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:
The actual title I give this painting is “A Girl Can Dream” – as Marisa Berenson has mesmerized me since my own childhood/girl years. A case of Marisa envy, if you will. And the photo behind the painting is another I’ve held onto for I-don’t-know-how-long! The original was shot by Irving Penn. [Interesting side note: My father had been a commercial photographer and disliked the work of Penn. However, he never elaborated on this.] And with as much credit compliance I can provide, I can only assume that this Penn assignment first appeared in Vogue. That is my guess and can also only speculate on the year it was taken.
Marisa Berenson by Irving Penn
Plainly, a lot of artistic license factored in this. In addition to modifying her Adele Simpson outfit, I riffed a bit from Milton Glaser in transforming her hair. [See iconic image of Bob Dylan which Glaser illustrated for his greatest hits release, 1966.]
A Girl Can Dream
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
From a Rossettiesque photo by Peter Lindbergh, a Galliano gown is featured. I liked the near weariness in the model’s pose. And while the original photo [featured in Vogue, I believe] had her set against dark greens and what looked like ivy growing from the ground, I chose to add a bed of Iris instead. As my own Iris is now in bloom, will I follow them?
No one will identify über-model Karlie Kloss in this color pencil sketch – but then the same could be said in Tim Walker’s photograph of her, taken for a British Vogue fashion editorial back in 2010. That’s alright, as that wasn’t my aim.
And when I returned to using my own hand in my art, I hadn’t intended to focus a whole lot on mastering figure drawing. [Nor did I intend to use color pencils all that much!] Yet between this extraordinary pose and vibrant greens, I just couldn’t resist the challenge.
It would seem that photographer David Sims has become one of “my darlings”. Although I couldn’t find the name of the model [depicted just below] who wears this Burberry dress in Vogue’s October 2015 issue. In my 5.75″ x 9″ watercolor, I produced my colorized version.
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: