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Friday, December 30, 2011

Edwardian dress-getting started

The silks have arrived and preparations have been begun to restore the dress for our costume class. The dress form is being draped with silk crepe in an attempt to figure out the bodice arrangement.
I ordered two red silk chiffons-one a dark red burgundy crepe, and the other a medium red regular chiffon

Well, the color of the dark red crepe is nothing like the photo-

I will have to dye this silk. The crepe is too similar to the plain chiffon. Below is a packet of antique Putnam dye, in garnet red. I have used these antique dyes with success in the past.

The red poppy flowers are the source for the dual shades of red that I wish to acquire:

It is hard to tell in the photo, but there are deep burgundy centers in the flowers.
This same brand of dye was used in an ecru shade to match some white silk crepe to the original aged ecru crepe:

Here I am trying to sort out the mess of the sleeves for pattern copy:

The old sleeve is inside the new silk:

These will be mostly hand sewn, as the former sleeves were mostly hand sewn.
What a mess!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas-from Palomar Mtn

Despite Erik having a bum arm, we took another hike at Palomar Mountain. There was a bit less snow than the last time, but the air was much colder. The patterning of melted snow was also quite different than in the spring, as the winter sun hits different parts of the mountain.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Jazz Age" painting project- limited earthy palette

Early next year I am planning on doing a personal piece. A personal piece can be one which takes you from your normal repertoire into something which requires new methods or subject. This lovely book "Jazz Age Beauties" is a great source of inspiration for the artist.

Jeff Watts has used it in classes as an inspiration for model poses, and I have used it for a photo shoot with a Flapper era theme.

This is a fantastic book, and can be picked up through Amazon or other book sources. Many of the photos have a sepia type of tint to them, which prompts a palette to reflect a warm aged patina.

Erik questioned my recent purchase of earth based pigments, as they are not usual fare for me. The earth based pigments are completely archival, and very inexpensive, two favoring factors for their use. However, in experience, earth pigments are generally not opaque, and can vary between companies in terms of color. Winsor newtons yellow ochre is almost brown in comparison to Da Vincis yellow ochre. This difference can mean a lot when using a limited range of pigments. My proposed palette incorporates mainly earth pigments with a couple of transparent modern paints. Titanium white, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, venetian red, raw umber, and ivory black are my earth based pigments. I have added sap green: a warm sheer green, transparent maroon: a warm sheer deep red ( and a real favorite of mine) plus blue black: an ivory black with a bit of ultramarine pre-mixed.

The addition of titanium white to each (tinting) shows the range of coloring available. The theme of red and green complements will hopefully make for a painting which feels rich, and not lacking in color.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Painting-photo re-do

This is a new Santa painting I finished last week. At my insistence, I asked Erik to photograph it for me. He understands the process of photographing artwork for the best results. On an overcast day, one can photograph their work outdoors and achieve fairly decent results. Erik decided that was a good quick option. However, using a toothy-grained canvas can result in a lot of texture in the photo.

Of course, I had to nicely complain that the photo was not doing the painting any favors. So Erik took the painting down to the garage where we have our "real" equipment-two photo lights with polarizing filters, and a color correction guide. This is the difference with the equipment:

There is still some grain evident in the photo, but not overly distracting. The color is much more true as well.

I think Erik should teach a workshop down the road on photographing artwork. (I should take it too!)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Costume painting class-edwardian dress restoration project

The costume class next term must have an Edwardian dress. This tattered dress bodice from that era is begging for a restoration. I have never done a restoration project, and this is certainly an intimidating subject. I hate to see this lying in a box turning into a larger pile of shreds. Unfortunately all those swish-y weighted silks are suffering age disintegration. Fortunately, the black silk portions were embroidered to non-weighted silk, and are in very good condition. I purchased this bodice from Etsy a couple of years ago. I used some of the loose embroidered flower pieces for a Regency bonnet.

Not knowing what to do with the blouse parts, it was put away. A year or so later, a front sash piece matching the blouse appeared on Etsy. The seller had found the matching piece to the blouse while organizing. It is in very good condition.

I thought about cutting it into smaller pieces for doll clothing, but could not bear to do it. So much work went into this dress, and in its day must have been a real beauty. All the flowers are hand embroidered in multi shades of red and green silk.

Hand beading and metallic thread accents embellish the bodice. Soft drapey black silk lace finishes the look. The inside of the bodice has a layer of silk satin with hook and eye closures as well as a stiff belt- a very typical closure for this time, requiring several layers of fastening to get in and out of the bodice.

The back of the blouse has this sheer silk chiffon gauze with embroidery, and the weight of the silk thread has shredded the fine silk.

The sleeves are worse, one dangling by a thread, the other is in a plastic bag.

It does seem a bit hopeless, but I love a good challenge. To think of the many hours of work in the original creation of this ensemble makes one want to at least do some justice to it.
New silk chiffon is on order in two shades of red to make a skirt, as well as chiffon for the upper bodice work. Perhaps a sash of some red silk velvet for a final touch?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Costume class-winter term 1/2012

Mid January is the beginning of a 10 week costume painting class I will be teaching. Students have the option of 3 hour or 6 hour back to back poses. Each costume will be a three week pose. I am currently brainstorming ideas for the three costume themes. Jean Leon Gerome's painting of a deadly dual gets the vote for a vintage Peirrot theme.

The Peirrot is a French type of mime... and not to be confused with a joking type of clown in my opinion-Wikipedia describes the Pierrot as:
Pierrot (French pronunciation: [pjεʁo]) is a stock character of pantomime and Commedia dell'Arte whose origins are in the late 17th-century Italian troupe of players performing in Paris and known as the Comédie-Italienne; the name is a hypocorism of Pierre (Peter), via the suffix -ot. His character in postmodern popular culture—in poetry, fiction, the visual arts, as well as works for the stage, screen, and concert hall—is that of the sad clown, pining for love of Columbine, who usually breaks his heart and leaves him for Harlequin.
This costume could be made to fit just about any model, which is also a plus. I have a lot of heavy cream colored real silk satin, which definitely makes for a great drapery study.

We have yet to do any type of high fantasy theme in the costume class-

I was thinking of a LoTR gown, and would love to make a headdress and attach elf ears.

Other ideas include the Belle Epoque glamour of the Edwardian era, as made popular in the new Brit series Downton Abbey

Or, a dapper Regency Riding habit:

Opinions anyone??