Monday, 30 September 2013

Mimi Allen and Dolly O'Brian...

  My main plans this week are to concentrate on tidying, sorting and getting some well over due admin work done - not to mention a few household chores. My shelves are beginning to pile up with receipts, fabric, shells, sketches and er... dust! Nothing is in its correct place! I like a little bit of chaos but I prefer organised chaos and at the moment I'm not as on top of things as I'd like.
...However as promised here are some finished snaps of Mimi Allen, now quite finished and skipped already from the shop I'm afraid. I think she's one of my favourite makings to date so I've decided to continue with the off duty showgirl, big pants theme and make another darling dolly of the chorus line - calling this one Dolly O'Brian......
Dolly O'Brian has black curls. Her hat is made the same as Mimi's hat with vintage fabric and a fur pom pom. She will have a similar style blouse and tweed or brown trousers.
   Dolly O'Brian is based on this painting, my second favourite in the Busby Berkeley postcard set (the postcard sets are now sold out but I am going to produce some 10 x 8 prints for the shop soon)
  One of my favourite showgirl movies of the 30's has to be 'Stage Door' 1937 It's set in a theatrical boarding house in New York City and stars Ginger Rogers and Katherine Hepburn as the main leads, but it also offers fabulous snippets from Lucille ball, Ann Miller and Eve Arden at the beginning of their movie careers. I can't help thinking that these two travelling showgirls would definitely have spent time at 158 West 58th Street (where this fictional boarding house was situated) and without question they would of had their fair share of dishing out witty one liners, laughs, successes, disappointments and heart aches.
Her little suitcase stays in place with the help of press studs on her hands.

  Stage Door 1937
   1930's big pant inspiration....
Anna May Wong, Jean Harlow, Claudette Colbert and Katherine Hepburn

  I hope everyone has a super week. I for one am really enjoying the sense of autumn in the air, I feel like opening up the red wine and preparing some delicious soups and stews! x

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mimi Allen....

  In my last post I introduced you to Mimi Allen a travelling showgirl.... She's not quite finished yet but I will take more photos once I've done so and you can see her in all her glory!

I'm crackers for her little suitcase which I've made with paper mache, acrylic paint and varnish. I've finished it off with a label which has her name on and the theatre at which she will be performing.

  Since I'm all about the high waisted pant at the moment, I decided to finish off Mimi's outfit with a pair of autumn/winter trousers ( I was originally going to make her a green skirt like in my design below but changed my mind) She carries a suitcase - which I've made in paper mache and no doubt contains all the things a showgirl might need on tour.....The gin sours sealed her personality for me!

  This will be available as a print in my shop from next week.
Mimi's Rehearsal Weekend Essentials ...Gouache on handmade khadi paper
   Mimi inspiration.....

Top Left: Mary Carlisle, Toby Wing, Lydia Roberti
Bottom Left: Joan marsh, Una Merkel and Marion marsh


Friday, 20 September 2013

Autumn Dreams....

  I love this time of year. September always feels like a fresh start: new school year, my birthday, the seasons beginning to change, air getting chilly and the evenings drawing in - I love that.
  With Glynis, Clark and Myrtle all gone into hibernation until next Summer and my Cunning Disguise project at a temporary stand still I thought I'd start making and creating some new little characters to take us through the cooler months (if you are in the UK of course)
 So here's a taste of the work I've been doing over the last few weeks. These dazzling 1930's girls look oh so chic and stylish in their Autumnal shades......

  I love making doll face corsages and since I've not made any for a while, here's a preview of my first two - not quite finished - Autumn inspired ladies in their late 1930's hats. Keep your eyes peeled if you'd like to purchase, I hope to make about 6 altogether and am happy to make reserves.

   Every now and then I have a desire to make a slightly larger doll than the usual 15-17 inches... This doll is 21 inches and slightly larger in proportion. She sure is stylish in her cute hat and brown wool pants! (of which I'd like in my size) She also has wire framed legs so she can sit, stand and pose. I have made one or two dolls with wired legs, and let me tell you it's not an easy task! worth it in the end though.

Black felt hat with vintage haberdashery pansies, white merino wool hair, 1940's fabric blouse, brown wool pants with vintage buttons and little red felt shoes with small pom poms.

  And finally meet Mimi Allen another platinum 1930's showgirl whose portrait - my favourite - was featured in my Busby Berkeley postcard set.  She looked so sad in her polka dot blouse and halo of white hair that I couldn't help but wonder if she was perhaps thinking about a secret love affair. I've added a vintage fabric hat and vintage haberdashery furry pom pom (not real fur) to complete her look - she was looking a bit under dressed without a hat! As for her polka dot blouse I bought black and white spotted fabric and painted the dots with yellow acrylic paint. I think I'm going to make her a little suitcase as she seems like a travelling girl...


  I've also been watching a lot of 1930's movies this week which really inspires my work. Before I sign off for the weekend I'd just like to share with you the fabulous films I've watched whilst working on these creations. Each of these films I found in their entirety on the Internet and wholeheartedly recommend each and every one.  Evelyn Prentice 1934 was my favourite because I just can't resist Myrna Loy and William Powell together.



