Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Beauty of an Original # 12

This year I finally was able to commision an Enchanted Doll - beautifull, fully articulated porcelain dolls hand made by an incredible young woman and fantastic artist, Marina Bychkova.

This was a big thing for me, after all, Enchanted Dolls are a serious purchase, with a waiting list and price tag to match. But she was worth it all, everything. Whenever I haven't posted art in a while, it's probably because I'm sewing outfits for this girl... who could blame me?

Marina was gracious enough to meet my meticulous customization demands, and created Fern for me.
I asked for a girl that embodied my aesthetics and what I strive to capture with the girls that I draw - wild girls of the woods, mischevious coquettes, mysterious ladies made of air and mist and ferns.

Fern - Enchanted Doll by Marina Bychkova

I've mentioned before that I like to think of the art-dolls that I purchase as muses. Inspired by Fern, (my Enchanted Doll) and my admiration for Marina, this was the perfect project to suit such a complicated process and technique.For myself and as a gift to the original artist.

 I really wanted to capture the intricacy and exquisite nature of Marina's dolls in an artwork. An etching seemed very fitting. A lengthy, time consuming process of drawing an image into a sheet of copper, letting acid eat into those lines, then printing it by hand with an etching press. The corset and collar were inspired by the intricate filigree silver costumes Marina creates for her dolls. The brambles and antlers were my own aesthetic creeping into the piece.
Enchanted Etching

For interest, here's the initial and final revised sketch I made. Progress shots of the etching can be seen ~here~

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Coquettes in Noire

Just a quick and brief introduction to a couple of my latest little quirk-ettes. With the silly season in full force I fear I won't be introducing any new ones in a little while ... and perhaps it's a little to do with some 3 dimensional projects I'm just ITCHING to get a start on!!! Without further ado.....

Both these little darlings are all frocked up and ready to head out into the night.... and are wishing you all a safe and happy rest of the year!!!



Friday, December 18, 2009

The beauty of an original #11

I only recently discovered Sarah Faber's dolls, but let there be no doubt that it was love at first sight.

Giddy, aching, obsessive love. The sort of love where you want to be sitting at your writing table, with candles burning, dressed in a silk gown and lace shawl, writing detailed and lengthy love letters on ageing parchment with an ostrich feathered quill pen. Then you sprinkle scented parfum on those letters, seal the flowery envelope with wax and deliver by carrier pidgeon. Then you wait all night, by your window, staring into the deep night.........

too excesive? I'm sure you get the point, but that's how I feel about Black-Eyed Suzie dolls. The tattered Victorian in me fell helplessly, utterly and irrevocably in love with her characters and the stories she creates for them.

 Her dolls are all beautifully hand crafted. Tattered bits of lace and torn silks, whispy hair styles, pouting downturned cherry lips, and oh, the eyes. Beautiful, big, melancholy eyes she makes herself. I think it's definately the eyes that snagged me so.

So far I've survived two of her shop updates. By survive I mean waiting expectantly infront of my computer screen for the exact second her shop update happens, the heartwrenching process of choosing, the incredible self restraint not to click "purchase" on each little urchin that tugs at my hearstrings.

Before I gush any more and embarrass myself for life, let me introduce these little wild girls from the woods, shall I?

Black-Eyed Suzie (Sarah Faber)

Cecily & Philomena

please do visit her :-) at etsy or at her blog

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Philomena's Portrait

As I’ve been thinking of the art-dolls that I’ve been adopting lately as muses, I like to put them to work as soon as I can.

This little Victorian urchin is a portrait of Philomena, my first Black-Eyed Suzie acquisition.

I find it interesting though challenging to try to capture a portrait likeness of not only a doll, but also of someone else’s artwork and style. Not only is it a little tricky to keep the portrait style in my own vein of work, but also to keep the figure looking like a believable character rather than a frozen “doll”. Well, the latter was not such an issue here, as Sarah’s dolls are so full of emotion and brimming with expression. In fact, much more so than my humble depiction of her, I just couldn’t quite capture that exquisite melancholy gaze!

