Tuesday, December 10, 2013

losing track of time with paper dolls

When I was a girl, I spent hours playing paper dolls. I loved cutting out each individual fashion, oh, so carefully, and organizing them. I loved changing their clothes and pretending they were going to work, going to class, going on dates, going shopping ... my paper dolls did all the things that girls do as well as the things they dream of doing!

I later learned that the activity of cutting out the fashions was great for improving dexterity and eye-hand coordination. I found it amazing that something I loved to do could have so many benefits aside from the "play value!"

I had two friends who loved paper dolls as much as I did and we would meet at one house or another and play. We would each show up with our folders filled with cutout dolls and their fashions and we played for what seemed like hours, often forgetting to go home for dinner! It was such a wonderful time to be a girl child!

For the better part of a year now I have been messing around with watercolor painting, imitating the style of other, more accomplished artists as I try to find my own style. I've never taken a painting class, though it is something I hope to one day be able to do, so the internet has been a rich source of inspiration for me as I make my way through the kinds of paint (there are many), the colors (there are more!) and the papers and brushes used to create watercolor paintings.

Sophie + Lili painting
It became an exercise for me to, first,  admire the work of an artist in some faraway place, then attempt to copy their style and/or technique. Oh, and, I bought a book about watercolor painting which has been helpful. But, as they say, you learn by doing, so I'm doing as much as I can as often as I can.

Recently, I stumbled on art from Sophie + Lili and pinned some of their watercolor paintings to my Pinterest board. Sophie + Lili began life as a boutique children's clothing line for girls, but has evolved to become a signature collection of dolls that capture the imagination, and the personality, of little girls at play. I was hooked!

It's funny the things that stick in your head. I kept going back to my Pinterest board and looking at those Sophie + Lili paintings, admiring them, studying them, much as I had done with paper dolls when I was a little girl.

Finally, one day not so very long ago, I was inspired to attempt imitation.

I used Talons transparent watercolors set of 24 on Canson Montval cold pressed watercolor paper measuring 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches. I used two brushes, a generic 0 round synthetic brush and 00 Windsor & Newton brush from Series 233. The brushes were the perfect size for the scale of the paper and I learned a lot about loading paint into the brush.

Do you remember what it was like to do something for long periods and lose complete track of time? It seems that we all did it a lot as children. Then, somewhere along the way, something happens and we forget.

I guess we're just too busy being grownups. It's a fact of life that the world moves really fast. Speed limit on the Interstate is 70 mph. We measure time in nanoseconds and computers deliver information in real time. So, I ask you ... who can afford to lose track of time?

Well, I couldn't afford it, but I did it anyway! Ask me if I had fun doing it. YOU BET! I had such a fine time making these pictures that I made more than one!

I'm telling you now, the odds are I will continue to make them (with different outfits, of course!) because it's just so much fun to do! There is no socially redeeming value. I can't sell them. I'm not even sure I could give them away! I'm learning a lot about perspective, relationships between objects and things like that. But, what I really love is when I'm painting and I lose track of time and look at the clock and realize I've been doing this far longer than I had planned! What joy!!!

Just for the heck of it,
here are a couple of
my watercolor "paper dolls."
I hope you like them!

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