New Portrait: A Girl, A Cat, A Dragon

KatieandCat

Katie 18×24″ oil on linen.

Click image for full-view.

I have to sit with it a bit more and take additional photos post-varnish (no colors ever seem to be accurate as they are in real life), but here is my most recent commission. God I love that dress! It took a lot of patience but I really wanted to include it.

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Ike does not look amused by this extra cat in the house.

Chic, and Somewhat Literate

My cats are chewing the spines of my books — uncle Milkshake (RIP) pre-chewed many and so they think this ok — however, rather than deal with another book shelf that bows or is ugly, I’m trying to come up with some stacking solutions that look nice but are practical. And, you wouldn’t believe how many books I sold or gave away in our last move!

I was going to sort them by color, but then the subjects are all out of place and I’d like the widest and heaviest on the bottom. I’m always told I have the library of an “old queen”, or a Drag Queen.  I guess either suits me just fine! Make no mistake, I’ve forged many friendships thanks to my library.

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Yes, I have a Joan Crawford problem! (not pictured: the Joan Crawford paper doll book)

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Here is my profile on Goodreads.com if you would like to see my ratings.

I don’t like writing lengthy reviews of any sort, someone can pay me to do that! Not to mention, I’m not a huge fan of fiction.

Random Things Of Beauty

In no particular order…

Cire Trudon bust candles. They come in black too!

A skull candle by D.L. and Co. He has so many great designs, how could anyone actually light a match and melt them?

I’ve been on a decorative masking and duct tape kick. The shop Nothing Elegant on Etsy has many cool designs.

These wall hooks are handy, and classy!

The entire Chanel Haute Couture fall and winter 2010/11 collection. You can watch the whole show here. So sad Kaaarl will be retiring in a few years.

I’m still coveting this Botero sculpture I saw during Art Basel Miami. Funny since I’ve never really thought much about his work before.

Men’s shoes from Barker Black, oh-so fancy, dark, and gorgeous.

Dutch still life paintings from the 1600s. They can border on being ghastly, or fabulous. I can’t decide which. Wouldn’t it be great if people started setting their tables for meals all haphazard like this?

Bed Crowns. I think some feathers on top wouldn’t be bad either. Only drawback would be having to clean the drapery on a constant basis.

Jessica Joslin “taxidermy” and other sculptures. She was doing the steam punk thing before it was a craze, or had a name.

I’d love to get enough china for 6 from Beat Up Creations, they are funny and so proper.

My Ten Essentials

You know what has been annoying for me lately? That there are now a flood of so-called stylists, decorators, and other aesthetes of  dubious kinds who give the same answers over and over to the question of “Top 10 Things You Can’t Live Without” or “Top 10 Stylish Must Haves”. None are very original.

Many of the repeat offenders are: red lipstick (I can tell you most men I’ve known hate having to kiss a woman with red lipstick on), champagne, their latest PDA device, and some such nonsense about Audrey Hepburn or anything having to do with the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Obviously none of these people have read the book, and I think I’m probably one of the only women on earth who can’t stand Audrey Hepburn or the pedestal of preciousness she has been put on.

Over all, I think I have more style (even in my trashiest moments) and taste than most of the con artists who get paid to be a stylist and give rather common sense advice as if it were a revelation. So just for my own entertainment, and yours, here are my 10 Things of Which I Use Often and/or Think Are Stylin’

Concealer from Sonia Kashuk. Because I still have zits, and broken veins thanks to being pale, and I don’t have money for the laser treatment — I’m told it doesn’t last anyhow. So there.

Gel foot inserts. They absorb the impact on the ball of your foot, and if you’ve ever spent any number of hours standing in heels, you know that crap hurts! Thanks to these I have survived 6+ hours of standing at art shows, and once, unexpectedly running from muggers in downtown L.A. (yes, I out ran them in heels!)

Q-Tips. Use ’em to clean off residue eye makeup. Use ’em to clean out your ears. Use ’em to clean out your cat’s ears because he has mites and the drops the vet gave you didn’t seem to work.

Cowboy Boots. I used to live in motorcycle boots but in recent years opted for these as they were less clunky and go with just about every outfit. I actually buy them custom-made and new every two years from Shelpers because the cost to resole them at a cobbler is the same price as a new pair.

Black cardigan. No matter what kind of sleeveless outfit I have on, I’ll bring one with me in a purse or put it over a dress etc. and it goes with everything. Because I either get cold, feel self-conscience about my flabby arms, or am in an Amish run establishment and my pentacle tattoo causes them to tell me the devil has me marked. Dressing it up with a brooch helps too.

