Wendy Chidester: Giving Relics New Life

Painting of a dress form

Adjust o Matic Dress Form by Wendy Chidester

About a year ago, I read about Wendy Chidester’s paintings in an art magazine and found out that a gallery in Boston was showing them in person. After seeing the vibrant images in the magazine, I just had to see and experience them in person. I was not disappointed! They were even more captivating in person because you can see the variations in colors and brushstrokes. I was amazed out how inanimate objects could look so alive.

Painting of Books by Wendy Chidester

Painting by Wendy Chidester

Wendy’s work causes the viewer to pause and linger a little while, to reflect upon simpler times, and most importantly, to smile when positive memories flood one’s consciousness. Even though her paintings are of relics and antiques, they still have a contemporary feel plus a touch of playfulness and whimsy. I certainly felt a little happier when I walked away from the gallery.

Painting of Pool Balls by Wendy Chidester

Painting by Wendy Chidester

After my visit to the gallery, I wanted to know more about Wendy. Wendy actually started her career as a landscape and figurative artist. One rainy afternoon, she ended up painting an antique camera that she borrowed from a local antique shop, and something clicked. She has been painting items from a bygone era ever since. Her goal is to show appreciation and respect for their years for service.

Painting of a Vintage Record Player by Wendy Chidester

Painting by Wendy Chidester

Wendy loves imagining the story behind all of these old things – who they belonged to, where they might have been, or how the person used them. She wants to honor the human ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into making each piece. She finds color fascinating and often uses saturated colors that she adds patina to so she can gracefully show their age.

Painting of Vintage Cameras by Wendy Chidester

Painting by Wendy Chidester

Wendy usually paints from life, borrowing pieces from antique shops or inheriting old pieces from family and friends. She works out of her studio in Draper, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah.

If you are interested in learning more about this artist, please visit http://www.wendychidester.com/

Rearranging Stars

Rearranging Stars by Cindy Adelle Richard

This painting was inspired by the song featured in THE GREATEST SHOWMAN called “Rewrite the Stars”. I wrote the following mini story for this painting:

Rearranging the Stars 

Claire woke up with the moon shining on her face. After a night of dancing, she was still dressed in her green gown. Led by the moon, she walked outside barefoot to get a better view of the night sky. Dew was just starting to form on the grass and it caused her feet to make a slight squishing sound.  She walked to an open field and started to survey the stars. Claire realized that something did not seem quite right. She closed her eyes and floated toward the stars, letting her intuition guide her to the exact star that needed changing. She realized that this star had been causing the recent bout of clumsiness she had been experiencing in her life. Claire moved it just to the right of the moon so it could benefit from its light and steadiness. Once she finished rearranging the star, she returned to the ground. Claire walked back home and settled into her bed by the window to examine her celestial handiwork. She smiled and fell into a deep sleep knowing that things would be better tomorrow.

I hope you enjoyed this mini story. This painting is available in my Etsy shop adellecirca1920.etsy.com

Remembering Roses

Remembering Roses Watercolor Painting by Cindy Adelle Richard

I have started creating mini-stories and poems inspired by my paintings. Here is the poem for this painting:

Remembering Roses by Cindy Adelle Richard

A morning walk ripe with dew

shards of light reflecting you

butterflies swirling matching your pace

roses shimmering caressing your face

Nature’s canvas  framed just for you

etched in your memory like cellular glue

love in your heart nothing to fear

enjoying the magic we all hold dear.

I hope you enjoyed my little poem. This painting is now available in my Etsy shop as well adellecirca1920.etsy.com

 

I Am a Story Artist

A practice painting of Bonnie Bennett by Cindy Adelle Richard

I have been taking a little hiatus from social media to do some deep thinking  about my brand and my art business. I seem to think best by writing by hand with no interference from technology, and I used my time journaling and reflecting on my vocation productively.  The series of practice paintings I posted today are based on characters from THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. Rewatching six seasons of the show and creating these paintings helped me to realize how much I love art that tells a story. I finally found something I can happily do for the rest of my life without getting tired of it. However, these paintings were based on photographs, and I decided I really want to create original art using my favorite stories as inspiration instead.

