Sunday, November 20, 2011


just a little interlude here to pass on a little pertinent information...

STUDIO DE SHAN WEBSITE has been updated with all the images and bid info/prices, so head on over, check it out, and start thinking about how much you want that "little piece of de Shan" to be in your christmas stocking this year!

shine bright art star!

de Shan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

100 Drawings in 100 Days - Catwoman


have you ever noticed that there are not too many superhero women, as they're usually typecast as the villains? well such is the case for my subject today, DC Comic's Catwoman. the very first Catwoman we saw was in 1940 and was played by Selina Kyle, usually as the villain, but sometimes as an ally and/or romantic figure to batman.

beginning in 1954 and until 1966 however, Catwoman took a bit of a hiatus due to the newly developing 'Comics Code Authority' and their issues regarding the portrayal of female characters. she was eventually to return, but as the anti-hero rather than the super villain and was played by several actresses, including the husky-voiced Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry. her primary role began as a high-end jewelry thief and has morphed into a full-blown villain-turned love interest to Batman.

but, as my title suggests, i've always secretly wished that i had a tail, preferably a prehensile tail, but hey, a cat tail would do in a pinch too...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


so, after quite a long string of "good girls" and "bad-ass girls" (aka goddesses), i think it's time to have the ultimate of bad girls... the lovely Ms. Bettie Page. i think she makes the most sweetly seductive, sublime and sinister of devils... you GO GIRL!
Bettie was born in nashville, tennessee in 1923, and was miss january 1955 pinup girl for playboy, making her one of the earliest pinup girls. she was a classic fetish and pinup model with her jet black hair and blue eyes, and is still today one of the fetish culture's idols. 
according to Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder and figure-head, "I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, and someone who had a tremendous impact on our society."




while we are on the topic of classical mythological goddesses, we can't forget how important Athena was. her roman counterpart, Minerva, possessed very similar attributes and traits as Athena, mainly being the Goddess of War. some of the others were the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, female arts, crafts, justice, and skill, to name but a few. and interestingly enough, Athena was the polar opposite of her brother Ares, who was always up for a battle, whereas Athena was more interested in resolving the disputes in a more civilized manner, which is how most of the Goddesses conducted themselves.
the story of her birth is one that is quite obviously a fable, and is fantastical, while at the same time quite intriguing. her father, Zeus, the Supreme God and ruler of Olympus bore Athena from his forehead, and she emerged ready for battle. there are numerous versions of this story, but this is the more common:
'Zeus lay with Metis, the goddess of crafty thought and wisdom, but he immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear children more powerful than the sire, even Zeus himself. In order to forestall these dire consequences, after lying with Metis, Zeus "put her away inside his own belly," he "swallowed her down all of a sudden." He was too late: Metis had already conceived. Eventually Zeus experienced an enormous headache; Ares cleaved Zeus's head with the double-headed Minoan axe, the labrys. Athena leaped from Zeus's head, fully grown and armed, with a shout and pealed to the broad sky her clarion cry of war'.*
and that is the story of Athena, who is also the patron saint of Athens, Greece. what a woman!

* courtesy wikipedia

Friday, October 14, 2011


flipping through my old art history books for the references to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa for my version of her, i stumbled upon this old favorite, Sandro Boticelli's Birth of Venus. it made me feel very nostalgic *sniff*...

now, the short story behind this lovely goddess Venus, is that she emerged from the sea a fully grown woman, and arrived at the sea shore to be met by her 3 lovely hand maidens with robes for her to wear. end of story. beautiful.

however it goes much deeper than that. the philosopher plato thought that the goddess Venus had two aspects to her nature: one of having the ability to arouse mortals to physical love, and the other to invoke feelings of intellectual love by way of her beauty leading them to think of the divine creator. i think i would have loved being around during the renaissance era just to be able to be a part of all this fantastic theoretical banter... but according to classical mythology, Venus was the roman goddess of fertility, love and beauty, while she was named Aphrodite in greek lore. but for all intents and purposes they were each others' counterparts from different countries.

while i was in college in the US, it was part of my duty as a student to complete several hours of humanities classes, and classical mythology fell into that category. i was thrilled because it seemed very interesting to me, and my professor looked like tweedle dee or dum from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which hopefully meant it was going to be a good summer. so professor dee-dum had us reading all manner of books, one of which was "Classical Mythology", fourth edition by Mark P.O. Morford and Robert J. Lenardon, in which they state that Venus and the god of war, Mars, while lovers, bore a child by the name of Cupid. And according to that story, Cupid goes on to be the most beautiful creature who, during a promise to a "client", accidentally pricks himself with his own arrow and falls in love with a mortal girl, Psyche. and that's a whole other story, but nonetheless a very good read.

