Color-wise Fall is my favorite season of the year. The days cool down; the light is not as sharp as during the Summer. The nature prepares for its rest. However, the colors are spectacular!
I recently spent an afternoon at the Great Falls National Park and highly recommend that you go there too. Fishing, hiking, taking photos, wandering around - anything will do. To me, being outside is such an important way to re-charge and to appreciate my surroundings. The park offers a variety of views and you will certainly come across turtles resting on tree branches and birds searching for prey.
The park is also a great inspiration for color - the photos below show the wonderful combinations nature comes up with and that can be then applied across various fields of interest. For me, that is fashion - I often look for inspiration in nature and photographs taken around the world. The dark blues of the water would go so lovely with the pale sandy color of the rocks - I can see a dress design in my mind already! The dark greens of the trees could be paired with the purples/reds of the Fall - would it make for a lovely blouse?
So, put Great Falls on your Fall list - it is definitely worth visiting!
I have been enjoying learning about fashion illustration. Yet, it is this part of a fashion designer's skill set that I need to work on the most. It can be intimidating as fashion illustration is crucial to being able to convey one's ideas and creativity and innovation. There are so many books, videos, and online resources - I made it my goal to research and to practice daily.
Rendering white is a tricky endeavor but once I understood that white is really about varying shades of grey and even black, I dove into testing different tools. Below, you can see an example of a photo I found in a fashion magazine. I sketched the overall shape and then made copies of the outline to use different media to finish the illustration.
For the middle image, I used color pencils and crayons. I touched up certain areas with a black ink pen to give the illustration a dimension. The image on the right is done in markers only. I think the two illustrations do have a slightly different feel to them and I am excited to keep testing ideas!
Do you have a skill you wish to hone in on? What is your strategy?
I always enjoyed fun and colorful prints but sometimes hesitated to combine them in a garment. As I am learning more and more about fashion and my aesthetic as a fashion designer, I am testing altering patterns and combining them to create new and visually appealing combinations.
Here is one of my latest creations. I studied the traditional ways of dress construction, e.g., I looked into poncho-style dresses and kimono sleeves. I ended up designing a dress that looks into how an over-sized piece of fabric behaves on the body. The core of the dress is a rectangle - the side seams go past the shoulder line and thus collapse when I wear the dress. The sleeves are rectangles attached to the core - they are wide and kimono-inspired.
While I had fun exploring the shapes and how they work in a dress, I found it even more enjoyable to combine different fabric patterns. I took a traditional paisley print and combined it with an animal print. And it worked! The limited color scheme of the sleeves picks up on black and grey areas of the paisley and instead of clashing, the two patterns compliment each other.
Here is a detail of the kimono sleeve attached to the main piece of fabric. While the sleeve is obviously an animal print, it almost looks like an abstracted version of the paisley. It is a visually natural extension of the main body fabric.
Here you can see how both fabrics meet and drape and create an interesting collapsed shoulder effect. As you can imagine, the dress is comfortable - the kimono sleeve is roomy and allows for a full range of movement.
I have very much enjoyed wearing this dress - the print combination is unexpected and yet it works. The silhouette is comfortable and pleasing. Apparently, I am getting braver with prints!
Interested in portraiture? Check out "Face Value" at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
History of art is my interest and if it is yours, then I recommend visiting "Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction" at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
The show has a wonderful selection of portraits and you will enjoy learning about different panting styles and themes the painters dealt with. Some portraits are abstract with color blocks telling the story of the person being portrayed; some portrait are realistic and every wrinkle on a person's face will be exposed to your viewing. In some portraits, the artists give you an insight into who they are. In others, you will see a painter's interpretation of a famous person.
Below are several examples that caught my attention. I find it pretty exciting to read the description next to each painting and then think of the person portrayed and their particular story. I also find that at looking at a portrait, I am internally investigating my own experience and thoughts.
Check the exhibition out! It is on display until January 2015.
Sir Charles, Alias Willie Harris
Barkley Hendricks (born 1945)
Oil on canvas, 1972
Interior with Leland
Louisa Matthíasdóttir (1917–2000)
Oil on canvas, 1945–46
Portrait of Jamie Wyeth with Tan Background
Andy Warhol (1928–1987)
Acrylic and screenprint on canvas, 1976
The Fall semester started and I am very excited about the class I am enrolled in: Graphic Design for Fashion. I am learning about the history of graphic design and its various elements, such as space, color, proportion, and rhythm. The skills I will learn will feed directly into my fashion design work and portfolio.
So, here is my work ...
