My Aunt Helen never had a doll. She was one of many children in a family, and there was no money to spare. She loved art but there was no way she could become an artist.
There was something about the doll I saw in the thrift shop window. The way her broken hand was resting near her heart made me think about my aunt and her unfulfilled dreams. It made me dwell on how economics and technology have separated the hand of the artist from the soul of the artist.
I took the doll home and placed her near my easel. I named her Minerva and drew her portrait in the archaic medium of metalpoint. I chose metalpoint both because of its history as an old master’s medium and its potential future as one that has recently been rediscovered by contemporary artists.
Aunt Helen’s Doll was created with 14-carat gold and sterling sliver. The gold was used for the darker values. Those will remain permanently as they are now. The silver lines will tarnish with age, growing ever more luminous with time. Minerva was named after the goddess of art and will always be a work in progress, growing ever more intriguing as the years go by.
Aunt Helen’s Doll is now part of the permanent collection of The Arkansas Art Center (Little Rock, AR).