Merrily We Live 1938
Bed of Roses 1933
Torch Singer 1933
Evelyn Prentice 1934
These Three 1936
  Have a wonderful weekend! x


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Cunning Disguises..Prints and Dolls

  For a little while now I have been working on and off on a project called Cunning Disguises. My plan was to put together a postcard set of 6-8 images for the Autumn. My personal deadlines for this collection are well over due and so far I'm only happy with 3 of the 6 little portraits I've painted - I'm such a perfectionist!

  For the time being I'm going to list my favourite three as A5 prints in my shop (by the end of the week) and will endeavour to create 3-5 more starlet portraits who are happy to skip happily along in the guise of a cat, deer or other...very soon.




  Alongside the illustrations I've also created two dolls inspired by the cat and the deer..


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Etsy Shop Update.....

  If you drop by my shop tomorrow you will find another set of 'Call of the Sea' prints listed. If you have a favourite and you missed out last time, it's best to purchase as soon as I tweet with updates to avoid disappointment. There are limited prints folks!

  As you can see there are a few extra too.

  Always be sure to read the descriptions carefully before purchase.



Friday, 6 September 2013

Glynis, Clark and Myrtle

  Next week I shall be doing another limited run of the Call of the Sea prints for my shop. Over the Summer I'm afraid I have fallen hook line and sinker for this happy trio and leaving them behind has just proved too much to bear.
  Since I've got to know all three of them so well I've made three final pictures to add to the collection. These have been drawn and painted on khadi paper (fast becoming my favourite paper to work with) which suits the scrap book style of the pieces.
  For some reason they've not scanned quite as well as I had hoped, but next week I will have a play about with my scanner and print some up on different papers to see which suits them best - I'll then list them in my shop with the others. If you missed out on a print last time here's another chance to grab your favourite!
  I'm so happy with this collection, working with various materials, paints and papers has been amazing. I've worked in the sunshine, by the sea in Tenby and late into the night with many a glass of wine and cup of tea. Overall its been a very happy experience. I hope you think it was worth it and its given you a good old whiff of the sea!
  I have to say I think the image of Clark in his waders has tipped me over the edge - I'm crazy for him!!!! 

  I've also been sewing this week and will have a Cat Woman called Simone (after Simone Simon of course) to show you next week.

  Have a great weekend whatever you are up to xx

Monday, 2 September 2013

A Holiday and Some Old Circus Friends....

  I was drawn to the Mediterranean sea last week for a sunny holiday in Menorca. Our little family, along with some friends and their daughter spent a week in a cute little villa with a swimming pool and lots of sunshine. Its hard to cart needles, pins and fabric with you on holiday so I spend my creative moments sketching and painting....
Massive moth sat by the swimming pool, view from a coastal path, my little boy's shell man, cheers!, Dolly Dimple sketch, holiday reads, painting, drawing and beach finds.
  I decided to take with me some beautiful Khadi paper, which was a Christmas present I'd yet to experiment with. Khadi paper is handmade in South India and made from recycled cotton rag, perfect for watercolour, gouache and ink.
  So with my paper, pencils and limited paints I thought I'd visit some old circus friends that have appeared in lots of my previous illustrations. Whenever I create characters on paper I always find it difficult not to return back to them at some point. I adore the texture of this paper and especially love the raw edges - it gives work an old, organic quality which suits these character studies perfectly.
  These are just photos of the Big Top troupe but I will do some proper scans so you can see them properly. I really love that my colour palette was limited and they look quite pale and watery - it gives them a bit of a dreamy, fairytale feel.
 Belinda and the Bear - who can often be heard quarrelling over their routines but they really are the very best of friends.

Posey was last seen fleeing the Big Top and strolling into the night with her best friend (dressed in a giant bear mask) Marlene and Dolly Dimple featured in the Pre Show Chat illustration.

  Each of these postcard sized pieces took about an hour to do and I'll be adding a few more to the collection now I'm home in Bristol. I may be a little here and a little there with posts in the next few weeks as I have many bits, pieces and projects on the go. Having a long summer break also makes it a little hard to get back into the swing of things, but rest assured nothing I ever do gets left high and dry - my plans always come together in the end.

Gracie Doll (only 3ft tall) and Silver the circus pony
Jack Strong

They look so good as a little set!
  Other things on my list...
  I'm awaiting new ink at the moment but as soon as it arrives I will be doing another run of the 'Call of the Sea' prints.  Dolly wise I'm starting work tomorrow on the Cat Girl from the 'Cunning Disguises' collection - can't wait!
  I can't believe the summer hols are over!? Where did that precious time go? My little man is back to school tomorrow Boo!! Its difficult to juggle work and a little one but I shall so miss having him at home. I love the Autumn term though and I guess it won't be too long now before we start to feel a slight shift in the seasons. I hope all my readers had a glorious fun packed Summer? I appreciate each and everyone of you, your support and positive comments put a feather in my cap and a spring in my step! x