A Twinkle

SAM_4469 The day we went to the highlands, I brought my littlest chinahead in my purse.  She is the head I found in London and I made a tiny leather body for.

SAM_4476 Here is Chatty Cathy standing on the wardrobe.  The view from my bed.  The box behind her is THE BOX.  It has my remaining dolls on the top 1/4 area, the rest is bags of their clothes and accessories.

How do I feel about her?  A remembrance of my childhood.  If I examine her, nuances of those times come back in sweet little waves of nostalgia.  But I cannot say that she is the one I lost. I cannot say that I can deal with her non poseable body.  I admire her childlike legs and knobby knees, her lovely modelled hands.  But over all, she cannot do much other than stand and sit and I don’t feel the pull I wish I did.  I want her to mean more, I almost feel the potential, but then it fades as fast as it almost begins.  Putting her up on the wardrobe is the next stop to putting her in the box with the others.  I don’t regret her purchase and I do feel good about the experience, but at this point and time, I am not searching for new doll experiences.

SAM_4477 Rosey’s room remains by my bed.  I still like that she has a place to call her own. 

SAM_4479Yesterday morning the rare Scottish sun came streaming in and I looked up at Rosey.  I liked what I saw and took a photo. 

SAM_4482The warm sunlight on her lovely wood skin appealed to me and for the first time quite a while, I felt the need to interact directly with her, not just in thoughts.  Look at the difference between the last two photo’s.  She went from looking dull and bored with waiting and then suddenly burst into liveliness, ready to play because my interest focussed on her.  This time, instead of me looking for a twinkle of life in her eyes, she was looking for one in mine!

SAM_4484 What a lovely girl she is. 

SAM_4486 Rosey in the sunlight  I adore her.  I adore that I do not have to worry about the sun turning her skin a ghastly yellow.  She continues to be the best poser, the most unusual and the liveliest doll I have ever known. 

SAM_4490SAM_4491  Sigh.  That outfit is one that I made for my old Evie.  It brought back a flood of memories.  It looks so sweet on Rosey.


I think she is not going to go back to just laying there waiting for me to get out of my dolly stagnation.


Leave Well Enough Alone

Sigh.  As if I could.  I kept touching up this and that and finally forced myself to stop.  I really like Rosey with Blue eyes and I think the eyelids are wonderful and I accept that I cannot do anything to make it better or whatever keeps me picking up the paint brush…lol.

Final Blue Eyes 2 050 They are a deeper blue, the eye whites even whiter and this time I used enamel.

Final Blue Eyes 2 039 I grabbed the camera when some rare sunshine streamed through the window this evening.  I saw an amazing depth to Rosey, a gentle and sweet childishness that has really come through.  Now I know I can stop and let the imperfections be a part of her.

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One of the changes I made was to get rid of the white paint highlight dot.  I noticed when I gloss the eyes, the light creates the dot anyways.  As you can see in the photo. it looks like a white dot, but it is just a reflection.

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I had made indentations with a small clay tool I had a while back.  I decided that since I had the enamel open, I would go ahead and paint some nails

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We both laughed, it was so tickly!

So that’s that.  Rosey is done.  Really!

Touch Up

After looking once again at the Schoenhut photo’s, I figured out what was “off” on Rosey’s blue eyes.  In fact it was confirmed this morning when we had unexpected sunshine streaming through the windows.  There was too much blue mixed into her eye whites which created this overly blue cast to her eyes overall.  So I dabbed some plain white into the corners and that corrected the cast.  It also brightened her eyes and I felt confident she was now perfectly suited to have blue eyes.  I also darkened her eyebrows just enough to keep them from fading away.  I really like this look, it has definitely grown on me and so hopefully I can soon finish it with beeswax to give it a polished look.

More Eye Shots 022 before

Rosey's Final Blue Eyes 019 after

The only thing I added after these photo’s were taken was a tiny dark pink dot for the tear duct.  I have never added this before, but considering I am moving her into a more traditional look, it seems that those dots were very much a part of these old dolls makeup.

Rosey's Final Blue Eyes 020 From a distance, I can see her eyes more clearly.

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They stay clear and bright in sunlight or shadow shots.

