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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

Nails!!!!

I stared at Rosey as she was drying, and ideas came to me.

I thought about how to make her hands more than just stubs. I had a tool that if I pressed it into the wood should leave a indent to suggest a nail bed.

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 It worked!

With a few dabs of paint to enhance it, Rosey finally has hands just a bit more like hands.

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Here are the cleaned up leg joints and then I ventured to darken the blush and the eyebrows.

The blush I knew would be easy, but I was nervous about the eye brows.  Too easy to over do them.  I wanted them like the antique heavy brows, but not like a thick black blob of paint.

086  They came out better than I expected and I became really excited!  Wow! 

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I am falling in love with her all over again!

Rosey’s Spa Day

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Just had to show this, she looked so cute.  Thank you to Lorraine for the lovely school dress!

My brushes finally arrived so….today I redid her face.  I finally invested in a few decent brushes and finally had some very nice oil paints and this time, it not so much of a “make do” with what one has kind of project.

My main concern was that the crumbly look around her eyes did not lend itself to close ups.  I don’t mind a wonky paint job as much as the flaky thing that was going on.  

005  Not too bad at this distance,

006  But this is why I didn’t take close ups.  there were simply too many layers of paint and varnish which settled in the crevices.

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010 So here we go….

015  I removed her wig, loosened the paint with remover.  After working with resin faceups, I have to say how much easier it is to keep a portion of something already done which was fabulous.  I wanted to keep the teeth, but somehow see if I could soften the harsh lower lip.  Other things I wanted to do were to try feathered brows, and repair a few wood issues, lighten us the blackness of the nostrils and tone down a few too light areas.

016 Using a Qtip and remover, I softened the paint on the lower lip and was able to scrape it away easily.

017  Same with the eyes, softening, scraping gently, pulling up the gunk in the deep crevice around the eyes.

019 Husband dear took this photo.  He was hoping Rosey was under aesthetic.  lol.

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I sanded off her brows, her cheek blush, used a toothbrush to brush away the excesses.  A bit of wood shaving here and there.  Mostly to even up and smooth the wood under the eye.  A trick I learned after sanding is to use soft paper to smooth-polish the wood before painting.

Another thing I wanted to do was make her toes more toesie shaped.  So with a few knick cuts, I was able to take away the block look and make the toes so sweet!

023  Before.

026 Before sanding.

024  Look at those sweet things!

018 Another clean up, cutting away these bits of rough wood.  When I first stripped Rosey, I was on home-time from the truck and had precious little time to finish her properly.  I could have sanded her better and cleaned up these original rough spots, but just didn’t have the time.  Now I do.

028 Sanding time.  I smoothed out a few places, but really wished I had my old Dremel.  I would have reshaped a few uneven places, but was not able to.

I used oil paints.  What a wonderful way to paint a wooden doll.  One can blend and wipe away until it is right.  I added a rose blush above her eyes to create warmth, blended the eye whites to antique them, and was able to correct a few flaws.

030 Here is the almost finish look.  She will probably need some touch ups, I am sure I will darken the blush, but this being oil paint, it will need time to dry and set.  My aim was to keep her looking as antique as I could, although not particularly Schoenhut style.  To make the eyes as antique looking as I could, it meant darkening the crevices until it seemed like there were glass eyes in sockets.  Rosey is a dolly face style, so I wanted to keep that integrity.  Once I have watched her face for awhile, made any adjustments, I will then seal her face which will take some (but not all) of the uneven mottled look away.

032  I am now trying all kinds of photo angles, another way I study how she will look, I “see” it better in photographs.

044 I plopped her wig on, it is not glued down yet. 

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I am looking at how the lighting hits, the eye placements, the brows, which look much lighter than I thought they would.  Remember that her eyeballs are shaped differently and creating the iris and pupil is a challenge.  One eye is larger than the other and more almond shaped. 

Close up are now possible, the eye is not flaky! 

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057  She did not lose her Rosey look (thank goodness).  Bangs are not close to her eyes because they still need to dry.