One of the most lovely things about Sarah’s dolls is there expressive hand made eyes. There is such depth to them, to which no watercolour drawing on paper can compare.

The muse and the resulting artwork:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Etching in progress

A few weeks ago I mentioned a mysterious work in progress. (As well as attempting to promise myself to not start any new art-projects but instead try to finish all the half-begun pieces... a promise which failed miserably..)

I had begun work on my first intaglio etching since completing my Bachelor of Fine Arts over 2 years ago.
Before I unveil the final piece, and talk about the figure and the inspiration behind it a little more, I'll share some of the progress shots so far :-)

The final revised sketch and transferred onto the etching plate....

Various staes of completion. The image is being drawn with an etching scribe - scratching away the coating of bitumen, letting the copper shine through.

Ps. To my dear fellow enchanted doll fans, yes, she is obviously inspired by Marina's work. And no, she's not my birthday-entry. She was done before that announcement was made, simply to keep with my decision to do an inspired piece from every art-doll / muse that I collect :-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Summer Days....

I adore those days off when I don't get a single thing done that's vital to the necessary function of living (like laundry, or vacuuming) but get to indulge in enjoying the summer weather, friends, and art.

My artist friend Marie came over to keep me company and gather source material for her new series of paintings. It was nice to not to find myself tucked away inside with the lights on all alone, but out and about, re-aquainting myself with the sun and society.

Being in the fantastic mood I was in, I allowed myself to fall prey to the temptation of buying a beautiful art book...

While I'm on the topic of inspirational material, these ladies voices are sometimes all I need to get me itching for a pen and paper. While I realise that probably every second girl in the world (and their little dogs too) is a die-hard Joanna fan, I can't help it. I adore her voice. I adore the pictures and characters that come to mind when her quivering voice is playing in the background...

But best of all, my newest obsession in life.. is wood-wick. I'm telling you, it's changing my life, or at the very least, it's changing evenings at my drawing table.
I recived this amazing candle in the post from all the way in America (thank-you schmooks!) It's name pretty much explains it all, it has a wooden wick. So what's the fuss?

It crackles.

It crackles. Like a fire. Surrounded by my little foresty muses, all I have to do is close my eyes and I can almost convince myself I'm in a log cabin in the middle of the endless green woods....

To finish a lovely day, we finished framing my latest aquisition, a beautiful art piece by Lisa Falzon (Meluseena) just before I went to bed...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wide-eyed Coquettes

They're wide eyed and bushy tailed... and even if I tried I couldn't deny that a certain Black-Eyed Suzie aesthetic has crept its way into these girls.......

Serious Flora
Stern, steely, serious Flora.
Dressed like an angel, with a glare cold enough to freeze your little heart.

With a very enchanted-doll-esque collar and corset....

Scarlet Romantic
A little lady in red. Her roses have wilted and her letters have been read, crumpled, and tossed aside.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I have been shamefully quiet on sharing my own work recently...  mainly because I've been doing more art purchasing than art making!! So I thought it was about time I introduced some of the little watercolour coquettes I've been working on recently.

Without an internet connection at home, I've been struggling to find the time to update my etsy shop/s. These girls will all go on there once I get my act together (to save up to buy even MORE artworks... I'm terrible!!)

Without further ado, let me begin the introductions.....

Little French Olive

Hesitating Mauve

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The beauty of an original #10

I have admired this artists work for a long time. I remember discovering her work as a teenager and just falling deeply in love with the characters she creates, and the melancholy world they inhabit. I have always been deeply inspired and in awe of the sheer amount of drawings Natalia has made. I do not know how she finds the hours in the day to produce all that she has. It is something I wish I could emulate, just draw draw draw!

Now that I'm in my frivolous Art-Collecting mode, I was delighted when she decided to sell this original, one of my favourites from her "Precious Things" limited-edition art-book. And it truly is amazing, to look at all the details up close in real life. Her style and technique is wonderful to behold in the flesh. It's definitely left me hungry for more.

So here's a little snapshot of her beautiful drawing after I framed it, and some of the other muses posing delightfully infront. They'll be introduced later!