during the renaissance, there was a resurgence of classical mythology that ran alongside the christian iconography, but that were both very politically driven. so, depending on who the patron was, the figures of the characters may take on the likeness or characteristics of the emperor, or the head of state, or the wealthy banker, etc. according to art historians, Boticelli's painting of "The Birth of Venus" celebrates in a flattering light, Lorenzo de Medici, and Venus is rumored to have been Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, a woman with whom both Lorenzo and his younger brother Guiliano were enamored. and as you can imagine, this caused a little trouble... trust those artists to stir up mischief!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


now i have turned to what i consider to be some of the most striking, beautiful, devoted and pious women, yet the dress is very controversial in western society - the islam burka.

oh there is so much to be written here, and i just love that while i thought i was just doing a pretty little drawing and playing with ink on paper and watching the lovely lines interlacing, i was actually educating myself on the subject. how cool is that?!

the website that i went to for all this information is so lengthy that i will just give you the skinny version here and the link to the site ( here) if you would like more information.

"a Fatwa (in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar) written by Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid on the Saudi Arabian website Islam QA, states:
The correct view as indicated by the evidence is that the woman's face is 'awrah which must be covered. It is the most tempting part of her body, because what people look at most is the face, so the face is the greatest 'awrah of a woman."*
in afghanistan: the chadri (the full length robes and the head veil with just a mesh covering over a slit for the eyes) was not worn much before the Taliban. Their treatment of women required that they wear the chadri in public. and although it is not mandatory for women to wear it in afghanistan now, they still prefer to wear it as a matter of personal safety during a time of such political unrest.

in india: the wearing of the burka is more prominent especially if the woman is young and unmarried, or young and in the first few years of her marriage. after that, it is at the husband's discretion as to whether or not she continues to wear it.

in pakistan: the popularity of the burka has declined over the years except in rural areas. there the burka is not seen as a religious symbol, but one of honor, wealth and tradition and the wearing of it is not observed while traveling outside the area.

in israel: some time ago a group of jewish women began wearing the burka as a symbol of piety. then hundreds of women were doing it. as one woman put it, "I follow these rules of modesty to save men from themselves. A man who sees a woman's body parts is sexually aroused, and this might cause him to commit sin. Even if he doesn't actually sin physically, his impure thoughts are sin in themselves."*
and that was fine to think that way, until the husbands decided that it had the opposite effect, and actually became a sexual fetish that was just as promiscuous as wearing too little and could lead to even more danger of sexual transgressions. wow.

in syria: the burka is not allowed to be worn in schools or universities by students, teachers or staff.

in france: the burka has been prohibited from being worn in french public schools since 2004, which falls into line with their law from 1905 of not wearing or displaying any clearly visible religious symbols (the burka in france, considered a religious symbol much like a cross is to christians). in july of 2010, the assembly successfully placed a ban on burkas in public places. and they now have the "bill to forbid concealing one's face in public".*

in australia: the australian liberal senator, cory bernardi  called for the ban on the burka, which has not yet gone ahead, but the argument still continues.

and on it goes... the world is trying to find reasons that it is unsafe for your health to wear a burka, and people will try anything to put an end to that which they don't understand or fear. i say, each to their own.

* courtesy wikipedia



allow me, if you will, to take you on a journey... actually a few journeys. i am delving into "sets" of drawings at the moment (it all started with alice...). i have already explored the Virgin Mary, and the Immaculate Heart images, and now i am heading further east, to the Buddhist countries and their Buddhas and (the female version) the Bodhisattvas.

now, there are so many different goddesses and gods, that i couldn't even begin to name them, for they are just too numerous, and they all hold different qualities. i have done a Mrs.  Potato Head, and actually taken bits and pieces from a few different Bodhisattvas to create my very own... (hope that's ok with the universe that i did that!) i have combined two in particular: Tara and Kwan Yin.