Rosey's Final Blue Eyes 001 And I don’t think Rosey has lost her own look a all, in fact I feel like she is resilient to my attempts to change her.  (Much to my relief).  So while I thought of her as dark eyed and haired, I really like the brightness these blue eyes lend her, giving her a less clunky look.

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Still Musing on Blue Eyes

I have been closely watching Rosey.  Will the new blue eyes be okay?  Will they photography alright?  Will it be too odd for them to be smaller?

More Eye Shots 001 I wanted to show how round the eyeballs are, just wood.  It lends itself to realism, even though her dolly face features are not realistic.  In some ways, this imbalance is a form of charm.  So the more I wonder what I want to achieve or “see” with her, the less important some of this stuff seems.  Eyes are eyes.  She can see, I can see her see me.  I have to be careful  because it is not that she needs better eyes, it’s more than I love to experiment and try getting different effects and I can’t leave her to endure all my willy nilly notions.  lol. 

More Eye Shots 006 While it has taken a  few days to get use to it, she seems less sleepy eyed and somehow the brightness is coming back.  Probably her dark hair is making more of a contrast too.  Rosey has always looked so dark to me because of her wood mottling, but now she has become paler.  I realise though, that the wood around the eyes will darken once I get some beeswax on.  I still have awhile to go before her oil paint is completely dry.

More Eye Shots 013 She is definitely looking more Schoenhut-y. 

More Eye Shots 022The eyes keep catching me though.  I wonder if I ought to try a lighter wig on?  I do have a strawberry blonde wig, but I think the other blonde hair wigs are too small.  Or maybe the eyebrows need to be darkened. 

More Eye Shots 029 Other moments, I think, no, it’s just a matter of getting use to it.

More Eye Shots 035I decided to try a few other shots, so I could get a feel for how her would look in her stories.

More Eye Shots 037 More Eye Shots 044

I think what I am sensing is that she is no longer a re-do in the sense that she is an antique which has been redone into a modern doll.  She has gone back to a more traditional look and regaining that older look.  I really like that, and it is unexpected as I was not trying to achieve it directly, it was just something I got the bug to try creating an upper eyelid.  I’ve been reading my Schoenhut book, about the black line, the brown lines, the blues and brown iris’s.  I think that she is much closer to these descriptions now.

Blue Eyes?

Each time I look at Rosey, I feel a surprise, the smaller eyes catch me off guard but then I smile and think how different!  Funny that while studying the painted eyes in my other doll books I did not look at the Schoenhut book, but last night I decided to and found that some of the earlier models had the same sort of sleepy eyes, and also very small.

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I noticed that many of them have light blue eyes, which open up the brightness of the eye, I could do this before the paint dries (the wonderful thing about working with oil paints on wooden dolls!).  I wonder if the brown on Rosey was too dark?  Well, it took all of 2 minutes to test it.  Without disturbing the paint already present, I brushed in dark blue, swooped over that with light blue and added a bit more black to the pupil:

Schoenhut Eyes 022

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It does brighten the eyes, and takes away some of the sleepy look, but again, it will take getting use to it, as I see Rosey with brown eyes.  Not that it would be much to change back….I am getting better at the technique the more I try to do it.

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I just noticed that while she is sitting in the half dark, I can see her eyes better with the lightness of the blue, I am beginning to like this, she is getting closer to an antique look which never was my intention, but perhaps should have been.  Opinions welcome!

At it Again

I read my doll history books at bedtime.  I study the photo’s and dream about dolls.  Lately, this idea began to grow in my head about Rosey’s eyes.  When looking at painted Schoenhuts and other similar dolls, there is an upper eyelid.  When painting Rosey’s eyes, I attempted more of the look of a glass eye inside an eye well.  She had a staring eye gaze.  I didn’t think to try to leave a bit of wood unpainted and let that be an eyelid.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to try it. 

So I did it today.

Rosey Eyes 008

I removed the paint, carefully scraping the top of the eye area clean.  I painted a bluish-brownish line across, then painted white.  Using oil paints.

I pulled the line paint down into the whites for shading, then added more white, leaving the edges shaded.

