Confessions of a Ballerunner

Essays on Sports, Arts, Culture, and Life

Archive for the tag “London”

Whimsical fish and bicycle mixed-media illustration

seafood bike_collage_med.res

This was an illustration I did for my 3-1/2 year old nephew based on a trip I made to London, England in September of 2012, where I happened upon a lovely green delivery bike complete with wicker basket for Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill off Regents Street.

The bike and cat were hand-drawn using a black pitt pen; the fish and newspaper were photographs I had taken and cropped, while the boy, cartoon fish, and background were all drawn using Photoshop. Colorization was completed in Photoshop. My nephew loved it! 🙂

Polka dots and flowers – it must be spring…

I recently picked up this great hard-cover fashion retrospective book (Style Book by Elizabeth Walker) that showcases all these fantastic vintage photos. (The Sartorialist is another great blog for admiring street fashion – modern and vintage.) I kept noticing it in Chapters every time I would visit – which is often – and couldn’t help but pick it up each time I was in and leaf through its pages to admire my favourite photos. I finally decided to purchase it when I realized how much fun it would be to interpret some of these photos through any combination of ink, conté, charcoal, watercolor crayons, acrylic paints, or colored markers. Since I am a big fan of fashion of the 20s and 30s, it is of no surprise to me that I gravitated to all the black and white photos of that era first. I also love polka dots, especially white ones set against a navy blue background. I can remember a favourite white polka-dot and stretchy navy blue sleeveless dress that I bought back in the mid nineties from Club Monaco while I was an undergrad in Halifax. It was my ‘femme fatale’, confidence-booster dress – I can remember how it totally turned the heads of these guys I used to play basketball with when I wore it out one night… Despite the film being barely out of the 80s – my least favourite fashion period – I still love the polka-dot outfit Julia Roberts wore to the polo match in Pretty Woman. In fact, I should confess that I actually bought a similarly awesome, 3/4 length, A-line, sleeveless white polka-dot on brown background Ralph Lauren dress last spring, which I wore with a pair of strappy brown platform sandals to a meet-and-greet event; just need the white gloves and a cool hat (like the ones you find at Ogilvy’s in downtown Montreal – which I always used to try on whenever I was out shopping along St. Catherine Street) or fascinator, and I’d totally rock my inner Pretty Woman at a polo match or derby! 😉

So, the sketch below is an (India) ink drawing with a bit of white conté for the polka dots and highlights. The “Paris 1934” text is done in watercolor crayons. I also used a brush and water to add some shading. Can I just say how much I LOVE working with India ink and especially painting with it? It’s wonderful for creating texture. Anyway, the photo for this drawing was shot in 1934 and features a model wearing a polka-dot evening gown by the French designer, Jeanne Lanvin. The fluted or ruffled white collar accessory seems to pay homage to that famous of French mimes, Pierrot, and adds a nice touch of whimsy to this otherwise formal pose. Is it me, or does it almost seem like there should be a chatte noire added to the scene below, à la famous Théophile Steinlen painting (La Tournée du Chat Noir avec Rudolphe Salis)?.. Maybe not. Would probably be distracting. (I’m more of a dog-person anyway, of the non-purse variety though.)

This next sketch is also done in India ink 🙂 along with some watercolor crayons, colored conte, and a wash. It’s an interpretation of a really cool 60s photo taken in London of a model wearing what looks like an equestrian or London bobby-inspired hat in shape, whose wattage is amped up by an oversized flower power appliqué in very cool polka-dot motif. (Was this the birth of the modern-day fascinator craze?) The model looks like she could be playing a spy in an Austin Powers movie, perhaps crashing the annual garden party at Buckingham palace… Anyway, I thought the hat was really cool – I’m a total hat person and I love flowers (as long as someone else with a green thumb tends them) – and it reminded me of some of the bright flower motif stuff I would wear in high school. I was always into patterns and bright colors, but prefered to experiment more on paper (hello, Fashion Plates anyone? – best toy ever!.. OK, I think I need to go call my mom now and have her ship my old Fashion Plates set up to me…) than in the halls of high school or university classes, though I was known to pair bright pink tights with a red mini-skirt or loud flower-print skirt on occasion. I won’t get into the litany of bad fashion trends I attempted in the 80s – that will just trigger my PTSD… (Hammer pants, star earrings, neon, and Madonna – ’nuff said!..)

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