Natalia Pierandrei - Pioggia (Rain)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The stars eat your body - Del Kathryn Barton

On Friday night I attended Del Kathryn Barton's 2009 solo show titled "The stars eat your body". I absolutely adore her work. Her figures mingle between being beautiful and grotesque, sexual and unsettling, whimsical and eery.

I cheekily took a few snapshots of my favourite sections from one of her wall-sized paintings, and wanted to share them here. I can't say I've seen any direct influence of her style on my own work, but I do find it incredibly inspiring. Since Friday night I've been itching to find a porcelain watercolour palette and start working BIG... And by big I mean big for me, you know.... A3 or A2 sized, teehee :-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dear Santa....

All I want for Christmas is....

Looking for something unique for that beloved aesthete in your life? The sweet gothy girl you've been crushing on? That lovely fellow who wears Victorian-era bloomers to the office? A Black-Eyed Suzie gift certificate is for all those in your life who have a penchant for the creepy cute...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All dolled up and ready

It's beginning to look a little bit like a doll museum at work. And I like it :-D

Bramble, the doll made for me by Crystal A Suh has come to the boutique. I now get to gaze at her lounging in the engagement ring cabinet all day long. And she adores it, her chin turned up ever so proud!

Odette, who used to be in the front window for years, has had to go back stage,  as there can only be one Leading Lady....

Victoria, Rachel and I spent an entire day stripping the front displays bare, cleaning the glass, and putting up the new posters. Most excitingly, Ophelia has made her debut. A beautiful Enchanted Doll made by artist Marina Bychkova (I know I am still yet to introduce my own!) Here she is, the new leading lady of Victoria Buckley Jewellery!

Victoria mentions her too, on her blog

Friday, November 20, 2009

Curiouser and curiouser...

I couldn't imagine how my creativity would suffer if I worked full-time in a place that did not inspire me, or make me happy.
So even though I haven't had much time to pursue my personal art in the recent weeks, I have been able to put my drawings to good use at the boutique.

Victoria recently designed this Alice inspired ring, and since I've been put in charge of wrangling her etsy page, I created a few little "background" drawings.
(It's only taken me about 3 months to finally be able to take a semi-decent photograph though!!)

Do visit her adorable etsy page to view her sweet jewellery, and more of my quirky little drawings!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The beauty of an original #9

Caroline Kha

I was delighted when an artist friend gave this beautiful painting as a Christmas gift a few years ago. It was a beautiful gesture, and greatly appreciated. I love the painting, it reminds me of a nostalgic idea of youth, romance, and melancholy. I definately have a melancholy streak to me, and just can't get enough of art that portrays that mood in a hauntingly beautiful way.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The beauty of an original #8

Not usually the sort of little guy I’d go frivolously purchasing. However, In this case I was acquainted with the artist, a lovely young lady making bears out of recycled old shirts and clothes with fashion label Incu.

I really do adore anything that makes clever use of recycling and using up old materials, and am a big fan of eco-friendly anything. Her little bears, dressed in stylish corduroy pants, and flannel collared shirts are sweet, but my heart was utterly captured when she created this set of all white opera-going teddies. (Sadly not a part of my collection)

Jessica Sutton – Crafternoon

Friday, November 13, 2009

The beauty of an original #7

A litle bit of all of the above? And a dash of Froud and pinch of Labyrinth?

This little creature was made by a very dear friend of mine, Laura, when I was keenly encouraging her to try her hand at dolls. I knew anything she created would come out marvelously, her work and tastes always reminds me of the faerie world created by Brian Froud. This little guy reminds me of the goblins of The Labyrinth... I can definately see him frolicking with David Bowie.... maybe it's the polka dot tights...

I thought I'd share him here, since I am in full doll collector mode. You might as well forget my name as just refer to me by that title, the Doll Collector.

Laura Jade Hindes - Smaragd

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Breathe, Rusty Breeze - Completed

My plate, all glazed and finished!

