It’s no secret among my friends and family that I prefer music played in a continuous loop on classic rock radio. Back when people used to own CDs, my collection had been referred to as the-kind-of-albums-usually-owned-by-44-year-old-single-men-still-living-in-their-mother’s-basement. It’s true. I’d bring dates home and distracted them with cake or miscellaneous art work lying around, just so they didn’t wander over to my CD tower and discover that a majority of them bore the distinctive Roger Dean covers.
I love The Who. This would be my 900th set and I hope I did it justice. If I can’t paint the boys who had gotten me through high school and most of college with their “sound,” I should just give up the babushka game and go into actuarial science.
It turned out all right, I think.
This is the first time I didn’t place the drummer (Keith Moon) at the end of the lineup so I got to put in some details on the drum kit.
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle.
I usually listen to stand up comedies or “watch” TV and movies while painting. But for this set? It’s The Who albums all the way through, including the original Broadway cast recording of “Tommy.” I treated my friend to the show for her birthday and in turn, she treated me to it for mine. Afterwards we went again because we were theater nerds and also back then we could also get orchestra seats for $50, which was affordable for high schoolers with no substance abuse issues. I believe my friend saw the show on her own 4 more times. I would’ve gone with her, but, unlike her, I did have to watch my pennies since I was an art student whose classmates tend to have a bit of sticky fingers syndrome due to the high cost of art supplies and had to carefully split my allowance between Broadway shows and replacing my stolen T-square or Rapidographs.
I’ve always wanted to paint a group of dolls featuring some random musicians, not just a band, but different artists to represent different genres or style or whatever. Ever since I started the babushka game, I realized that A. there are tons of like-minded people out there and B. they usually make my dreams come true.
Here’s a set for a music fan featuring performers he likes:
We have Stevie Nicks in her “Stand Back” outfit, Boy George with his trademark chapeau, George Michael (RIP) in “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” , Stuart Anderson, and Dolly Parton.
I’ve been making wigs and sculpting hair on dolls for so long that crafting Stuart Anderson’s ‘do was no problem. It was Dolly Parton I had the most fun with because I never had an opportunity to sculpt breasts on a doll before and that was a treat. It brings me back to my art school days where I did horribly in my sculpture class because I simply couldn’t get the clay to go the way I wanted to. But practice does make perfect and now I can make a pair of boobs without one looking as though it’s ashamed to be with the other.
Years ago, when I was young and silly, my friend and I wanted to form a girl group called the Screaming Librarians. It would be her and me and I assumed she would be the lead vocal while I provided the music. I had many years of classical piano and flute under my belt by then but I’d listened to enough Emerson Lake and Palmer to know that I can probably rock a Hammond Organ if I A. get my hands on one and B. get a couple of daggers like Keith Emerson and stab the keys with it. We would play CBGB and Limelight and The Tunnel and take the club scene by storm. The closest we got to performing as a unit was our 11th grade poetry class where we recited a poem about bats dressed as Goth bats and flapped our arms around a papier mâché sheep and then we sacrificed it. I still have no idea how I got talked into the whole thing and why there’s a sheep involved and how we ended up repeating this performance in front of the entire junior class at an assembly and how we managed to get an A on it. I do remember having to take the subway with the sheep and the commuters giving me a wide berth despite the fact it was rush hour and thinking maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to tote this sheep to school each day to keep the pervs would stop trying to press up against me.
This is why I have quite a lot of respect for girl groups featuring performers with actual talent. Their only gimmick is the fact that they can sing, and quite well. This is my homage to one of the best girl groups to date: The Ronettes!
I always look forward to the New Year because it’s when I paint for my friend Susie’s charity projects and she usually proposes something I’ve never done before. This year, however, someone else beat her to the punch. “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” was one of those off-Broadway shows I went to see on a whim without knowing anything about it and it, along with the movie version, had made quite an impact on me. Also, I’d seen and met the creator and star in person at a Broadway flea market years before (he was representing “The Secret Garden” table because he had been Dickon on the show) and thought he was really sweet and very cute. What a great start to a new year!
The buyer and I agreed straight away that this set would only feature Hedwig in various stages of her transformation (but in reverse).
One thing that worried me was the cape she wore in the opening scene…I had to find a fabric stiff enough to withstand the amount of paint, glitter and subsequently the wool that would be piled on it. Fortunately the last time I was in the States I had this crazy notion that I would have time to start teaching myself how to needle point and bought a roll of canvas. It’s good to see it put to good use if not for what it’s really intended for.
As much as I love painting these dolls, I never pass up a chance to do something different!
Some close ups:
One of the highlights of my week is to catch an episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It’s a refreshing take on musicals on television and, in my opinion, the most creative thing to happen since “Cop Rock.”
I was asked by the star of the show herself Rachel Bloom to create this set featuring some of the cast as a gift for her friend. This is one of those sets that went well from initial conception to the final outcome, so I was pretty happy there were no tears involved. Also, I’m finally doing something about a chronic pain in my shoulder that’s keeping me from being all that I can be so that’s an extra bonus.
This version features (largest to smallest) Rebecca Bloom, Josh, Paula, Greg, Daryl, Heather, and Trent. Too bad the doll version don’t sing.
As much as I loved John Waters’ movies, I’ve never seen “Cry Baby.” Emi at the Pygmy Hippo Shoppe talked me into watching it, promising that I would like it and I did! Especially the very pregnant Ricki Lake!
Here we have (largest to smallest) Wade “Cry Baby” Walker, Allison Vernon-Williams, Pepper Walker, Wanda Woodward, and Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnorowski. It reminds me a little of those 50s movies about teenagers (“Reefer Madness” anyone?) that the guys on MST3K used to spoof but with better music.
Yes, you know I’m spoiled when I complain about the glorious almost eternally sunny Gold Coast weather. Truth be told, this is the saddest time of year for me because I’m a true Autumn girl at heart. I love that nip in the air, the foliage turning from green to gold and red and crunching the ones on the street is all sorts of delicious. Most of all, my two favorite holidays–Halloween and Thanksgiving–are all in the mix. I get none of that here in Australia. While everyone is getting ready for summer, I grumpily swap my sweaters for flip flops and tank tops and take the plastic off the fan and dream about having the oven on all day to bake all sorts of yummy autumnal foodstuff.
To combat my sadness, I’ve decided to paint my annual Halloween set early. This year it is all about Rob Zombie and his band.
I was working on something else while thinking about this set and thought perhaps I ought to have a top hat 3-D printed for Mr. Zombie. It totally ties the whole thing together, wouldn’t you say?
This may not take place of what I’ve given up in the northern hemisphere, but at least I can go down to the beach and literally drown my sorrows in while trying to pet the pelicans.