gwendolyngrey: (Default)
Things are speeding up and whizzing by at an alarming rate now that it's the last week before my show.  I have five days left at my disposal, and I have 2.7 paintings left to do.  It'll be crazy-intense, but now that all the sewing is done, I can properly concentrate on Making Art.

I wore the 1840 dress at critique today, where it was very well received.  Actually, that's a big understatement.  I walked through the door, and my prof, Ed, took one look, gave his trademark little gasp, and exclaimed "All my dreams just came true."  He then proceeded to walk all around me, peering closely at the seams and the pleats and asking all sorts of questions about the construction and the time period.  Apparently, everyone in illustration has total faith in my knowledge of general and costume history, and often come to me with questions about what sort of behavior would be appropriate at which time and who wore what when, besides basic things like dates of major events.  And the thing is, they believe whatever I tell them.  I have not yet abused this trust, but it's tempting. 

Anyway, coming back to Ed, he was really pleased with the dress, and frequently said how he wished he had a project that matched it because he really wanted to paint it.  Coming from an artist, I take that as a great compliment.

On my way home from campus, I stopped by work to show off as it's directly on my way.  The ladies I work with at the fabric store HEAR about what I'm making all the time, but I've never shown them more than the occasional photo.  There was plenty of oo-ing and ah-ing... it was all very ego-reinforcing.

Once I got home, I didn't feel like setting things up for a proper "photoshoot", so I just took a couple pictures and a  quick video out on the deck.

And a picture or two that stays still... )

It'll do.

Feb. 17th, 2009 03:17 pm
gwendolyngrey: (Default)

So I finished the first painting for my show this Sun night!  It's of the Maiden and the Prince (ie. Lynette and Mike) and is derived from images from the photoshoot in Jan.  I had critique yesterday, and true to form, I finished the piece the night before it was due.  Honestly, I'm not sure I ever get anything done more than a day before it's due.  The thing is, I generally know how long something will take to accomplish, and unless I have a rock-solid deadline nipping at my heels, I tend to put things off until they won't be put off any longer.

But back to the point.

I still have three paintings to go, but I'm quite happy with how this one turned out and how it was received during critique.  Yes, there are things that could be improved, and I'm not at all sure whether I like the black background or not, but on the whole I'm pleased.  

It was actually extraordinarily satisfying showing the painting to Katie and Mike (separately).  I had it in the truck of my car, and when I opened it and Katie glanced in, she sort of gasped and said "ohdeargod" (or something similar... my memory is like a sieve) and then when I pulled it out she just stared and mumbled about how it did look like Mike and how un-nerving it was.  Apparently, seeing one of our best friends in the back of my car (in effigy) was rather strange.  Mike, on the other hand, was INCREDIBLY pleased with it!  He oo-ed and ah-ed properly, but what really made me happy was the big grin he got whenever he looked at it.  This is the second time I've painted him, and this painting is ever so much better than the old one from over a year ago... and I know he thought so too.  Perhaps the most ringing endorsment is that it is now his profile picture on facebook.  :-)

I always think it's funny to contrast the the difference of reactions from 'artists' and 'non-artists' to paintings.  My Mom likes Lynette's expression, Mike likes how much he looks like him. On the other hand: my illustration prof, Ed, LOVED the prince's collar, my favorite bit is the shiny gold trim on the prince's shoulder, and Gil raved about one of the studs on the prince's sleeve...

gwendolyngrey: (Default)
Yesterday involved standing on a table in my senior project class, and demonstrating to everyone just how exactly you get in and out of a drop-front regency dress.  I don't think there's any experience quite like starting to take off your dress in front of everyone without telling them you have three layers on underneath...

And I know I say it about everything new I make, but I really, really love my 1810 dress.  (I especially love the kicky little ruffles at the hem.)

If all goes well, I'll be buying a camera of my own this afternoon once I get out of class, so hopefully I'll be better at taking pictures of things soon.  If nothing else, it will be smaller than the family one and will stay close at hand.

And I haven't stopped!  I have the spencer all muslin-ed up and the velvet cut out, and if my lining fabric would arrive already I could start actually putting it together.  And then last night I fixed my regency corset so the waist and hips would fit (I just added another seam up the side, took things in, and rebound than section along the edge).  And later today I'll be buying wood and masonite for my "real" paintings (practice is over!) which I've been planning out and sketching thumbnails for.

