Kat Greene Comes Clean

Many moons ago, on a whim, I decided to take an extension course on children’s book writing headed by one Isabelle Holland (the author behind the book version of Mel Gibson’s “Man Without a Face.” She had observed that Mel had been a somewhat difficult human being and that was years before he lost it and showed his true colors to the world). These weekly classes had been a highlight of that year for me: I had been at my most creative, came up with some great ideas, realized I was a better illustrator than writer, and met one of my favorite people in the world there.

There are always people in my life that came and went, some quietly, some not so much. I am grateful that Melissa remained constant in my life no matter where I am. It may have to do with a special bond we have because she named her daughter after a character in a story I wrote for class!

The point I want to make here is very important. There are about a dozen of us enrolled in that writing course that semester, and out of the dozen or so that I am aware of, Melissa was most likely the only one who persisted in her craft long after the class ended and never gave up because…she is now a published author! I was so immensely happy for her and was honored to be let in on what went on behind the scenes and boy, the road to success is not easy at all. It goes to show that if you want something badly enough and work hard at it, you WILL get what you want! Melissa worked hard, and the fruits of her labors are now prominently displayed in bookstores everywhere (including the library right here in Oz!!).

I cannot stress how proud I am of my friend, how impressed I am of her talent, how grateful I am of her friendship, how she always manages to buoy my spirits with her sense of humor, and last but not least, how thankful I am of her support in every aspect of my life. She’s the one who kept in constant touch with me, the wandering gypsy both spiritually and physically, and I love her all the more for that.

I am now in danger of being a blubbery mess, so here’s to you, fabulous Ms. M!

Melissa’s book “Kat Greene Comes Clean” deals with a subject matter near and dear to my heart. Kat had several problems to face, one of which was her mother’s OCD and after it had gotten out of control, she learned that it was okay to ask for help. My own mother had a mild case of it and even though it hadn’t impacted my life too severely growing up, it did make me hyper aware of germs and contamination and it was not a good trait to have when I lived in the Big Apple and worked in a building filled with children who were constantly ill. I was pleased to see someone had addressed this issue in a book because I thought I had been the only person growing up who had to cope with something I hadn’t realized then was a form of clinical disorder. My best friend from way back had only recently admitted to me that my house always smelled like Lysol and bleach, which just goes to show how out of control a problem can get when someone remembers it years and years after.

“Kat Greene Comes Clean” is filled with heart and humor and it absolutely showcases Melissa’s sharp wit and unapologetic observation of life through a child’s eyes. I absolutely recommend this book!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580897762/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

 

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My Neighbor Totoro

I’ve done a few Miyazaki based animation characters in the past, but none is as fun as this Totoro set. The idea came about when I received a set of very round dolls several years ago and had every intention of making a set, complete with some Easter egg surprises. But like everything else, life took over and I’ve only just gotten around to making this set. It took a while to hunt down some itty bitty eyes for the Soot Sprites and figuring out the right kind of clay to use to make konpeitō, the little sugar candies Soot Sprites eat. It all came together in the end and here they are!

The problem with making the konpeitō is that they are so darn small! I haven’t had or seen one in years but I’m pretty sure the real ones are a lot larger than what would fit into the last doll. But I managed to find a pair of tweezers with an odd bend that did the trick after several failed attempts! If at first you don’t succeed…look for the right tool that’ll get the job done!

The Ultimate Lisa Kudrow Set

Who doesn’t love Lisa Kudrow? She’s quirky, she’s funny, and she was on the wildly popular sitcom of all time! I was really happy to have been asked to paint a set of dolls featuring Lisa Kudrow in some of her more memorable roles: Phoebe from Friends, Michele from Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, and of course Valerie Cherish from The Comeback.

It was quite unfortunate that this set was proposed right before Christmas with no time limit, which meant I had to put it on the back burner for a month before I could get back to it again. As with projects that are not time sensitive, I usually work on it after 1 or 2 AM, which meant I have very little recollection of its process. This sometimes work out in my favor because I’m usually genuinely surprised by the amount of work already put into it after a long hiatus!

Some details:

Here is Phoebe from Friends dressed in the outfit from the opening sequence.

Michele from Romy and Michele in her Revenge High School Reunion outfit.

Valerie Cherish from “The Comeback” with her clutching her script.

Michele again in her Serious Business Woman attire and the flash back scene in high school where the mean girl placed some magnets on her scoliosis brace.

Here’s Phoebe singing Smelly Cat with the said cat, and Valerie Cherish with an Emmy and also in a cupcake costume.

 

Russian Doll

This is an interesting project I did back in April 2018. I was asked to paint a set of dolls for actress Natasha Lyonne. I automatically assumed it would be something off the “Orange is the New Black,” but no, it would be for her new Netflix series which is tentatively titled “Russian Doll.” Since the show is still filming, there’s very little photos on hand for me to reference so the ladies ordering the set had to contact the wardrobe department or had to source the item they wanted me to paint personally. It was a lot of fun and I am beyond curious about the show now.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

I have to admit I was a more than a little disappointed when the Pee Wee’s Big Adventure project was proposed but I wouldn’t get the go-ahead for some time yet. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure was one of my favorite movies growing up. I think my brother and I wore the video tape out by rewinding the Large Marge scene at least a hundred times per viewing. This was also the movie that, when we were adults, shown to my brother’s potential girlfriend/future wife, we determined that she’s not the right one for him because she’d spent the majority of the movie declaring that she didn’t “get it.” I suppose my brother could not picture a life with someone he’d have to explain Pee Wee Herman to so that relationship had dissolved shortly after the viewing of the film.

