February 11, 2014

Troll Dolls and other Toys Within Reach from the Sixties

In the late autumn of 2011, when I was about at the nadir of my illness, I made a series of small paintings of troll dolls. I had these in my personal collection from childhood. Not wishing to keep them I put them up for market on E-bay. The best of my collection sold and I was left with just two scrappy looking dolls as well as a good troll horse that I had changed my mind about selling. I had not the energy to continue to work on e-bay by November nor could I do much of anything for quite some time. Needless to say, I still painted, albeit very slowly and very small. I turned to my two remaining troll dolls and the troll horse as subject matter for small paintings simply because they were there in my collection of toys from the mid to late sixties and within easy reach. At the time I joked with my friend Lee Malerich, that if I were ever to exhibit these I would name the exhibition “At Arm’s Length” because I was only painting things within reach of my immediate resting places. I painted the troll dolls, some kitsch bone China figurines, and a large plastic frog.

By far the troll dolls were my favorite subjects from this time period. Something about that hair that went on forever, double the length or more of the strange little beast’s body. I had a supply of long and narrow panels that were just the right dimensions for the troll dolls. Their bodies were painted onto the lower third of the panel leaving the rest of the space for the hair. I had fun with that hair, twisting it into odd shapes and changing the color to suit my whims. I only stopped painting this series when I ran out of panels. Otherwise I might still be painting them today! The series didn’t actually stop, though, with the long and narrow panels. I discovered that I had a supply of five by seven panels which I used for back views of the troll dolls. For these I painted the hair split or bobbed to fit the small space.
I thought that studying the troll doll back, front and sideways made good use of my prop from the sixties. It was only after I posted them on Etsy, however, and saw one selected for a treasury featuring “moons” that I realized that the back view was a bit rude looking. How ironic to have such a thing painted on a marble dust gesso ground, Renaissance style!

For about a year I was too weak to sit at a computer for more than about five minutes at a time. As a result my blog site and web site became fallow fields. With my current exhibition and peaks of restored stamina I can now discuss some of this work on my blog post and elsewhere. Always nice to take a second look at work gone by.

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