When participating in the FONAS Plate Auction, you're given a ceramic plate to paint on, that will be auctioned off to raise funds for the school. I always get very excited to go the event, because it's the first time you see your plate since you handed it in to be fired. The glazes always change colour slightly, certain tones might disappear, others might get darker or stronger.
They hung her a little off kilter, her hair was meant to be billowing out more to the side... but oh well! I'm happy with how she turned out, and she sold to a home too, after a small bidding war - always pleasant to see!

It was a very fun experience, I love getting to draw on surfaces other than paper. I know whilst I was working on this plate I was contemplating doing an entire series! But that would only add yet another project to the looming mountain that is my "to do and to finish" list. So, until next year's plate show!

The beauty of an original #6

The FONAS Plate Auction went very well! Besides a little hiccup at work when I thought I might have to curl up on the carpet and sleep there overnight, I got to the event in pretty much one piece, and only slightly frazzled.

As I did purchase a plate on the night, I'll write a little about the new original that came home to join my slowly growing art collection.

Lauren Murphy - Untitled (mouse)

Lauren was in the year above me in printmaking whilst I was studying my BFA at the National Art School, and I remember always being captivated and drawn to her images. Detailed etchings of small creatures curled up in various stages of petrified decomposition... dark and ghastly, but I loved them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The beauty of an original #5

With this years FONAS Plate Auction "An Artist at my Table" to be held tonight (I can't *wait* to see how mine turned out!) I thought it fitting to introduce the plate I bought two years ago.

Simon Cooper

The artist's name is Simon Cooper. At the time I was just completing my third year at the National Art School, and he was one of my Printmaking tutors, specializing in Copper Intaglio.
This piece is very much synonymous with his style and subject matter, but I loved that it was an Original, and completely one of a kind.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The beauty of an original #4

Continuing along with sharing our art collection at home :-)

My good friend Marie Peter-Toltz recently had her second solo Art Exhibition in Australia. I've modelled for her portrait and figure studies for both exhibitions, and she's an amazing young woman to be around.
At the time of her exhibition last year we were neighbours in a communal artist studio space - me working on tiny neat intaglio etchings, where I needed a clean environment for the paper to stay pristine, and all the painters around me frenziedly coating everything in their near vicinity in paint. It was an interesting experience, but I value all the time I got to spend with her. I am not a regularly exhibiting artist, so there is a lot to learn from those who are.

At her show last year, my partner bought this small portrait.

Marie Peter-Toltz, "Asleep"

Obstacles and an Opening

That marvelous etching I was working on in my last post? It did not go so well... Some technical mysteries popped up, and we're not really sure what went wrong. First of all.... the "copper" seems to not really be copper, yet I'm unable to identify what on earth it is, it isn't zinc, and it doesn't look like aluminium. It's a mystery metal. It had to be left in the ferric chloride acid bath for a lot longer. Luckily though, the lines did get etched in nice and seemingly deep.
When it came to printing the image, the first proof came out almost perfectly - oh I was *so* happy. The next proof... well, almost as good as the first, but the girls face didn't seem to print... then it went downhill from there, with each consecutive print coming out fainter and fainter. What a nightmare.
So, we'll see. I'll save the prints I did pull, and turn them into "mixed media" works, using watercolours, pens and inks. I think, it will actually be fun. But I definately missed my deadline in mind.


On an more positive note, my partner Rudy Kistler had his third solo Art Exhibition a couple nights ago. "Shadow on the Back Block" at Charles Hewitt Gallery in Paddington. He is a painter and works in oils on board and canvas. This year he went on a long painting trip for six months, painting the fruit growing regions in Australia from Sydney down to Mildura. He had been very stressed in the weeks leading up to the exhibition, but I think it was a great success. The gallery did an amazing job of curating the pieces, and so many of our friends came to show their support.

Sadly, my camera does not seem to like documenting humans, and the photographs I managed to take were, well... shocking.  And even more sadly, we didn't manage to get my outfit on camera either... and I really worked hard on trying to steal the show!
So I'm sharing the one decent shot I got of one of the walls, and my two favourites from the 53 paintings he has exhibited!
You can visit the Charles Hewitt Gallery website to see the rest:

Monday, October 19, 2009

A half-hearted promise

I made a half-hearted promise to myself that instead of starting any new art projects, with the remainder of the year I'd try to finish all the half finished and barely started and almost completed ones I've got.

