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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring

Here are some small posies gathered from my yard. Today marks the first day of Spring, and I can't wait for everything to get in gear and start blooming. The roses have many buds waiting to burst. These posies show the cooler season flowers starting to finish.
This is Lenten Rose, so called as it blooms during Lent.

It is also called Hellebore, which is a strange name.
Here are pansies, perennial forget-me-not, and Lady Banks rose:

Blue flowers are a favorite, but are quite limited in the flower world

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The once elusive confit pot

After years of trying to obtain an elusive confit pot, I am now the new owner of a damaged albeit intact antique ceramic wonder from France:

These golden beauties were once the tupperware of the French (and other euro folks) before the 20th century. They were used to hold confiture- or preserved stuffs. Topped with oil or wax, foods could be kept without spoiling. You will see these pots are now used to decorate every French kitchen themed dwelling. For the still life painter, they hold the potential for that something old in a painting. Just add fresh flowers and fruit, and you have a complementary scene. Their popularity reflects in the prices. This is unfortunate for us budget minded artists. If you are lucky to find one in the 200 range, it is likely from France. Watch out for the terrible shipping charge, usually around 80-100 dollars. Stateside, they are usually in the 3-400 range.
I found mine for 60...but she is a cracked beauty, and her flaws lowered her price on ebay.

An artist can look past these flaws-just like we sometimes do when painting the portrait!
I don't trust to put water directly in her, but she is a large beauty at 14" tall, and will hold a glass inside.
Her backside is also cracked:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and she is lovely to my eye.
She is also a bit lonely, perhaps one day she will be displayed in the company of others

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Costume painting class-pose three-Lord of the Rings Elven gown-Final cut

The dress was finished just in time. I also made an elven crown from materials I could find at Michaels.

I was going to add those metal medallions shown in the last post, but they just did not look Elven to me. They looked Etruscan or something.

I used a simple antique braid instead, and much prefer the low key shimmer it has.
The collar, sleeve caps, and linings have the metal silk fabric.

I am curious how to achieve the effect of this type of fabric in a painting-I think my students will show me how to do it!
The really big sleeves drape nicely, and although the fabric nap does not match (and this does bug me a bit) it is a good trade-off for the effect-

Tami, our model, looks perfect in this dress-and a thank you to her to finishing the total effect.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Costume painting class-pose three-Lord of the Rings Elven gown

This Saturday marks the third and final costume for the class. Our last pose is going to be a Lord of the Rings Elven Gown. I am basing it on this pattern from Simplicity:

I chose silk velvet that I call Devil fabric, I believe that satan himself made this cloth. It is very hard to use (I don't have a serger machine, either.) It is in two coordinating earthy brown shades:

I am accenting it with another devilish cloth made from silk and metal wire:

It was originally a pale gold shade that I overdyed to have a two tone effect.
The plan was to embellish it with these lovely vintage sari trims from India, but they are not the correct dimensions for the collar trim:

The brass medallions will get incorporated in the dress in a few areas.
I have modified the sleeve pattern for a bigger more sweeping sleeve type.

Unfortunately I did not have as much of the lighter silk velvet to do this. I turned the pattern and cut them out of a rectangle-this caused the velvet nap to not match! I forgot about the sleeves look slightly different in terms of shading from each other. They are lined with the metal silk fabric:

The dress itself is a fairly simple princess seamed piece, of 7 large panels.

The pattern guide did not even come close to my model's amazing measurements- she is 6 feet tall and 40-28-41. Modifying the pattern for that cut makes for more puckering along the seam lines.
I have added lacing panels to the back in the hope that they will help with any loose/ill fitting areas in the mid-section.

These strips of silk charmeuse will be overdyed and used to finish the bottom hem.

More to come as the dress progresses....