because i clearly have too much time on my hands, i started tweeting as jon “griff” connington from “game of thrones.” and bc i had to show off my mad photoshop skillz i made this: yes, it is david bowie’s head on a suit of armor.
I first became aware of Patrick Nagel at the local poster art shop. I was 13. Tall, slim, and brunette with small eyes and skin like paper, i was considered plain and borderline ugly in my southern california town. I despaired of ever being thought attractive. But then i saw her. What was she? 8″x10″? 10″x10″? She was beautiful, like a Snow White who had grown up and cast her evil step-mother in hot iron shoes while enjoying every minute of that bitch’s dance. She had no apologies. Not for herself and not for anyone else.
I was transfixed and time moved like amber behind me until an old man walked by and stopped. “It’s like looking in a mirror.” I turned and stared stupidly until i realized he was talking about me. Me. He wasn’t scary or particularly pervy or anything like that. Just an old man shopping for posters who took 5 seconds to be kind to a child-teen. I looked back at the beautiful little picture and then left. I walked home elated.
Patrick Nagel died in 1984 at the age of 38. Despite this, his work is ubiquitous with the 80s. So ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget its brilliance and beauty. Easy too, in our digital age, to dismiss Nagel’s technical skill. His method consisted of drawing from live models, refined until they possessed the cool graphic quality of a japanese woodblock print and then painted on board or canvas with acrylics. Acrylics. Not vectors in photoshop and illustrator. Actual paint on actual board. His lines are superb. And all the sunglass shops or manicure shops or drycleaners who use his graphic style can’t rob him of that.
Nagel perfectly personified the 80s ideal of female beauty. His women are usually of middle height and slender, but in a vastly different way from the 60s or 70s. If you notice their wrists: these are not ladies with wrists of glass. Large breasts, straight waists, slim hips and shapely legs. Small intense eyes, large lips with a well defined cupid’s bow, thick hair, and his admitted favorite feature~ strong noses. There always seems to be something of Isabella Rossellini in all of them.
All images and information from “Nagel: the Art of Patrick Nagel.”
I’ve always heard of this story as “diamonds and toads,” instead of the other way around. it’s the familiar poor girl with mean stepmother/stepsister scenario.
I would like to say, i think the fairy’s outfit is one of the most beautiful i’ve seen. This time period can be hard to reproduce without making the ladies look like lovely boxes, but Mr. Laite translates the styles wonderfully.
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”
These pages have been on permanent display on my small easel for inspiration. i find the colors and micro patterns endlessly inspiring, art wise. And they remind of of one of my favorite movies when i was a child, Alfred Hitchcock’s, “Rebecca.” I instantly identified with the shy, plain, nameless, “Darling” who spent her days trying to not fuck everything up and sketched costumes in her off hours.
I think this skirt, which sits at waist, is to die for. The delicate tie neck blouse is pretty dreamy too. She looks like she’s ready to solve a murder! or cover one up- yaknowhatimean?!
the cruel and beautiful Rebecca wears a pretty silk robe- a good case of a simple pattern to show off beautiful fabric.
ok, i hate the skirt simply bc i look terrible in elastic waisted skirts like this. But, i love the photo. From the stiff pose, to the colors, to the amazing wallpaper. I wish i’d painted this~ except i would have given her a much better skirt. And i’m guilty of loving sandals and socks.
so this is dicey too. Love the color and material. Love the neckline. Hate the elastic waist. the difference between my waist and hips is 11″. That’s just too much without darts. Darts are my friend and i’ve been sewing them into my skirts since i was 18.
Christina Rossetti, the younger sister of renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was a talented and accomplished poet. Deeply religious, she also suffered from depression. Her first recorded nervous breakdown occurred at 14, forcing her to leave school. For the rest of her life the cycle of anxiety over her financial situation, depression, breakdown, and resulting illness would plague her.
To learn more about Florence Harrison, the illustrator of many of her poems, please visit florence harrison. It’s a well researched site that serves to clear up many misconceptions about Ms. Harrison’s identity as well as presenting examples of her work and an analysis of her technique.
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.”
Straightway to her feet,
Sang him silent where he knelt
In eager anguish sweet.
But when the clear voice died away,
When longest echoes died,
He stood up like a royal man
And claimed her for his bride.
So three maids were wooed and won
In a brief May-tide,
Long ago and long ago. “
No chill across the tablecloth;
I all-forgotten shivered, sadTo stay and yet to part how loth:I passed from the familiar room,I who from love had passed away,Like the remembrance of a guestThat tarrieth but a day.”
“Young Love lies drowsing
Away to poppied death;
Cool shadows deepen
Across the sleeping face:
So fails the summer
With warm, delicious breath;
And what hath autumn
To give us in its place?”
Resolved to fathom these your secret ways:
But, sift them as I will,
Your ways are secret still.”
~The Queen of Hearts
I have Dean’s A Book of Fairy Tales illustrated by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone. Unlike their fellow British children’s illustrators they’re not well known here in the U.S. which is a shame considering the high quality of their work. They generally worked on small to medium sized artist board in watercolor and gouache. Right click to enlarge.
Velut luna (like the moon)
Statu variabilis (you are changeable)
Arthur Rackham~ “Seven Ravens” 1900
Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone~ “Arthur goes to Avalon” 1966. via joan eyles johnson