So here you can see three of the little matryoshka dolls. These three finally got a coat of sealant over the pencil drawing, so they're now ready for painting!

And what's that strange murky black void infront? It's a copper etching plate coated in bitumen. I have a week to finish drawing on it, then I'll try to etch it and add aqua-tint in a day, then hopefully printing within another week or two at the maximum. I have a dealine of early November for this one.
That probably sounds pretty close to jibberish unless you're familiar with intaglio printing. I've been taking progress shots of it, so I'll write a nice indepth post about the process once it's finished!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Following on from the last post, little bramble has already become a good little woodland muse. After not drawing for over a month, I'm pleased to be able to share this little sketch.

Those of you dear ones a little familiar with my work, will definately agree this is not my usual style, at all!
But I wanted to try something small and quirky, to compliment the style of Crystal's doll.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The beauty of an original #3

Originally, I thought I'd follow a rough timeline with these posts, but I just couldn't stand having to wait weeks to introduce her, no, I want you all to meet her right now!
I think the whole entire, long, drawn-out version of this story is important. So let me begin at the very beginning! I hope you enjoy the meaning behind her too :-)

Antlered Ballerina Nymph by Crystal A Suh

One day, as I was walking towards The Strand Arcade in Sydney, where I was to start working at Alannah Hill, I saw a girl in the loveliest dress. It was all lace and layers, soft and cream and white and grey. I didn't dare run up to her to ask where it was from, but I loved it. As I was inspecting the surrounding boutiques on the same level as Alannah, I came across a gorgeous window display, just two doors down. Tiny hand-stitched birds mingled with romantic jewellery fit for the ladies of the most nostalgic fairy tales. In the centre of the display was the most gorgeous little doll I had ever seen. Dressed in tattered silk, her doe eyes hiding beneath lashes made of lace, her full skirt just showing off the tiny garter on her slender legs, antlers curling atop her delicate head. I crept in to the store to inquire about her. Suprisingly, the girl I had seen that morning was to answer, that the little nymph had been made by an artist from America. I never missed my chance to peer into those windows every day.

I could never have guessed then, that I would end up working in that same boutique in less than a year. When I did, one of the first things I asked Victoria, was who had made Odette - her ballerina nymph.
So after a bit of research, I managed to track down Crystal's etsy shop, and contacted her. I had by then decided I would like to commission her. I'm sure my first message was very silly. I tend to gush.
Crystal was lovely though, and she's mentioned to me that she got a lot of inspiration for this little nymph from looking at my art. This is especially noticeable in her colouring, which I adore.
When outlining some "inspirational words" for the mood I thought would look nice for one of her nymph's, this is what I wrote:

"lace and moss, of branches and brambles, of leaves and vines, antlers, long lashes, grey, cream, silky whispers, tentative and seductive, shy and cheeky, quiet things, secrets, mist and fog and old woods, birds and girls..."

I've named her Bramble, and here are some shots of her when she arrived yesterday, posing with the lovely Odette, her big sister. I can't wait to draw her soon, my little wild girl of the woods.

'Bramble' - Antlered Ballerina Nymph #2 made by Crystal A Suh

~An Afterthought~
I can sew as well, and whenenver I do not update here with new drawings, do not think I am sitting on the couch eating popcorn and staring at the wall... no, I am probably sitting on the couch eating popcorn and sewing something tiny. When you are a little poor girl, you quickly learn to make things yourself. As a girl, if I saw something I liked, I would usually go home, source the materials, and try my hand at it. Sometimes the experiment failed miserably, other times, I learnt something new.

I like to think I am a *tiny* bit of a renaissance lady, and the scope of my aesthetic tastes is very plentiful. Unfortunately, the time it would take me to make all the vast things that I like and would like to have, well... I would never have time to draw another picture again!
With my new "art collector" mindset, I hope to support other young artists like me, and form new friendships. I have definately become enamoured of Crystal's style, and really hope she and I can work together again.

