…I slowly found my way. The day was mine and the light was beautiful.
Original ink and watercolor ©Michelle Rummel / Shell Artistree LLC www.shellrummel.com
It began with a massive reorganization of my files in an effort to make sense of the hundreds of visual images that I tuck away over time. Swatches of color… honey golds, watery blues, mossy greens. Images of flowing lines, petals, leaves, light, love. Some will be used as reference for new collections down the road. Others will get pinned to my studio bulletin board simply because I like to look at beautiful things:))
In the midst of all this eye candy, an ocean coastline photograph that a friend had posted online floated to the forefront of my vision. An instant pull, a voice inside… “paint me”…. So I did. I pushed scraps of paper aside, made room for my watercolor pad and began a very loose and quick rendering. As always, I painted what I felt far more than what I actually saw… usual for me, my mind brings me there and it’s different somehow. More so, the place I imagine it to be.
It’s been a while since paint flowed with ease and oh, it felt so good. And so I kept going, taking advantage of the calm and the quiet. Wrapped warm by the soft light over my shoulder, a fashion illustration inspired piece emerged from my ink pen.. I quickly painted a dress on her that I would wear… I piled her hair on top of her head and enjoyed the satisfying feeling of designing a look, a mood with simple line, minimal color and easy brushwork. Within minutes of starting, as breathing was a deep and steady sympatico…I felt her complete and I put the brush down.
And then I ate a proper lunch, because a girl’s gotta eat.
Not bad, for a Tuesday;))
One of my fondest childhood memories brings me back to time spent getting lost in the pages of a set of old hardcover books that sat upon my grandfather’s bookshelf.
My grandfather was a serious, stoic man… hardened by the life he led…almost always gruff and slow to smile. I was often fearful of him; his voice stern and his words, sharp. Our paths crossed very little, except when I would get up the nerve to ask permission to enter his library and look through his collections of books.
His library was sacred space. A man of little means, he deeply valued his books and he spent his lifetime amassing a formidable collection. I was drawn to the space and learned early on that this was the way to his heart…he always allowed me to enter and choose a pile of books to quietly sit and sift through. He had one particular collection that always caught my eye…There were about 20 books. They were big, heavy, dusty…with cobalt blue hardcovers, each containing pages and pages of stardust swept stories of far off places; fairies in patterned petaled dresses and beautiful gossamer draped forest nymphs dripping with flowers and ocean waves tumbling with starfish and and seashells covered with glitter and always, always there were the most glorious mermaids with long flowing hair, it seemed. The illustrations were simply magical and they must have struck a deep chord with me as I sometimes catch myself adding, to the art I create all these years later, intricately detailed elements, not unlike those from the pages of those magical books .
This quick sketch from yesterday began, inspired by a photograph of a dancer that floated past me in the stream. As is my way for figurative sketches, I used the photo as a quick visual reference for shape but allowed my imagination and the free flow of ink to fill in the rest of the details. In the end, there is a joyful, illustrative quality that shines through in the lines of her … It brings me back and there is just something so lovely about that, I think ~
Gorgeous light and hours to play today…paint flowed with a casual ease. It’s joyful and unexpected, time like this on a weekend. So I held it tight, absorbed the feeling and made the most of this beautiful afternoon.
There’s a comfort and warmth in this one…maybe it’s in her pose. I don’t often reach for pink, and you can see I began to slide into my favorite blue…my mind just takes me there. I like the line work around the hem of her dress and I could easily get lost in the folds, the details of pin tucks and shading. I’d like to think she’s finished, I signed her after all, but I keep adding ink…a little bit here and there.
You’ll just have to imagine the smile:)
Original Ink and Watercolor ©Michelle Rummel
I spent all day working on my website redesign. It’s been an ongoing behind the scenes project for several weeks. The bones are there…it’s coming along nicely but it’s at the point where I need to pretty it up with images and add in all the text. I spent hours today figuring out how it all works. Suffice it to say I am learning slowly. I want so much to finally be independent when it comes to my web world…in control of how the site looks and feels. Almost there!
So, good for my heart, to pick up my pen and paintbrush at the end of this long day and draw/paint a fanciful dress and a pair of red shoes. My eyes are blurry from so much computer work today, but that hasn’t stopped me. There is so much joy in this, for me.
And I realize that’s three fashion illustration posts in a row, but I assure you I am in deep with serious design work these days. Spring Market just wrapped up and collections for Fall Market are underway, including a lovely new Bath collection that I hope Bed Bath and Beyond will like enough to bring on board. And, in my pocket are two new licensees that I have been waiting patiently to announce… and I will, just as soon as I get the website done:)
Feeling a strong pull to get back to something I always enjoyed…fashion illustration. I love the juxtaposition of softly flowing watercolor with more defined and detailed ink lines. For me, the trick is finding the balance between the two…I have a tendency to want to scribble endlessly. Perhaps one day I will post an example of my heavier hand;)
Gently encouraged to keep at it… and at the moment, these keep coming with ease in quieter moments. So, going with it.
Original Ink and watercolor ©Michelle Rummel