The first composition is a study of how to express the concept of "Becoming Free" through a composition in black and white only. The women in the bottom left corner is sad and tight - her mind is not free. The lines over her body and head emphasize the feeling of being 'locked' in one's mind. Then, as your eye moves to the right, you see a break through the space and a butterfly whose front is actually a woman with her arms stretched out.
The second example, called "New Beginnings," comprises of images I took in Lisbon earlier in the summer. I repeatedly used the same photo but shifted the patterns so the eye goes from left top to right bottom and sees a person stepping through a door. The idea is to show that we all carry rich stories - they are vibrant, layered, and complex, and therefore allow for a new start.
Let me know what you think! Do you see my ideas in the compositions?
Windows are one of my favorite parts of houses. When I travel, I love to look up and see the variety of windows and, in particular, see what the inhabitants do to adorn their houses "eyes."
During my August trip to Lisbon, I spent a bit of time searching for these little treasures and I can say that people of this city like to add personal touches. These touches would include flowers, art, wall decorations, signs, and many other small items.
Below are four windows that caught my attention. They are sweet and welcoming. One can fantasize about how lives inside of the house and how much care they put into their homes. The little balconies are miniature gardens, though sometimes, they are filled up with artificial flowers ...
Lisbon is known for ceramic tiles - they are all over the town and many houses showcase amazing display of color and craftsmanship. Every tile has its own story.
Which one do you like the best? Do you do anything with the windows at your home?
The "self" and our identity is a topic often explored by artists. I think of my own experiences throughout my life and find my "self" changing - sometimes in a peaceful slow manner, sometimes in a quick forced way.
The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. is showing an exhibition of contemporary U.S. Latino artists who question our identities through photography, collage, and paintings. The exhibition is called "Staging the Self" and is on display until April 2015.
One of the artists, Maria Martinez-Canas, looks at how environment shapes who we are. This is a topic close to me as I grew up in Prague, Czech Republic, but have lived in the US for the past 12 years, and understand the crucial importance of our environment on our identity and values. Martinez-Canas focuses on her family, in particular, her father. In layering a photo of herself and her father and playing with transparency, we see the intricate relationship between family members - not only through physical resemblance but also through beliefs and attitudes.
Duplicity as Identity: 50%
Archival pigment print on canvas, mounted on aluminum, 2008–9
Cricket Taplin Collection
© María Martínez-Cañas
Rachelle Mozman uses staged photographs of herself in various roles to highlight our family relationships and social hierarchies. In some photographs, she is the grandmother, mother, and daughter. In others, she is both a cleaning lady and a wealthy woman. Again, I do find this topic of great importance as our perceived and lived social hierarchies greatly affect our identity.
Courtesy of the artist
© Rachelle Mozman
There are other interesting topics brought up at this show so if you are in town, check it out!
During my trip to Barcelona in 2010, I visited Park Guell. This park is a public are for the inhabitants of the city to escape to noise and to relax, see the city from up above, and to surround themselves by artwork of Antoni Gaudi.
I often research architecture and design as inspiration for my fashion work. Gaudi's work, especially in Park Guell, prompts me to think of fabrics and fabric patterns. The benches of this park are covered in recycled glass and tiles and create a visual dream. Everywhere you look, there is a new pattern or an unusual color combination.
Fashion designers keep innovation at top of mind and this is certainly true of fabric patterns. Below is an example of wonderful patterns in a collection by Peter Pilotto (2013). I think Gaudi would like these.
The slideshow below gives you a good idea of the variety of patterns Gaudi used in the benches in Park Guell! Let's just say I could not stop myself from taking photos!
When I design, I pay attention to the fabric and its pattern.
The blouse below is a design I created some time ago for a friend. She purchased the patterned fabric and I came up with the idea to combine it with black to balance it out.
The fabric is lovely - doesn't it remind you of a Vincent Van Gogh painting? - with its large bursts of flower-like prints. The fabric's pattern was run along the bias but that would not work for my idea of this blouse. So, I cut it against the grain and aligned to pattern horizontally with the waist.
I like to alter patterns to see what happens when a person wears the garment and moves in it. This blouse has pleats on the front and in the back. This means an overlap of the flower-like prints and thus their distortion. The patterns seem to intensify at the pleats.
But when the wearer moves, the pleats open up and we can see the flowers in their full size!
Welcome! My textile/fashion design brand RADOST™ (Czech) is all about JOY (English).
In the blogs, I bring you thoughts on textile and fashion design, art, and travel.
Check back often, as creativity never sleeps (well, almost never) and surround yourself with joy!