Please visit her etsy boutique sometime: The Crystalistic Shop

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The beauty of an original #2

Part two in documenting and sharing my small art collection.

Two One - Thousand cans

This artist had a show in Sydney in April of 2008. At the time I was working at the gallery on opening nights, taking care of the invoice book. And this was a busy show.
Hiroyasu Tsuri, who goes by the monicker of Two One, was exhibiting a project that took him 18 months to complete, inspired by the tale of Sadako and the thousand paper cranes. His intricate and highly detailed drawings are painted on old spray cans, turning old waste into unique artworks. I felt drawn to this aspect as well as his style, as I was drawing tiny insects on old bottle caps at the time, and writing a detailed paper for my final year at art school titled 'Social Refuse and Natural Detritus'.
I bought these two cans during the show, one for me and one for my partner. As I mentioned, it was an incredibly busy show and I was writing invoices as fast as I could. Hiroyasu was very sweet and gave me a third one as thanks for helping out. I do not have a photograph of that one, it was of a phoenix. My brother loved everything about these cans, so I gave that one to him as a gift last Christmas.

Here's his website, where you can see all of the cans from the Thousand Cans show: One Thousand Cans

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The beauty of an original

I find something incredibly captivating about original artworks.
It’s hard to describe, but something about the intrinsic qualities inherent in a piece of art created by hand. To see the artist’s touch, to know it’s been brought to life with time, love, and labour.

A couple of years ago my partner and I decided on a little motto, of: “keeping it in the arts”. That is, if we ever made a little money from our own art, to spend it on supporting other artists by purchasing their works. I’ve taken to this motto very eagerly, and definitely spend more on artworks by others than I make selling my own! (…so far)
I thought it would be nice to write a series of posts sharing some of the works in my collection, the stories associated with them, and my feelings on supporting other artists.

The beginning of the collection: Drop Bear

Now that I’m working full-time, and earning a regular salary, it’s a little easier to save towards my slowly expanding collection, but back when my partner and I purchased our first “work of art” we were in a very different situation. I was still studying my BFA, and he hadn’t yet had his first solo art exhibition. It was a struggle for us to make ends meet, and there wasn’t usually too much left over after rent.

We were at an art opening of a large group show when I saw this little wooden sculpture. My partner had just sold on of his small paintings, and when I remarked this was my favourite piece in the show, and jokingly asked if we could buy it, he said yes. I was quite shocked and said, no, we couldn’t… because we were starving artists and meant to be trying to sell our own work instead of buying others. That’s when he mentioned the motto, and I was easily convinced. We were pretty proud of that red dot.

So drop bear came home with us two weeks later, packed in an old corn-flakes breakfast cereal box, classy.

Sadly, I do not know the artists name. We met him on the night, but I’ve misplaced it. I’ll ask the gallery to go through its records one of these days.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breathe, Rusty Breeze

Here are the finished progress shots of my plate, "breathe, rusty breeze"

Now I hand it in, it gets a coating of clear glaze and then gets fired. I don't see it again till the auction night! It's always a little suprise, seeing how the underglazes I've painted on will turn out once fired.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Silence of Me

I have been very quiet lately. An update of my activities is in order!

 I admit it, since the exhibition I have not drawn. Anything! But I am beginning to feel the break is too long now, a desire to create is causing me restlessness.

I do have a project I will be starting on today. Every year, the Art University I graduated from invites selected artists to paint on a hand-made ceramic plate. The plates are then auctioned off to raise money for the school. This will be my second year to participate, and I'm thrilled to have been invited back : )
I can't show any previews... it is pretty boring so far, a blank white circle! But here are some progress shots from the plate I created last year for the auction:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Opening Night

The group exhibition I was in opened on Friday night, and it went very well : )

Ten young artists took part in "Present Tense", and showcased a selection of their latest works on paper. We all graduated from The National Art School in Sydney a few years ago, and it was interesting to see the different directions we've taken, and the way our styles have developed since then.

For those who couldn't be there on the night, I hope you enjoy this selection of photographs!