Showing posts with label paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paris. Show all posts

Sunday, October 7, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #37

Late-for-a-Very-Important-Date-Dress Monday: Sadly, it was a rainy Monday and my Hunter boots hid my amazing tights by Teja Jamilla. dress and belt: Alice-in-Wonderland wannabe dress by me, DIY here; Hunter boots, ebay
Hey, dudes. I hope you don't mind that along with my outfits this week, I'm sharing with you my current obsession: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. My students are currently learning about him (he ties in so neatly with our all-things-Paris theme) and I've developed a bit of a crush on him, his work and the story of his life. I've been reading about him to the kids using my favorite series of books: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists. And while the book is an excellent resource, it leaves out much of the dark side of his life. Which is a good thing. Angry parent phone calls aren't my favorite. But, personally, I love the dark stuff. To me, it's like vintage TMZ or a retro USWeekly. I eat it up.

So, here you go. My duds and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Enjoy!
Who doesn't love a cute guy with a beard and a sense of humor? Love this double self-portrait created pre-photoshop. The way Vincent van Gogh is notoriously famous for cutting off (just the lobe!) his ear, Toulouse Lautrec's small stature is probably his most recognizable trait. The cause? Well, his parents were first cousins. The inbreeding resulted in his many health problems, including his fragile bones and limited growth. I opted not to share that with the kids. I live in the south, the whole marrying-your-first-cousin thing might be a little too close to home (I kid!). Images via pinterest.
Sadly, every time I see these posters, I think of the movie Moulin Rouge. Which I did not love. Try to block it out. The real Moulin Rouge (which translates The Red Mill -- the mill was attached to the building) was a cabaret theater where the patrons could even receive lap dances. That's Jane Avril, the Moulin Rouge's most popular dancer, in the middle. I love that her top-of-the-head bun has made a comeback.
Messy Art Room Tuesday: Oh, let's be honest, when is it not a messy art room? dress and sweater: vintage, thrifted; yellow tights and fishnet stockings: Target; Jane Avril-wannabe shoes: Softee

 So it's no secret that Toulouse Lautrec had a muse: Jane Avril. The story of her life is quite the Dickens-tale as well: abused as a child, she ran away from home only to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. There she discovered her love of dancing. Later she became the headliner at the Moulin Rouge. Her graceful style of dancing contrasted the other cancan dancers of her time. She was meloncholic and thoughtful which is probably what drew Toulouse Lautrec to her. She can be found in many of his sketches and posters advertising the Moulin Rouge.
While I love Toulouse Lautrec's posters, I think these sketchy paintings of his are my favorite.
Flex-and-Bust Wednesday: I wore this thrifted vintage dress for the first time...and I kept hearing a tearing sound as I was working with the kids. This happens to me and vintage more times than I'd like to admit. Turns out the sleeve fabric had dry rotted and I tore a small hole right at the shoulders. Nothing a patch can't fix. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: borrowed from another dress; sweater: Ann Taylor, thrifted; shoes: Anthro
Toulouse Lautrec painted many of these dancers and many prostitutes as well. He said about painting them: "A professional model is like a stuffed owl. These girls are alive." Except when they are sleeping, of course. 
Another Toulouse Lautrec-ism: "I paint things as they are. I don't comment. I record." He added no superficial beauty, just the beauty in what he saw.
"Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it."
Halloween Horror Thursday: More details on our latest Halloween adventure soon. dress: made by me, details here; sandals: Chaco
Toulouse Lautrec was friendly with such troubled artists as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin (don't tell me that dude wasn't troubled, he painted more underage South Pacific girls than any man should). I love his portrait of van Gogh. 
Forever Friday: Wouldn't that be lovely? How much more would we live each day if it were a Friday? top: BCBG; skirt: Anthro; sandals: Target; sunnies: Rayban; belt: gift from a friend
Sadly, Toulouse Lautrec's life ended too soon. He was just in his mid-thirties when he died of alcoholism. After a life of pain, both his body and from the abuse he took for his small stature, he died young as so many great artists do.
Thankfully, he worked his tail off during his lifetime and left behind a huge body of beautiful work. I can't seem to get enough of his scenes of everyday life. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have sharing them.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIY: The I-See-London-I-See-France Dress

I am a bit of a haphazard seamstress. So I have this fear, when I wear my own sewn dresses, that  some rogue seam is gonna come loose and the end of the phrase "I see London, I see France..." will actually become my reality.
 Bonjour, compadres! What you are looking at here is an example of Pro-Cass-tination. Oh, you didn't know I was the Queen of Puttin'-Off-Everything-'Cept-Candy-Eatin'? It's true. And this dress is no exception. After months of sitting on this half-finished dress, I finally knocked it out. And just in the nick o' time, as me and the wee artists are about to be neck deep in all things Paris, France. Oui oui, ya'll.
Um, did you know I have a bit of a Mary Blair obsession? Have you seen the movie Single White Female...? Just kidding, my therapist and I have it way under control. As long as I take my meds. This photo of It's a Small World was taken last Christmas at Disneyland.
 So I picked up the Parisian-themed fabric over the summer. I knew I'd be taking the kids on European adventures in art and wanted to create a dress for the occasion. When hubs said, "that fabric looks very It's-a-Small-World," I knew I'd made the right choice.
If you are thinking this dress design looks  familiar, then you might be thinking of my Empire Strikes Back dress and the Presley Poodle Dress. Yep, all three are from the same vintage pattern. I'm a repeat offender.
 After sorting through my mountain of dress patterns I went with the same ole dress pattern I've used before. I really like this pattern for a couple of reasons: that giant band around the waist is super slimming and, because of the three parts of the dress, I can have fun playing around with fabric combinations. For the top half, I decided to go with my two favorite colors, salmon pink (with polka dots?! yes, please!) and turquoise blue. The skirt fabric is from Hoodie's Collection "L'amour de la vie" for Timeless Treasures Fabrics.
You remember my embroidered poodle from my traveling DIY? Well, this was also completed on that same trip. For this I used an embroidery design from Stitcher's Revolution.
Now if only Mary Blair paintings were made into fabric designs, I'd be oh-so-happy.
To top off the look (like literally), my friend Jen of Peachy Tuesday created this awesome Eiffel Tower headband. I love it! And I know the kids are going to as well. You can find Jen's shop here...and you can preview her designs before they go up for sale on her Facebook page. Merci, Jen!
The gorgeous Mary Blair. A little bit of history on her: she and her hubs joined Walt Disney Studios in the 1940's where she worked on concept art for movies like Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella. The designs for both are beautifully published in childrens books, along with a couple others she illustrated (if you have not seen the adorable I Can Fly book, please check it out). She is most famous for creating the designs for It's a Small World. Sigh. If I could live in that sweet world, I totally would.
Now that I think about it, this seems like the perfect dress to wear the next time I ride It's a Small World. Given I don't experience the dreaded butt-blowout before then.

