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:
For the sartorial minded September is the month that releases brick-heavy issues from Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. Furthermore, these September magazines are usually abundant with pages and pages for my own inspiration. But what is going on for 2018?! All I could see was a deluge of extremes. Puffy coats on steroids. Gym wear, ala haute couture. And, really?! A revival bringing the worst of the Eighties.
Yet, Marie Claire’s September offered some redemption. And it came by way of an editorial [no kidding!] titled “State of Grace”. Photographer Robert Nethery uses an exquisite flood of light in his work, so that model Tasha Tilberg appears beautifully near-translucent.
“There is a great strength and connection that can come from vulnerability, it connects us as humans.”~ Piera Gelardi
I painted Piera Gelardi before even learning her name. And I don’t typically find beauty ads to be all that rich insofar as inspiring me – yet, her face is featured in a series that was launched by Olay. Aside from her regal nose and mesmerizing eyes, Gelardi has a message I should keep with me, always!
In posting this painting, I fear becoming known as “That Tim Walker-crazed painter”. Not only that, but Tim Walker – or his agent, anyway – may not be all that keen in my depictions of his inspired settings and/or concepts behind his photo shoots. Be what may: I joined two of his photos together here. While his bride appeared in a 2016 issue of “British Vogue”, the model in black originated in a 2009 issue of “Italia Vogue”. And I could not resist the contrast!
To Have and To Hold
Right before posting I have a great temptation to change the title of this painting to “The Three Muses” – or, “The Three Graces”. Truthfully? I haven’t got the whole “Gods and Goddesses” background to pull it off. Not to mention that the costume designs were inspired by an era when The Flapper was all the rage…
This gouache painting measures approximately 10.5” x 8.5”.
In this, there was no plan. In front of me was 8.5 inches by 8.5 inches of space and that was it. My brush, loaded with gouache, went to a corner and I just kept going. When I felt it was more or less complete, I had sent the image to an artist friend who then deemed it [something like] very Carl Jung. I presume he had Jung’s “The Red Book” in mind. And that’s okay by me.
For Sonia Rykiel’s Spring 2016 collection, Juergen Teller – a photographer who I’ve long considered as phenomenal – produced the looks for the ad campaign. In this gouache triptych, one of Rykiel’s dresses is duplicated. [In part in the top panel and in full, sans model Georgia May Jagger, in the bottom panel.] Floating between the top and bottom panels, a Balenciaga ruffled detail was used.
Fashion magazines provide inspiration – particularly when the more voluminous September issues arrive. Billowy and ruffled clothing – which I rarely wear, if ever – found in some editorial spreads mesmerize me. Photographer David Sims captured model Liya Kebede in some crazy motion for Vogue’s Fall 2015 issue. Take special notice of her skirt:
From this I produced many variations of what I’ve been calling my Diaphanous series. As seen in this 5″ x 8″ gouache below: