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Posts from the ‘original’ Category

The Sunbathers

3 March 2008

octavineillustration

February in Portland means heat wave parties. Donning your bikini, flip-flops and sunglasses in the middle of winter is only an activity those absolutely starved for Vitamin D will do.

Last night I attended one such party. My wonderful friend Neal turned the heat up to 85 degrees, queued up various surf themed LPs, and mixed pina coladas. February in Portland was never so tropical.

Pictured are The Sunbathers. I proclaim to be an avid sun-worshipper and have spent many a hot summer’s day cooking myself to a nice golden crisp. I drew this picture in honor of us leather-chesters. Seeking to capture that perfect sense of gluttonous behavior, note the slight snarl on their beautiful faces. Thus I present
Hedonism and Vanity: the sunbathers.

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1960s Mod Fashion, London and Me

28 February 2008

octavineillustration


London is perhaps my favorite city in the world (thus far). My deep connection to 19th century literature, my love for Brit Pop and mod fashion as well as pub culture, rain and a bizarre fascination with the monarchy, all make London feel like home.

I always stay at the same hotel near Hyde Park. A bargain at £55.00, it includes a full English breakfast (stewed prunes and all), a very small television, views of bustling Bayswater, but no bathroom.

As London is one of the most expensive cities and the pound worth twice that of the dollar, I spend most of my days walking or in the depths of one of their many incredible, free museums. Again, London serves as the focal point for all that I find interesting, and the British Museum its centerpiece and crowning empirical acheivement. I’ve been to Troy in Turkey (now a parking lot with a phony Trojan horse), but saw Troy in the British Museum. I have traveled to Egypt but saw a mummy for the first tme in the confines of the British Museum. In addition, the Elgin Marbles, Rosetta Stone and much of the Roman Empire lie in wait at the British Museum.

Colonialism has made its mark in the museum world. At the end of the 19th century the study of archaeology began in earnest as various European empires scrambled for power, seeking to conquer and spread “civilization.” Looting their conquests of national treasure (and thus depleting signs of native “civilization”), the British, Germans and Austrians among others filled their coffers nicely with what were essentially stolen goods. To visit Troy and see a parking lot or want to go to Tunisia and see Carthage only to find it exists wholly in Berlin is depressing, to say the least. Thus I lift my spirits and drag my thoughts away from quagmire colonialism has created by utterly enjoying myself with all London has to offer.

Pictured is my tribute to London: my illustration of a 1960s mod fashion plate, beautiful but a bit cold.

Beauty, Art and Therapy

23 February 2008

octavineillustration


My friend Dani is an art therapist. When looking at my work she always analyzes me, rather than my art. She pointedly asks, “What were you thinking when you drew this?” Or, “How does this image make you feel.” I simply chuckle at her, smile and ignore telling her to stop shrinking my brain.

Her comment on this piece includes the psycho-babble that I love her for: “This is really a significant piece. I love the tension between the green and the diagonal red and wine colors. This piece must have come from deep in your subconscious…”

To be honest, I have no idea where my inspiration is derived from. Most of the time, I find a model–a photograph, magazine clipping or even a poem and start from there; my creativity a force unto itself.

Walt Whitman & Portland

8 February 2008

octavineillustration

Whilst strolling about southeast Portland in the seemingly perpetual February drizzle, I spied what is perhaps one of my greatest sources of neighborhood inspiration: a hand-painted sign situated along a streetpole on a fairly major thoroughfare in the beautiful “Rose City” inconspicuously boasting the words of the first great American populist poet, Walt Whitman. His Leaves of Grass is perhaps the greatest collection of poetry of the nineteenth century and “Song of Myself” my most favorite of all.

Everyday I walk my dog Belle, a Mastiff-Lab cross, by the Walt Whitman streetpole (I find this wonderfully apropos as Whitman was a true man of the street, a poet of the senses). Regardless of my present mood, a rather hedonistic creative spirit wells up. My regard for Portland increases despite the present gloominess and my faith in art, culture, society and civilization is happily restored. The power of poetry is quite mighty indeed.