Both these Bodhisattvas embody compassion and Samsara (continuous suffering), and each of them have their trademark symbols: kwan yin with her 1000 arms and 1000 eyes because she is omnipresent (but usually portrayed with eyes in the palms of her hands), and usually holding or sitting on a lotus flower - a sign of purity; and tara with her calm and sympathetic expression because she is the goddess of longevity and healing. for the sake of simplicity and clarity, i preferred not to draw the 1000 arms (i would have run out of ink as well...), and only one eye besides the normal two on her face. but the story behind this goddess kwan yin is a must read, and for that matter so is tara's. they both have beautiful anecdotal qualities, which is why i was so attracted to them. 

when i lived in Oklahoma City, i attended a buddhist temple on sundays, and our primary focus was on the various Bodhisattvas, of which i had previously no experience. and so naturally i thoroughly enjoyed making up my own image of "Her".

Friday, September 9, 2011

100 Drawings in 100 Days - The Immaculate Heart of Blythe

i've decided to take blythe for a little wander musing as diety figures and/or goddesses. so, allow me to take you on this journey with us...

i'm not going into this for any other reason than i simply just adore religious iconography and the stories behind them. i do not wish to engage in any type of religious banter or controversy - it's just purely image related and the beauty within the images.

now, let's start with mary, and the immaculate heart of mary. i LOVE this image!! i just adore the loving expression you will find in each and every image of mary (well, sometimes she just looked plain bored, especially during the early renaissance). in most cases she just emanates love and acceptance. but i also love the symbol of the heart, pierced with the swords, the flames and the roses. in most images of the immaculate heart, you will find either thorns or roses, sometimes a lily springing forth from the top, a single sword or 7 swords, a cut on the heart with blood flowing from it, and usually but not always flames. in this image, i have picked and chosen what i wanted for aesthetic values, of course. and my roses are always Ed Hardy and Sailor Jerry roses (tattoo artists), just for a little twist.

"Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation."*

* courtesy wikipedia

100 Drawings in 100 Days - Blythe as Frida Kahlo


when i was in college, i took a profound interest in women artists later in my studies. it was towards the middle of my degree that i really started to ask myself the question of whether i was prepared to "do this", to make this my career, my living, my everything. and seeing as how i forgot to have children, the answer was 'yes'.

my major professor would constantly remind us all that we ought to have a second job as "backup". in other words, he knew of nobody personally who was making it as an artist, and it would be in our best interests to have insurance, i guessed.

i began researching female artists from the time they first began appearing in the renaissance (there were very few back then, but they were dissuaded by their families to do so, and would paint and have an artists' presence as men). then mary cassatt came onto the scene in the mid 1800's, but women in art colleges were treated with a patronizing attitude from other male students and teachers, and were not allowed to draw the live model. and after a while, her came little miss frida kahlo!

frida kahlo was born just outside of mexico city in 1907, and suffered physically for most of her life, which is probably what brought her to become a painter. she was confined to bed in a full body cast for 3 months after being in an automobile accident at the age of 18. her injuries were severely debilitating, and left her with fractured ribs, multiple fractures to the leg and foot, spinal column, shoulder and a hand-rail from the street car she was traveling in impaled her abdomen and uterus, which left her reproductively challenged.

whilst she was confined to her bed, her father set up an arrangement so that she had a mirror positioned directly above her face, and with some sketch paper, pencils, canvas paint brushes and paints, frida was able to release all of her emotions and eventually her life story onto the canvas. even after she was rehabilitated, she did suffer relapses of chronic pain, but she was able to maintain a decent level of quality of life.

she married diego rivera, a very famous mexican mural artist and the two of them were a very combustible connection - both with their fair share of infidelities, which led to their divorce and then re-marriage that ended up being just as fiery and troublesome as it was the first time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


my best friend from high school came to see me this weekend, bringing with her, her husband and my biggest fan club, her 3 sons. of course i love them all dearly, particularly because they are all little smarty-pants-show-off-daredevils and funny as can be! over dinner, we were discussing my drawings, and how i was in need of some inspiration. adin, the oldest, suggested a few ideas, but this was the money-shot! the Mona Lisa. of course!! brilliant!! (don't tell him that, he'll get a big fat head...)

now the story behind the mona lisa is a bit of historical fact and a lot of speculation, because dear old Leo just couldn't do a painting without hiding something forbidden within the layers of paint. he was not the man to go to if you had a secret, because he would hide it in his paintings or in his writings (mirror-image, so as to trick people into thinking it was a different language. i learned how to do this at an early age for the sake of my christmas list...). whether he did or he didn't plan on people in the future having access to the technological advancements that would enable them to decipher his hidden secrets, we'll never know. but they did. and we now know all manner of things about this woman, supposedly the wife of Francesco del Giocondo.

