby boom in the knoll. lol

Adilyn1
Adilyn2
Adilyn4
Adilyn3

After completing these 2 commissions, I was fortunate enough to pick up another commission as well. She has to be completed by the middle of July. I should have PLENTY of time to finish her up. :-D The only details I can share is that her costume will be in purple, brown hair and brown eyes...per the clients request. The rest will have to unfold later.

In the meantime, I have some preparations to do as my youngest son is graduating high school tonight! I can't believe he made it. *sigh* I'm sure there are many families feeling the same as I am tonight...a since of pride that he will walk that stage and at the same time, sadness because we have come to an end of a long journey of one phase of our life. But, when one door closes, another opens and so too, will the next chapter of our lives here in Eustis and the Pixie Knoll. I look forward to what lies ahead and to the adventures we will share. I have a feeling that the fun stuff is about to begin. :-D

I'll share some pictures in a couple of days!

Hugs to all,
Lori

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Nursery Rhyme! "Jack Be Nimble"

Finally, I have found my way here to post the lastest piece. He's been finished for a week now, but it was not until earlier today that I managed to steal away some time to take his photos.

As you can see, he is based on the childhood nursery rhyme, "Jack Be Nimble". I had wanted to create him in the likeness of the artwork by the well-known illustrator of children's books, Arthur Rackham. If you do not know who Arthur Rackham is, then, by all means, you must do a search of his fabled illustrations. His work is the thing of childhood imagination when it come to nursery rhymes, fables and fairy tales!

Jack Be Nimble was intended to be completed by March 31 for the International Art Doll Registry theme contest, but alas, I was not able to make that deadline. It being springtime, I have been fighting the nasty allergens and sinus infections that oft times come with the season.

Unfortunately, I hope you don't mind pictures because as usual, I had a hard time figuring out which ones to post here. :-D So, I must apologize for the heavy influx of pictures you are about to see. I would love to know if any of you think he does resemble the work of illustrator Arthur Rackham. It was my goal with this piece, and I wonder if I was able to accomplish it. Let me know! In the meantime, enjoy "Jack Be Nimble".

Jack Be Nimble1
Jack Be Nimble 2
Jack Be Nimble 3
Jack Be Nimble4
Jack Be Nimble c/u1
Jack Be Nimble c/u2
Jack Be Nimble c/u3
Jack Be Nimble c/u4
Jack Be Nimble c/u5
Jack Be Nimble c/u6

While you are digesting the bombardment of pics, I'll let you know what else is happening in the land of the Pixie Knoll. This past week, I was given the task of not 1, but 2 commissions! I am so excited and honored to have been selected to create these pieces.

One will be a princess fairy, and the other is a commemorative type piece with 4 animals/pets (all dogs) on it. The pets are going to be a bit of a task as the owner brought to me a nice wooden couch and a wooden armoire, but in miniature scale. He wanted me to create the 4 animals and position 2 of them on top of the couch, and the other 2 in front of the armoire. Well, I'm afraid my eyesight is not that good to do miniature-scaled objects. So, I'm having to compromise, either I'm going to have to recreate the couch and armoire at a bigger scale, or ask the owner to omit them. He is a very easy going gentleman and I think he will be happy with either way I suggest. We'll have to wait and see what he thinks.

As for the fairy princess, well, she is supposed to be based on the likeness of some photos I have of a very attractive young lady. The colors given to me are tiffany blue and silver, metal blue eyes, and brown hair. Now, if that isn't a tall order, I don't know what else is! haha

Now, that isn't the only thing that happened in the past week or two. Let me see...

I was fortunate to sell 3 dolls as well. One to a local lady. Another to a gentleman in the United Kingdom off of Ebay, and another on the East Coast here in the U.S from my Etsy store. So, I am thrilled that things are finally moving in a direction that doesn't feel so stagnated. Of course, it helps when you put your work out there so others can see it and show interest in what it is you do.

And, finally, the last big event that has happened is the possibility of me teaching a class! It is still in the beginning stages from what I understand. Really, a mere suggestion to be honest as I don't know if it will happen or now. The idea was brought to me from a nice lady who works for a psychologist who has expressed the interest in having a "clay" class for some of her patients that are veterans of the Iraqi war. Of course, I immediately expressed my interest. What better way to give back (even if it is a small thing such as teaching things in clay) to these brave men who have gone out to insure our safety and freedom for not only our country but that of others as well. In a sense, I feel it is a patriotic duty, and I am honored to even have been considered for such a wonderful thing as teaching these fine, brave men. We'll have to see what happens, but hopefully it will happen. It will be a good experience to teach a class; and I think I am fully capable of doing such a thing.