The painting pictured was inspired by my vision of a loud, dark and dirty Victorian era tavern in Whitman’s industrial haven of New York City.

Calligraphy in the Modern World

30 January 2008

octavineillustration


I received my first calligraphy set at age eleven from my great aunt Octavine.

As the family correspondent, Aunt Vinee appreciated excellent penmanship and the art of font. Octavine was old fashioned. She wore bloomers and muslin dresses from the 1950s.

Aunt Vinee encouraged me and I found I very much enjoyed the rather “old lady” pastime of calligraphy. I practiced and practiced. I bought alphabet books and taught myself fonts. As a left-hander, I couldn’t follow the instructions given thus I developed my own style and technique.

Once I had the basics of letter formation, spacing, and placement I began to practice Hebrew calligraphy. I was taught the Hebrew alphabet at a young age, so the letters were familiar.

Luckily, I have figured a way to turn my “old lady” talent into a practical art. Finding that Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract), wedding invitations, Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations, marriage contracts, concert posters, baby announcements and graduation announcements all require the flair of calligraphy allows calligraphy to blossom in the modern world and bring beauty to the everyday.

Paris from High

28 January 2008

octavineillustration


I imagine a drizzly spring afternoon in Paris circa 1934. She’s a movie star or maybe a dancer. Something glamorous. Although naked, her lazily draped cloak gives a bit of warmth. She is not unhappy as the hurried boulevard beneath provides solace. The terrace of the grand hotel is aged; the wrought iron rusted.
No matter, she is beautiful and a dancer, or maybe a movie star. Something glamorous.

Painted with gouache on a very cold day in NE Portland, Oregon.

Wedding Invitations, Calligraphy and Art Nouveau

27 January 2008

octavineillustration


When I was married my chief concern was my invitation. Sitting on the floor of my small lakeside apartment I drafted invitation after invitation. Basing my design on an Art Nouveau perfume bottle circa 1915, I sought to create an invitation that incorporated our Hebrew names, calligraphy and an Art Nouveau or Art Deco design.

My dress was from 1930. The long princess sleeves were cut and the neckline lowered. I found a tuxedo bought from a Fifth Avenue tailor in 1935, cufflinks, a shirt collar and a bowtie. Holding fastidious to my theme, I purchased a pair of ca. 1930s bridal shoes. The wedding invitation had to match.

Maintaining my black and white theme, I placed the Hebrew calligraphy into small banners; the English text in the center. As with many wedding and Bat or Bar Mitzvah invitations, the Hebrew calligraphy is decorative.

Combining the aesthetic of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods with my own and my husband’s Jewish traditions allowed the invitation to be truly representative of our wedding day.

Art Deco Wedding Invitation

24 January 2008

octavineillustration


An Art Deco wedding. The bride came to me with a clipping from an old calendar and the idea for an oak leaf motif. Her inspiration for her wedding invitation included something in an Art Deco style, hence the clipping from an antiquated Art Deco cafe poster calendar containing a bit of letting she loved. And the oak leaf was symbolic of the San Francisco Bay Area, their home and the location of the wedding.

I developed an Art Deco style alphabet from the small example of about a dozen differing letters. For the oak leaf, I went for a more abstract, cut-out style illustration to offset the Art Deco calligraphy.

Designing, executing the calligraphy and illustration as well as working with the bride and groom was a lovely experience. Feeling truly part of the festivities, I was able to actualize their vision whilst creating my own.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

23 January 2008

octavineillustration


The Roaring ’20s.

One of my favorite illustrations, this Art Deco style screenprint blends the 1920s with 1980s. Translating Cyndi Lauper’s seminal 1980s hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” into French and adding a whimsical Art Deco illustration of bathing beauties made for an interesting juxtaposition of two distinct eras.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Original Art Deco style screenprint.
Signed and numbered.

Please see my Etsy shop for further details.

http://www.octavineillustration.etsy.com

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