A Modern Gentleman: Dandy Wellington

This blog post is all about the fabulous Dandy Wellington:

Dandy Wellington photographed by Rose Callahan on May 19, 2015 in NYC

I first became aware of Mr. Wellington when I read his profile in the book DANDY PORTRAITS. The book contained the most glorious photographs of sartorially conscious men I have ever seen.

Dandy Wellington photographed by Rose Callahan in NYC on Aug 30, 2012

Mr. Wellington was/is one of my favorites because he puts so much thought and imagination into his clothing choices. He literally dresses like this everyday, and looks absolutely flawless every single time. When he wears great clothes, he owns it by strutting with the best of them and minding his manners as any true gentleman would.

Dandy Wellington by Robin Soko

For him, it is all about a love for elegance and timeless beauty. He seems incredibly charming and prone to put a smile on anyone’s face, especially those of the female persuasion. He also seems like a load of fun – the type of person who wants to make sure that everyone is having a great time.

Dandy Wellington Tumblr

Dandy Wellington studied musical theater at NYU and was born and bred in Harlem, New York. Apart from his clothing, jazz is Wellington’s other great passion. He has a band that specializes in swing and jazz from various decades, and they play in the big band style reminiscent of music that people once heard streaming out of vintage radios. I also love that he has a female bass player (being a female drummer, I am always happy to see females playing nontraditional instruments).

The Dandy Wellington Band

From the videos I have watched of Dandy in action, he is a true blue performer and loves being on the stage.

Dandy Wellington Mulpix

I follow Dandy Wellington on Instagram, and I always make a special point to looks at his pictures and read about his adventures. You can also find him at http://dandywellington.tumblr.com and you can watch him in action on http://dandywellington.com

Dandy Wellington Seaport Swing

The Atmospheric Images of Andrew Davidson

Today, I would like to introduce you to an artist I admire by the name of Andrew Davidson. There is not a great deal of information available about Davidson because he has not conducted many interviews, but like all great artists, his work mainly speaks for itself.

Death on the Nile by Andrew Davidson

Davidson studied graphic design, and considers himself both an illustrator and designer. His eye for design is apparent when studying the composition of his illustrations. He uses gouache paint to lay down large blocks of color, but being multi-talented, he also creates wood carvings and wood engravings.

Sleeping Murder by Andrew Davidson

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Andrew Davidson

Davidson came to my attention when I noticed his artwork in the Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot books for The Folio Society. As a fan of Agatha Christie, I think he really captured the atmosphere and elegance present in Christie’s books. I love his use of color and minimalist design; they provide a great deal of context and narrative despite their minimalist aesthetic.

Field of Wildflowers by Andrew Davidson

Murder on the Orient Express by Andrew Davidson

Davidson’s images are reminiscent of the beautiful travel posters created by artists during the 1920s and 1930s.

Miss Marple by Andrew Davidson

Death on the Nile by Andrew Davidson

Death on the Nile Deck by Andrew Davidson

For more information about Davidson’s work, please visit:

Andrew Davidson’s Website

The Artworks Gallery Page

 

Posting for Practice: My 365 Day Challenge

I started the new year by setting a challenge for myself: complete and post one drawing each day on Instagram. Here are a few of my sketches:

adelle dancing-queen tyler

I really wanted to establish a practice which would require me to draw at least once a day, and so far I have been sticking to it – I just posted my drawing for Day #37!  By the end of the year, I hope to have some drawings that would be worthy of starting my online shop (my goal for 2018). I am focusing on practicing, experimenting, and putting it all out there. I always feel a little vulnerable just before I hit SHARE, but people have been really supportive so far.

This is what I have learned so far:

  • this is a great way to keep creative ideas flowing – the more I create, the more ideas seem to just come to me
  • having a back up file of content to share is really helpful on the days I cannot create art but I still want to post; whenever I have more time, I draw more than one sketch to keep in a file
  • this has been great for experimentation; I love so many styles of illustration right now, but ultimately, I want to develop my own style – the only way to figure it out is to try out lots of different styles to see what sticks

If there is a creative habit you have been wanting to establish, I highly recommend taking on a daily challenge of your own.  If you would like to follow me on Instagram, my handle is @adellecirca1920

I would love to hear what you all are working on in 2017. Please share in the comments if you have a chance.

