Thursday, October 21, 2010

What I Learned at Art and Soul

My "Santos" Doll
I took an Art and Soul Retreat class from Tory Brokenshire where we learned to make these incredible santos figures. Tory provided the base (which is also the torso) made of wood. We used porcelain dolls from thrift stores as armatures for our heads and used the arms from the original dolls as well.

Now I've always loved dolls and had a huge collection when I was a child. I loved them all and sometimes took them all to bed with me because I didn't want any one of them to feel left out. Given my sentimentality about dolls, I had to have my seatmate in class help me rip her head and wig off. I cut the arms off myself. Yooowch! I felt like a monster, but it was worth it.

We used Sculpey to create unique faces over the old dolls head. They each turned out fascinating and totally different from each other. After we had baked the Sculpey clad heads, we attached the arms and painted the heads. Then we proceeded to dress the dolls in the finery and fabric we'd brought with us.

My doll wears a variety of fabrics from velvet to coffee dyed cotton. She has ribbons and trim, a necklace made of fish vertebrae, lace, and a necklace that says "Abundance" (made by Diane Havnen Smith and given to me last year. The doll has a painted iridescent gold skullcap atop her head. I decided I like the look of the wires used to hold the doll lower arms on so I left them.

I didn't have much idea in advance who she would be, but she did surprise me. She is an elegant Native and Spanish descended woman from Mexico, back when it was called "New Spain."

Photo Tinting Class

I also took a class from Suzie Wolfer, who like me is a therapist and an artist. Suzie's class was a survey of photo tinting methods. She pulled out all the stops and allowed us to experiment with many varieties of materials and methods. This was great fun, and I've started experimenting in my studio with what I learned in class. Suzie let us use her rarely found Marshall's photo oils, which were some of my favorite tools. We experimented with highly tinted photos and subtle tints such as those found on old postcards and photos. We tried a variety of papers and Suzie provided each of us with a different old photograph.

I first tinted my photo with the Marshall tinting oils. Because this photo was printed on highly absorbent paper, the oils didn't do as much as I'd hoped. I then went over them with oil pastels which worked much better. This lady just had to brighten up. I thought she'd enjoy a halo--who wouldn't?

1 comment:

Dayna Collins said...

Thanks for sharing your classes from Art and Soul. Your Santos turned out beautifully (in person and in photos) and I love the vibrant bright colors of your tinted photo.