As astonishing as it may seem, I think I might be developing a good work ethic.

gwendolyngrey: (Default)
On the bright side, I have the 1810 dress pretty close to finished, and barring any emergency I ought to get it done tonight.  The skirt needs attaching to the bodice, and I need to sew three little ruffles onto the hem, but that's it.  I keep getting the odd feeling that I've made this dress before, which I patently haven't.  I've never made a white dress, or used dotted swiss, OR made a drop-front regency before... but at every step felt like I'd done it already, and seeing the dress up on my form seems intensely familiar.  I suppose I can chalk it up to having always enjoyed regency clothes and having watched umpty-million Jane Austen movies in the past few years of my life.

It's still a very strange sensation though...  kind of like this dress has always existed and I'm just bringing it to light.

gwendolyngrey: (Default)
I've been going on about a set of fairytale costumes I was making for my senior project for the last eight or so months.  There have been very few pictures of my progress, but no more!  I finally finished the last pieces early this week, and had a photoshoot of this project last night. 

The photoshoot took place on the main stage here on campus, and I had a co-worker of mine (Jackie Garner) who is a photography major take the photos.  She's still only a sophomore, but she does beautiful work, and I'm really happy with the pictures she took! 

It feels incredibly relieving to be done with this project; I'm free now to pour my heart and soul into the REST of my senior project.  No, I'm not done with it: there are the rest of the historical costumes to make and the correlating paintings to do and all the logistics surrounding organizing and putting on a show.  I love my life sometimes. :)

All four of them!  The maiden, the king, the queen, and the price.

I love all my models!  Lynette was a wonderfully silly maiden, my brother Joseph modelled the king and kindly didn't object to being dressed in silk and puffy pants, Gill was the queen and soldiered on in spite of having a really bad cold, and Mike McCarty modelled the prince.  It was so wonderful having people who all mean so much to me all there to help me with my wacky projects.  Katie Jacobs was there too, and was invaluable for make-up and dressing!

A less-than-serious  )
It was SO HARD getting Lynette to be serious enough to hold hands with Mike, this was a lucky shot! )
The Royal Couple )
The Queen )
The King )
The Prince )
The Maiden )
There were a lot of other really nice pictures, including some great "backstage" shots.  I've got the best of them up in my flickr account here.
gwendolyngrey: (1825)
Since I rang the new year in by sitting at my desk sewing away, it seemed very appropriate that the first post of the new year be somewhat related to costumery.  I had had great plans for various projects in '08, and for the most part, I managed to reach my goals.  Mostly.  I didn't get as much done over the summer as I wanted to, but things worked out in the end (or will work out...). 

2008 in Costume:
~ 1819 Regency Corset
~ The Maiden (Fairytale)
~ Star Wars inspired Irish Dance Dress
~ 1820 Evening Gown
~ 1750's F&I Ensemble (of which there are few decent pictures)
~ The Queen (Fairytale)
~ The King (Fairytale... all right, all right, so I finished this yesterday.  I still think it counts)

And then there is the fairytale Prince, which is nearing completion, plus I had several commissions for normal clothing over the summer (such as the M.O.G. dress).  I had previously wanted to complete a couple more projects in '08, including finishing the Violet Baudelaire dress which has been in progress for three years now, but all in all I think I didn't do too badly.  When you stop and consider all the different pieces and bits and bobs that make up several of those single projects, the list suddenly becomes kind of rediculous.

And I do have a photoshoot planned for Jan 6th, after which there will be (should be) aMAZING pictures of all this fairytale stuff I've been yammering about for the past year or so.  Provided I wrap everything up in a timely fashion.

Hopefully '09 will be filled with good things.  Some of those things should be:
~ 1810 'little white dress' and spencer
~ 1830 blue stripey dress and hat
~ mid 19th cen corset
~ 1840 navy voile dress and bonnet
~ Mary Beale 17th cen dress
~ Victorian bathing suit
~ Star Wars Imperial Officers (for myself and my sister)
~ 1860's sheer dress

Now that that's done and out of the way, and the Juno soundtrack has finished downloading and is safely on my iPod, I'd better go sew.

gwendolyngrey: (1825)

This is what I have to accomplish by Jan 6th.  I am now solely motivated by fear.

Started but need finishing:

-King's pants/breeches/trunkhose (BTW, what DO you call a garment which strongly resembles a certain historical piece of clothing yet clearly deviates from that original style?  Do you use the name of the period garment, or slap a generic modern name onto it?)
-Prince's tunic

Not even started yet but also need finishing:

-Prince's pants/breeches
-Prince's cropped jacket
-Queen's wig and headdress
-King's headpiece/crown
-large bumroll for Queen
-petticoat for Queen (although I think I can fudge something for the photoshoot)

I also have to make a couple of presents for people before New Year's.