Follow Your Curiosity

I watched an inspiring video by Elizabeth Gilbert about following one’s curiosity to figure out pathways in life here . Up until now, Gilbert has always been an advocate of the philosophy to “follow your passion” because that has always worked for her. A letter from a frustrated reader caused her to change her perspective; the reader had been searching for a passion for years, and had reached the point of being depressed because she did not seem to have one. It caused Gilbert to take a step back and think about the pathways of various people in her life that did not know their passions, but discovered them over time. She has now revised her theory about passion to accommodate people who are like hummingbirds – people who flit from interest to interest, and then eventually they are able to look over the field of their lives to see what they caused to bloom. I am one of those hummingbirds. I went through life for years frustrated by the fact that I could not seem to find one passion that really rang true for me. Now the dots of my life are finally starting to come together to reveal what I am trying to do.

One concrete example of how I have followed my curiosity has to do with drawing. Over the summer, I went to visit the National Museum of American Illustration in Newport because I was curious to see how they would present the work of illustrators in a house museum National Museum of American Illustration .

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National Illustration Museum

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New Beginnings

I created a new blog header for Notes on the Jazz Age:

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What do you think? It took me a few hours to set up the “photo shoot” (if you can call it that) and to take a ridiculous amount of photos. I have always loved black and white photography, and I have vowed to learn as much as possible about it through trial and error and studying the methods of others. I also used this image to create business cards; it is perfect timing too because I only have five cards left with my old blog header.

In addition to learning photography, I have decided that I need to learn to draw. I signed up for a six-week class at the museum in Boston. We shall see how it all turns out. You will definitely see the fruits of my labor because I plan to share my experiments with photography and drawing on this blog. I would love to illustrate my stories in the future. Being a visual person, I have always been drawn to books which incorporate visuals and words.

I just shared a few of my creative adventures. Have you tried something totally new and creative lately? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Jazzy Finds: Spring 2015

I survived the winter in New England…barely. I have not felt like doing much of anything except staying in the house, eating, and watching a disturbing amount of cooking shows (meals I will never attempt to make myself because I hate cooking). Well, I did read and write poetry, so I guess you could say I was somewhat productive. As always, I found some great people and places to share with you.

#1 = Wellspring House

Wellspring House

This lovely carriage is called Wellspring House, and it is located in Amherst, MA. I was fortunate to stay here for a week to work on my writing project. This six room house is owned by a retired English professor who wanted to provide an affordable place for artists to get away from their busy lives and work. In addition to having a cozy room with a large wooden desk to work, guests are able to utilize the kitchen, library, and meditation room. I enjoyed conversing with the other house guests when we happened to cross paths in the kitchen. I also explored the little town, which included a hardware store which also serves as a sort of convenience store (they serve ice cream and other things you might expect to find at a gas station) and a charming, one room library which was only open three days a week during very odd hours. My time at Wellspring was productive and relaxing – I highly recommend treating yourself to a retreat such as this if you get the opportunity. Although, you should make sure it looks like the picture above instead of like this…

Wellspring House in Winter

 

…which is exactly how it looked while I was there. I forgot to mention that we were also able to use the fireplace, and I sidled up to it with a book as often as possible. Check it out here http://www.wellspringhouse.net  Continue reading

Jazzy Finds: Fall 2014

The fall is my favorite time of year, especially in New England – apple cider and apple cider donuts, apple picking, fall festivals, and of course, leaf peeping to view the vibrant array of colors on display. Besides my traditional fall favorites, I found some other things to love this fall that I would like to share with you. Let’s dig in.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston – Hollywood Exhibit = I could have spent weeks in this room just staring at these gowns and reminiscing over the film clips playing on the wall.  This exhibit will be up until March; it is worth seeing if you are in the area.

MFA Hollywood

MFA Hollywood

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On Writing: Summer Writing Woes

Photo courtesy of Central Home/Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Central Home/Pinterest

My writing habits got woefully off track this summer. I wrote….some, but the weather was just soooo nice, and we had suuuch a hard winter that I just had to get outside, and there was just soooo much to do, and I neeeeded a break.  Is my whining working yet?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Although I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked to this past summer, there is one ritual I maintained even during the most enticing days of summer – I woke up at least an hour and a half early to have time to myself before my day started. During that time, I would at least write my morning pages (for the uninitiated, morning pages are three pages of stream of consciousness freewriting proposed by Julia Cameron). The great thing about these pages is that they let me know what I am thinking about writing, reading, experiences, my responsibilities, and just life in general. The thoughts are not always fun or productive and sometimes they lead absolutely nowhere, but more often than not, they yield solid ideas for taking action. For example, I have written about needing to write more in my recent morning pages, and my exploration yielded the following actions to try:

1. Use morning pages to write about my current project to get my mental juices flowing

2. Work on one project during that time (I always have more than one writing project in play to keep me from getting bored)

3. Read something for inspiration everyday

4. Plan/schedule an artist date once per week (this is another suggestion of Julia Cameron’s – to do something fun once a week by yourself for at least two hours to inspire your inner artist; I’ve been doing this off and on for about three years, and it has changed my life)

5. Make time to just think (this is to remind myself to just be still and take time for daydreaming or pondering ideas I find intriguing)

6. Meditate before bed (while I used to enjoy doing this as part of my morning routine, it takes too much time away from my writing – I’ve decided to try flipping it to bedtime)

In case you are interested in learning more about Julia Cameron’s suggestions to do morning pages and artist dates, I have included her website http://juliacameronlive.com/ (there are two videos under the tab about the artist’s way video program).