 Oh, look, there's me attempting my best Mary Blair pose. Yeah, I'll keep workin' on it. The beautiful portrait of Mary was created by comic book guru Michael Netzer.

 Whew, I-See-London-I-See-France-Please-Lemme-Be-Wearing-Clean-Underpants Dress complete! Next up on my sewing table: my Halloween Horror Movie Dress to be worn at the countless haunted houses we'll be attending this fall (yes, seriously). When I mentioned that upcoming dress to hubs, the following convo ensued:

Hubs: I know you haven't started on that dress yet.
Moi: Oh yeah, how do you know?
Hubs: Because it's not the night before you need to wear it.

Hey, they don't call it pro-Cass-tination fer nutin'.

Au revoir!

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the Art Room: Let's Go to Paris!

Having haphazardly cleaned my art room at the end of the school year, I managed to hide all of the paintbrushes from myself. Seriously, I've no clue where they are. So this here window mural was painted in sponges, paint rollers, fingers, window paint markers and a sumi brush. 
Each year, students, their parents and faculty friends ask me the same question: "So, where are we going this year?!" I began this tradition of decorating my room around our theme of study many years ago. I'd say I do it (in my best Sally Struther's voice) for the children, but the truth of the matter is, I just love doing it. The bonus is they love it as well.

I'm so excited for them to see this year's theme: Traveling Europe. As you might have guessed, we are starting off our journey in Paris! Which is just a pinch different from where we traveled to last year...
This time last year, we were heading back in time to Ancient Egypt. I painted the windows, sponge stamped those dollar straw mats and created the batiks in the window and behind my chair. All of that's now packed away. Somewhere. Possibly with some paint brushes. 
I did learn something having lost my brushes: painting goes a whole lot quicker if you use a paint roller to block in the background. Another lesson learned: beware of paint-roller-splatter. Especially when wearing vintage, argh!
I began with a really rough sketch of how I was hoping the windows would turn out. The left bank of windows proved to be the easier side as I had a clear idea of where I was going: Eiffel Tower, some hot air balloons, a background of buildings and some flowers in the foreground. Not quite three hours later, done.
Remember I told you I was on a poodle kick?
This side proved to be a pinch more difficult. I knew I wanted a street, a bike and a poodle. I created an extremely rough sketch on my window with a washable marker and just went for it. Thankfully, I had plenty of photos from our trip to Epot and their version of Paris to help me out.
I love Epcot. There is nothing to do there but shop and eat. Which go together like hot fudge and ice cream, says moi.
Knowing that I'd be creating my room around this European theme, hubs and I went to Epcot on our trip to Disney at the very beginning of the summer. Can you spot my inspiration in these photos? Hello there, street lamp.
Another thing I love about Epcot is that they hire folks from the actual counties to work in that portion of the park. Or they manage to find people with really great accents. Either way, it's very cool.
Table for two? Oui, s'il vous plaƮt.
In between and above my windows are concrete blocks. Not exactly the Euro-vibe I was going for. In my search for paint brushes, I found that I had a mountain of French painting reproductions. So, I set about mounting them and creating some faux advertisement posters. I was inspired by the post of adverts I saw at Epcot...
From Epcot's Paris.
FeeFee and her suitcase, ready to travel the world.
Because my art room used to be a library, I have an enormous book shelf beside my windows. Normally I fill the shelves with treasures from the countries we are studying, but my stash of European souvenirs is pretty slim. So I scooped up this old plastic Samsonite suitcase at the thrift store and covered it with some royalty -free travel images I printed off the interweb.

Which was inspired by this display at Epcot.
My new favorite spot in the room. Now where is that waiter with my cappuccino? I hope he's not buried under paint brushes some where -- I'll never get my coffee!
So one area of my room complete! Notice I'm not sharing with you photos of the rest of the my mad hunt for paintbrushes, I opened every cabinet and pulled out every drawer. It looks like a poltergeist swept through my room.

Au revoir, Jes! Do you remember our school mascot? He's traveled to Germany and the Netherlands and this week he was shipped out to France! I cannot wait to share photos of his travels with the kids.
It's such a relief to have one portion of my room complete. Now I'm just down to moving tables, prepping first week supplies and hanging up my class rules. I've already started to rewrite my rules:

Rule #1: Find Mrs. Stephens paint brushes.

Rule #2: What? Have you found my brushes yet? Then you need to revisit Rule #1, kid.

(Thanks for dropping by!...Cassie)

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