I cannot WAIT until these fairytale costumes are finished!  The design aspect of this project was fun and it was great to be able to rely more on imagination than research, but I'm really looking forward to making out-and-out historical stuff again.

gwendolyngrey: (Default)
You know what I finished tonight?

The Queen, that's what.  Only an entire MONTH behind schedule!  I'll still be able to get all the costumes done for my show, but regular school work is suffering.  I'm starting to freak out a bit... a lot...

I'm too tired to order my thoughts.
gwendolyngrey: (serious icon serious jedi)
Not even a month after I got over my last cold, and I've come down with another one.  This is a chest cold (very unusual for me) and for the past couple days I've been coughing and hacking and wheezing and trying various cold and cough medicines in the hopes of some peace.  At least my throat has stopped hurting... although my voice still sounds like I'm 70.

In spite of all that, Lynette came over yesterday for a fitting.  She's modelling the Maiden costume for my senior project, and even though the dress has been basically finished since the spring, she'd never yet tried it on.  (We're almost exactly the same measurements, so I felt I could get away with that).  I was SO relieved to find that it DID fit her after all, AND she looks PERFECT for the character.  Yes, it deserves all those caps.  This is IMPORTANT.  I just need to sew on a bunch of hooks and eyes and then I can totally forget about this one until the photoshoot at the end of this semester. 

Isn't it just delightfully, nauseatingly pink?  Definitely the silliest thing I've ever made ever.

My dad's response to this photo:  "Did YOU make that?"

Why yes, yes I did.

(and the Queen's costume must be done by the end of this week or I am DEAD. (or at least shot in the foot)
Fortunately, it's coming along well.  I have now achieved all the undergarments and the sleeves.  Really, really cool sleeves.  In fact, they are the most fabulous sleeves imaginable.  Rather like golden exoskeletons.)

gwendolyngrey: (Default)
The silly pink dress for my Maiden is coming along steadily, if a bit slower than I should like.  I'm borrowing a dress-form from someone at work, and it has proved to be invaluable.  There is simply no way I could have done the skirt without it, unless I had somehow been able to coerce Lynette into standing still for several hours while I stuck pins into her.  The skirt is done though, aside from trimming (it'll have large bows up the front along where it opens), and the bodice is assembled.  I still have to trim the bodice and make the sleeves, stomacher, and hat... it's a fair amount of work, but I MUST get it all done this week.  I'm a little worried, but I have a good stock of coffee, brownie mix, and ibuprofen, so it shouldn't be impossible.

I don't have pictures of the most recent progress (ie. the bodice)... but this one gives a vague sort of idea at what I've been doing.

It's been sort of a slow day all over though, and the evening doesn't promise excitement.  I have a logic exam tomorrow which demands at least a pretended stab at study.  Beky and Lynette are both gone because of Easter, and it's terribly quiet here.  I wish I could just go to bed early instead of being "responsible".
gwendolyngrey: (Default)
This morning when I was sitting on the bus I was struck with a wonderful epiphany- in a couple weeks I will be signing up for classes for the last time!  Next year is the END!  It feels like I've been at school for several lifetimes, and I can't wait to try living in the real world for a while.  Even if I'm working a crappy part-time job while trying to be an artist on the side... even if I can barely make ends meet... at least I won't have homework.  I know the grass is always greener on the other side, but this time I'm convinced it's true.  Being graduated will be wonderful... I just have to get through one more year.  Just one more year.
I don't think I'll be too disappointed with post-graduation life when it rolls around, even if it isn't all sunshine and roses.  I honestly can't conceive what it must be like NOT to be poor, and even if I don't go on to great things right away, as long as I can pay my bills and can afford to fill up my tank with gas and still have a tiny bit left over, I'll be content.

Life continues apace as always.  I don't have pictures of anything I've done lately, but the ornate metal headphones are done, paintings are being (slowly) cranked out, and though I'm behind on my independent study costumes at least there is visible progress.  I'm making the silliest dress right now.  It's somewhat late Elizabethan with a wheel farthingale and drum-shaped skirt, and the whole thing is pink.  Pink velveteen, darker pink accents, pink lace, pink trim, pink hat, sparkley beads... the whole thing is ridiculously fun and incredibly nauseating.

