Tag Archives: Painting

Doll Makeunders

Well, this will be something very, very different for my blog.  First, I’m going to confess here and now that I really don’t care for dolls.  I never had any desire to play with them.  If I got one for a gift, I’d promptly shun it.  When I was pretty little, my parents gave me a big doll for my birthday, but I hated it.  I refused to take it to my bedroom that night, or ever since.  Thankfully, my parents found that hilarious, and there were no hurt feelings.  Nevertheless, sorry Mom and Dad. 🙂  I ended up being much happier with things like “Stuffies” (stuffed animals), toy animals, and my legendary Creepy Crawler making machine.  Ah, memories!

Recently, my sister-in-law asked me if I would be interested in repainting the faces of a collection of dolls that her daughters got secondhand from a friend.  They are Bratz dolls, to those who may know what they are.  My sister-in-law wanted something sweeter and more girlish than the extreme makeup and pouty lips of the Bratz dolls.  She told me about people who have repainted doll faces, so I did some internet research and found that I had almost all the supplies needed to do the doll faces.  A couple of months later, after painting over 15 dolls, they are complete and I’ve given them back to her.  I recently got a photo of her daughter happily playing with them.  Hooray, success! 🙂

Here is the collection of dolls when I got them.  The hair was ratty and tangled, the dolls a bit grimy, the faces a bit…adult and edgy.

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The first thing I did was clean them all up gently with baby wipes.  And after that, I tackled the hair.  I found an amazing trick for washing, detangling, and restyling doll hair at this fun site called Epbot.  If you’re dealing with tangled doll hair, read that article and try it out.  It works!

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Once the dolls were all clean and combed out, I took nail polish remover and removed the makeup from the faces with Q-Tips and cotton balls.  It left an appealing blank canvas to work on, as you can see.

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Doesn’t she look sweeter already?

I did some image searching online for ideas and inspiration, mainly from Tree Change Dolls.  I learned so many tips in the DIY link from this site.  Very helpful!

So, here is the result of my work on these dolls.  Enjoy!

Doll 1

It all started with this one.  I agonized over getting the eye size right, the colors just so, and the expression sweet.  It’s not the neatest of the collection…the paint looks a little wobbly as I hadn’t developed a comfortable rhythm yet.  Each face I painted gave me a little more confidence and comfort.  This was fun in the end!

doll 1 a doll 1 b

Doll 2

I tried to give each doll a slightly different eye and/or lip color so they wouldn’t get tedious.

Doll 2 a Doll 2 b

Doll 3

This poor doll had a bit of damage.  She had a scratch by the left eye, and a black line on the side of her head that wouldn’t wash off, even with the nail polish remover.  I had to disguise that black line in some way, so I painted a tiny butterfly over it, with the black mark being the body of the butterfly.  It worked out nicely.

Doll 3 A Doll 3 B Doll 3 B2

Doll 4

Brown eyes this time, and a slightly darker lip color.

Doll 4 A Doll 4 B Doll 4 B1

Doll 5

This one turned out a little less detailed.  This is a miniature sized doll, and her face was literally smaller than a dime (notice my finger and thumb in the before photo), so it was challenging to do this one.

Doll 5 A Doll 5 B

Doll 6

I like to think this doll just drank a strong cup of coffee. 😉  Eyes wide open, this girl’s bursting with energy and ready to play.  Also, I did freckles on this one.

Doll 6 A Doll 6 B Doll 6 B1

Doll 7

Along with the girl dolls came a couple of toddler dolls.  I had a difficult time finding many examples of these particular dolls with the “makeunders” online, so I was winging it mostly.

Doll 7 A Doll 7 B

Doll 8

My personal favorite of all of the dolls, this one was begging for jewel-toned eyes.  She has red hair with a bright turquois streak in it.  I so enjoyed painting this particular doll, with her fun eye color and freckles.  (…I kept this one for myself!)

Doll 8 A Doll 8 BDoll 8 B1

Doll 9

Three boy dolls also came with the group.  I struggled to find many boy dolls with makeunders in my online search, too.  I guess they’re not as popular.  I purposely painted the eyebrows a bit bushy to make him more boyish, and made his eyes a bit kinder.

