Monday, April 30, 2012

on paper

I did this little painting a couple months ago as a bit of practice in trying to develop an 18th cen style of painting for portrait miniatures, thinking I should probably give stippling a try since that was a very commonly used technique.

I used a scrap of watercolor paper to paint on... even though ivory was the preferred surface, paper was definitely used at the time as well and has the benefit of being a LOT cheaper (though fittingly, it looks a lot cheaper too).  In fact, one of the coolest ways I've seen miniatures used is one found in 'Napoleon and the Empire of Fashion' which was painted on paper, and stitched into the center of a round silk reticule.  I'd love to make a reticule like that at some point. 

Anyhow, long story short, I think stippling is dreadfully tedious and it's a good thing not all miniature artists used that technique because if I has to stipple every miniature I would loose my mind.  There's a good reason I normally like to work with oils...

Monday, April 9, 2012

An evening in 1912, or, the Epic Titanic Dinner dress

Last weekend I had the very good fortune to attend a truly marvelous, and aptly named, Epic Titanic Party. 

Imagine an evening spent in a pleasant and tastefully decorated home with great company, good conversation, sparkling dresses, lots of champagne, and a mind-blowing and utterly delicious thirteen course dinner.  After the dinner all the guests changed into appropriate 1912 lounge wear, and, well... lounged.  And chatted.  And drank more champagne and absinthe before tumbling into bed.  (I am not too proud to admit that I didn't even get to a bed, but instead crashed right on the floor where I awoke the following morning.)

I can't begin to describe how perfect everything was and can never thank our host, Jenny-Rose, enough for all of her amazing effort in pulling it off so splendidly.

What I can somewhat describe, however, is my dress.

I've always really liked 1912 as a time period and welcomed the excuse to finally make a dress from this era.  I liked nearly every extant dress or illustration or fashion print that I saw, but none of them jumped out as The Dress.  More than any other dress though, I was inspired by this pink one belonging to Queen Maud:

In the end it was easier to not let myself be bound by trying to reproduce a garment, and I eventually simply bought fabric and then fit a design to the materials I had.

The embroidered fabric is an amazing vintage Dupatee which I found on ebay... a purple/burgandy crinkle silk chiffon with gold emboidery and sequins and tiny green and red glass beads.  I then purchased a plain silk chiffon in a matching color, and layered them over a base of congac/paprika/burnt orange silk charmeuse.  Burgandy velvet also decorates the skirt and is used for the bow on the front of the dress.

The charmeuse foundation of the dress is patterned from the 1910 dress in Janet Arnold, and the other layers were simply draped on top.  I can't even begin to imagine trying to flat pattern these sorts of dresses...

I don't really have much to say about my lounging "harem" outfit which followed dinner except that I threw it together the morning of the event, and from start to finish it was done in well under an hour.  Good times...