The Jazz Age Style Alphabet

I completed a project that I feel pretty good about called the Jazz Age Style Alphabet. I completed an original watercolor painting and used a calligraphy letter for each one. I thought I might feel pressure or get bored with it, but I liked how much structure it provided in terms of selecting images to focus on for my work. An added bonus for this project was that I learned some things I did not know about some of the people, places, or objects I chose. If you are looking for a great project related to a theme you love, I highly recommend doing an alphabet project and challenging yourself to find unique content. I posted the entire alphabet below – I hope you enjoy it!

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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.

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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:

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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.

Jazz Age Lawn Party 2016

Hello Jazz Lovers,

I keep saying that I am going to plan ahead so I can make it to this extravaganza each year, but alas, I have not made it yet. At least I can devour these delectable pictures and live vicariously through those who were able to attend. I hope you enjoy these as well.

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Bright Young Things at the Crane Estate

Hello Jazz Lovers,

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I hope you are having a fabulous summer… I certainly am! I had the pleasure of attending the Roaring Twenties Jazz Party at the Crane Estate (Ipswich, MA) on July 31st, and I wanted to share some tidbits with you. The picture above is me hanging out by a genuine model T from the 1920s (man I would have loved a chance to drive that vehicle).

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I went with my friend, Myriam, and as you can see, she did a little shopping while we were there. She scored this “come hither” fan which she intends to use to drive members of the opposite sex wild. She also received a fun cheat sheet about how one wields a fan communicates much more than one might expect:

With handle to the lips = kiss me

Fanning slowly = I am married

Fanning fast = I am engaged

Open wide = wait for me

Drawing across the cheek = I love you

Carrying in left hand = desirous of acquaintances

Twirling in the left hand = I wish to get rid of you

Twirling in the right hand = I love another

Closing it = I wish to speak to you

The Crane Estate is a gilded jewel with enchanting views. I tried to capture some of its beauty in these pictures, but of course, they can never do it justice.

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This party would not have been complete without my fellow revelers making merry on the grounds and on the dance floor. Here are some of my favorites:

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The vendors helped to make this a memorable experience by selling the type of vintage treasures it is hard to find anywhere else. If only I had $1,000.00 to shop to my heart’s content…

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I hope you enjoyed these pictures. Maybe some of you can join us next year if you happen to be in Massachusetts in July!

8 Things to Know about Beryl Markham

I just finished one of the most eloquent memoirs I have ever read called West with the Night. I marked so many passages that I almost thought about giving up the task of marking my favorite passages, but I persisted. I was so impressed by this memoir that I turned to the biography at the back of the book, and immediately started thinking of ways that I could share this remarkable woman’s story. By the way, the remarkable woman of which I speak is Beryl Markham – aviatrix, horse trainer/racer, and an adventuress extraordinaire. I hope you find Ms. Markham as fascinating as I did!

Photo courtesy of ladyfanciful.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of ladyfanciful.blogspot.com

Beryl Markham was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. Her flight took off from Abingdon England on September 4, 1936, and crash landed into a peat bog in Nova Scotia about 22 hours later. Although her target was New York, she still achieved a record by making it to North America.

Photo courtesy of likesuccess.com

Photo courtesy of likesuccess.com

Markham was the first licensed female racehorse trainer in Kenya. She was successful and well-known throughout the colony. Some of the most memorable passages in West with the Night relate to her work with these thoroughbred horses.

Denys Finch Hatton - Photo courtesy of alchetron.com

Denys Finch Hatton – Photo courtesy of alchetron.com

Karen Blixen - Photo courtesy of atterata.com

Karen Blixen – Photo courtesy of atterata.com

Markham was friends with Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton from the well-loved book and film Out of Africa. The outspoken character  named Felicity in the film version is based on Markham. She also had an intimate relationship with Denys; in fact, she was scheduled to be on the flight that killed Denys. However, Tom Black, her flight instructor and friend, had a premonition that things would not go well and asked her not to fly with Denys that day. It was a good thing she listened.

Prince Henry - Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Prince Henry – Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Markham was rumored to have had an affair with Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and son of George V. They became acquainted when Prince Henry, and his brother Prince David, came for a royal visit to Nairobi and visited her father’s horse farm for riding lessons. Needless to say, his family cut the romance short once it was discovered.

Ernest Hemingway - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Ernest Hemingway – Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Ernest Hemingway spoke highly of Markham’s writing. Hemingway met Markham on a safari in 1934, and obtained a copy of her book. In a letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, he wrote:

Did you read Beryl Markham’s book, “West with the Night”? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could and would put pen to paper except to write in her flyer’s log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and some times making an okay pig pen. But [she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.

After reading this quote in one of Hemingway’s letters, George Gutekunst (a friend of the family) sought out Markham’s book, loved it, and helped to get it reissued so that more people would be able to read it. It became a bestseller and allowed Markham, who was living in poverty in Africa at the time, to spend the rest of her years in comfort.