Doll 9 A Doll 9 B

Doll 10

I’ve got two befores and afters of this one to show a side view of her face for those who might wonder how they look from the side.

Doll 10 A Doll 10 B

Doll 10 A2 Doll 10 B2

Doll 11

Another boy.  He looked almost identical to the first boy I shared above, so the end result is also similar, though I gave this guy some deep blue-green eyes.

Doll 11 A Doll 11 B

Doll 12

There were also two tween aged girls.  These were challenging because they had really large heads with tiny noses and mouths.  I wasn’t sure how to cover that much forehead space, but I did my best.

Doll 12 A Doll 12 B Doll 12 B1

Doll 13

This guy has pretty cool hair, doesn’t he?  Unfortunately, he’s probably my least favorite of the bunch, as he looks a bit wide-eyed and extreme with my paint job.  Oh well…again, I did my best.

Doll 13 A Doll 13 B Doll 13 B1

Doll 14

Another tween.  I gave her brown eyes and blond brows.

Doll 14 A Doll 14 B

Doll 15

Are you hanging in there, dear readers?  This is a big post!  Here is the other baby I painted.  She, too, seemed to need that pretty jewel blue eye color.

Doll 15 A Doll 15 B

Doll 16

The last doll I painted, and one that I had been looking forward to all the while.  Her icy pink lips and even icier stare made me eager to repaint her.  I gave her some pretty cranberry-colored lips and soft brown eyes.  She was a nice way to finish off the set of dolls.

Doll 16 A Doll 16 B Doll 16 B1 Doll 16 B2

While I painted these faces, my mom had it in mind to sew some cute clothes for these dolls.  She sewed one really adorable outfit, and found that sewing tiny clothes was not her cup of tea.  However, I feel it should be mentioned that the blond doll with the butterfly on her face is dressed in an outfit handmade by her.  Great job, Mom! 🙂

We also washed (and even ironed!) all the clothes, and washed up the shoes, too.  We dressed the dolls up head-to-toe (admittedly enjoying the process).  Before packing them up, I also re-rinsed their hair so they were all sleek and shiny and cute.  These dolls are ready to play!

The Grand Finale

Before sending them back to my nieces to be played with, I set up a little photoshoot with the whole group.  Please click to see these larger.

Finished Bratz Dolls Group Photo

Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 070 Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 071 Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 072 Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 073 - Copy Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 074 Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 076 Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 077 Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 080

Long story short, I’ve never played with dolls this much in my life! 😉

Finished Bratz Dolls, all together, plus others 092 - Copy

Thank you for looking!


Posted by on July 5, 2015 in Odds and Ends (Uncategorized)


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Bison Acrylic Painting

I recently had one of those rare urges to do some painting, which was inspired by a photo I came across recently.  Granted, I did have fun painting this, and I don’t mind how it turned out.  There’s something funny about painting though…every time I end up painting, even if I thoroughly enjoyed the process, I walk away from the finished painting feeling as if I just had to get that out of my system.  My passion lies in drawing more than in painting by far.  In fact, my hand is so much more comfortable with a pen than with a brush that I found myself using a bit of stipple technique with the paint.  Sometimes, I think my hand will never relearn how to draw without the dot-dot-dotting action. 😉

Anyway, I thought I’d share this painting, nonetheless.  I did enjoy it, and I do think that it turned out nicely.  A good change of pace for a bit.

And now, back to drawing! 🙂


– Measures 5×7 inches.  Painted on a canvas board.

– Painted with acrylics, with a somewhat limited palette.


Thank you for looking, and happy spring!


Posted by on March 24, 2015 in All Artwork, Paintings


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Norman on Red

Some of you may remember my new house cat, Norman.  He’s been in the house for just over a year now, and is a wonderful – if sometimes naughty! – cat.  I adore this guy, and he’s such a charmer.  He’s got the wimpiest, squeakiest little voice of any cat I know, and he loves to play and roughhouse with my other wonderful cat, Oliver.  Oliver is over ten years old now, and he and Norman are…for the most part…great buddies.  They play and tumble and wrestle every day, and even are willing to share toys and blankets and beds.

So since I’m currently working on a scratchboard of Oliver, I got the bug to do an art piece inspired by Norman.  For as regal and stately as Oliver is, Norman is the clown with his antics and his silly little face.