many scholars have tried to uncover the truth behind the smile of the Mona Lisa, and there are countless number of theories out there, which one is the truth we'll never really know. but the one that i tend to favor, is from Dan Brown, the author of "The Da Vinci Code".

the Mona Lisa is without a doubt the world's most famous painting, and the reason for that is simply that it was da Vinci's best accomplishment. the speculation behind the guessing of the reason for the smile, he states, was that da Vinci was trying to make a point about the feminine being the finer sex, which all goes back to the theory of Mary Magdalene being the wife of Christ. in the composition of the painting, da Vinci had made the left side of the landscape in the background lower than the right, which made the left side of her look larger, more important. this is Leo's little inside joke, as the female is usually associated with the left, and the male with the right. so, here he has made the female more important and majestic as he was a huge advocate of the feminine principles. he also believed that the human soul could not be enlightened unless it had both male and female elements.

there is some truth behind the rumor that the Mona Lisa is androgynous, and da Vinci hid one big clue in it's title "MONA LISA". he was trying to get the message across about the power of male/female elements. AMON was the egyptian fertility god. his counterpart was ISIS, the fertility goddess (whose ancient pictogram was once called L'ISA). AMON L'ISA. as brown puts it, "...not only does the face of Mona Lisa look androgynous, but her name is an anagram of the divine union of male and female. and that, my friends, is da Vinci's little secret, and the reason for Mona Lisa's knowing smile."

so, after many hours of drawing (consider that it took Leo years to paint this!), here she is. and i love her.


after much deliberation, i just couldn't keep away from drawing Blythe. it was so bizarre, how i kept thinking of drawing the eyes of blythe dolls, and i finally posted a query on facebook (what a dork, right?) asking people to respond to the post if they wanted to see blythe back in my drawings. i got 15 "yes" responses in a very short period of time, so i took that as a sign.

so, here we have Blythe back, after just having ditched GI Joe (he was really not much fun at all for me to draw, so imagine poor Blythe's feelings on the matter!) and with her new nerdy blythe doll boyfriend, Romeo. and the response to that post on facebook was "i love nerds!!" and i think he's pretty cute so, good going Blythe!! you've picked a winner, and so have i!

Monday, August 29, 2011


i know there is no King of Spades in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but i'm pretty sure that if Lewis Carroll had lived longer and spent some time with me, there would be! i have a certain fondness for crows, and playing cards, jokers, the number 7, and several other things... but one day i came upon the most amazing thing ever, and when i tell it to people, nobody has heard of it before.

i was in a park around the corner from my house one day, when i saw a circle of crows on the ground, and a dead crow in the middle. they were making quite a bit of noise, so i watched. and i couldn't believe it, but i had witnessed a crow death ceremony. they all took turns to have their say, nudging the dead crow when it was their turn, and after they all finished, they squawked loudly together, then all flew away at once. now, i found this on the internet (because i have to have proof that i'm not imagining things... quite funny right?), and it describes my experience very well (except for the accent...)

"You know, when you spend a lot of time in the woods, you see the strangest things. One time I was out the woods road when I heard a lot of flutterin' and goin' on. I turned toward the sound, and pretty soon I came on to a little clearing, and in that clearing was a bunch of crows settin' around on the ground. What I noticed next was that they was settin' around pretty much in a circle, and in the center of that circle was a dead crow!

They kept settin' there, quiet like, and once in a while they would start up mutterin', you know, just makin' this odd, soft little mutterin' sound, and that sound went all around the circle of 'em. I watched for quite a little while. Looked altogether like a funeral. After a bit, I looked away just for a couple of seconds, when I heard a loud, sharp call go out. There was a great flutter of wings, and all of 'em took off right sudden like. And you know, when I looked around, that dead crow was gone too."

so, i ended up with a drawing of this beautiful crow with a crown on, and looking very majestic and stern. long live the king!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



i thought i'd do something a little bit different for the Mad Hatter: a woman. wasn't quite what you were expecting, was it?

it is a well-known fact that milliners (hat makers) were often said to be "mad as a hatter". this is due to the fact that mercury was used in the curing of pelts for making the hats. mercury poisoning was therefore unavoidable and the result was a neurological disorder that spelled confusion, distorted speech and vision.