Practice painting of Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert by Cindy Adelle Richard.

One of the big revelations for me while going this process was the role I came up with for myself – being a Story Artist. The two pastimes that have occupied my time throughout my life have been stories and art. From the time I was three years old, I have been obsessed with reading, and my favorite events were book fairs, weekly trips to the school library or the bookmobile, and story time in my classrooms. Eventually my love of stories expanded into movies, television shows, plays, operas, and ballets. I also started to pay attention to the arts as I grew up – painting, playing the drums, and dancing specifically. During the years that I was in college and building a career as a young person, I had forgotten how important these art forms were to me, and I am grateful that I have reconnected to my love of stories and art over the past ten years.

Practice painting of Damon Salvatore by Cindy Adelle Richard.

I have decided to use my favorite stories in various forms and genres as the starting point for the watercolor paintings I produce. This blog will be about my life behind the stories – my life as a Story Artist. In addition to creating and sharing my art, I am still in the process of writing a novel set in the 1920s, so you will still see content based on my discoveries from that glorious era. I am truly excited about this new direction my art and writing are taking, and I hope you will stick around to be a part of my creative journey. Thank you for reading and supporting this blog, and I look forward to sharing more story art and content with you.

Old School Tip: Get a Pen Pal

Photo Courtesy of Annick Colot

I have a friend, Ellen, who recently moved to Vermont. To stay connected, we started sending cards/letters back and forth. I absolutely love having a pen pal, and receiving cards/letters via snail mail. I love it so much in fact that I thought it was worthy of a post to inspire others to try it with their friends and loved ones.

Why do I love receiving posts in the mail so much? Nothing beats receiving handwritten notes, especially since so much of our correspondence nowadays is digital. The pleasure of receiving something you actually want in the mail (instead of bills, junk mail, and all sorts of other nonsense) cannot be overemphasized. I also love that it slows me down and makes me reflect on the recent details in my life so that I will be able to share tidbits with Ellen. I also adore using beautiful stationary which is either store-bought or hand created. Plus, given my love of nostalgia, it reminds me of simpler times when I used to write notes during summer camp or sending letters home while visiting relatives from far away.

Photo Courtesy of @annaremarchuk

There is really no right or wrong way to write letters, and that makes it even more fabulous. It really depends on the personalities and quirks of the individuals involved. My one tip (because I am a planner by nature) is to jot down a quick list of the topics you want to include so you don’t forget anything and you will be able to fit in all of the content in the space allotted.

Handwritten cards/letters are truly a gift of your time and affection. The next time you need to communicate with someone, try sending a handwritten note instead. Whether they are far away or just down the street, I bet he/she would appreciate it, and maybe even respond with a handwritten missive of his/her own.

A Fun Summary of My 365 Day Art Challenge 2017

I am happy to report that I successfully completed my 365 day art challenge in 2017! The challenge I set for myself was to draw or paint 365 original pieces of art and post them on Instagram. I decided to embark on this challenge to improve my drawing skills and establish a regular studio routine. I accomplished these goals and a whole lot more. I thought it would be fun to share a quick summary of some of the highlights from this past year.

First Picture – This was the picture I posted on Day #1 of the challenge.

Last Picture – This was the picture I posted on Day #365 of the challenge. I recreated the first picture as a watercolor painting. I think it shows that I have learned quite a bit over the year.

Favorite Painting – I created this painting of a woman with flowers in her hair, and to this day, she is still my favorite painting out of all the ones I produced in 2017. I think she embodies the vintage spirit, simplicity, and joy that I hope to convey in all of my paintings. I decided to choose her for my business logo for Adelle Circa 1920, so you will see much more of her (her name is Adelle by the way).

Biggest Surprise – The fact that I started painting. When I started this project, I only intended to work on my drawing skills and to continue creating graphite works of art. However, I got the idea to try painting at the end of April 2017; I picked up a cheap watercolor set I had in the closet, and made my first clumsy attempt at painting. Now, I adore painting and I can’t believe I waited this long to start. This is the first painting I completed.

Second Biggest Surprise – The number of people who were inspired by my challenge and told me so. It is always a nice bonus when your work helps others in some way.

