Guest Post: Painting Barbie by Beth Bordelon

Dear Reader:

Our “From the Pink Shed” hostess Michele asked me why I paint Barbies. The easy answer is, “ I just thought it would be fun.” But when pushed to consider the question a bit more deeply a few things come to mind.

For inspiration, I often take or find photos of subjects I might like to paint later. One of my largest photo files is the Barbie folder. Not just any Barbie, but the vintage original Barbie dolls that Mattel introduced back in 1959. For some reason, later Barbies seem frivolous and maybe a bit tacky to me,  yet the original Barbies seem classic.

When my daughter was growing up in the late 1990s, I intentionally never bought her a Barbie. I felt that those unrealistically shaped, perfect glamour girls would be unattainable or improper role models for her. When friends or family members gave her a Barbie as a gift, I would go out and buy the doll a doctor’s outfit, a basketball uniform or an art studio in order to give her something productive to do, something that made her more than just a pretty face.

I think part of my interest in painting Barbie dolls (and other retro toys) is due to my 14-year career as an advertising art director. I created many a layout for clients’ products or services—hamburgers, soap, cameras, clothing. Paintings can turn objects into heroes. Think of Andy Warhol and the Campbell’s soup can. Painting a Barbie feels a little like creating an ad for her without the need for a headline!

Ironically, growing up, I never owned a Barbie.  My parents gave me a Tammy doll with her very own carrying case instead. (I still have both!) I liked her and certainly had plenty of opportunities to play with my friends’ Barbies, not to mention Midges, Kens and Skippers. So am I now trying to compensate for my “deprived” childhood? My amateur psychoanalyst self says I don’t think so.

If I was to be totally honest —and I’m embarrassed to admit this—there’s a part of me that relates to this perfect long, tall gal. We both came into the world in 1959 — Mattel started selling Barbie five days after I was born. She’s long and lean and so am I, at 5’10” with a 33” inseam. She’s perfect, and I’m, well, a perfectionist. I’ve fought hard to let that label go, but hey, it’s a process! Who knows how many more Barbies I’ll paint. Perhaps she’s out of my system. We shall see…

Beth

My friend Beth’s work can be found at Bordelon Artworks. In addition to being a very talented artist, she is a very dear friend to me. You can reader more about Beth and our friendship here.

Inspiration!

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Dear Reader:

 

I woke up feeling lazy today! Thank goodness Andy Warhol wasn’t lazy. He left a wealth of whimsical, extravagant, bold art for the world to judge. His work has always both delighted and inspired me, but today I particularly appreciated his words of wisdom because I needed a kick in the lululemon workout (lounge) pants! As you know from my About Me page and previous posts, from the pink shed. com is my first foray into social media. WordPress provides me with the tools I need to monitor my readership and it can be tempting to linger on the  STATS Page focusing on my numbers, rather than writing, reading or researching.  It is also so much easier to ask my technology consultant to make a change or improvement rather than to learn to do it myself.

I write because it’s fun to play with words and it’s also a great challenge.  As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”  My heroines have always been writers: Joan Didion, Louisa May Alcott, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Madeleine L’Engle. I am not a woman with that depth of talent, but I have stories to tell, friends to introduce, opinions that insist upon being heard and, just now, I have the time!  I will continue writing and working to boost my readership and improve my technical expertise!

Thank you for being one of my first readers! Please continue sending me your comments and ideas.

Sincerely,

Michele