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Fashion Illustration - July-August

I started playing with Fashion Illustration when I was thinking of something new to do that stayed inside my love of painting women with beautiful patterns and textures. I enjoy working with the old photos I found in my family albums. My original attraction was the flowered dresses and aprons the women wore. I have so much fun experimenting with new ways to create beautiful pattern when I’m painting their dresses. Last summer I painted in my sketchbook a tribute to my mother-in-law on her birthday. She was such an intriguing woman, living on a tight budget and sewing her own better clothes to keep style in her wardrobe even on a budget. You can read about her here . Below are a couple of the sketchbook paintings of Jane in her fabulous hats.

Her coffee table had copies of Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue and Glamour magazine. She also had copies of Vogue, McCalls and Butterick pattern magazines too. She was always creating something beautiful for herself or her daughter. No cooking or decorating magazines in this house! As a painter, I knew about jeans and paint stained shirts. She really showed me a different world and it was girlie and fun! Ever since meeting her, I gave much more consideration to women's adornments.

My sister-in-law, Lynn, is a fan of vintage design. She and I watched our share of old movies, pointing out all of the beautiful dresses, hats, and coats. The movie subject was not always as importand as how good a star looked in a designer gown. Particular favorites of mine are the films like Funny Face and Sabrina that featured Audrey Hepburn in exquisite designer dresses, or Grace Kelly in It Takes a Thief or Rear Window. Jimmy Stewart was wilting in his cast, but Grace Kelly was cool as a cucumberin her gorgeous party dress. I'm think the movies were great but mostly we ate popcorn and talked about the clothes. 

I normally paint a face first to make sure it works before I make the painting. So much of my work is greeting card art, and I think the face engages to viewer. As I explored vintage themes, a lot of the models were the same person. Models were trained to look vacant, so I found their faces uninteresting and decided I didn't want the viewer to look there first. In fact how can I imagine myself wearing these clothes if someone else is wearing the dress? So - Off goes the head, well at least above the mouth, and that is where I started from.

I've painted evening gowns,

beautiful coats,

mod styles from the1960's,

and day wear, like pencil skirts and fitted dresses.

I enjoy painting these illustrations that celebrate both fashion designers and the photographers that created such lasting images of elegent mid century fashion. I've learned so much about these iconic artists, and encourage anyone who is fasinated with the dresses to read the history of them.

If you are in Colorado this summer, I have an exhibit of these paintings at Baby Doe's Clothing in Gloden Colorado the months of July and August. More than 40 paintings are available. It's a perfect environment for my paintings. You can also find the full line of my greeting cards there.

Cheers, Susan

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