Monday, November 8, 2010

Space Age Illustration:: Julien Pacaud

The perpendicular dreams (his term) of French illustrator Julien Pacaud have caught my eye. The retro collage effect is totally groovy.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

I can't get this out of my head.

I also think the couple is really cute.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The sickeningly sweet world of Liz Wolfe.

It's not often that I use the words "gross" and "adorable" in the same sentence, but hold tight kittens, because I'm about to do just that. Let's talk about Liz Wolfe. I first encountered Liz's work when we were looking for photographers who worked with food in artful ways (for a new campaign we were doing). I stumbled upon her book and holy cannoli, I was totally blown away. Her work is bold, playful, gorgeous and ridiculous. And yes. Sometimes kinda gross. Check it out:

(look closely....that's meat....)

Canadian born Liz Wolfie grew up in Saskatchewan and studied photography at Ryerson University's School of Image Arts in Toronto. In 2009, she exhibited her work at the Architecture + Design Museum (Los Angeles), the Gladstone Hotel (Toronto) and Project Basho Gallery (Philadelphia). Liz currently lives in Toronto. She has a little four year old boy, which makes her even cooler in my book. Go mama!

All images copyright (c) Liz Wolfe. Visit for more amazing images.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Modern Embroidery Paula Sanz Caballero

I'm always intrigued when people put a fresh sprin on a traditional medium. Like embroidery. You might remember my post from a while back on awesome artist Megan Whitmarsh. (If you missed it you HAVE to check out her work....teensy little embroidered canvases with wee images of big foot and KISS! Amazing!) Spanish artist Paula Sanz Caballero is another incredible talent who uses textiles and embroidery to put an utterly modern (and stylish) twist on her work. It's almost like a fashion illustration come to life. Take a gander and you'll see what I mean!

Here's a closeup so you can see the detail. I mean honestly...I'm so impressed. Can you imagine how much time it must take to make one of these? Really cool!

Thank you to everyone for indulging me yesterday and voting for Wolfie!

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Six Ways to Make Yourself Feel Prettier.

I’m going to be totally honest here. This is a somewhat superficial post. Yes, beauty is on the inside. And yes, confidence is the best way to feel fabulous. But there are simply some days when I feel tired, frazzled and just NOT sparkling. On those days if someone were to say to me, “Just smile! Be confident! You’ll look GREEEEAT!” I think I might slug ‘em. So here is a list of practical tips you can employ to make yourself feel just a wee bit prettier. Use ‘em all together. Or just do one. I guarantee it will help pull you out of the doldrums, pronto!

A women who doesn't wear perfume has no future.” Coco Chanel
Oh Coco. I love how she throws down these missives with such authority! Well, whether you love perfume or hate it I think we can all agree that smelling nice is a very good thing. Even if you’re an obsessive showerer or someone who favors a more “European” approach, an added little spritz of something can be just the thing. Don’t over do it, of course. A little dab in the crook of your arm or behind the ear—or heck, even just a spritz in the hair—and you'll smell lovely. I like to choose nice light scents, nothing too powdery or cloying. Nothing is nicer than giving someone a hug and have them says, “Oh, wow. You smell great!”
Oh and if you’re someone who can’t do a scent, try a lightly scented body lotion or a nice smelling hair product. I love Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine for hair.

Ya know, I wish my fingernails always looked good. But honestly if you are at all crafty or have kids or like to cook or garden etc….its tough to maintain. That’s why I love pale polish. Even if it chips just a bit, you don’t really notice it. And for those who say you don’t have time? I discovered this genius Sally Hanson polish that truly dries in 60 seconds. Like REALLY.
Your toesies on the other hand? Those suckers can last for quite a while. Treat yourself to a pedicure or simply paint ‘em yourself. I personally lerve candy apple red or hot pink on my toes—but whatever floats your boat! And if you’re a guy, you know what to do. Just keep ‘em trimmed and tidy.

Wear something colorful. I’m always amazed when people say to me “I love that hot pink on you….but I could never pull it off.” Sure you can! I admit my taste is a little louder than most, but color is always a good thing. If you’re already playing with color, then BRAVO! But if you’re a bit shy about dipping your toe in the rainbow try some little accent pieces. Tights in a pretty robin’s egg blue or vibrant pink, flats in Kelly green or yellow, picking that red bag instead of the classic black. I promise you’ll have an extra spring in your step!

“When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” — Coco Chanel
"It’s better to have bad taste than no taste at all!” — Diana Vreeland.
There is a saying that the devil is in the details, and I couldn’t agree more! I think accessories are where it’s at, my friends. You can be wearing jeans and a tee, but add a sassy little scarf or a fun necklace and suddenly you have an “outfit”. Accessories are a great way to show off your personality and add pick me up to an old outfit. But mostly I think they are FUN—and dare I say a compliment magnet. And who wouldn’t feel better when they have people telling them, “Cute necklace!” all day long?? A bold piece of jewelry, a sparkly hair clip or flower, a fun cocktail ring...and honestly you can get some really fun affordable pieces at stores like Forever 21 (or as I like to call it, Forever 31. *cough*) or go the vintage route.
Now, with regards to the quotes. Coco is right. Let your accessories be the hero and don’t make them complete with one another. Especially if you're a little nervous about mixing up your usual look, go for one big statement piece. Then again, I think Diana is right on the money too! I have to admit I'm a "More is MORE!" kinda gal. Hey, at least an over-embellished person has character! So don’t be afraid to go bold or experiment! If you’re even concerned with overdoing it, then you’re probably not the kind of gal who has anything to worry about. Knowhuttamean?