As always, thanks for stopping by the Knoll. Let me know what ya think of "Jack Be Nimble"!

Hugs to all,
Lori

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hot off the Press!

Even though today has been a wonderful, rainy day, I thought I would splash a little bit of sunshine here to move things in an onward direction. (Especially since my last post was a bit dramatic due to the events of that week.)

Recently, I was chosen to be the spotlight artist for the month of April at the International Art Doll Registry. I am very honored to have been chosen for this very special interview and receive such recognition among my dollmaking friends. For those that are interested in the article, you can read the interview at: www.international-art-doll-registry.com/

Other than the interview, I have been trying to complete my nursery rhyme figure, "Jack Be Nimble". Unfortunately, I was not able to complete him in time for the March 31 deadline with the IADR. I have been plagued with awful headaches these past few weeks and so, that put my production way behind. It's amazing how bad a headache can make you feel! At any rate, its no wonder I have them with all the pollen that has been floating around in my part of the world. Living in Florida during the spring months really is not a good option if you have allergies. Aside from that, I decided to go and have my eyes rechecked because I had a feeling they were somewhat to blame for the frequent headaches. As luck would have it, my eyes are indeed partly to blame! Must be a sign of getting older. hahahaaha Anyway, hopefully soon, I'll have this part of the problem taken care of soon. Apparently, I have to go back for a refractory test and something else before they can prepare some much needed eye glasses. In the meantime, if I'm out driving, you don't want to be near me. hahahaha!

So, speaking of good ole' Jack Be Nimble. He is actually near completion. I am now working on the costuming and some final painting touches, so hopefully, he will be completed by the end of this week. I really can't wait for you all to see him. I'm considering creating some more nursery rhyme/fairy tale type characters down the road once I get a couple more projects under my belt this year. The thought came to me that perhaps I can use these well-known characters to create my own book of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Well see how it goes, after all, it's just a thought.

And, finally, a little update on the little Sprite. So far, she is doing great and you would never know she had such a problem as her poor little heart does. I hope she continues on like that for a very long time to come. Although, I admit, she is definitely a little monster with the millions of sharp teeth in her mouth! Talk about a pin pricks. ouch!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the article at IADR and hopefully soon I'll have some pictures of "Jack Be Nimble" for you soon.

Take care,
Lori

Friday, March 25, 2011

Full moons, work, puppies and the roller coaster of life

I here tale that the full moon does some whacky things to the human persona as it slips through its mystic stages during the night, but I'm here to tell ya, the closeness of the full moon this past week really played some havoc for me this past week.

The first of the week started off like any other, with the exception of growing another year older. *Shrug*, 42 years old, not such a big deal in my opinion, it's just like any other day of the week. In fact, I'm pretty happy at the fact I still have birthdays....it sure beats the alternative of 6 feet under. It really wasn't a bad day, but I didn't get to do the things "I" wanted to do. I had planned for my special day to go down to the local park to my favorite outdoor sculpting spot and have some heart to heart clay talk and work on the next project. Well,I suppose, when you have kids, that your idea of how you spend your day, and their idea of how you spend your day are really not one in the same. :-D So, for my birthday, I obliged my younges with $40.00 in gas money and some other odds and ends that he claimed he needed. *sigh* At least he and his girlfriend made me a birthday cake. Mind you, my butt and gut didn't need it, but my mouth and belly were sure loving it! haha

Then, ya head off to the work week where no body knows your name and you are a number in the crowd of a small shop of employees. Have you ever noticed you have those people that work in the work place that seem to always shirk their responsibilities off on someone else....just because they can? Well, where I work is no exception. Mind you, I really do work bankers hours since I'm a part-time employee. But, after 8 years of working your shift, you become kind of accustomed to your own schedule and do not take kindly to it changing because of some employee who decides they don't want to work their shift any longer, and the boss refuses to hire someone else to replace them. *sigh* So, you guessed it....part of that shift gets dropped in my lap to cover. Yeah, I'm a little miffed about it, but, I suppose I'm glad I have a job. On the other hand, I would gladly sit at home and just create. Which, if this schedule changing crap continues, I might just opt to do that. There are always options....and I'm getting close to make those happen.

Then, we go to yesterday. Some of you already know that I added a new puppy to my household. I got her when she was 5 weeks old, and now she is 7.5 weeks old now. She is a pomeranian/chihuahua mix. She's been such a terror (in a comical puppy way) that it's hard not to fall in love with her clown-like antics. So, because she is in such mischief all the time, I decided to name her "Sprite". It took me nearly 5 days to come up with that name, and let me tell you, she is every bit of a sprite you can imagine. She's in to everything, fiesty, has attitude, she's confidant in herself, and shows no fear in her surroundings. She's really a wonderful puppy. So, as you can see, I have fallen in love with this little critter and there is not turning back now, I've travelled down the road of puppy love.