Rosey Eyes 010

Rosey Eyes 011

Here I started the iris.  Light at first to place them and then darker brown around the edges.

Rosey Eyes 012

It took a couple of tries, as I have mentioned, Rosey has different eye shapes and it is not easy to get them to match. 

Because her eyes are now smaller, I took away some of her eyebrows, as they were too overwhelming for the more delicate eyes.  But after looking at the photo’s I decided to take them off completely and paint a thin line.  She is after all, not a glamorous bisque, but a humble wooden.

Rosey Eyes 032

Thin eyebrows:

Rosey Brows 003

Rosey Brows 006

It’s a very different look, one that reminds me a bit more of Schoenhut than the darker more lively eye’s I have given her before.  It’s interesting that I never thought of letting there be an eye lid in the curved wooden eye, I guess I was so focussed on the eyeball shape as being like a glass eye.  So this is a new experience for me with a wooden doll faceup.  I think it will take some getting use to, but I also think it may be something I like.  It’s growing on me already, mostly because it brings out new thoughts about her in my mind and I think I sort of needed a jolt. 

Oh, and for the bare wooden eyelid, I gently put some beeswax on a tiny brush and “painted”the area to let it get absorbed and protect the wood.  It’ll take a week for the eyes to dry, then I will gloss the eye itself, but leave the lid alone.  Once the oil paint is completely dry I will then beeswax the whole area and buff to a shine.  The shine will eventually grow more matt, but I like the effect, it seems less like raw wood.

Touch Ups

My eyesight is definitely not what it use to be (actually nothing is, lol) and I knew that there would be touch ups as I watched Rosey, but more always comes in the looking at photo’s.

The changes are subtle.  I decided the pupil was too large, so I added a bit of blue into the brown to touch up the iris, colours used were raw sienna, burnt sienna, yannine blue (cobalt) and a dab of white to high light after applying a smaller pupil.



You can see a bit of the blue.  The work light is too strong for the photo, bleaching her skin and muting the colours, but I need to see the close-ups at all angles and lights to see how this will work for future photo’s.  Photo’s and real life, always look different from each other and my concern is that Rosey has been looking much better to my sorrowful eyes than she has in photo’s.  Now the photo side has improved quite a bit.  I will feel more confidence in close ups and in all kinds of lighting.

I added a bit more depth to her eye lashes, thinning the less-than-fine strokes by scraping off paint with the tip of an ultra fine carving blade.   Too thin and they get lost against her wood mottle, too much and she looks like a painted horse.  Rosey can’t do too subtle, it gets lost.  More colour (vermillion) to the cheeks.  Rosey can’t be Rosey without excessively rosy cheeks, lol.

026  I love this photo.  It’s moments like this that make me wonder why I disliked painted eyes.  I have been keeping her wig back so it won’t bother the drying paint, but I am really liking the high bangs on her, bringing an emphasis t her eyes and a more childish look.  When I glue it down, I think I will do this.

For the first time since I have had her, colour photographs do look much better.  I have been hiding her in the sepia tints, which now don’t improve her as they did before.


In fact, the sepia on the right lost her subtle rosy cheeks and her paler lips are lost. So I also darkened the lips.

After taking a bazillion photo’s, staring at her, I think I achieved a look that is far better than I expected and have deepened the antique look, resembling some of the dark eyed antique beauties that I have seen and admired.  She will never have the porcelain perfection in colouring but for a wooden doll with real wood mottling and dark spots, she has come a long way from her badly painted and paint damaged origins:

Jollyann Before Re-do  Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Maxthon Browser


As an aside, I use to think that so many of the badly painted Schoenhuts were from home remedies when they got a bit banged up in play over the decades.  But I now have seen so many similar faceups, that I now believe they were indeed as sold.  In painting Rosey, although I can’t say I spent more than a handful of hours on it, I can see why when having to produce a huge lot of them in a factory, perhaps the unskilled faceups were more due to speed painting than trying to achieve a certain look.  Plus, the gesso underneath the paint and the paint dunking did take away a lot of the facial definitions.

Anyways, I am happy.  I think she is positively beaming.  Now just comes the wait, this paint will take awhile to dry and there is glossy yet to do.