Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tidings unsent

My season's greetings, had I bothered to send cards this year, would have looked like this...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The American (Girl) Experience

Day two of being snowed in (21" as of this morning), and I'm trying to convince myself I do not need an expensive doll. Not now, when I'm supposed to be paying for Christmas presents and conferences and car repairs. But the American Girl 2009 'Girl of the Year' dolls will be retired soon, and I'm still clicking over to Sonali, and thinking DO WANT.

I got my first AG doll at the age of six. Back then, there were only three dolls, with three books each. I saved up the money my parents gave me for putting away dishes and other chores. Looking back, I'm sure they either paid me far too much, or majorly helped with the final cost. But in any case, Samantha Parkington was mine. Over the next few years, birthdays and Christmases, I collected all her outfits. We stuck to the easily stored items - I had a friend who had the bed and the trunk and the nightstand, and while it was all pretty to look at, I preferred lusting over the shiny images in the pages of the catalogs. Sometimes I'd make up my own dolls - each collection had a set canon of items, and it was easy to dream up my own school, Christmas, birthday, and adventure stories for a girl from the '20s, the '70s, or the '90s.

Later, my mother bought Felicity as a classroom aid (she teaches Virginia history in 4th grade). Though I loved her almost as much as Sam - and in some ways more - I was older, and we never completed her collection. Mattel bought out the Pleasant Company, and everything started to take on a slightly pink and purple plastic sheen, as if business woman Barbie had puked on the sanctity of my childhood. Even while shaking my fist at Mattel's decisions to pare down Felicity's collection and "archive" Samantha, I couldn't help but return to my ten year-old daydreams and think about creating my own doll. And it just so happens that I think Sonali, with a bit of work, could be a great Creole girl, circa 1804.

Tomorrow I hope to start finishing a book dummy I began ages ago. I'm also hoping this will quell my urge to get online and spend money I really should keep. But wouldn't Meet Mariotte be a fun project?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Child's portrait

I have all these blog posts in mind - recently, I went to the Green Valley Book Fair, and was thinking I really need to post about my favorite children's books, and why I love them - but I never seem to get around to posting. Hmm...

Just a sketch today. As my website bio says, I teach art at a small private school. Small, but larger than it was last year! I've got about 120 students, ages 4 to 15, who I see each week. Every year, the school does an auction to raise money, and teachers are expected to provide something to sell. I'd done a few super-quick sketches of some of the middle schoolers when we did figure drawing, and the parents really seemed to appreciate them, so I figured I'd offer to do a portrait of the highest bidder's child/children. Two moms ended up splitting the bid, with my approval and one child each. One of the moms already had a portrait of her older daughter, and wanted a sketch of her youngest to match it.



I tried to match the style of the other portrait, but am not sure I succeeded. It was much looser, very soft and delicate (which I tried to capture in the hair, at least). In any case, it was fun - I worked from a photo, but having seen the child every week in art class for the past year really helped.


Note to self: Remember to double up on the paper next time you scan. Otherwise the slide slot shows through!