Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre-Raphaelite Summer Photo Shoot

Last summer some friends of mine and I thought it would be fun to go out and do some random photo shoot. The subject matter was chosen, and we decided to take inspiration from Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Good thing we're all from a theater group, so putting on costumes and going out in public was very natural for us. The photos were all taken by our good friend from KUVALIBRE photo blog.  

Some painting we tried to recreate as faithfully as possible.  

Ophelia by John William Waterhouse, 1889 (Source)


Romeo and Juliet by Ford Madox Brown, 1870 (Source)


Olivia by Edmund Blair Leighton, 1888 (Source)


Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1864-1870 (Source)


The Little Foot Page by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, 1905 (Source)


The Vale of Rest by John Everett Millais,1858-9 (Source)


April Love by Arthur Hughes, 1855-6 (Source)


With others we took some artistic liberties.  

The Mirror of Venus by Edward Burne-Jones, 1875 (Source)


The Beloved or The Bride by Dante Gabriel Rossetti,1865-66 (Source)


I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, 1915 (Source)


And, of course, we took some photos of 'stunners', which I think the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood would have approved. 




There were so many photos that I had to leave out quite a few. But you can see them all here

Please remember, these pictures do not belong to me, and if you would like to re-post them make sure to credit the photographer: KUVALIBRE

Friday, April 25, 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive: On Style and Substance

Last week I finally watched Only Lovers Left Alive written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and staring the always flawless Tilda Swinton and the ever-charming Tom Hiddleston. If you haven't see it yet, do. It may seem a little slow, but the cinematography is beautiful, the story is touching and the acing is spot-on. 

There isn't much in the way of plot, though. And if you're looking for a contemporary vampire movie like Twilight or Vampire Academy, you will be disappointed. This is more of an art piece, slow and meandering, but beautiful beyond words. Eve (Swinton) and Adam (Hiddleston) are very old, very artistically-inclined vampires, who are very much in love with each other, even after centuries of being together. When Adam, who lives in Detroit, succumbs to one of his dark moods, Eve travels all the way from Tangier to be with him. But trouble is stirred up when Eve's younger 'sister' Ava, played by Mia Wasikowska, shows up and the lovers' eternal lives are endangered.             

But let Maven of the Eventide tell you more about the film. Spoilers ahead, be warned.

The stunning costumes for the film were designed by Bina Daigeler, who you may know as the designer for Le Moine (2010), a French adaptation of Matthew Lewis's The Monk. Sadly, the film was awful, but the costumes were gorgeous.

In Only Lovers Left Alive costumes play a pivotal role in setting up character arcs for our protagonists. Adam is a depressed and miserable. He lives a secluded life surrounded by his antic guitars and feels completely detached from the world around him. His color scheme is dark and heavy, with a little romanticism thrown in for good measure. After all, Marlowe says that he should have based Hamlet on Adam. (Yes, Christopher Marlowe is in it)

Eve, on the other hand, almost always wears white or a mix of some bright colors and ivory or pale yellow. Her outfits often have gold embroidery. She is vivacious, well, by vampire standards, curious and full of life. She is the ray of sunshine that shines into Adam's dismal world. 

Unlike Adam, Eve goes into public and meets up with her vampire friends. And while Adam mopes around his Detroit home in a hundred-year-old dressing gown, Eve puts on her off-white outfit, covers her face with a white scarf and braves the dusty streets of Tangier. 

Eve's style is the more fascinating one, no less because it has more fluidity than that of other characters. She can blend in with her environment and people around her. When she goes to visit Adam in Detroit, she begins to adopt his darker leisurely style of dress.  Her clothes go from light and bright, to dark and heavy.

But when she's on her own, surrounded by books in Tangier, her colors are vivid and fabrics are sumptuous. Adam's existence is shabby, like his hundred-year-old robe, while Eve's life is full of color and texture.  

Eve's vampire best friend is Christopher Marlowe, who according to the movie, had faked his own death and is the real author of all of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. Eve is a book lover, so she naturally gravitates towards him. Marlowe's style is a combination of light and dark colors, and his wardrobe is clearly more old-fashioned than that of the lovers. He likes vests. Ah, a man after my own heart.   