These are the tips I have come up with so far to get my writing back on track.  What tips and tricks do you use to keep yourself writing on a regular basis?

New Posts Coming: My Writing Life

Typewriter

I have decided to start posting about my writing life on this blog as well.  As a writer, I have quite an active life – for instance, here is a sample of the activities I participate in outside of blogging and working full-time:

  • Member of Grub Street – a wonderful writing organization offering classes and events for writers in Boston; in addition to being a member, I also serve on a committee that puts together writing events to keep members engaged
  • Member of a Writing Group called Impetus – this is a four member writing group where we read and critique short writing pieces; we discuss poetry, plays, short stories, essays (I’ve been working on poetry lately)
  • Literary Events – New England is a literary locale, and I am constantly attending excellent workshops, conferences, and readings
  • Journal – I keep a daily journal in which I write long hand on my musings related to writing and the creative process; I will share content that I think will be helpful to you
  • Research – I am constantly conducting research on writing, creativity, art and the like
  • Reading – I am always, always, always reading (this is as necessary as air and food for me); books, essays, blog posts, writing magazines, and much more, which I will share in the hopes that you will find the content interesting as well

I will definitely continue to post content related to the Jazz Age; this is my first passion and the reason I started this blog in the first place.  Now, I will just be expanding upon this and offering you more to love.  I tried creating separate menu items for these categories on my main page, but I did not like the fact that “pages” are static on WordPress (very difficult to add posts to these static pages).  If the content will be based on current topics relevant to my writing life, I will label them as “On Writing”, “On Reading”…. you get the picture.  If the content will be related to the 1920s, I will continue to post as usual.  I attended a lot of festive events this past summer, so you will be seeing quite a few posts over the coming weeks.

Women Jazz Musicians

Photo courtesy of doobeedoobeedoo.info

Photo courtesy of doobeedoobeedoo.info

I just finished watching a wonderful documentary called “The Girls in the Band”. It featured solo musicians, all women bands, and even women band leaders with incredible flair and smooth dance moves. Since I was a female drummer from the ages 8 to 18, I have an understanding of what it means to be one of the few women playing an instrument in musical fields mainly dominated by men. Even though I was playing the drums in the 80s and 90s, I was still one of a small number of female drummers. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been back in the 20s to play an instrument and garner any measure of respect for your craft. While there were many brilliant women musicians featured in this documentary, I have chosen to focus on two that actually played during the years which are the focus of this blog – the 1920s.

Valaida Snow was best known as a trumpet player, although she could also play the cello, bass, banjo, violin, mandolin, accordion, clarinet, and saxophone. Talk about multitalented! Beyond playing a slew of instruments, she could also sing and dance. She became so good at playing the trumpet during her concerts in the USA, Europe, and China, that she became known as “Little Louis” after Louis Armstrong. He actually paid her the compliment of saying she was the second best trumpet player besides him. She also toured in Shanghai, Singapore, Calcutta, and Jakarta with a major band from 1926 to 1929. She played successfully throughout the 30s and a few years in the 40s until she was arrested in Denmark by the Nazis and held in a prison. She was eventually released in 1942, but she was never the same again and stopped playing professionally.

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Mary Lou Williams was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. She taught herself how to play the piano when she was six and appeared in public throughout her youth. In 1925, she played with Duke Ellington and his band, the Washingtonians. She was also noticed by Louis Armstrong at Harlem’s Rhythm Club where he reportedly kissed her because he loved her playing so much. In 1927, she married a saxophonist by the name of John Williams and they continued to play together. Over her long career (she died in 1981) she wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements and recorded more than one hundred records. She played with such illustrious musicians as Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillispie among others.
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Obviously, there is a lot more to know about these talented ladies, but I hope that I have at least stoked your mental fire so that you want to learn more. I would also recommend purchasing the “The Girls in the Band” to see the evolution of music through the lens of women versus men. http://www.thegirlsintheband.com/