So, this leads me to yesterday, where I take her to work with me to get her first shots. (I work in a veterinarian's office for some that do not know) Well, my boss gives her the exam and she finds a terrible problem. She has a serious congenial defect with her heart! There are 5 stages to having a heart murmer in animals, 1 being not so bad and 5 being the worse. My little Sprite had a stage 5 heart murmer. She said it is so bad, that it appears her little heart is only beating using 2 chambers and the blood is just swishing back and forth between the 2 of them, not to mention she is not getting the blood flow to the rest of her body like she should. Since I'm a receptionist at the office, I don't know all the things to look for when it pertains to a veterinarians eyes on the exam, but she also showed me how her gums in her mouth were very white too, which was due to lack of blood flow. After she told me about her findings, she proceeded to tell me how my little Sprite could just be off running and playing and having a good time, then all of a sudden, drop dead instantly without a warning because of her heart condition.

All I can tell you is that my heart sunk deep into the pit of my stomach and I didn't know whether to cry or puke first. It literally broke my heart. So, she says to me that she could live for 2 days and then just up and die, or 2 months, or even 12 years. There is no telling how long her little heart can support her, not to mention it could lead to other problems later on down the road as well. And, unfortunately, there is no medication that can help her. There is surgery however, which cost 1000's of dollars, but there is no way I can consider doing that at this time, probably not ever because it is so costly. And, even then, there is no guarantee that it would solve the problem or that she would live through it.

So, I guess the bottom line is that I just have to accept the gift of love and laughter that she has brought to me thus far, and love her and care for her as best I can until that day comes where she goes to the great puppy world on the other side. It's amazing how you can fall in love with something so quickly. But, I suppose in the end, it's better to have loved, than to not know love at all.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cats out of the bag!

Just a short post today to pat myself on the back! Drum roll please.....

I found out the other day that my "Woodland Troubadours" won the IADR contest for the "Art from the Soul" theme for February in the advanced category! How exciting is that! I knew going into the contest that I was up against some very stiff competition and that it would be a rat race to the end. I had no idea I would finish 1st, maybe a quick 2nd, but not 1st! I've been grinning ear to ear ever since I got the news.

I guess that it was a good thing I decided to listen to what the dolls wanted to be instead of forcing them to do what I had thought they should become. I feel that I had made a wise choice when changing my plans mid-stream like I did. Sometimes, you just have to follow your gut and this time it paid off.

Now, since I won this contest, I am not eligible to win another IADR contest for this year. I can still participate in the contest themes if I want to, but it is not necessary. I did have a really great idea for the Nursery Rhymes theme for the end of this month. But, I'm not sure I want to tackle it just yet. I might just keep that one tucked in the back of my head for a later date. Decisions, decisions, decisions. We'll see what happens. Could be, I decide to work on something completely different...like another pixie from the knoll!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Woodland Troubadours...My IADR entry

I suppose all of you would like to pick me apart limb from limb since I have not been here since January. Truthfully, I'm rather shocked myself that it has been 2 months! My, time flies by when you are having fun.

A lot has happened in the last couple of months. One of the highlights was the IDEX show in Orlando at the end of January. It was a very successful show to say the least. It was a wonderful feeling to finally meet the wonderful ladies face to face that I often chat with here and there on the internet. They are all just as lovely in person as they are in their writing. Such a pleasure to meet them and the other artist who also displayed at IDEX that I was fortunate to meet. I will say this much, the show was wonderful, exciting, and exhausting! And, I hope to have the opportunity to do it again. I think it took me nearly a week to finally recouperate from that show. :-) I also want to thank all of you who stopped by the International Art Doll Registry booth. I apologize it has taken me so long to thank you all for your support and coming to see not only my work being displayed but also that of the other wonderfully talented ladies I had the pleasure to display my work with at the booth. For those of you wondering if we will do it again, I think it is already in the works for our groups participation!

As promised, I have some new work to show you all! It is my entry for the IADR (International Art Doll Registry) February theme "Art from the Soul". I've been working on this since early January....if you can believe that! This piece started out as one idea, and fully matured into a completely different concept all together in the end. Some of you might think I'm a little whacked in the head for saying this, but, sometimes you have to listen to what the art tells you it wants to become rather than you trying to force it be what you think it should be.

Some of you might know these 2 characters as a comedy and tragedy storyline where one bent over and ripped his pants while the other laughs at his friends misfortunes. Well, as time went on, and much by a happy accident due to the way I had my "bending over" character sitting on my work table, I decided he should be sitting instead and that by changing his pose, he appeared to be more "melancholic" than with a frown of dismay. So, I went with it and I'm very happy that I did.

