new art and old art

This whole winter thing is starting to get to me, I admit.  I love winter, and enjoy going out in the snow, and I understand the importance of having healthy seasons.  But I’m cold now, and I am really looking forward to the spring.  The main thing about winter is that when I’m cold, and I’m inside, it makes me want to sit around doing nothing.  Which leads to me.. well sitting around doing nothing.  But I have been trying to combat these winter lulls.. I’ve started painting again, something that I am still unsure about whether I even enjoy or not.  I’ve been designing some new dolls, and realizing that some of my other dolls are not yet complete.. I have some new ideas though for my Persephone cloth doll, which mostly includes creating a full costume for her, and my mermaid doll, which simply needs more detail work and possibly work on her wig.  I posted a picture of my mermaid on my Behance page as a WIP here too.  I still need to take proper shots of all the cats I made last fall… and the next Rag Bag is in a few weeks!  Gah.  I just never have enough time! But in the mean time, here is a WIP shot from a series of tiny paintings, the paintings are 4″ x 6″.


the Start of Eve {WIP: MH Doll}

So, I’ve been working on finishing a few things.. such as this Monster High Ghoulia Doll that was my very first MH doll I found used.  I’ve painted and re-painted her face a few times so I knew it was time to create her into a full, new character.  I got this particular doll at a steal ($1), thanks to the fact that she was sans arms.  This was the inspiration for what to do with her.. I considered making her more traditional lady arms, but was unsure how to do the jointing to allow them to move still.. and in comparison to “real” MH arms, I thought they wouldn’t look very good.  But then, inspiration hit me in the face with a brick.. a faint memory of a stunning scene.  I remember watching my sister play the PS1 game Parasite Eve.  At the beginning, there is an Opera scene of a beautiful young woman, and suddenly everyone explodes, except for her: her arms explode and out burst these huge scythe like hands.  So, this doll’s name will be Eve.  With this weird, old memory in mind I started creating.  She still needs more work, but I couldn’t hide her from the world! (Also, I purposefully decided NOT to look up Parasite Eve during the design and creation, I don’t really remember what the original Eve looked like, but I wasn’t really interested in creating THAT character, just a character inspired by it!).

Running Horse {custom cloth doll}

Last year, I was excited to have a full commission request for Christmas.  I knew it was going to be a challenge, and I took a lot of time to really work on the design and approach.  I have never made an AmerIndian style doll before, and to be honest, would normally be something I somewhat avoided (I live in an area with a lot of Native Americans, and tensions on occasion run high).  But, since this was for a little girl with an AmerIndian heritage, I couldn’t say no.  I’m thrilled that I did decide to go for it, I think she turned out perfect.  I’m really proud of her, and think that she is one of my more successful dolls overall.  Let me know what you think of her entire photo set over on Behance.


Anomelope {custom Monster High}

Okay, so I’m finally getting around to posting Anomelope, the custom finished Monster High doll that I gave to my sister for Yule.  She started as an Abbie Bominable, and after looking at a few of her customs online.. I knew that I had to make her beautiful, with big eyes, and that hair HAD TO GO.  All of the Abbie customs I saw made her into a bitch looking ice queen (which I guess is what she is supposed to be) but I wanted to give her a fresher personality.   I hate tinsel hair on dolls, it looks cheap, it doesn’t feel nice and frequently little pieces fall out every time you touch it (very true with this girl).  Being the first fully finished Monster High custom that I’ve done, I’m really happy with her.  I wasn’t able to sand her joints down, due to the fact that she is covered with a thick layer of glitter, BUT the glitter already made the joints a lot less noticeable than other Monster High dolls.  I was concerned about removing her face paint, and wasn’t sure how the glitter on her face would work.. most of it came off with the paint, but a nice thin layer remained, so her face is still a little bit sparkly (to still match her very sparkly body).   I also had no problem simply painting over the glitter on her body to add her “tattoos”.  I had sewn her dress, petticoat and arm bands.  Her *new* hair is a LIV wig, that I was lucky enough to find in a thrift store one time.  On the other hand, pulling out Abbie’s old hair.. was tiresome.  It took a lot longer than I expected, and I definitely pinched a nerve in my thumb (it felt tingly and painful for a month after).  It makes me re-think wanting to do a full re-root.  But at the end of it all, I loved doing this doll, I love how she turned out and I look forward to working on more (uh hello Miss Swamp Honey that I just got for my birthday..)

PS: Curious to see Abbie’s before?  Check out this post from last March which includes a shot of her when I first bought her! Thanks for reading.

Palette et Ribambelle

A few months ago I was lucky enough to win a blog contest over at Palette et Ribambelle, for a small hand-made stationary set.  I’ve been following her blog for a while now, she has a really nice, simple but eclectic style.  I was really excited to receive something from her, and oh wow did she send a lot more than I expected!  In the original contest post it only included the booklet of mini stationary (I think?), but I also received two cards, and a really neat pencil that was made with magic (I think).  

