6″x8″ Pencil and watercolor
I’ve been wanting to do something with Disney princesses for a while and have had a very specific idea that I wanted to get out. Luckily, Charleen Juliet organized “Storybook Sundays” on Instagram which gave me the push to get to it.
A few years ago, Mikael and I saw an exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum which featured Sleeping Beauty concept art. Turns out she was originally based on Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina”. They also considered making her brunette, but Walt decided to make her blonde to round out the princesses. Snow White is brunette, Cinderella is strawberry blonde/redhead, and Aurora is the blonde.
I have a suspicion they based Aurora’s formal gown of Audrey’s Roman Holiday dress (which was also the inspiration for Bell’s gown in Beauty and the Beast).
But after Eyvind Earle created the amazing, highly stylized backgrounds, the characters were redesigned to match.
Instead of basing Aurora on Audrey (who I am an enormous fan of), I chose brigitte Bardot, who I feel matches the sculptured backgrounds better. I think it’s her cheekbones 😀 She’s holding a briar rose flower.
She was available in my Etsy shop, but someone purchased her through Instagram.
Next up- Rumpelstiltskin!
“Is that supposed to be you?”
“Why do you always draw/paint yourself?”
“Yeah, but do you KNOW it looks like you?”
I have to admit, I’m always puzzled by this question and its variations. A man drawing his wife or girlfriend never has to answer this. No one would ever comment on it at all. As a heterosexual woman married to a man, I’m not 100% sure who the women in my paintings are supposed to look like. Sure I could paint my husband over and over again, but it’s no secret that paintings featuring men are hard to sell.
First off, I’m the only model I have. Second, models cost money. The hassle involved in finding & paying a model, as well as keeping their permission slips to use their likeness on file is something I’ve done in the past. But, I have two digital paintings that I lost both the slips to and the whereabouts of the women over a decade ago. Third, having an idea in your head and trying to get your model to pretzel into the pose is no fun- and usually that’s not how it’s done anyway.
And yes, I do portraits of other people, which I enjoy
But for my regular work, I have a streamlined, cost effective process which I’ve had for years-
I make sketches of an idea. Then I take photos of myself in that pose to use as reference. Primarily to keep from falling into drawing the exact same pose that I drew for another picture. It gives a slight difference to each drawing. I use the photos to draw from, along with whatever other photo reference I need- ie even though some wings may be stylized I’ll still used photos. Crowns, hair, dresses- and then on top of that, obviously imaginative stuff. The faces are usually from 15 years ago as I’m no longer a young woman, but the expressions are mine from now. I also print a black and white copy of the photo to aide in placing shadows. My shadows are not realistic, rather they are in the Medieval vein. I don’t do chiaroscuro at all. I like my paintings to have a flat, decorative quality, with slightly more 3 dimensional elements, like the hands and faces.
And here’s the thing- I pose for ALL of them. Those old guys eating donuts and beignets? Those are both me.
That crazy cat guy? That’s me too.
My moon faced werewolf girl with the fluffy Jimmy Page hair? Me. Her sister that everyone thinks is me, she is me, but no more than any of the others. Not to mention that at the Autumnal age of 42, I haven’t looked like that in 20 years. Which is great. One day my hair will be completely silver and my wrinkles will be so deep that finally no one will ask if that’s me ever again.
Although they’ll probably say, “Is that your granddaughter?”
I finished 2 painting last week! Wolfsbane and Wolf’s Paw are available in my shop. They are gouache and gold paint on Canson 185 lb. Acrylic paper. They are each 8″x10″.
I’ve written before about how much I love werewolves. I’m also terrified of them. There’s nothing as frightening to me as losing control- although the intense phsical pain of most werewolf transformations comes in at a very close second.
I’m also fascinated by hair and what it means to us. World wide and throughout history hair signifies 2 things- masculinity and animalism. The first of these reasons is why women have usually waxed, plucked, and otherwise depilated themselves- to create (or to be expected to embody) a hyperfeminity. The 2nd reason is why both sexes have frequently shaved. The middle ages was obsessed with spirituality and a separation from the animal kingdom in order to think higher, more godly thoughts. There is a 3rd reason people have historically gotten rid of their hair- the heat (hello Ancient Egypt!).
I am not a hairy person. I have sparse eyebrows and short eyelashes which has no doubt fueled my obsession. I wanted to do a couple of paintings that explored some of my favorite themes: transformation, animal nature, and secrets.
Each painting shows a woman in an ambiguous state. Sitting placidly in their virginal white dresses and Mona Lisa smiles, we are unsure if they are about to transform or have already danced under the moon. Both wear gold embroidered dresses because silver is deadly to werewolves, and both have long rippling hair like ocean waves or fire.
Wolfsbane has a repeating motif of full and crescent moons- her eyebrows, her lace dress, her full face, and her pearl ring.
Wolf’s Paw has sharp edges- her diamond print dress, the diamond stars in her hair and her triangular palm sign. Yellow can mean sunlight, but it can also mean sickness and madness. For her palm symbol, in folktales werewolves often have hair on their palms, but the connection to masturbation would narrow and limit the interpretation of the painting. Similarly, the original symbol I chose was the “wolf’s mark,” but I recalled that the Nazis appropriated it for (big surprise) their werewolf soldiers. Long story, anyway I did a quick internet search and unfortunately the thing is still used by white power groups. Obviously I had to choose something else. I settled on an alchemical symbol for Silver, which I feel leaves the meaning of the painting fairly open.
With these two paintings I feel Winter has come to a close. I’ve already started on my Spring inspired work.
All in the Golden Afternoon- English Rose from Alice in Wonderland. Based on Marianne Faithfull. Pencil and watercolor on thick Canson Acrylic 185 lb/400 g paper. She is sealed with Krylon Matte Finish spray. Available in my shop~
I first read Alice when I was 8. My school library had a volume with both Wonderland and Looking Glass in it. Of the 2, Looking Glass was my favorite and inspired me to play chess with my brother non stop. I’ve drawn quite a bit of Alice’s world over the years and I keep coming back to a wonderful mash up of 60s mod/psychedelic England. That inspired me to draw a lovely Wonderland Rose that bears a resemblance to the amazingly talented Marianne Faithfull. If you love the 60s I highly recommend her autobiography.
I participated in the Instagram #80scartoonartfriends art party this month. Once I saw Jem was on the list, I knew I couldn’t say no. She’s 6″x8″, pencil and watercolor on 185 lb, Canson Acrylic paper. She is unframed and available in my shop.
I straight up fell in love with the cartoon when it came on, in tiny 10 minutes segments. Luckily it got picked up and increased to a half hour (including commercials) and dolls came out. The dolls were glorious. I quickly had nearly all of them, minus Rio bc I thought he was boring. I still have them at my Aunt’s house in Southern California.
Over the years I’ve day dreamed and doodled Jem art and thought a lot about the characters.
My inspiration for Jem is none other than one of my teenage idols, Debbie Harry-
Yeah, I know. I drew Jem slightly more wholesome.