Here she is. The latest in my fashion illustration series. 'Red Dress with Camellias'
My fashion illustration series came about because I was doodling some figures in front of my wallpaper patterns in order to clarify a sense of scale for a customer. You might have seen some Sylvanian families in my miniature wallpaper photographs and I thought it would be nice to imagine the walls as gallery works and draw some stylish people standing in front of them. I used my sewing patterns as a reference and shuffled through a crate of vintage Vogue patterns to find the right kind of look, the right kind of dress etc.
The next step was to play with the pose and get the palette right. Once when I lived in Germany and did a nude oil painting class (um - the models were nude. Not me, just to clarify) I found that drawing the background colour first over the edges of where I wanted the model to be was a great way of building colour. It is also a great method for working with blending with oil paint. In this drawing I have used the same technique with a pastel texture so that several layers of colour shine through. On the skin, for example, the lady was originally blue and there is a ghosting of blue in her skin tones. I pulled more blue in with the navy colour of her hair.
I love colour and I kind of feed on it so I played with the colour of her dress for a while to get it just right. It's like cooking for me, kind of - and I keep adding seasoning until the flavour is perfect. It might be nice for you to know that the dress started out purple before I changed it to red and then I finally added some pink highlights. Who said pink and red don't go together? They totally do.
She looks classy, San Diego.
Then there is the wallpaper which was the catalyst for the drawing. I 'finally' drew this Camellia's pattern on Mother's Day (it's been in my head for a while) thinking about my Mum and how I used to smoosh flowers up on the pavement and present them to her as perfume. She was always so grateful and I never quite understood why my jars of brown petal mush never stuck around..
Of course now I get it. So camellias kind of hold a special place in my heart. Added to this inspiration is some lovely dark green wall inspiration I have seen in home decor pins on pinterest. Our house is currently papered in cream because we are pushing a light and bright aesthetic. Plus we didn't want too much colour on the actual walls because we needed freedom to hang whatever we like without thinking about clashing with wall paint. Anyway, if I could have a wall dedicated to a colour, it would be a nice relaxing deep green so that is what I used as a base colour before scribbling in the many smudgey leaves and flowers with a luscious 'wet paint' look. It will be fabulous wallpaper but in the meantime it gets its first showing as an art print.
The final work has a nice energy to it. It is deep and rich and soft and subtle all at the same time. I would recommend an A3 ish size to see it in its full glory but I can print whatever size you need - and I can even print on wood if you need.
But there you are, the Red Dress with Camellias story. X