As I was sketching Dorothea, otherwise known as Dorothy McGowan, I saw her wide set eyes as similar to Katie Holmes’. Odd, because I rarely think of Katie Holmes… The photo I sketched from was taken by Irving Penn. My father, who had worked as a commercial photographer, did not have the highest opinion of Irving Penn. Why? I’ll never know.
All said, I’m just nuts for floral crowns. Adding the purple-blue and yellow was felicity on my part.
6″ x 8″, Water soluble oil pastels and color pencils.
While digging through my bulging folder of coveted images, I rediscovered a beautiful editorial for Vogue’s September 2015 that had been shot by Mikael Jansson.
Grabbing a piece of sketch paper, not quite 6” x 9”, I started throwing down some oil pastels and colored pencils – both being water soluble. The result, I mostly happy with it. Regrettably, I hadn’t scaled this to fit the model’s feet – nor can I find her name!
Valentino Couture Through Mikael Jansson’s Lens
Who is Eugene Hütz?
This is what I asked myself after seeing a photo of him standing next to Iggy Pop, taken shortly after the annual Tibet House fundraising concert of 2016. And, I’m glad I searched this Eugene… which led me to the music of Gogol Bordello.
I’m now a bit of a Gogol fanatic – and I finally had the chance to see the band live in Providence last month! In my “homage sketch”, in which I must credit photographer Rich Russo of Music Madness magazine, I had to confine myself to depicting Eugene and his mate, Sergey Ryabtsev.
Eugene and Sergey of Gogol Bordello
After which, I modified the color levels and printed out a duplicate for coloring:
My interest in designer Edward Molyneux [b. 1891, d. 1974] was ignited by my friendship with Pati Hill. Before Pati’s death in 2014, I had only known that she once modeled for fashion magazines and French ateliers back in the 1940s… I must credit my friends Nicole and Richard in their very thorough research done for the exhibition catalog: “Pati Hill: Photocopier”
In 1919, British born Molyneux established himself in Paris. Many of his clients later became globally known fashion icons. Finding photos depicting Molyneux designed clothing isn’t easy – however I rather liked this ensemble found in a d’Ora studio shot [the model, unknown] from 1934.
One of the most idyllic scenes as far as subject appeal for me is that of a woman, alone – or seemingly alone – on a beach. A girl or woman needing no one or nothing more than sea and sand.
In this I sketched from a photo taken by Chris Colls. [If the notations left on it are illegible, I also credit Gigi Hadid, Michael Kors – for the swimsuit, and Elle magazine.] The retro nod in her swimsuit being an aesthetic bonus.
Gigi by Chris Colls 2019
Maybe watching “Madame Bovary”  again – in all of its endless lacing of and tightening in corsets – convinced me to post this little sketch.
Mario Sorrenti is the photographer extraordinaire behind it all here. Hailey B-B [Baldwin Bieber] cinched in a Dior corset/gown from its Spring 2019 collection for Harper’s Bazaar March issue.
Hailey in Dior 2109
Maybe it’s just me. Yet, while flipping through the Spring/Summer 2019 collections I felt a bombardment of exaggeration.
However, Thank you, Maria Grazia Chiuri! Chiuri is the creative director at Dior. As stated on the Dior website, the present campaign came about to embrace “the body in movement”. Nuanced. And gauzy without obscuring.
The original editorial in W’s #2 2019 issue had model Rianne Van Rompaey with super sized lacquered hair. If my version is a slight to stylist Grace Coddington’s vision, I beg forgiveness. Craig McDean’s photos are beguiling – and I was hooked. (The clothing, primarily Valentino.)
To stay nearly true to the lighting I wound up using some of my student grade colored pencils, with a light wash and a dash of semi-soft pastels for the background.
Rianne Van Rompaey in Valentino
Last year while shopping used books, I happened upon one entitled: “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations”.
To be more exact, this book is the catalog from the Metropolitan’s 2012 exhibition. Whenever buying a museum catalog, there are rarely previews of its contents. Priced at “a steal” level, I was stunned when it arrived; both the quality and quantity of images within are curated with imaginative consideration.
This sketch was done from a photo by Regina Relang in 1938. I do love “Persian Lamb” – as seen in this Elsa Schiaparelli jacket in its collar, cuffs, and gloves. [To be really forthcoming, I didn’t know what that curly black fabric was called until I researched it, mid-sketch!]
Schiaparelli Ensemble 1938
Needing a break from my pen and ink studies, I looked to the Spring 2019 fashion pages. Vogue’s March issue has a profile piece on the [often] nomadic minded Rick Owens. As I just happened to have parchment paper within reach, I began sketching Shanelle Nyaiase [as photographed by Zoe Ghertner] and was intrigued with just how graphite appears in the process.
While colored pencils, understandably, might have been a bad turn… Yet I can never resist when an orange hue is involved!
Shanelle Wearing Rick Owens
The ability to imagine is a vital asset to us all. While not everyone uses this power for good, and then some very sadly don’t have access to its benefits, our imagination is the first step towards change and understanding and progress.
Generally speaking, I don’t share my personal woes with the virtual world. Yet, and with few exceptions, 2018 felt like one woeful day after another. Spring, Summer, and Fall seemed to simply pass me by… Like a year with nothing but a Winter of fear and discontent.
However, I am stubborn. No matter how bad things were, I remained committed each day in creating one thing or another. Such is the powerful force of art.
This year, now soon reaching to the next, I pay tribute to a variety of the Arts – by way of these muses. They are the graces of the written word, music & dance, and visual creations. Furthermore, they are also my saving graces.
As are all of you! Happy Holidays!!
In the mid-Sixties, twenty year old German countess Vera Gottliebe Anna Gräfin von Lehndorff-Steinort was transformed into the now legendary model known as Veruschka. Photographer Richard Avedon, who I recall as that era’s Annie Leibovitz [as in “you know you’ve arrived if you’re posing for…”] produced many of his fashion iconic images with Veruschka. The stunning photo below was taken during Avedon’s tenure at Vogue.
Richard Avedon photo of Veruschka, 1967
My own take on that photo became a kind of neon negative, done in gouache and watercolor: