Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Union Station

This picture is a bit of a lie. At the time I visited Union Station this occasion - which was years ago - there was some sort of construction drape over the east side walls, so I had to make them up, and the Capitol is nowhere near this close to Union Station. Which in a way makes this more truthful to the tourist's experience of the Mall. "No, that's not far. I can walk that far!" And three blisters and two overpriced bottles of water later, they have indeed reached their goal. Or the museum halfway there.

This one's for you, Mom.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Books I read. And re-read. And re-read.

Do you have books on your shelf that you read repeatedly? Of course you do! We've all got favorite books, friends in print, friends with whom you have had many great times, friends who challenge you or from whom you have received much comfort, from whom you've learned much and have much yet left to learn from...

This is the first in the series, actual title TBD, about the books I repeatedly read and suggest you give a whirl.

"The Dress Doctors: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish" is a toothsome terrine of reasons why American women from the Progressive Era through the late 1960s looked so beautifully dressed.   (It wasn't just the girdles as we all learned from watching Behind-the-Scenes from Mad Men!) We learn about the rise of Home Economics, the women who developed the field, and the part of its mission that brought the rules of beauty to the masses at whatever level of economy you could afford, and with appropriateness to each situation.

This glorious, gorgeous time had pretty nearly faded by my 1980s childhood, but vestiges of it clung to women who were there. My great aunts may have been wearing poly-cotton floral pantsuits, but they wore them with flair! They wore them with accessories, and they wore them with chic beyond their means. Why? Because they had learned an internalized these rules!

I cannot overstate the glass shattering effect of reading about the rules behind what makes an outfit work. I cannot overstate the harsh light that age- or situation-inappropriate dress and "killer" shoes now shine in. I cannot overstate the depressing realization that I (and most of America) am way under-thinking my wardrobe as a system. I cannot overstate the sense that I feel very gratified that my belief that our colors are all wrong seems justified.

Quibble: I still think acid green is gorgeous, and I will find a way to wear it!

Drawing above is my study of the cover.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"June 1972"

Fun fact: it used to be common, in agricultural areas, to have a long break between wedding ceremony and reception. Not for the usual modern reasons of poor planning or needing to get shnookered in order to enjoy your reception, but so that those with livestock could go home and tend to the animals. My mother told me this a few years ago, and I realized afresh that I am from a small town and an agricultural background.

This is not my parents' wedding, but my mother's bridesmaids did wear coral, and I drew Carl and Marie Quast in this picture. I think they were guests at my parents' wedding, albeit thirty years younger than I remember and drew them, and they were and are neighbors of my grandparents (so to speak).

The inspiration for this drawing was St. John's Lutheran Church in Goodhue, Minnesota and all the pictures of 1960s and 1970s weddings of my parents, aunts and uncles. It was a great time thinking of all these times and people as I drew.