Inside the booklet are pockets filled with small pieces of paper, old-fashioned tags, simple shapes, some stickers, festive sayings, and more.  I plan  on making beautiful gift tags, packaging, and paper art with all of the pieces.  I also love that she encourages you to cut up and destroy the book itself while you are creating.  I haven’t opened the cards yet, so I’m not sure if they have anything inside or not.. I guess I should open them?  I also included a shot with a 2 x 4 Lego Brick to show just how beautifully small the kit is, and how tiny some of the patterns and paper pieces are.  That particular Lego Brick has been made into a key chain by my partner, with Lego that we found on Christmas day, literally outside on the road.  Thank you so much for having this blog contest Pascale, you have a very lovely style that translates well into this small kit, and the pencil was a unique addition along with it.  

Another year, New energy

This yearly ritual of reflecting and resolving is.. getting boring.  Every year, I have a huge boost of creative energy right now.  With how busy the ends of years are, I always feel like January is a breath of fresh air.  That I finally get time to myself again, to think, create, and be content.

I have always been a flip flopper when it comes to “new years resolutions”.  Those who read my blog already know this, since I like to do a New Years post every year any ways.   I write these posts so that in my next year I can go back, read them and then look at if what I said actually worked out in my life, if I gave up on it, forgot about it, or really just to see where I was mentally at the time.

Frequently I’ve picked “gain weight” as one, which never really made sense because nothing I do or don’t do seems to affect my weight; ironically, last year was one of the first years that I didn’t state that as a year goal and yet I actually did gain weight last year (which was probably due to my getting older, but whatever).  So I’m happy to say that this one is definitely not on my list this year, but maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle still is.

Another resolution I seem to have made multiple times is regular posting on my blog.  Despite how many promises I give you, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to post on a regular schedule.  My life is just too jam-packed with stuff for me to post regularly.  BUT that doesn’t mean that I plan on posting once every three months.  I am going to make a goal of ONE post a week, especially since I have once again created a mountain of posts just waiting to be wrote.  But I won’t pick a specific day to post, obviously that doesn’t work for me.  Just one a week, let’s try that.  I also intend on posting my Photo Vault Tuesdays again, though I don’t expect it to be weekly, I’m going to aim for once a month (on the official Shock Stock blog).

But, last year I wrote one paragraph that re-reading it.. I don’t think I could say it better myself (hah).  So I’m going to re-post it, since it still applies and it is still how I try to live every single day.  I think that it explains a lot of how I’m feeling about writing this blog, and sharing myself.

“I think that a root of this problem lies in Identity.  I want this blog to be honest, even when it’s ugly.  I want this blog to represent me, my voice, my art, and my life.  Identity is something that I have struggled with since I was young.  I think this is also why I have always been fascinated with self portraits, and the idea of transforming myself on a regular basis.  But I’ve grown to realize that identity is not something that is static, I do not have any single identity.  Rather I am (like all living beings) always in flux.  This gives me a better sense of control, knowing that my identity is not something that I need to stamp out into a neat little square, but something that can change and develop with me.  I just need to listen to my own heart, and be honest with myself, and move forward from that.  I just need to be the best that I can be, so that I can be proud of myself when I fall asleep each night.”

In term of working girl news, I still work at Michaels.  I technically still work at Swiss Chalet, but from May to December of last year I think I worked a total of four times (which, at times were both a good and a bad thing).  I still love my job at Michaels. I do a lot more than just framing.  I work in replenishment now too, which is actually a lot more fun than I ever expected it to be.  I have a brain that loves organization and rules, so setting up planograms, moving stock around and making the store look good I think comes naturally to me.  I think I’ve really made an impact at my workplace this year, and it was actually appreciated, which feels good too.

There is no way to wrap up a year in some pretty paper and call it done.  But I feel as though the new year gives people a reason to reflect, and want to move past their failures or sadness.  I think that everyone must go through this, that must be why resolutions were created in the first place.

This year is dedicated to learning and growing once again, because if I do that then I can never say I didn’t accomplish anything.

Here’s to new energy, take a deep breath, then take advantage of it.  Thanks for reading, Rin Vanderhaeghe.

A Gift: Estrella Cisne {Custom Monster High}

This year, me and my sister Stacey (of Josebabarock Designs) did a gift exchange of custom Monster High dolls (yeah, for Christmas, and yes I realize that this might seem a month early to some, but this was when we celebrated okay?).  I will be posting pictures of the custom I made for her, but for now enjoy the beautiful doll that I received.  Her name is Estrella Cisne, and I think that she is just wonderful.  Her back features a beautiful swan tattoo, and she is adorned in jewels and even has wire slippers.

This is the description that my sister wrote about her:

Customized Draculara monster high doll. Faceup, hair styles, clothes sewn by hand, jewellery created by hand by me.

Name: Estrella Cisne (Star Swan)

Description: Adorned with crystallized star-dust(clear crystals), glacial ice (blue crystals), and meteorite jewels(black crystals) she dances the celestial ballet of the swan amongst the constellations. She is the reason stars sparkle in the night sky from dusk to dawn.

To see some before and process shots, click here!