Thursday, May 15, 2014

Heaven's Feathers - a Blessing, To Say the Least

Good morning, friends - and welcome back to my oft-neglected blog!  As ever, life has gotten in the way of updating this most important journal - but I do have good news, and new drawings, to share.  Today, I want to talk about "Heaven's Feathers", which has been quite a journey unto itself.

I recently joined the marvelous world of "Zelda:  Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau" - a marvelous publication out of my old stomping grounds - New York City.  This magazine has a beautiful history, having been founded by Diane Naegel.  Hers was a life of great creativity and community among the vintage scene, cut tragically short by breast cancer.  Zelda is only part of her legacy, and I am thrilled to contribute as an illustrator.  Their spring issue is due out soon, and, with editor Don Spiro's blessing, I would like to offer a sneak preview of my first piece for the publication.

Interestingly enough, "Heaven's Feathers" was inspired by a brief, misguided friendship, during which I once asked the party, "Give me a color - any color."  Formal green and grey was the response, and I instantly thought, "Ostrich".  I knew that I wanted the illustration to reflect the jazz era, and what better way to make that happen than through a streamlined lady, replete with feathers?  Done and done - and thus, both tones could be incorporated.  Let's have a closer look or two at those abstract plumes...

Whorls and curls aplenty, with the usual layering of metallic ink and colored pencils...

And, of course, a close-up of the animal in question.  I have a fetish for illustrating feathers, and researching ostriches in detail was a fascinating experience.  Like all birds, the variety of colors and silhouettes among their feathers is staggering... and they have some INTERESTING feet.

I love this piece based on its own visual merits, as well as for its role as my first piece in Zelda.  But taken further, it marks my healing from a hand injury that will likely affect me for many years.  A nasty fall taken while dancing with an intoxicated partner on New Year's Eve left my right hand with a torn finger ligament - a terrifying situation for any artisan.  Thankfully, routine exercises, and the counsel of several deeply caring specialists at the hospital, have helped my hand to recover.  Granted, there is pain on a daily basis - but this piece proved to me that I can still draw just as steadily as ever, and that is, indeed, my idea of Heaven.  Lesson learned:  Choose your dance partners, and confidantes, wisely.

To finish, a shot of my desk - a beautiful 1940s set that we rescued from a hoarded estate sale situation.  Now scrubbed within an inch of its life, it houses my supplies, as well as all and sundry Ganeshas, Beardsley images, Coney Island goodies, family photos, Waterford remnants, Polar Bear Club souvenirs, etc, etc... keepsakes of a life well lived.