I don’t often paint…almost never, really.  Maybe once or twice per year.  But that once or twice a year, I simply must paint.  Acrylics are my usual choice in painting mediums, so this is an acrylic painting.  I mixed gel into the paints for some whimsical textures.  Norman is whimsical, after all!

Norman on Red

– 8×10 inch stretched canvas.

– Painted with acrylic paints mixed with gel to add gloss and texture.

– Paint was applied mostly with knives, although I used brushes for some details such as the eyes, nose, and whiskers.

Norman Painting - CopyCR

This was a fun change from my usual detailed stuff.  I hope you like it too.  Thanks for looking! 🙂

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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in All Artwork, Paintings


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Mandarin Goby – Finished!

I am glad to say I’ve finally finished this beautiful, colorful fish called a Mandarin Goby or Mandarin Fish.  It was a genuine challenge from start to finish.  Between striving to get smooth, silky textures for the skin and trying to mix colors to look as it does in real life, this kept me thinking and guessing all the way through.

I will admit that it’s not my favorite of my drawings, and that for the time being, I’m not even sure I like it that much, but it’s finished anyway, and I think it will grow on me eventually.  Not that I don’t like it…but it was just such a vastly different subject matter than what I’m used to.

It’s been interesting. 🙂

Mandarin Goby

– 8×10 inch Ampersand scratchboard

– I used a #11 X-Acto knife, a wide-blade scratchboard tool (not sure of the technical name), and a small fiberglass brush for this.

– Colored with Ampersand Inks, which were applied with very small paintbrushes.  The inks were heavily diluted in water and applied in numerous layers, making the fish more and more vibrant with each of the dozen or so layers of color.  Corrections were made with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Brush Tip pen.

Mandarin Goby WIP 9 FINISHED CR

Thank you for following along!  The views, likes, and especially, the comments mean so much to me! 🙂


Posted by on July 15, 2014 in All Artwork, Scratchboard


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Josephine’s Shoe in Acrylics

You may remember the adorable little shoes I purchased earlier this year.  They reminded me of one of my characters in a book-in-the-works.  Her name is Josephine, and I imagine she wore shoes like these.

Painting is always difficult for me.  It just doesn’t come to me as naturally as drawing, so I tend to put it aside easily.  Still, the bug to paint comes every so often, and then I’ll take out my brushes and give it a go.  I’ve found that painting from life is much more educational than using a photograph, so I usually try to use a real object.  I ended up using one of these fabulous old shoes as a subject, and started in on the painting.

I used three basic colors for this, with the addition of white and black for values.  It is much less complicated to use a limited palette, and it really helps me to learn more about color mixing.

Josephine’s Shoe

– Painted with Liquitex Acrylic paints.  Colors used were Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Ultramarine Blue, Naphthol Crimson, Mars Black, and Titanium White.

– Brushes used were mostly coarse flat, bright, and round brushes.

– 5×7 inches in size, painted on a canvas panel.

Josephine's ShoeCR

Thank you for looking!


Posted by on October 26, 2013 in All Artwork, Paintings


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My First Art Show

I’m sorry to have gone on such a dry spell with my blog, dear readers.  I have been quite overwhelmed, and happily so, with my first art show.  It is called Ashley for the Arts, and it’s a wonderful annual event that encourages artists of all kinds to gather and show their work.  The show was held on August 10th, and it was a beautiful day to be out and about with many other talented and wonderful local artists.

With a lot of help along the way from family and friends, I have spent the last couple of months preparing for this show.  It is a juried event, and I was so honored when I learned I had gotten into the show earlier this summer.  As soon as I was sure I was in, preparations for the show began.  Suddenly, my conversations were consumed with the topics of theme, design, layout, and such.  I ordered a white 10×10 foot tent and purchased some other supplies such as business cards, a table, tablecloths, and supplies to make things such as the screen that holds my original drawings (check out the photos below).  I borrowed and repurposed a lot of things as well, which I really enjoy doing.  You may recognize the bowler hat from this post, and the little ladies shoes from this post.  From the start, I was hoping to put them into my tent to add to the old fashioned theme of the tent.  I was going for sort of an old elegant (picture the 1920s) theme, but in the end, it morphed into a somewhat farm themed tent.  That was ok though, because many of my drawings and sculptures are farm animals.  During all the planning for the setup, I was also trying to churn out as many wire sculptures as I could.  You may notice a couple in the photos that I haven’t posted about yet.  All in good time. 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions to my artwork, and I had many visitors and a lot of encouraging comments on what I do.  It was great fun to reach out and talk with other artists.  There are many talented artists at the show, and I only wish I could have explored their displays, but alas, I had to stay with my own.  I did make a number sales, which was wonderful.  It was just fun to be out on a perfect day, breezy, sunny, in the mid-70s for temperatures.

