The idea to paint Dorothy Gale and her cohorts had never been an urgent one. I wasn’t crazy about the original movie (although I do love the creepy sequel: “Return to Oz” starring the pre-scary Fairuza Balk of “The Craft”), so I was a little surprised by the sudden desire to paint this set. It might have something to do with the piece of tri-colored faux fur that I spotted and all of sudden, everything just clicked into place.

They’re not the most traditional set of Wizard of Oz dolls, but who says I have to stick to the script?

Here’s the Scarecrow with faux burlap sack for a head (it’s unbleached linen, but it totally does the trick…and much easier to paint on than actual burlap). I bullied my friend Kristy to hand over the raffia she had in her car. It’s not safe allowing me into your private domains because I’m an unscrupulous scavenger.

Owls are a symbol of intelligence…and they’re not as creepy as, say a scarecrow holding a jar of brains. Corduroy sport coats also reminds me of doctorate candidates who see nothing wrong with giving a nine-year-old girl Faulkner for her birthday. Yes, I still have that book, and it’s very useful as a leg substitute for my bureau.

Here’s the Tin Woodman. In this Alternate Oz, he’s a bit of a dandy. Don’t you love his glittery heart?

I loved the idea of the Cowardly Lion having tri-colored mane AND sporting a snazzy fur collared tweed coat. Here he’s holding a crown to symbolize courage. His mane was the whole reason for this set. Although I immensely enjoyed styling his hair, I also knew that I have no business doing people’s hair.

There were probably very few private schools in Kansas in 1900, which was why I nixed the idea of putting Dorothy in a jaunty plaid skirt, but there’s no reason why she shouldn’t wear a sweater.

I think I’m going to ask for a pair of sparkly red shoes for Christmas this year.

Toto was fun to do. This was the first time I’ve ever sculpted a nose and ears directly onto a pet.

Whew! Glad that’s over and done with. Now let’s talk about “Return to Oz.” I showed this to my students back in the days and a few of them were reduced to tears. Can you blame them? I mean, just look at this scene!

This is where the evil Mombi kept all the pretty girls’ heads…she would switch them up like a person would a hat. Fantastic movie.

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