I call it "Woodland Troubadours". It consist of 2 figures on their single base display. The base measures approximately 11" x 18" and consist of faux moss rocks, crushed cork for the pebbles, real moss, faux butterflies, faux fernery and other plant like items. The sitting figure playing the gourd cello is 8" and the standing figure with the trumpet is 15". Their clothing is made of linens and faux leather. They have glass eyes, mohair, and have been painted with acrylic paints. The cello gourd is also hand-made out of polymer clay. The trumpet is a brass item saved for Christmas' gone by. (yes, I'm a pack rat! haha)

Without further adieu, here are the Woodland Troubadours! Enjoy!

Woodland Troubadours front
Woodland Troubadours back
Woodland Troubadours side1
Woodland Troubadours side2
Woodland Troubadour trumpet
Woodland Troubadour Trumpet closeup
Woodland Troubadours cello
Woodland Troubadours cello closeup

Monday, January 10, 2011

Out with the old and in with the new!

I have spent the first week of this new year thinking on what I wanted to accomplish this year. Not necessarily making resolutions, because often times, those are impossible to keep and set you up for failure. But, more or less, what I can do to improve myself by setting goals and accomplishments.

Like most of the population, losing a few pounds would be nice. Mind you, I don't want to be pencil thin, but going about looking like a dwarven lady or a halfling is not that appealing to me at all. Being vertically challenged and round...well, let's just say I need to work on that a little. :-D So, one of my goals to start walking or cycling every afternoon, weather permitting. Alongside that, modifications to eating behavior. muahahaha Might I add that I have failed miserably for the first week of this new year. No matter, I still have about 50 more weeks to go in order to get it right. lol After all, Rome was not built in a day. So, there ya have it folks. That is my personal goal this year. To be less of a couch potato and eat healhier. Let's see if I can accomplish it. :-D

Now, for my artistic goals! Everyone wants to create that piece of art that literally knocks the socks off of people. For some artist, it just comes naturally, and then, there are the scores of us that have to work hard at accomplishing such feats. This year I do not expect to knock your socks off, however, I would like to create something that really makes you say WOW! Over the course of the last few years, I have visited doll shows, visited numerous artist blogs and web pages, and watched while their muses hover over their shoulder guideing them to wonderful creations. All the while wondering if my own creative muse is visiting me on my own artistic journey. So, this year, I would like call on my muse to see to it that I make my pieces more involved. Whether that means costuming, props, or more dynamic poses for the characters, or maybe all of the above. I want to create works of art that are never boring to look at and bring years of enjoyment. So, that's my artistic goal.

Now with that said, a little insight to a few of the upcoming projects for this year that I am currently planning. Since I am a member of the International Art Doll Registry (IADR), I try to enter some of the contest that the group puts out because they help to focus on different ideas than what exist in the world in the Pixie Knoll. This year, the contest are as follows:

February: Art from the Soul
March: Nursery Rhymes
May: Masquerade
July: Elders
November: Winter Time

I do have a few other ideas rolling around in the old noggin', but those will have to stay there for the time being. :-)

Finally, for those that do not know yet, I will have a few pieces on display at the IDEX 2011 show in Orlando on the weekend of January 27-30 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel. You can read about it here: http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/tab1.aspx?EventID=713944 And of course, I still can not figure out how to create a link properly here in bloglandia, so if this link did not work, you can copy and paste it into your browser and read all about it and see who will be at the show displaying their work. Lots of old favorites and some new faces too. I will be displaying my work with the International Art Doll Registry group. It promises to be a very rewarding event. It is my first time displaying my work in such a MAJOR show venue.

So, now that we have all of the new stuff taken care of, we'll tackle the "out with the old" segment. The holidays were extremely busy for me since I was trying to finish up the few commissions that I had. Unfortunately, one of the commissions I had just didn't make it in time for Christmas delivery, though I tried to make that happen. Unfortunately, sometimes things take more time than we anticipate. So, without further adieu, here are the 2 final pieces of 2010. There were commissioned pieces of 2 mermaids that would be ornaments.

This is Calliope, she is about 8" long.
Calliope2
Calliope1

And this is Odessa, she is about 7.25" long.
Odessa1

And this is Odessa with her hair not bound by pearls yet:
Odessa2

The pictures are not the best, but, I guess they will have to do now. haha Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the mermaids. :-D I learned a few new techniques while making them, so perhaps later, I can do a better mermaid when I have more time to devote to the project.

At any rate, I wish you all a Happy New Year. Soon, I will be back with the beginning of the Art from the Soul contest piece!

Hugs to all,
Lori