Finally, we come to Ava, Eve's little 'sister'. She is younger than all the rest of the vampire characters both in terms of her apparent physical age, and her vampire age. She is bratty, willful and prefers more youthful and modern fashions. Unlike subdued or block colors of the lovers, Ava goes for patterns. She is fearless and brash and has no problem combining polka tights with an orange and purple floral mini-dress.  

Considering how much thought and effort went into creating beautiful and fitting costumes for all the characters, it's not at all surprising that Vogue used it for their fashion inspiration spread. I, personally, think Eve's sense of style is absolutely flawless and hope to be at least half as effortlessly chic as she is. Though I may have to become a vampire to achieve that.   

The film is definitely worth watching, though it may seem a little slow-paced to some who are used to more plot-driven cinema. The vampire mythos is quite curious in this one. Garlic and going into houses uninvited do not carry all that much weight with these vampires, but drinking contaminated blood is dangerous. 

The 'contaminated blood' issue did bother me a bit. I assume it refers to alcohol, drugs, disease and such. But if this is something vampires have a problem with, how did they survive the 16th century when everyone was dying of the Plague or syphilis and drinking nothing but alcohol. And the constant references to the Marlovian Theory of authorship were a little on the nose. Still, this film feels remarkably fresh and enjoyable, no less thanks to Swinton and Hiddleston, who give a great performance.   

Image sources: 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Botanical Art by Female Artists

I very much hope that you're not tired of my flower themed posts just yet because here comes another one. It's dedicated to some beautiful botanical art by some very talented women.

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was a German artist, naturalist, and publisher. Her vivid, detailed and dramatic watercolors turned into engravings were highly prized both as exquisite pieces of art as well as works of great scientific merit. They were also used for pattern books on painting and embroidery, and Merian herself taught embroidery, which endears her to me even more.

You can see more of her work here

Another prominent 17th century botanical artist is Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750). With a botanist for a father, it is not at all strange that this Dutch artist turned her mind to painting sumptuous bouquets of flowers. Ruysch's work is very detailed, with strong vivid colors against a dark background.  

Flowers in a Glass Vase,1705-1715, Rachel Ruysch 

Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, 1723, Rachel Ruysch 

A Spray of Flowers, unknown date, Rachel Ruysch

You can see more of Ruysch's painting here

Marianne North (1830-1890) was a Victorian biologist and artist who led a pretty unconventional life for a woman of her time. She traveled extensively, often alone and spent her time hunting for flowers and plants all over the world which she then turned into painting of unprecedented beauty. 

Amatungula in Flower and Fruit and Blue Ipomoea, South Africa, Marianne North 

Various Species of Hibiscus, with Tecoma and Barleria, Marianne North 

A South African Sundew and Associate, Marianne North

You can see a lot more of North's art here, and if you're interested to know about her, check out this article. And you want to enjoy her art live, you have every opportunity as she has a permanent exhibition in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens, London. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

DIY Decorative Floral Hair Comb

I'm still in a very spring-y mood, which means - you guessed it - more flowers! After looking at all these lovely botanical photo spreads like this one and this one, I felt that I needed something new and floral for my jewelry box.

This is my DIY tutorial on how to make a lovely little blossomy hair comb.

You will need:
A small decorative comb - from Glitter
Resin flower flatbacks - from Green Papaya
Super glue (make sure its the kind that works on plastic)

Step 1: 
Figure out how many flowers you will need. I originally went with four, but ended up suing five. Just align them along the winds of the comb and see how many you can fit in there. 

Step 2: 
Put some super glue on the back of your flowers and attach it to the comb one by one. Then leave it to dry. 

Step 3:
Ta-da! The comb is ready. Add it to your French twist or Edwardian tuck for maximum gorgeousness.

Speaking of flowers, I have recently discovered Fentimans Rose Lemonade. And it is now my drink of choice. It's a lovely ginger-flavored soda with just a hint of rose. Perfect for spring picnics.  

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