Come to think of it, the silly pink dress fits very well with whatever odd, romantic phase I'm going through.  The painting I'm doing right now has a girl walking across a sunny meadow in a pretty dress with flowers in her curly hair and a bird on her finger.  I think I could probably make it a bit more sickeningly sweet if I tried very hard, and, in fact, am planing on making a painting that's nothing but disgustingly cute for my next project.  Think princesses and rosebushes and a fountain and birds and bunnies in tiaras and pink and ruffles and lace and aren't you already about to vomit? Only in a good way, of course.  I want to take all these "girly" tendencies and push them to the limit to see what comes out.  It might be the most awful thing you could imagine, or it might lead somewhere interesting... I'll just have to wait and see.
gwendolyngrey: (SBP- air is filled with exclamation poin)
I need to do painting about summer. Perhaps if I surround myself with images of sunshine and flowers I can forget that I was excited today by it being 'warm' at 32 degrees. 32!!! That's FREEZING POINT and it felt WARM after the arctic temperatures we've been having lately. Funnily enough, about this time last year I also did a painting of the feeling of summer... I think it's because I know that spring is on the agenda even though it still feels like the depths of winter. I just want it to be sunny, and for the sun to actually feel warm.

Anyway, my canvas is stretched (with the raw knuckles to match!) and primed, and I've been browsing around stock image sites for inspiration. I'm actually exciting about painting this one!

And even though my headphones for metals have a long way to go, I'm done with the casting process. I can't express how utterly relieved I am that both sides turned out nicely. Casting is definitely a fun process, but SO stressful when there's a looming deadline!

It feels good to be excited about art again.

(and I'm totally in love with a couple of my costume designs... I cannot WAIT to make them!)
gwendolyngrey: (Default)
Why, oh WHY does a painting class demand papers?!  I should think that all our time and effort put into actually doing art would be enough, and lumping papers on top of things is just plain mean.  They don't have to be formal writing, but I'm still bitter that we have to do them at all.  Some of the artists I had to research had nothing whatsoever in common with my work though, and that was supposed to be the whole point of this exercise.  John Currin, at least, is very interesting, and I think his work is relevant to my own... and I suppose one out of four isn't a complete bust.  As for the others: Alice Neel, Gerhard Richter, and Eric Fischl, I appreciate what they do, and sort of like some of it, but I don't think it relates at all to what I do.  They paint(ed) people (sometimes) and I paint people... but that's a very thin sort of association.  However, to make myself feel better I am also writing about Tasha Tudor.  I think I would like to be her someday, although not living as in the 1830's.... 1920's maybe... but the 1830's are ridiculous....

My mom just brought me a cup of tea and a bowl of bread-pudding and a hot-water bottle for my lap.  Sunday afternoons at home are truly delightful (in spite of looming homework), and I must say that I enjoy my family so much more now that I'm not around them every day.  I think my mom and dad like to feel as if I'm still their little girl, and so they try in all sorts of little ways to take care of me whenever I'm around.  I'm certainly not about to complain.

I actually started working on my independent study costumes this past week.  The designs are nearly complete; I just have to scan and color a couple.  The general plan is for me to have finished making two of the costumes by the end of the semester, and I hope I haven't put things off too late.  The maiden costume is now underway at last though, and I plan on having the undergarments done within the week.  Lynette will be wearing my red effigy stays (the design is late-Elizabethan flavored), but I have to make a chemise, wheel farthingale, and petticoat.  The chemise is about done, and I've started the farthingale. I'm using patterns from Jean Hunnisett for both since strict historical accuracy is irrelevant. I just wish I could properly devote myself to this...
gwendolyngrey: (five points to slytherin)
I have a plot!!!

I have never ever been able to come up with a fully realised plot before... I'll have dialouges pop into my head that I'll write out, or I'll have an inspiration for a wonderful story and then have no idea how I'd resolve it, and I always peter out long before I get anywhere serious. But now I HAVE A PLOT. Granted, it's for a children's story. A picture book fairytale come to that... but hey, I gots plot!

So now I have to write the story so I can design the costumes and then make them and then take reference photos and then illustrate the thing. It'll be my senior project... at least, the illustrations will. I'll be designing the costumes, and constructing at least two as an independant study this fall. So the story will have to be fully totally written by Sep. No problem right? It's just a short kid's book......

.... I'm going to rue the day I decided writing my own story to illustrate was a good idea. I can feel it in my bones.

But it might just be pretty awesome. ;-)

April 2017



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