This one might surprise you, but I think a heel makes you walk a little bit taller and feel a little sassier. Let’s be clear, I’m not advocating crazy stilettos, but I know whenever I wear a touch of a heel I feel just a wee bit fancier. Trust me, as a mommy I’m not tottering around in crazy sky high heels…I’m talking a low wedge, a chunky heeled boot or a mid-heel girlie shoe. Even a flat with a kitten heel. I love sneaks and ballerina flats, but I rarely feel “sassy” in ‘em. Take a look at these and you’ll see what I mean!
Images from these lovely ladies: frecklewonder, graygoosie, bitsandbobbins

Some people love makeup. Some people think it’s a chore. I truly think a little bit of makeup can make you feel just that much more put together. If you are a lipstick lover, then I know I’m preachin’ to the choir. For those of you who claim they just don’t have time I say: LIP TINT! These are those colored lip balms that come in a convenient chapstick-sized tube....and the best part is it can be slicked across your lips in 5 seconds flat, without a mirror. My faves are Laura Mercier HydraTint in Crimson. It looks bright red but actually just gives your lippies the sheerest little blush of color. It also has a yummy fruit smell. Tarte makes a very pretty one as well. Another fave (and even cheaper!) are the Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers, which you can get at the drug store. These smell pepperminty and make your lips tingle a little. Merlot and Raisin are my faves. Seriously, even if this is ALL YOU DO, I bet you’ll look cute.
When all else fails, go out and buy a big bouquet of flowers are a whole mess o' balloons. You'll bring a smile to your face and everyone around you. Guaranteed!

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

60s Illustrators are Peachy Keen: Margaret Keane's Big Eyed Wonders

image: the lovely whoreange

I've long been obsessed with the work of 1960s artist Margaret Keane. When most people hear the name "Keane" they think of the somewhat cheesy big-eyed orphan paintings. What most people don't know is that Margaret Keane's early work is very different. She painted some of the most deliciously languid and lovely mod portraits around. The big dreamy eyes were still there....but these paintings are decidedly more grown up. I have a few prints of hers and an amazing book with excellent photo plates. I thought it would be fun to take a look! (This post goes out to my sweet friend Danielle, of Kistchy Digitals. Thanks for asking me about Margaret Keane and inspiring this post. You're gonna love it, I promise!)

See what I mean? Totally dreamy....let's go in a little closer, shall we? I love these petulant girls sipping their coffee:

This next one is quite interesting. A portrait within a portrait. The young girl looking somewhat realistic and the canvas portraying the more classic big-eyed version.

While we are on the topic of the "classic Keane" look, allow me to dazzle you with a little of the history behind the Legend of Keane. It's a good story. Back in the 60s, Walter Keane was known as the Master of the Big Eyed Waifs. His images were largely of young children with hauntingly sad eyes. Walter and Margaret opened up a gallery in 1959 in New York. Walter was the consummate business man and the story goes that he would often leave faux packing cases addressed to famous movie stars so people would walk in and say, "Oooh, Dean Martin is buying one? I better get one before the prices go up!" Crafty, eh?

Throughout the '60s, the popularity of Keane paintings soared. Stars like Joan Crawford, Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, Liberace and even Zsa Zsa Gabor all owned original Margaret Keane paintings. My favorite is this picture of Jerry Lewis and his family. And their pets. All with longing eyes. Totally insane:

In the '70s LIFE magazine declared Keane's paintings to be the most popular art in the western world. They even got a nod in the Woody Allen movie, "Sleeper" (Diane Keaton, presented with a big-eye painting, squeals with delight, "It's Keane, it's pure Keane!").

In 1965, Margaret and Walter went through a bitter divorce—and it was revealed that Margaret was ACTUALLY THE ONE PAINTING ALL THE PAINTINGS! Walter simply took credit for them. It was never clear whether it was because they thought a male artist would have more credibility or if it was because he was a savvy, controlling business man. Either way, Walter was now attempting to stop her from painting "big eyed waifs" claiming he was the one who originated the style. They battled in court for years and finally the case made it to a federal court. The judge requested that they each paint right then and there in the court room. Margaret triumphantly dashed off a quick portrait of a saucer-eyed child looking over a fence....while Walter, in a TOTAL Brady Bunch style maneuver, claimed he couldn't paint because of a neck/shoulder injury. HAH! Needless to say, Margaret won. Bravo Margaret!

Oddly, I'm not as drawn to her more recent work—the post Walter stuff. She said that while she was "living a lie" and letting him take credit, all her paintings had "sad eyes". Her later work (in the 80s and 90s) has "bright eyes" as a result of her new-found happiness (and I think she got religious too, if I'm not mistaken). ANYWAY....let's get back to her sad eyes, shall we?

Soooooo gooood. To date, Margaret Keane's work has been discovered by a new generation and claims fans like John Waters, Tim Burton, Matthew Sweet. David LaChappelle and Kate Hudson (who is slated to star in a movie on her life).

The popularity of Margaret's big-eyed babes inspired a slew of copycats...but I think we'll save that for a follow up post, no? So whatcha think friends....are these paintings terrific or terrifying? As Margaret herself has said, "You either love them or hate them....there really is no in between."

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