Best Comment on Instagram About My Art – This comment came from my former coworker, Lynsie, and she said, “I do believe you have found your calling.” I was feeling that way, but to have someone else say it and affirm it felt amazing.

Shortest Time to Complete a Painting – 10 minutes (the woman in the blue and white dress)

Longest Time to Complete a Painting – 3.5 hours (the woman with the mask)

Best Project – I completed  a Jazz Age Style Alphabet which I loved. I discovered that I like completing projects with a clear focus. Here is one of my favorite paintings from that project.

D for Deusenberg

Greatest Lesson Learned – The greatest lesson I learned was to follow my intuition. When I received an inner nudge to create a certain painting or try a new technique, I just went for it. In the past, I would have wondered if I was doing the right things, but when you have limited time to make decisions and complete the work, you learn to listen to your intuition and trust your instincts.

Best Outcome – I learned that painting watercolor illustrations is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’ve been searching for the right vocation for years, so discovering that I finally found the right one for me as a result of this project was wonderful. I also used some of the paintings I created this year to open an Etsy shop, and I am excited to continue creating new works of art and putting them out into the world.

I am planning to write a longer account of what I learned this year as a result of this project, but this was a nice summary for now. I hope that you all have a wonderful new year, and that you will choose a creative project in the new year that will bring you joy.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

10 Things to Know about Nina Evans Allender

I first learned about Nina Evans Allender while watching a PBS special about the women’s suffrage movement. The episode was set at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington D.C., the headquarters for the National Woman’s Party. The entire episode was riveting, but I really sat up and paid attention when they mentioned that Allender was the main illustrator for the movement. This led me to do some independent research because I wanted to see more of her work and learn about her involvement with the movement. I decided to compose this blog post based on the information I found. Most of the content covered in this blog post came from the Sewall-Belmont House archives and Wikipedia.

Nina E. Allender (Cartoonist) Planning Cartoon Exhibit for Congressional Library–1921–Page #4

#1 Nina Evans Allender was an American artist, cartoonist, and women’s rights activist (December 25, 1873 – April 2, 1957).

#2 Allender studied art with William Merrit Chase, a famed American Painter and founder of the Chase School (which would later become known as Parsons The New School for Design).

The Spirit of 76! On to the Senate January 30 1915

#3 Allender considered herself a painter, but Alice Paul convinced her to try drawing. She wanted her to create illustrations for the suffrage paper known as The Suffragist.

#4 After Allender began drawing for the paper, she was quickly elevated to the role of the official cartoonist for the National Woman’s Party. She is known for creating the “Allender Girl”, a young woman who was portrayed as being capable, stylish, dedicated , and attractive (the previous portrayals of the suffragettes were less than ideal). During the course of her career, she contributed 297 political cartoons to The Suffragist newspaper, and changed the way that women were perceived going forward.

Our Hat is in the Ring April 8, 1916

#5 Allender sued her husband, Charles, for a divorce in January 1905 after he ran off with another woman, and she won. This was unprecedented for that time period. Women did not get divorces (the horror), and they certainly didn’t try to sue their husbands (the scandal).

#6 Allender was president of the District of Columbia Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1912 and president of the Stanton Suffrage Club in 1913.

The Suffragist June 21 1919

#7 Allender studied abroad in Spain and London for several years before returning to Washington, D.C.

#8 Allender designed the “Jailed for Freedom” pin, which was bestowed on women jailed for campaigning and picketing for the cause.

Allender PC67: September 1920, No Caption. [“Victory.”]

#9 The cover of the September 1, 1920 issue of The Suffragist featured Allender’s Victory to announce to the world that women attained the right to vote. Many women fought long and hard to attain this right, so I can only imagine how elated they must have been.

#10 Allender’s original drawings were housed in the Library Congress until the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum reclaimed them. There is now an extensive archive of Allender’s illustrations available on the website for the National Woman’s Party http://www.nationalwomansparty.org

In honor of Women’s History Month and to gain a better understanding of our shared history, the website for the National Woman’s Party is definitely worth checking out in its entirety. I am in awe of the sacrifices these women made to give us a right that we now take for granted. Whenever I need to remember how important it is to exercise my right to vote, I only need to look at information like this to put me on the right track.

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.