Fortunately for me, and possibly even more so for the husband of the man who had proposed this set in the first place, a husband who is once again, high up on the BoBo Babushka leader board (he’s won it once before only to be knocked down by his husband shortly thereafter), covertly contacted me and gave me the go-ahead. It took a while to paint this set because, as always, I had a pile of projects to tackle first. I always ended my long painting day with this set because it just brought me so much joy, as the movie(s) and the TV shows did once upon a time.

I could not stop giggling when Roadblock Drag Pee Wee’s face emerged. That had been my favorite scene in the movie.

The Hubs was away on a month-long mountain bike riding holiday when I was working on this set and because there’s no one there to make sure I take care of myself, I often worked into the wee hours of the morning and discovered something important about myself. I am not meant to be a functioning human being before dinner time! I do my best work after 9 PM. So it was at 2 AM when I realized I needed to add one of the most important elements of the movie in the piece, and that was Pee Wee’s bicycle. I didn’t finish until 5 AM, but man, I doubt I can be that focused to paint this tiny bike at any other hour of the day/night!

Merry Christmas, Craig and Scott! You guys will always be Husbands of the Year in my book!

A Christmas Carol

What’s Christmas with the perennial favorite: A Christmas Carol? I’d been eying this one for eons now, having the tale told to me numerous times growing up, so imaging my joy when someone requested one! This is the George C. Scott version. I’ve only ever seen him in “Patton” and “The Firestarter,” the former being one of my Dad’s favorite. I never thought I would ever paint George C. Scott, especially a version wherein he sports mutton chop sideburns!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

What We Do in the Shadows

Sometimes it wouldn’t even occur to me to paint a particular set, no matter how into the movie/TV show I am, unless someone brings it up. It’s something that always baffles me but there we are. I am beyond grateful to Amy for wanting some What We Do in the Shadows dolls made, and not just a single set either, which means I get to fully immerse myself into the world of these vampires of Wellington for a few weeks. Best of all, I get to watch it again and again, and let me tell you, each viewing is a complete and utter treat.

After going through the movie carefully, I chose two of my favorite scenes featuring the vampires plus one with them wearing their “daily garb.”

The cast in these sets are the same but in different orders. There’s Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, Petyr, Anton, The Beast, and of course, Stu.

The Unholy Masquerade always cracks me up largely because it was held in a the most innocuous location possible: Victoria Bowling Club.

There are so many scenes I love (especially when Deacon was doing his dance for the others), but I loved the fact that they have all taken up artistic endeavors to while away their time, something that mere mortals tend to shy away from because our time on earth is so limited.

Well, this is the first time in a long while that I was sad to finish a project. At least I had fun painting it!

Bob’s Burgers Halloween Edition

…and Halloween mania carries on! I have recently finished a rather large and really fun horror-themed set and (which will be revealed on and around this most excellent pagan holiday of all time) and, just for fun (and also I have this set of dolls that was the perfect fit for this project), I painted Bob Belcher and his family in costume. Due to the considerable rotundness of this set, I settled on the Halloween costumes the family wore on the episode “Full Bars.”

Here we have Bob in a fat suit, Linda as a mermaid, Tina as the Mommy Mummy, Gene as Queen Latifah in her U.N.I.T.Y phase, and itty bitty Louise as Edward Scissorhands.

Just how itty bitt is Louise?

This big!

 

I thought it would be fun to include the ghost of Francine the Guinea Pig after Bob’s sat on her.

 

Hocus Pocus

It’s the most wonderful time of year in the sweat shop! I usually start planning for my Halloween sets in late August and the hardest thing to do is to put it on a manageable schedule as these are the sort of things I can only paint after the day’s work is done. Fortunately, my husband is on one of his expeditions, leaving me to my own device. His function as a husband is to make sure I get enough food and rest and go out once in a while, but without him here to mother me, I’ve regressed to my art school days (minus the heavy partying) and painting late into the night. The advantage of living this way is that I get my best ideas after 2 AM and it is lovely to harness it and jot it down while alert instead of clumsily pawing at my nightstand for a pad of paper and fumbling for a pen.

For Halloween this year I’ve been tasked with painting one of my favorite all-time horror/comedy movies in the world. This request came right after I had made up my mind to paint another fun and somewhat kid-friendly “Hocus Pocus” so I had the rare treat of working on two Halloween-y sets simultaneously. The idea for “Hocus Pocus” came about largely because I was rooting through my collection of hair and discovered I have the right shade to make hair for Winifred Sanderson. Stop freaking out! When I say I have a box of hair, it’s doll’s hair!

I hadn’t planned on making an Easter Egg surprise for this set, but after reviewing the movie again, I thought it might be fun to toss the spell book into it. The spell book was executed at around 3 am one day and I had been on autopilot at that point so I don’t quite remember painting it, which is always a great surprise in the morning when I see it, or a sad one if it didn’t turn out right.

Designing Women

There had been a lot of squealing coming from the ol’ sweatshop a month or so ago. A woman I was chatting with casually announced that she knew “someone who worked on Designing Women” might be interested in having a set commissioned. My mind immediately raced through the cast of the show I used to watch religiously after hours when I was trying to finish my myriad projects for class. Who could it be? I decided not to ask the woman who this mysterious potential customer might be and just be pleasantly surprised. But secretly I was hoping for Delta Burke. I loved Suzanne Sugarbaker and had stopped watching after she left the show.

And it was! She was very sweet and knew exactly what she wanted for her set. The icings on the cake? I got to make a wig, a pageant crown, and a pig!

This set was extra special for me because I have been dying to make a pig doll ever since I became a devout follower of numerous piggy Instagram accounts.