Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Attempt at Da Vinci, Rosetti and Botticelli

The Melanie Hamilton head sculpt is perhaps one of the most classic ones that Tonner came out with. Close to it would be the Carol Barrie doll. I had this doll long before and attempted to fix the bun. I was not successful at doing that as the doll hair is too thick to be handled well -- kudos to those who were victorious at restyling it the Melanie way (said with a bow). Perhaps accidents happen for opportunities to happen because the sculpt opened up the possibility of repainting the doll (with loosened hair) into some Da Vinci-esque muse.
Woman drawing by Leonardo da Vinci
Woman painting by Botticelli
La Ghirlandata by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

I was inspired by the paintings of La Gioconda by Da Vinci, the women paintings of Dante Gabriel Rosetti  and La Primavera here. Noticing the crimped classical hair of the subjects of these artists, I sought out to do what could be a possible repaint.
I sectioned the hair carefully and braided these into tiny braids to capture a sculpted look that would
capture the light with the little waves. Each braid was tied with a thin thread in the end. Dipping the head into freshly-boiled water for 20 seconds, then leaving it to dry.  After which loosening the braids which is easily done with a toothpick by starting from the ends of the braid.

Then came analyzing the paintings of Da Vinci and Rossetti. The subjects hardly had any make up on and there weren't any noticeable detail on eyelashes nor brows (I tried this doll with no brows on, and it didn't look well too me although it was as faithful to the classical subjects as possible). So why not add some brows-- thin ones and hardly discernible ones.

Here is a result of this project -- as what I call my little portrait attempts these days.  I hope you like it and enjoy it as much as I did venturing into it.


  1. This is absolutely wonderful ! The painting is so subtle, and the hair is so well done... It lifts the doll to a really classical art form !!! You are such an artist !

  2. Thank you my friend Eric for passing by and leaving such a kind comment. The sculpt has the classic contours so it wasn't too hard to see it's potential as a classical painting subject. Glad you liked it. There are other photos that yet need to be posted. Will post soon. Thank you once again Eric!

  3. So beautiful! I am such a fan of your work, I love seeing what you do with Scarlett and other dolls. I would love to collect Gone with the Wind dolls but alas they are too expensive for me on my meager salary, and I have no talent for repainting. So I live vicariously through you!

  4. Hi Kayte,
    It is so nice to know that the portraits bring you joy as much as they do mine. You know there are some GWTW dolls that can be sold to you at a much, much lower price. But henceforth, I shall keep you in mind if I do find one that can be to your liking and much affordable. I wasn't much into repainting until I thought of really changing the Tonner Scarlett face. I can't say I'm as good as the professionals but it does give me joy. Noel Cruz, Isabelle of Isabelle Repaints and some friends from the Scarlett Yahoo Group encouraged me a lot. Thank you so much for passing by Kayte. I hope I do give you joy always with my humble hobby. Take care always!

  5. She IS Sarah Woodruff!!! You amaze me because you paint with your mind as well as your brush, and capture the essences as well as the surfaces. I am looking forward to more of your Melanie discoveries. I think she is underestimated as a doll, as she was in the book. She has depth and fire unseen by most. Also looking forward to your Rossetti inspirations realized, I think Cherished Friends Rose has much of a look of Jane Morris about her, but she needs help to surface. Your blog is one of my must reads every morning!

  6. Thank you very much citronyella! It's nice to know that you check on the blog. Although I must admit sometimes feeling that there isn't much in it compared to other doll blogs and only because I don't have much access to these expensive dolls (being in the Philippines -- halfway around the world where these dolls are non-existent). That's why I try to make do with whatever dolls I have. Thank you very much for your generous comment. I truly appreciate it. And yes, I immediately checked the Cherished Friends Rose (is this the Tonner Rose?). She does have some potential in her. I will be thinking of her from time to time. And who knows might consider getting her soon too. I hope to give you more delightful things here every morning. = ) Once again, thank you very much!