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Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max Bailey

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy is a sweet little tabby cat with a mischievous side.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyHer favorite toy is a yellow duck.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyWhen she squeezes his tummy he makes a startling noise halfway between a quack and a cackle, and so she calls him “Quackle”.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy has heard that ducks like water.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyShe’s taken Quackle down to the pond a few times, but doesn’t dare put him in the water. She’s afraid he might float away.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy ‘s friends wish he would float away.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy thinks it’s very entertaining to sneak up behind them and squeeze Quackle. They don’t think it’s at all amusing.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy’s friends are going toy shopping on the Internet. They are going to order a dog that barks, a lion that roars, and a parrot that shrieks.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy’s fur is painted in a multitude of tabby colors…silver gray, buff, ivory, and gold, with black stripes. Her yellow eyes have a touch of green, and her pretty white whiskers are made from stiffened cotton thread.

Christy’s dress is country red with a pattern of blue flowers with orange centers. The dress is set off by a pale blue pinafore that ties in a big bow at the back. Her striped kitty tail emerges from the ruffled white petticoats that can be seen below her dress.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy is an original one-of-a-kind work of art and is meant for display only. No molds are ever used in my work. She and her toy duck are hand sculpted from paperclay, and she is entirely hand painted using acrylic paints. She is signed and dated and sealed with matte varnish for protection and preservation. Christy rests firmly on a turned wooden base that is stained and sealed in golden oak. She stands 9 1/4 inches tall. She comes with a hang tag, a certificate of authenticity, and a copy of her story.

Christy and Quackle, Original One-of-a-kind Tabby Cat and Duck Folk Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyChristy and Quackle are available for $300.00, with free Priority Mail, insured, shipping within the United States. Priority Mail International, insured, is available for $20 to Europe, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. Please inquire to ruffings@ruffings.com or find her in our Ruffing’s Etsy shop by clicking here.

Christy and Quackle and Natasha and Ivan, Original One-of-a-kind Folk Art Cat Doll Figurines by Max BaileyChristy and Quackle’s friends are Natasha and Ivan (left).

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Reworking my work

I basically redid everything I just did, only in a 5 x 7 size instead of 4 x 5. I blew up my drawing, extended the clothing and added a border at the bottom, retraced it, and re-transferred it onto my Claybord. I didn’t mask it because, frankly, I have no experience with Claybord or scratchboard of any kind. So, I don’t know if that would work. I don’t want a mess with masking fluid stuck in the textured surface. I might be able to look up the directions on using Claybord, but I haven’t gotten to that yet. I’m just skimming their tips now…It says “don’t worry about using masking fluid.” I’m not sure what that means. The implication seems to be “don’t use masking fluid” or “don’t bother using masking fluid.” I’m trying to read between the lines, I guess. I suspect the paint will wash off rather easily, but I hope not too much. After skimming, I am also wondering if I would be happier with the smooth Claybord, since I am used to hot press (it’s smoother than cold press, which is rough in texture, but not as smooth as smooth Claybord) watercolor paper. We’ll see.

I found I had to press quite hard with my pencil while transferring. I didn’t need to lighten my lines, which came out faint even though I pressed hard. Ouch. This is a good time to mention the perils of repetitive strain injuries. Susie of boygirlparty.com did a great demo on a tip to help avoid this. If you work small or with fine detail especially, it’s a good idea to read up on how to avoid injuring yourself. This is important information not only for painters, but for anyone who works with their hands. I’ve also heard that taking a ten minute break out of every hour is a good idea. Unfortunately, I tend to take that time to check my email! Typing definitely does not count as a break for your hands! 😉

I also got a “tool kit” for Claybord. Usually, I scrounge for everything I might already own that might work for any given task, but since I don’t technically know what I am doing, I went with the recommended route. I usually wait until I am extremely frustrated before I cave in and take the recommended route. I thought I’d skip that step since I’ve been frustrated enough lately.

Incidentally, has anyone noticed the remarkable ability cats have to land on your things (or steal your chair) within seconds and still manage to look like they’ve been dozing there for hours? How do they do that?
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Masking

I got my masking done on my little watercolor. Masking at its best is still like painting with thin rubber cement, and here I was trying to “paint” a lace collar with masking fluid, which was quite difficult. I can do this, I know, but I may take a departure here. The handout on the Claybord I recently bought says you can scratch the surface with a wire brush to make hairs. I might experiment and see if there is a way to scratch lace onto it. I think it might make an interesting effect, if it works.

In “Window Box with Pansies“, above, I used masking fluid to paint the lace. Then I painted the watercolor over it. The masking was removed with some dried rubber cement. You can make your own eraser out of rubber cement by pouring some into a cap and letting it dry. You pry it out when it’s dry and wad it up into a ball. It works very well for removing masking fluid. You press and lift, and the masking fluid comes up with it.

Masking has its challenges aside from being somewhat “gunky” to work with. First there is the issue of your brush getting ruined. You can put plain soap on your brush (I wipe it on a bar of Ivory soap) as you paint with the masking fluid to protect your brush. Rinse your brush with water, wipe it on a paper towel, and re-soap your brush frequently before dunking it into the masking fluid. This will keep your brush hairs from getting glued together. Then there is the problem of not being able to see the masking fluid well on your paper. It used to be easier to find gray masking fluid, but now most of what you run into is yellow or white, which means you can’t be sure what you are painting as you paint. Then there is the issue of your watercolor shying away from the masking. Watercolor doesn’t always like masking fluid and doesn’t always stay right up against your masked lines. All in all, it’s a bit hit and miss.

The Frost Angel“, above, was done without masking, by working “dry brush” in sections. This means the whole background wasn’t wet to begin with. You work on dry paper. This gives you more control, but it isn’t feasible in some situations, like when you want a larger, fluid, or blended background, as you would with a sky. The masking fluid protects areas where you can’t stop to control everything. Also, working out the details and having to be conscious of where you are going in a painting like “The Frost Angel” is like being lost in a maze sometimes. You have to remember what you want to be light and dark at all times, and not mix them up.

Watercolor purists use the white of the paper for their whites, and they avoid using opaque paint, which is, technically, referred to as gouache. I was taught to be a purist. Why this is important, I cannot tell you. I think some of us embrace the sheer difficulty of doing this. I do love a challenge, but I have also done this, and I know I can do this, already. Right now I am curious to see what else I can do, and I am thinking I want to scale this drawing up to fit my Claybord and give it a whirl. I’m interested to see if I can scratch lace into a painted area…just to see if I can.
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Guess who came to town?!

I didn’t think we’d even get to vote in the primaries, and I certainly didn’t think I’d see Bill Clinton out this way. We got there two hours before his arrival, but it was worth it. He was a truly great speaker, as he’s been whenever I’ve seen him…only this time I got to see him in person. Pretty cool.

I was a little worried when I saw the vintage Ford pickup they had set up for him to stand in, and when I heard the loud twangy country music over the speakers. I was afraid the whole thing was going to be in a talk-down-to-the-country-people vein, but I’m glad to say it was not. He has a way of really connecting with people, getting their attention, and keeping it. He talks to them with great intelligence and respect. It’s impressive.

Anyway, not something you get to see too often, either in a person, or in this town.

So, tomorrow we’ll be on our way to vote here in North Carolina…