Thursday, October 8, 2015

Have You Seen This Picture?
Repaint of Grace (2009 convention souvenir from UFDC convention) by Darlene Lane

Beautiful work,  Right?  I have saved this picture as inspiration since I first saw it.   

Let’s go back in time, just a little bit, to 2009 and my first convention with UFDC.  The convention souvenir was a doll named ‘Grace’, and a little beauty she is.  The doll sculpt is by Beverly Walters, and turned over for the mass production that (sadly) goes into doll making these days.  I do love her.  (Read original article about Grace here :)

Being mass-produced, the dolls were fair of face and did not have quite the detail of a beautiful hand painted doll.  Darlene Lane, master doll maker if there ever was one, had shown the above repaint of her souvenir. That face is a charmer.  No surprise, and I wanted a repaint for myself.  I sat on this idea and kept the saved the repaint picture for inspiration.    

Through the years, I have wondered if I could do a repaint, too.   

A few months ago, a couple of dolly dressing friends of mine,  and I were talking about these repainted doll heads, or embellished doll faces, and I thought I would like to give it a try.  Both friends had extra dolls and were game for me trying to repaint their dolls, too! 

In a couple of weeks, the dolls arrived and I labeled the heads.  I set up work space and was ready for the job at hand.  I keep my class notes for painting order and followed that that painting guide.  My first step was to paint nose dots, eye dots, some lip liner.  Into the Paragon Quick Fire they go.  

Several hours later, the porcelain cooled, time to lift the lid.  I was so excited!  Oh, no!  All of the hair had fired off.  Okay, insert expletives here!  I had no idea what to do next!  What had I been I thinking? I was so disappointed and shocked and could not bear the thought of reporting the event to my friends.  I had ruined their dolls.  What would you do?  I slept on it. 
Yikes, no hair!

(Let me pause for a moment to say something about the doll industry.  It’s a tough industry, competitive, cut throat at times.  However, that can be the story of anything, any job, any endeavor at any time.  Usually, I am too intimidated to approach some “famous” person, or self-conscious about my skills or knowledge, or just feel inferior to the person with whom I want to talk.  Nevertheless, I get up the nerve and just do it.)

I decided to go to the source of my inspiration, Darlene Lane.  I had never met Darlene Lane, but admired her skills. Gathering my courage, I sent her an email.  Lucky me!  She wrote back.  Boy, what a font of information and you know what, it wasn’t just me, it happened to her as well.  She shared so much about her experience, the history, and the solutions.  Darlene even surprised me by sending the color she used to return the hair to the same or so close as to be the same, hair color.  I could not have done it without her.   
Hair and face complete.  

After overcoming the hair challenge, it was smooth sailing, mostly.  I managed to get the hair painted, and the eyes and brows and lips all highlighted and the color deepened.  I hit another snag with the 3D paste, or Rochard paste, and had to improvise, but I overcame this as well.  Due to the position in the kiln, I was unable to fire the paste or even the white appropriately for my Grace.  I have since, sanded the hair ornaments, and added half pearls for earrings and the hair ornaments for my doll. 

My Grace completed!   
Have Fun!    Kathi

PS.  Tiny Kitty and her Edwardian costume will resume shortly.  In the meantime, illness (all’s well), travel and the dreaded computer breakdown and upgrade have caused me to be quite behind.  The inspiration dress and fabrics are selected; the pattern is made but is being fitted.  I’ll be back soon. 


Contrastes-Rosa Mª said...

!woooo que maravilla ¡, la transformación ha sido fantástica , felicidades:_)

Shejo said...

Creation of dolls is the invention of something we want to see done the right way. I love the creative aspect of taking on a project like this. Sometimes, nothing ventured, nothing gained. This is a beautiful doll. I often repaint my 63 year old Vogue Ginny dolls face and they come out alive again. I have learned to use a much lighter color in face painting, because it makes a more natural looking doll. Not hard, but just soft as the face color should be. Great article and inspiration. Enjoyed your letter to us. Shejo Shejo

DollZandThingZ said...

The repaint is lovely!

Kathi Mendenhall said...

Thank you, Shejo, for your comments. Taking on this project was a challenge. Whenever one takes on changing an original vision, it is quite scary. I am not sure I will do it again, but I really love the way this face came alive. I am sure that is the feeling you get, too, when repainting your Ginny and making her your own. Kathi