Photo courtesy of glanews.com

Photo courtesy of glanews.com

As a child, Markham used to hunt with African warriors who were part of her community in Nairobi. She was one of very few women allowed to go along on expeditions; women from the tribe were expected to stay at home and take care of the domestic sphere. They called her Lakweit,  which means “little girl” in Swahili, but they respected her in the same way they respected the young boys being trained as warriors.

Photo courtesy of wsj.com

Photo courtesy of wsj.com

Markham was attacked by a neighbor’s “pet” lion when she was an adolescent, and lived to tell the story. There is a humorous antidote in her memoir where one of the African men who helped to save her told her father that she was only eaten a little bit by a lion in an attempt to try to minimize his panic.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Paula McLain wrote a fictional account of Markham’s life in 2015 called Circling the Sun. I read the book as soon as it was released, and I loved the poetic descriptions of her life and the sweeping landscapes of Africa. That was actually the first time I encountered Markham, and I just had to know more after reading all about her singular life. If this post has intrigued you, then I recommend starting with McLain’s website and reading her book to learn more.

I included a few of the most striking quotes from the book West with the Night to give you a preview:

Fitful splashes of crimson light from crude-oil torches set round the field stain the dark cloth of African night and play upon his alert, high-boned face. Pg. 14

There was nothing but the distinguishing formation of high, grey rocks piled against each other, jutting from the earth like the weather-worn ruins of a desert cathedral. Pg. 36

Delamare’s character had as many facets as a cut stone, but each facet shown with individual brightness. Pg. 71

The distant roar of a waking lion rolls against the stillness of the night, and we listen. It is the voice of Africa bringing memories that do not exist in our minds or in our hearts – perhaps not even in our blood. It is out of time, but it is there, and it spans a chasm whose other side we cannot see. Pg. 98

The automobile so sharply sketched against this simple canvas was an intrusion; it was as if a child had pasted the picture of a foolish toy over a painting you had known for years. Pg. 152

I hope I have sufficiently piqued your interest about Ms. Markham. If you know of any details I failed to include or find out anything else fascinating, please let us know.

 

 

Miss Fisher Take 3

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Miss Fisher came back for a 3rd season, and as always, she looked amazing while doing absolutely everything! The list included playing a mermaid, flying airplanes, and executing the latest judo moves while taking down the bad guys. I am including some of my favorite photos from this season. Most of these photos were posted by Jenny Marcheson on Pinterest if you would like to find more.

jennymarchesan2 jennymarchesan3 jennymarchesan4 jennymarchesan9 soskavee  vanityfair

I am happy to report that the mild flirtation between Miss Fisher and Inspector Jack Robinson has finally bloomed into a full-blown romance. I included some pictures of one of my favorite t.v. couples below.

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The indefatigable supporting cast for this series was also back. Our favorite lovebirds, Dot and Hugh, tied the knot, and I must admit that I shed a few tears.

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I also included a few pictures of the ever cool Doctor Mack and the always vigilant Aunt Prudence.

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A museum in Australia also held a special costume exhibition this year featuring the frocks, suits, hats, shoes, and accessories from the cast of the show. I wish I could have seen this wonderful exhibition in person, but at least there are some great photos on the internet.

Photos by The Daily Telegraph Australia

Photos courtesy of The Daily Telegraph in Australia

 

Photo by The Daily Telegraph Australia

Photo by The Daily Telegraph Australia

I also included a picture of the talented designer who made all of Phryne Fisher’s fabulousness a reality, Marion Boyce.

Photo by The Daily Telegraph Australia

Photo by The Daily Telegraph Australia

I am not entirely sure if there will be a season four, but I certainly will be the first in line if they bring back the honorable Miss Phryne Fisher. I hope you enjoyed these pictures. Have a wonderful weekend!

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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Summer Memories

Hello Jazz Lovers,

I have been meaning to share some photos of my jazz inspired adventures from this past summer, but time has gotten away from me. Although summer is long gone, I thought you would enjoy hearing about a few events. I attended a Gatsby themed party at the Star Island Resort, and it was quite the affair. The soirée included a lawn picnic accompanied by a jazz band, lounging on rocking chairs on the massive porch sipping our beverages of choice, and exploring the picturesque island at our leisure. The 1920s style hotel was the main attraction on the island, and there were cottages sprinkled about which made it feel like a little colony. Star Island Retreat Center offers all types of personal and group retreats to fit just about anyone’s interest. I certainly have plans to return to partake of the art and writing retreats! In case you are interested in visiting, here is the link http://www.starisland.org In the meantime, here are some pictures to feast upon:

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The other event I attended was a murder mystery cruise held by the Actors’ Studio of Newburyport. We cruised around the harbor, and watched the antics of a professional acting troupe as they tried to deduce “who done it”. The audience actively participated throughout the performance, so there were some interesting ideas presented. My favorite character was CiCi, the hostess, because she was oh so southern and a master at skating around unpleasant topics (such as the fact that their last ship sank just before our voyage). Here are some fun photos from the event (I am sure you can guess which parts each these actors played just by looking at their costumes):

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I hope you all enjoyed your summer as well. Thank you for checking out my pictures, and be well until we meet again.