Mommie Dearest. The set design is gorgeous, Faye is totally on point with the crazy, and it never gets old. It is great to watch when you are in a bitchy mood and hate everyone, or just need motivation and inspiration to clean your house.

Chlorophyll. What? That stuff that plants have? Why yes, it comes in pill form. Good for the lungs, and it keeps you regular if you know what I mean. Supposedly the editor-in-chief at Elle Magazine has two pills a day — I can tell you one is plenty!

Soap & Glory: Calm One, Calm All. This stuff smells like Dior “Cherie” and is a real bubble bath — not that body gel crap  —  plus it being available at Target means you don’t have to go to a fancy candy-ass boutique to find anything similar.

Scarves. I have all materials, lengths, and colors for all seasons. Why don’t ladies wear scarves anymore? It gives the feeling and look that you tried, you know, that thing called effort when dressing?

Lambic. Champagne is fine, but I like beer for the most part, and I like wine that is sweet. If you’ve never had lambic, you are in for a treat. Unlike champagne which causes your breath to become acidic and gives you a headache, you can have multiple glasses (or bottles) and still have a pleasant aftertaste. Like champagne however, it has a designated glass that is attractive. The most common flavor is raspberry, but I’m a fan of the peach.

Pricey Gifts I Would Like

I have no idea what’s going on, but lately I’ve been having to curtail an urge to shop — a lot. This of course is no good considering I have rather expensive taste in everything except wine and champagne. Yes, I love cheap champagne. My birthday is next month, and I thought I’d put together a list of pricey items I would like to receive as gifts.

The Diana Vreeland Memos for around $400 I’d like to have this item, and hope to God that Milkshake doesn’t chew on it.

Rene Caovilla shoes. Because, um, HELLO, look at them!

Dior Cherie, actually this isn’t too pricey, unless you wanna get me a huge bottle of it.

A leopard print coat, like this nice little thing from Top Shop. Because the fact I haven’t ever owned a leopard print coat is quite amazing — if you really know me, you are aware how true that is — and a tragedy, really.

Simone France skincare products. Because I hate everything I’ve ever tried, and frankly, if she was the skin specialist Christy Turlington used, well, that’s enough said right there isn’t it?

I was discussing with a friend how I don’t own any real jewelry except for my wedding ring. That’s just wrong.  I think the fact I’m about to be 32 means I should have at least one other piece that is real. So how about a Christian Dior skull ring?

The out-of-print book on La Belle Otero. Well, it costs much less than the Vreeland memos doesn’t it? She had published her memoirs but I have yet to come across that anywhere. UPDATE: This gift has already been bestowed onto me by bestest pal Shannon!

A piece by Cincinnati based artist Rondle West. I have no idea how much these are, but I’d still love to have one. All his pieces are candy colored plastic glory.

Thoughts on Eyebrows

Nothing frightens me more than women with seriously bad eyebrows. Being that I draw and paint women on a constant basis, it is always something I notice, and always something I think about during the painting process — being that my portraits are made up and all. I really don’t understand what happens in a person’s brain to end up with eyebrows that look like this…

Scary! And also, women with brows like this make me stare in a bad way. They probably think I’m a good listener — no honey — I’m just hypnotized.

I also cannot stand Kim Novak and her crayola drawn eyebrows in “Vertigo”, they are seriously the only thing I watch in the whole damn movie! Joan Crawford is another culprit, in that she had a good thing going early in her career…

And then, well, I guess she decided to do this…

What I do love sometimes, is looking through my old fashion magazines from the 1960s up through the 90s. In the 1980s eyebrows were getting a tad to bushy for my taste, and then suddenly, they went streamlined in a way almost reminiscent of the 1930s. I put it down to this 1992 Harper’s Bazaar cover, which has always been my favorite picture of Christy Turlington…

Visiting a variety of cities after this cover, and the Linda Evangelista one a few months later, I noticed all women on the street (especially along Melrose Ave. in L.A.) had the same exact make-up and eyebrow job. Thankfully, it looked good on most of them, if a little homogeneous. The only real backlash of these covers, and trend, was then the Chola girls took it one step further with the painted on eyebrows that pretty much seems to match their lip liner. I will never understand women who shave their brows off only to pencil them in. It looks awful and you are fooling no one!

So ladies, remember, eyebrows are a frame for your eyes, don’t neglect and don’t go tweeze/wax crazy. If you are really that aesthetically challenged, I recommend going to a pro. Look even in Pittsburgh there is a service just for people like you! That way when I see you walking down the street I won’t die a little inside while I stare helplessly at those things. If I can take great care and consideration in shaping them in a representational oil painting, surely you can do the same for yourself.

I’m glad we had this talk, now go get yourself some Rogaine and start all over.