The show began at 10:00, but we got there at 7:00 to set up.  It was quite a rush getting everything up and ready in time, the tent up and staked, the tables in place, the tablecloths draped just so, the original drawings hung up on the screen, the sculptures set out, and the art notecards, the photo notecards, prints, and copies of my book all in their places.  Toward the front of the tent, I had a small table set up to offer business cards and Smarties candies.  The candy proved to be a hit.  The manikin hand is wearing a beautiful purple wristlet, which was made and given to me by a good friend, Jana.  She is a very talented knitter and does amazing work!  Please check out her blog here.

Once we were all set up (my mom helped me out all day – thanks, Mom! 🙂 ), people were beginning to meander on the sidewalk and explore the tents.  There was not much time between visitors, I am happy to say, and we ate lunch standing behind the tent, quickly gobbling sub sandwiches and guzzling water and sodas to stay hydrated.  It was so wonderful to have such a turnout, and some of my family came to offer support as well.  Thanks for popping in, everyone!  🙂

Another fun part about the show was that my tent was right across the sidewalk from a large field where they launched hot air balloons.  It was such a sight to see!

So that’s pretty much how my first show was.  It was very exciting and fun and exhausting and uplifting all at once.  I hope to do more shows in the future.  At long last, I will now share my photos with you.  Enjoy, and thank you for looking!


Posted by on August 20, 2013 in Odds and Ends (Uncategorized)


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Big Tree, the Big Finale

Yes, that’s right.  At long, long last, my scratchboard tree commission for the nursing home has been finished, framed, and delivered to the nursing home.

What a ride this has been.  I had never previously worked this large before except for a quick crayon sketch of Goliath for a Bible School class a few years ago.  I was so honored that the nursing home staff asked me to do this to hang in their hallway.

After applying the colored inks to the grasses at the base of the tree, and finishing off the tree itself with a few tweaks, this is complete.  I applied a good deal of fixative so it will hold up better over time.  I probably applied 10 or more coats of fixative.  My parents built, painted, and sealed the frame and they did such a great job!

As those of you who have been following along know, this is a very large board at 3×3 feet in size.  The scratchboard, with its wooden cradle (for stability), the frame, the glass, and the backing, all together weigh an impressive 47.8 pounds.  This was a beast to move!

It was received at the nursing home with great enthusiasm and appreciation, which made the entire process all the more exciting to do.  I am so happy they like it.  I know it will have a good home there.

Well finally, I suppose I should show you the scratchboard tree, itself.

The Guardian

– 3×3 feet in size.

– Ampersand Scratchboard

– Tools used were X-Acto Knives, Fiberglass Brushes, various Scratchboard tools, Steel Wool, and Ampersand Colored inks applied with paint brushes.

– I began this tree on February 28th, 2013 and finished the drawing part of the project almost exactly 3 months later.  It took probably around 200 hours to draw, ink and finish this piece.  The planning, building, assembling, and completion of the framing took some more time, so it was officially finished just a few days ago.

It was extremely difficult to photograph, but this is about the best I could do after some photoshopping.  This looks much like the original artwork, though it does lack some detail.  Click to view it larger.

The Tree CR

Close ups.

The Tree Closeup 2 CR

The Tree Closeup CR

To give an idea of the size, I thought I would share this photo of myself with the tree.

Tree With Jen 015Edit

Thank you for looking, for the comments, for your patience, and for following along with this commission piece.  I really appreciate it all. 🙂


Posted by on July 5, 2013 in All Artwork, Scratchboard


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