Timeout for Art: Dolls

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I like drawing dolls, stuffed animals and toys. They seem to hold the essence of the small people that have handled them.

Dolls have a human-like quality that borders on the grotesque when frozen in a drawing.

I did a large drawing of Raggedy Ann once, fully dressed in all of her patterned skirts and aprons, and sprawled across the page from upper right to lower left corner. To fill the empty space in the upper left of the page, I drew two longish rectangles, placed vertically side by side. In the first, I drew the doll facing front, from head to toe, naked, with her big grin, printed heart and stripey legs. In the second, I did the side view. Reminiscent of technical drawings (or mug shots!), they provided a nice contrast to the loosely drawn large image.

I did a series of six-foot tall Barbie drawings. I used Pellon, a non-woven fabric that is often used in interfacing as my support. It came in long rolls, and was a tough surface for multi-media work. I combined charcoal, oil pastels, soft pastels and acrylic paints. The surfaces became very dense with marks and layers of color…and there was Barbie,staring serenely ahead. One doll had blonde hair in a high ponytail, and a black and white diagonal-striped bathing suit, one had short, sandy hair – gone wild from misuse – and wore a snappy pantsuit. The third had crazy, long hair and an evening gown; one hand and part of the arm had been chewed off by a dog. They were good models, and it was a fun series!

This little “Indian” doll is a fairly common drawing subject for me. She was a gift from my sister, Cheryl, who tells me I had a doll like that as a child, and that she destroyed it. I don’t remember that, but I’m happy to have this sweet memento.

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About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

8 responses »

  1. Nice drawing, interesting post and thanks for sharing the items you love to draw. Do you have photos of your large Barbie’s? I tried doing a painting once with a doll in it but I think you’re right, dolls can be kind of grotesque.

    • Not a single photo left, Gretchen, of those Barbies. Too bad…they were quite wonderful for awhile. In the end, I overworked them, tried to fix it by scraping back and doing broad acrylic washes over areas…put them away for a long time and finally cut them up to use as collage supports. I never have known when to let well enough alone! Thanks for reading, Gretchen, and for your comments!

  2. The Barbies you describe would be wonderful as a set. I can see those bigger-than-life dolls in all their imperfect glory (chewed off arm!) hanging on the walls of a gallery, or a Barbie lover’s home. Every time I see your drawings I wish I had some talent for it. You’re blessed!

    • Thanks, Sara, you are always too kind. I’m sure you have talents you are not even aware of. I take a quote from “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” when I teach drawing: “If you can learn to drive, you can learn to draw.”

  3. the six-foot0tall barbies scored a home run re: visual imagination!

    one of my favorite drawings (of mine) was a large assortment of easter rabbits – all brought to class by students… how eclectic and fun!

    still w/slow internet and now losing power w/the returning rains… z

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