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MAYIM- Fish Boi Work in Progress

Creating a whimsical doll with Paperclay

MAYIM- Fish Boi Work in Progress

Mayim is an experiment using Paperclay to sculpt a whimsical doll.
Though cloth soft sculpture is my first love in the art of dollmaking, I’m practicing hand at something I’d love to improve on.  Sculpting in clay does not come naturally to me, but I do find it a lot of fun.  Though I work slowly, I’m not concerned.  I’m happy with the way Mayim is evolving!

Here is a full-length closeup of my handsome fishy guy.  He’s holding a bit of silk because he wants some clothes.  I guess he’s coming up onto dry land and he needs something to wear.  I don’t blame him!  I do promise to get to that soon, but first I need to give him some arms and legs.  Funny, he doesn’t seem to care about that…
Here is a closeup of his face.  I’m in love with his soft, dreamy features.  His green eyes are my favorite.
In 2016, I traveled from New York City to Florida to take a 5-day dollmaking workshop called “Dutch Touch.”  The class was given by two doll artists that I have always admired – Marlaine Verhelst and Ankie Daanen from the Netherlands.  These ladies lit the first spark in my creative heart for working in Paperclay.  And I’m burning like a furnace!  Though it is very challenging for me, I just adore it.
Paperclay is nice to work with because it is an air dry clay.  There is no need to bake it.  it does take some time to dry, but if you work slowly as I do, it’s fine.
I’m using watercolor paint on a very simple porcelain dish to paint my doll.  It’s actually a Pottery Barn plate from my kitchen!  I learned this technique from Ankie and Marlaine, and it is the softest, most relaxing way of painting.  All you need to do is put a tiny little dot of each color onto the plate, and dip your brush in water.  Mix the colors together with a little at a time.  As you lay the color down on the dried Paperclay, use a wet brush to keep blending until you get the lovely shades of color on your doll’s face.
Here is a photo of Mayim’s hand being painted in a bluish watercolor wash.  It’s so dreamy!
A big plus about using watercolor is that you can walk away from it and come back later.  You can leave the face, the paint, and even the brush.  This is very helpful to me because I work so very slowly.  With regular acrylic paint, I can’t mix the same exact shade again if I let it dry.   Watercolor is heavenly because all you need to do is add water and voilà!  
The whites of Mayim’s eyes are done with gouache paint.  Everything else is watercolor.   Once I am done with the work, I will spray it with a fixative and apply a clear coating if glaze to preserve it.  I love this painting process.  It makes me feel so calm and happy.
This is the silk I’m planning to use for Mayim’s clothing.  It was dyed with Jacquard Pinata alcohol ink.  These silks were a gift that an artist friend gave me 12 years ago.  I have been holding onto them all this time, and now I know why.
Mayim has a cute little fish with Swarovski crystals for eyes.  He’s sculpted from Paperclay, too.  Mayim’s feet aren’t done yet.  I’m thinking about giving him flippers, and I need to figure out exactly how to do that.  I will probably use Translucent Liquid Sculpey, and I promise to show you how it comes out (unless it doesn’t work and I end up trying something else).    Oh, how I love art!  I can do whatever I want and it’s OK!
I got the idea for my little fishy boi from Marlaine, in her online class called  Elf and his Fish.   This is her wonderful little fishy elf, posted with her permission, of course.
My doll looks completely different, and I can’t explain why I can’t seem to do what I am told… everything always has to be my own way!  After I made the fish, I started on the head and followed along for a while until eventually, I went off in my own direction.  I never finished the class!  I guess I’m an obstinate student.  I hope that Marlaine will forgive me!
Press here to read more about Marlaine and her beautiful dolls,
And go here to see Ankie’s work.
Please visit again soon, to see how Mayim and his fish turn out.  I am working on another doll at the same time, so it will be a while before he will be ready.  Lucky for me those watercolors won’t dry up!