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066  Another thing I fixed, was using the oil paint to disguise some of the light areas from carving.  Around her nose and mouth were such areas, and the oil blended well into the wood. I tried to get a hint of eye lashes, and surprisingly my fine brush was not all that fine.   Again oil paint was fabulous for being able to scrape away anything I didn’t like.  So the thick lines were thinned out, as well as the eyebrows by scraping away excess paint. 

So far, I am very pleased, and I can already see that I want to darken the brows, give her rosier cheeks.  Her eyes will be glossed and her skin will be a bit more even when I seal her up.

A Trip to Glasgow

2013-03-23 Glasgow 001  A huge thank you for a gift received from Lorraine!  Adorable vintage tray, easel for school, and the most incredible cuteness….mini skeins of yarn, in perfect dolly scale! 

2013-03-24 Glasgow 001 A recent photo of Rosey.  She was dancing and prancing and making me smile.

2013-03-28 Glasgow 005 We went to Glasgow yesterday.  It was cold, but we really wanted to just get out and about.  We’ve been there only a handful of times, so I knew of a couple of places that have dolls, but so far, nothing I would want.  At one shop there were 3 Gotz dolls and while not my style, they were adorable and I was tempted by their sweetness.  In particular, I liked their plump chins and pink mouths.  The were £15.

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And  this tiny one, a Mini Muffin:

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All had that wonderful glowy vinyl that has such a nice quality to it.  I could feel their weight by holding the box.  I saw a lot of Monster Highs, running about £12-£22. 

2013-03-28 Glasgow 017 At a variety shop, I saw some dolls that I had not seen before.  These were not high quality, more like the old super-market dolls.  Still, I was somewhat pleased to see less of the Bratz look in teen dolls, even though there are Bratz icons on the boxes(?).  I would guess the smaller one was about 14 inches, the taller one about 18 inches.

2013-03-28 Glasgow 018  These girls were really interesting.  About 22 inches tall and the tallest, may have been 28-30 inches.  They had sweet faces.  I couldn’t find a price on them.  Having a restless husband along, I didn’t get a chance to check out the quality.  The more I look at them, the more I wished I had insisted on checking them out.  They were either really cheap plastic and looking good or better than I initially thought.   I do not remember the name or where this shop was.

This lack of dolls here in Scotland depresses me.  A few fashion dolls, a few pram dolls, but nothing that grabs me.  There was such a burst of artistic dolls in the 1980’sand 90’s, it seems to have faded away.  Modern dolls are looking so cloned and lack personality in my opinion.  Babies and fantasy fashion dolls….what about the vast in-between?

We went to the People’s Museum.  I found a cute photo of a girl and her doll in Glasgow

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The only other doll related item was a couple of doll houses being used as models for types of housing.

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I was fascinated by this one, because it showed a tenement block of flats and how they were refurbished over the decades.  The bottom photo shows the bed closets which is what is now my kitchen.  I can still see the rounded inset corners.

2013-03-22 Glasgow 005  My kitchen was divided in half by a wall so that there was a bed closet on this side, and on the other side that led into the second room, which is now our bedroom, but once was a large kitchen.  Both rooms had fireplaces, the one being  more of a cooker

2013-03-28 Glasgow 055 Sorry for the bad photo, but this is exactly how our bedroom is shaped, see the rounded corner next to the chair…that is that weird indent I have written about, it was where the bed closet was.  I could show lots more, but this is more of side hobby of mine, exploring architecture in history and oddly, the Scots seemed to have stuck religiously to the exact same lay out all of their tenement flats.  I get a kick out of watching for the ones that come on the market and can see those who still have their fireplaces and those who have converted these bed closets into smaller kitchens and or small nooks….but never, so far have I seen them remain bed closets, which is a shame, what a space saver they are.

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These are the other dollhouse, all handmade, including all the furniture.  It was fascinating and made me crave to build one of my own.  I really liked this approach from the top, it made it so much more real in the sense it was all self contained.