Friday, 31 January 2014

Nora Charles Paper Doll...

  I have finally finished and printed up some Nora Charles inspired paper dolls. If you skip over to my Etsy store they are now available for purchase. With two glamorous outfits and various accessories - including Asta the dog - the whole ensemble makes a perfect little desk companion.

  Apart from Nora the glamorous sleuth, I've been working on the finishing touches to Renée Dubois this week. I'm currently making her a lovely large case (which no doubt holds beautiful red dancing slippers, plenty of tulle and a makeup box containing greasepaint, bobby pins and false lashes) I should have some photos for you next week.

  Whatever you're up to this weekend have a great one! x

Monday, 27 January 2014

New Prints and Paper Dolls.....

  Good afternoon to you all from a rainy, grey and rather cold Monday here in Bristol.

  Some of you have been asking about my little detective paper doll (inspired by Nora Charles) and will I still be listing one in my shop? The answer is yes! and here she is - two knockout outfits and a crime busting partner. Tomorrow I will make some up and I'll post some photos in a day or so you can see her in her outfits. Will list in my shop by the end of the week.

Since Nora is lacking a Nick I felt she just had to have Asta

Myrna Loy with Skippy aka Asta in the Thin Man movies the inspiration behind my little detective dolls and paper doll.

  Also this week I will be listing two new prints in the shop from my current ballerina workings...

Gouache on Handmade Khadi paper

Detail from above right print

  Also working on Renée Dubois in her stylish plaid suit....

Renée Dubois will also have a large round suitcase to carry all her Ballerina Tour Essentials

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ballerina Trio Complete....

Ta da! All finished....It's taken me most of the evening to put the finishing touches to our technicolour ballerinas, take photos and finally list. I'm afraid it looks like they have all been snapped up but should one become available I will let you know. Hope you like them.

Each dancer wears red shoes. 

  The Red Shoes has inspired me so much these last few weeks. I have a few more illustrations and possibly dolls to get out of my system before moving on the something else so do keep checking back for further ballet inspired posts. Have a great week! xx

Friday, 17 January 2014

Ballerinas Part 2

  This week I have been indulging in one of my favourite movie classics - The Red Shoes 1948 This beautiful Technicolor dream of a movie is the inspiration behind my latest dolly dancers. Hopefully they look like they could have stepped straight out of the movie itself?

I have concentrated on using felt for the dancers rehearsal wear. Felt is so versatile and easy to work with - you can purchase so many great colours too. Their little turbans are made from vintage 50's sheer scarves.

  Clips from The Red Shoes.....

Moira shearer as the ill-fated Vicky Page

  I love the clips in the movie when we see the dancers during rehearsal, black leotards, white and black tights then flashes of vibrant colour coming from floaty scarves wrapped around the dancers waists or head. It's such a vivid and glamorous film, I can't imagine anyone not losing themselves in this extravagant theatrical tale. It's a movie for a cold, rainy afternoon. It is as dark and dangerous in as much as it is uplifting and joyous. If you've never seen this visual feast watch it! and if you have seen it watch it again!

  Its very unusual for me to have made this much progress from one weekend to the next but I have had little distraction this week and seem to have had an unstoppable drive and focus - al la Vicky Page!

The character at the front has a whole balletic story of her own, for she is Renee, the character I created for the illustration in a previous post. More on her next week.

Had to show you these wonderful, heavily tinted photographs. My husband found these for me years ago in a charity shop. He said they just had me written all over them.  I have no idea who they are but think they may have been plates from a book - they were framed when my husband bought them. They remind me so much of The Red Shoes.

  Have a wonderful weekend! x

Monday, 13 January 2014


  Good Morning Monday! I hope that everyone has had a lovely weekend and are feeling geared up for the week ahead.

  After finishing my 'Thin Man' dolls last week (although there is still a Nora Charles style paper doll to come) I'd already started to fall head over heels into my next obsession - blissful, vintage ballerina heaven! Think of Ludmilla Tchérina in The Red Shoes 1948 - or indeed just The Red Shoes, Margot Fonteyn and her early career, Zizi Jeanmarie in Hans Christian Anderson or the beautiful Vivien Leigh in the romantic, weepy Waterloo Bridge 1940.... Put these snippets together and you'll have an idea where I'm going with my next project.

  I always start with lots of very sketchy sketches before I start on the final artwork. I'm calling my ballerina Renee, she has black wavy hair, a passionate temperament and is always in love... 

Sketchy sketch and beginnings of Renee

A Ballerina's Tour Essentials...Gouache on Handmade Khadi paper

  My current phase started last weekend after seeing a fascinating clip on BBC1's Antiques Roadshow which was filmed at The Royal Ballet school, white lodge in Richmond Park. Among the treasures not only were we treated to exquisitely modelled porcelain figures made by prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, but Margot Fonteyn's actual makeup box from her tour to Moscow in 1961 (full of her greasepaints, brushes and lashes etc..)  I found it extraordinarily beautiful I just couldn't help but be inspired. If you didn't see it you can watch the clip here:

  When I was a little girl I thought that to be a ballerina you had to have black hair, a centre parting and wear brick red lipstick. 

  Here are some of the images I've collected as little mood boards of inspiration...

  Ludmilla Tchérina in The Red Shoes 1948...

 Ludmilla Tchérina is the perfect vision of my childhood perception of what a ballet dancer had to look like. If I'd seen this beautiful lady in the street I would have said  'mum there's a ballerina' without her even dancing a step!

  Margot Fonteyn.....

  Zizi Jeanmarie in Hans Christian Andersen 1952.....

  And Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge 1940...

  Have a great week and I look forward to showing you more work soon. Curious Pip xx

Friday, 3 January 2014

A Weekend Sleuthing....

Sticking to my current 'Thin Man' movie obsession I have delved a little further into the world of the detective and created this quirky print inspired by Nora Charles and featuring 'Essential Items for a Weekend Sleuthing'
Essentials for a Weekend Sleuthing....Gouache on Khadi handmade paper

  It amazes me the amount of drinking (and very little eating) that goes on in each of these fabulous films. I guess it was quite the novelty in 1934 as prohibition would have ended just a year before the making of the movie.There's a great scene in the first movie when on arriving at the bar Nora learns Nick has already drank six martinis, so she orders five more so that she can catch up with him. Nick and Nora are the only couple I've ever never known who can do tipsy and smart at the same time!!

Martini hangover!

.....A very boozy series of films.....

The Thin Man 1934

After the Thin Man 1936

Another Thin Man 1939

shadow of the Thin Man 1941

The Thin Man goes Home 1945 

Song of the Thin Man 1947

  I'm so in love with this adorable flirtatious and intelligent pair I have no intention of moving away from this theme just yet. I'm also hoping to bring you a paper doll, more dolls and a few more prints.

  It also seems that whenever I embark on a new project I always end up purchasing a vintage item of clothing that matches my current working obsession.  Whilst making my 'Little Detectives' I bought this oh so stunning crepe dress which I hope Myrna Loy (Nora Charles) would have worn with pride. It would have perhaps been best suited in one of the later Thin Man movies as it's 1940's style with shoulder pads and key embellishments.

Early 1940's crepe dress, original sketch and first drops of print to final artwork.

  Look forward to taking photos of my three 'Nora' inspired dolls to show you next week. Its been a wonderful Christmas and New Year but my little man will be going back to school next week so until then I need to make the most of him being at home. xx