Thursday, 29 September 2011

Illustration Friday - Ferocious

One of the most ferocious deities I can think of is Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, change and eternal energy.  Although her name means "black", she is usually shown coloured blue.  I would love to do a colour version of this drawing in the future, but I ran out of time!

Monday, 26 September 2011


No party will ever live up to David Walsh's 50th birthday party at MONA last weekend.  I was expecting it to be pretty amazing, but to tell the truth, I was concentrating more on what I was going to wear! Here I am with Mr. Macska, his brother Dan and our friend Jacquie just after getting off the ferry.

Alice came to the rescue of course, and made me a beautiful black silk shantung dress.  It's based on the Bombshell Dress that Gertie has a tutorial on over at Craftsy, but quite modified - completely different skirt, re-drafted cups, etc.

The stunning necklace was lent to me by William from Metal Couture.  It's blackened silver, with a beetle in acrylic in the centre, and I got so many compliments on it.

There was a lot of alcohol - check out this whole table of absinthe shots! 

And there were girls in cages, dancing around in their underwear, and then...not in their underwear.  Saucy!

The amount of food and the way it was displayed was stunning.  There was a huge tuna, that slowly got cut up during the night by the sushi chef.

A whole table of oysters, several dozen different cheeses,

Smallgoods and smoked meats, including the most delectable pate I have ever eaten (I know, I felt guilty afterwards)

And a display of fruit and vegetables so exquisitely arranged that I could hardly bring myself to eat it.  Seriously, doesn't that just cry out to be painted?  Note the tiny white pansies scattered througout the fruit.

I especially liked The Nymphs, an Andrews Sisters inspired four girl acapella singing group from Melbourne.  This is a video of them on Spicks and Specks, but they did do this song on the night, wearing 1940s army uniforms.  Gorgeous voices, and we had a mutual hair admiration session later!

One of the really fun things was eating little balls of dried fruit and crunchy stuff, cooked in liquid nitrogen!  When you put it in your mouth and chewed, it exploded and you breathed out nitrogen gas like a dragon.  They were yummy too.

We ended the night by dancing until I thought my feet were going to bleed, best party ever!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bohemian Masquerade Ball

It was the Bohemian Masquerade Ball again on Friday night, and as the flyer had a Mexican sugar skull on it, that's the theme we went with!

I wore a dress that Alice made me several years ago to go to a NIN concert.  It's a heavy stretch fabric, which really sucks you in, and it flares out in a fish-tail at the bottom. 

 I copied this makeup look from Vintage Vandalizm, I like the idea of having a dead half and a pin-up half.  I made it a bit more detailed, and stuck a whole lot of royal-blue sequins around my eye.  My parents brought my necklace back from Malaysia for me a while ago.  As far as I can remember, it's a traditional folk necklace (or a copy of one).

Alice and William were a Day of the Dead bride and groom.  So cute, I wish they would wear these outfits when they really get married!

The ever-gorgeous Thea made her fabulous turban, it is giving Carmen Miranda a run for her money!

And finally me and Mr Macska on the tram.  No makeup for him, but he did wear a top hat.  I do love men in hats!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Illustrators - Harry Clarke

In my early 20's, I bought a lovely copy of Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe, at Sainsbury's Books in Camberwell.  I was drawn to it because of the magnificent black and white illustrations, in a style reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley.


The illustrator turned out to be Harry Clarke, and Irish stained-glass artist and book illustrator who was a leading figure in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement.

 The Little Mermaid

Born in 1889, the son of a stained-glass craftsman, he began studying stained glass in Dublin when he was a teenager, winning prizes for his work.  Despite his successes, he began working as a book illustrator.  Clarke's first completed commission was for Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, which was published in 1916.

 The Pit and the Pendulum

This was followed shortly by Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Poe.  The illustrations are much darker than Beardsley's, with incredibly detailed backgrounds and a lot of black.

Some of them, like this illustration for The Masque of Red Death, are quite morbid.

I particularly like this one, with the man buried alive underground, and the tree roots and other coffins.  Delightfully gothic!

Clarke also illustrated The Years at the Spring by Lettice d'O Walters (1920), Fairy Tales of Perrault (1922), Goethe's Faust (1925), and Selected Poems by Swinburne (1928).  The Faust contains some fantstic images, including the ones above and below.

Clarke and his brother took over their father's studio after his death in 1921, so while he was working on these later books, Clarke was also working to produce over 130 stained glass windows.

 Photo by StainedGlassAustralia on Flickr

One of them is even in Australia, in St Stephen's Catholic Cathedral in Brisbane.  The window was commissioned in 1923, and is inscribed to the memory of Isaac and William Mayne (it is known as the Mayne window).

Photo by StainedGlassAustralia on Flickr

The middle window shows Christ ascending to heaven over a sunset, with Mary standing below, while the two panels to either side show the eleven apostles.

Photo by StainedGlassAustralia on Flickr
 Unfortunately, the pace of work took its toll on the two brothers, and they died within a year of each other.  Harry was the second to die, in early 1931 at the age of 42, while convalescing in Switzerland with tuberculosis.  Grandma's Graphics has scans of many of Clarke's illustrations, including all from Faust, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and the Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales.