Fire Submerged

Brushwork, Projects Series

The color orange acts like a magnetizing force when it comes to my personal aesthetic. Symbolically speaking, orange seems to be as paradoxical as my own personality… translating as both warning and warmth. Utility and creativity. Ripe fruits and autumn’s leaves.

From this photo editorial shot by Carlos Serrao, model Wanessa Milhomem plunged into the waters wearing this blazing orange Cavalli dress. And as with my passion for orange, water cannot extinguish these flames!

Fire Submerged

 

 

Wild Abandon

Brushwork, Graphic, Projects Series

Am I ready to break more rules? I ask myself. There are, for argument’s sake, “technical” illustrators and then there are illustrators who master the human form and go on to find a way to express these skills on a more emotional level. And I aspire to fall into the latter category.

Again, I was taken by Ethan James Green’s series of photos for the July issue of Vogue. As I had already depicted the marvelous Raquel Zimmerman, this time I opted for Imaan Hammam who wears Dries Van Noten. Van Noten’s designs are driven considerably by the force of his own palette. For me, I couldn’t tell anyone if I favored his more industrial hues versus his vibrant ones… 

imaan-in-drie-van-norton-2019

Illustrating the Impact of Norma Kamali

Graphic, Projects Series

While my assorted visions can be fuzzy at times, nobody could say this of the legendary designer Norma Kamali. And I cannot pinpoint the exact year that I was first smitten and intrigued by Ms Kamali, I’ve recently reconnected with her present collections – and being blown away in both her aesthetic as a designer as well as the considered integrity that she upholds both personally and professionally. Rather than fill this post with the Kamali history, there is a fascinating article one can read on Vogue’s pages.

As my salute to Ms Kamali, I joined together one look which dates back to 1983 [roughly being that era when she arrived on my radar] with the tracksuit found in her present line. Quite the companions!

Norma Kamali Salute

 

A Very Mod Maudie

Brushwork, Projects Series

While on a vintage fashion photo spree, a 1967 photo by Patrick Hunt seized and transported me both backwards and forward. A model by the name of Maudie James, dressed in 60’s Mod icon Mary Quant and seated in floral patterned “Barrel” chair. This über-cool chick I once dreamt of becoming…and to be dressed in Mary Quant!

Yet, I couldn’t be stopped in re-imaging this in my own [quite twisted] way.

The chair became a setting of its own for some trippy botanical, as photographed by my friend Bryel. And Hieronymus Bosch inspired some sort of pattern for Maudie’s outfit – as well as an added pot with its fern. More madness came over me as I left my “medium comfort zone” and went to town with pastels of all kinds applied to a – roughly – 12” x 12” hunk of grey mat board.

Maudie James in Mary Quant. Photo by Patrick Hunt, 1967

Maudie James in Bosch

*A special mention of gratitude to Clive Arrowsmith: As I couldn’t find anything as far as Maudie’s background, Mr Arrowsmith had written of his experience with her in that she was very quiet… shy…

The Elisa Sednaoui Impact

Brushwork, Projects Series

More often than not, my subjects are a mystery to me when in the process of either sketching or painting them. It is only after I’ve finished a piece when I then go online to acquaint myself with my subject – along with the creatives behind the photo.

Elisa, Photographed by Angelo Pennetta for W Magazine.

This watercolor came by way of a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld which is featured in the current issue of W . Photographer Angelo Pennetta – whose work is lauded worldwide – is seemingly a private man… Stylist Sara Moonves, in an inspired move, lent her own veil to Elisa Sednaoui. While Elisa Sednaoui, I learned, began her own foundation in 2013 which allows children from both Bra, Italy and Luxor, Egypt to discover the world and power of the arts. Now that’s remarkable!

Elisa Sednaoui in Chanel

The Power of Ruth Bell

Brushwork, Projects Series

Rather recently I had a musing of combining a strong female face to be painted in Payne’s Grey and black and then superimpose a vividly colored floral over it. But, whose face?

I’ve seen many images of model Ruth Bell. I just didn’t know know that I had…

Not until the June/July 2019 issue of Harper’s Bazaar had arrived. In its editorial titled “The New Florals”*, photographer Sebastian Kim is brilliant in harmonizing the setting with saturated patterned fashions which don’t diminish Ruth’s presence in the least. Better yet, my search for the face I wanted was found after seeing Ruth Bell hold her own in a bold Balenciaga kimono.

 

Sebastian Kim photo of Ruth Bell, Harper’s Bazaar

 

I then scoured Ruth Bell’s [hopefully, to be forgiven] Instagram and fell for a shot of her, wonderfully unplugged…

Ruth Bell, Watercolor 2019

*I’d feel derelict if I did not give mention to the fantastical location, being “Quesalcoatl’s Nest” in Naucalpan, Mexico. This oasis was designed by architect Javier Senosian.

Another Dorothea

Brushwork, Projects Series

Just last month I had posted my rendering of Dorothea McGowan, in which she was crowned in flowers… There is actually a veritable Candyland out there of Sixties era McGowan photo shoots. Among them, a stunning vignette which is credited as photographed by William Bell. Other than his many other credits when he had worked for Vogue magazine, I had no luck in finding out more about the man.

In this [primarily] oil pastel piece, I knew I could only try to capture the overall mood. Also, there is no monkey to be found in the photo which I worked from. Of course that didn’t prevent me from adding one.

dorothea-in-recline-05-02-2019

Bride and Groom – Groom and Bride

Projects Series

Do I dare to even imagine the red carpet hoopla which will descend at the Met’s gala for their upcoming “Camp: Notes on Fashion” costume exhibition?! Already I am beside myself over Vogue’s May 2019 issue…

Their editorial “warm-up” is entitled Breaking Camp. Already stupidly giddy over actor Ezra Miller, I’m now smitten with his photo shoot partner Keiynan Lonsdale – both attired in Thom Browne. Furthermore, I am {SO!} now following photographer Ethan James Green.

Pencil sketch of an Ethan James Green photo for Vogue of two young men in a matrimonial pose.

Sketch of Ethan James Green photo [May 2019 of Vogue]

A simple pencil sketch with touches of violet – but uncharacteristic in this is that I used a bit of color burn filtering for its presentation here.

{W} Easter

Graphic, Projects Series

The promise of more sun… Flowers blooming… There is much to embrace when Easter is here.

When W’s 2019 “Hollywood” issue arrived, my heart raved over the Tim Walker photographed stories. And while I was going gaga – there was this really captivating image of actress Thomasin McKenzie, wearing Moschino Couture. As the prop egg pops up in more than one setting, I feel that stylist Sara Moonves also is truly deserving of credit here.

The photo is exquisite; yet, like a kid with fresh egg, I just had to dip it into a vat of colors!

Tim Walker photo of actress Thomsin Mckenzie for W Magazine

Hollywood 2019, W Magazine

color pencil sketch of a tim walker photo

Thomasin Sketch from W Magazine V1 2019

Happy Easter!

~ Jeni

Dorothea

Brushwork, Projects Series

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.

 

Oil pastel sketch of Dorothea McGowan 1961 photo by Irving Penn

Dorothea

6″ x 8″, Water soluble oil pastels and color pencils.

Valentino, Fall 2015

Brushwork, Projects Series

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

Yacht Pajamas by Edward Molyneux, 1934

Projects Series

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.

A sketch and watercolor taken from a d'Ora 1934 photo of a model wearing nautical theme pajamas.