"The Hatter explains to Alice that he and the March Hare are always having tea because, when he tried to sing for the Queen of Hearts at her celebration, she sentenced him to death for "murdering the time," but he escapes decapitation. In retaliation, Time (referred to as a "Him") halts himself in respect to the Hatter, keeping him and the March Hare stuck at 6:00 forever. As such, he exclaims "Tea Time!" at random occasions. The tea party, when Alice arrives, is characterized by switching places on the table at any given time, making short, personal remarks, asking unanswerable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry, all of which eventually drive Alice away."*

well, it was a short-lived life for many hatters, but it most certainly did add to the entertainment in both the book and the movie "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".

*courtesy wikipedia

Sunday, August 21, 2011


this is the second "Alice" drawing i've done this time, and who knows? maybe i'll do another, but they are all very different. i thought this time Alice should be a little more, well, modern. not quite so innocent. a little less boring??

and what's not to love about seeing a woman in pretty lacy lingerie, and a couple of tasteful tattoos? these days they are both quite commonplace. i was at the roller derby bouts last weekend, and it was more uncommon to see someone without a tattoo than with one. when i got my tattoos, it was still a fairly uncommon practice for women to get them where they could be seen outside of the boudoir.

well, i must get going. i'm late, i'm late!! for a very important date (drawing the Queen of Hearts... should she be a little tattooed too??) hmmmm....

for a little refresher on our darling little Alice, and her story, here is the link to my "other" Alice ---> EAT ME

Friday, August 19, 2011


i'm the kind of artist who needs a source for my inspiration. i can get and develop ideas in my head, but in order for me to produce a drawing or painting that i'm really happy with, i require images or objects in front of me to act as my model. i can draw from my imagination, but if i want the finer details, i must have a model, be it real or a photograph.

now, there are not always mice available, so i must rely upon the internet in order to be able to create my version of the Dormouse from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". and then there is this little issue of copyright, so it just makes my job a little more difficult, and increases the time i spend on each drawing. enough of the boring details: this here mouse, the Dormouse, who is seen here taking his own photograph in the mirror of the bathroom backstage, is a combination of many images. and the hand holding the phone which is attached to the scantily clad figure (much hair was applied and belly shortened and fattened of course, to make it more mouse-like) belongs to a dear friend of mine. yes, it has come to this. be careful when you send de Shan any photos, she may use them in her artwork!! :)

so this mouse, the Dormouse is native to several regions in the world, but the one referred to in Lewis Carroll's novel, is the one that inhabits the british isles. they are known primarily for their particularly long periods of hibernation - thus the sleepiness of the Dormouse character in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". and in this drawing, i have portrayed him as being a little bit naughty and very much awake and on the prowl...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


well, after a little research, i found out that the Mock Turtle in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was named so after a popular victorian dish - Mock Turtle Soup! how odd

so here is the recipe:

Mrs. Fowle's Mock Turtle Soup: "Take a large calf's head. Scald off the hair. Boil it until the horn is tender, then cut it into slices about the size of your finger, with as little lean as possible. Have ready three pints of good mutton or veal broth, put in it half a pint of Madeira wine, half a teaspoonful of thyme, pepper, a large onion, and the peel of a lemon chop't very small. A ¼ of a pint of oysters chop't very small, and their liquor; a little salt, the juice of two large onions, some sweet herbs, and the brains chop't. Stand all these together for about an hour, and send it up to the table with the forcemeat balls made small and the yolks of hard eggs."*

and i've never actually had mock turtle soup, but it really sounds rather nasty! no wonder he was always crying...

as Lewis Carroll's character goes, however, the mock turtle was upset because he used to be a real turtle, but now he is a fake turtle. this is why he was illustrated by John Tenniel as an assemblage of the cow head, hooves and tail, the traditional off-cuts of the beast and the non-muscular parts to imitate turtle meat in the soup.

poor thing...

* courtesy wikipedia

Monday, August 15, 2011


well i've definitely decided that G.I. Joe made a nice little cameo appearance and then he stole Blythe away. but now it's fairytale time
and in keeping with the whole Alice's Adventures in Wonderland theme, the writing of this particular blog today might be a tad bit peculiar...
so the white rabbit has been a thing of fascination for me since i first read the story of alice and her follies with all the m y s t i c a l creatures in her mind. now, we all have these when we're ren-child, and that's pretty normal, but to continue with them as an adult is
so normal (see the movie "drop dead fred" - one of my all-time favorites!!) and so, in my quest to appear normal (well...), i've tried to channel all of the inexplicable, extraordinary and downright unbelievable critters and traffic in my mind into my paintings and drawings... and it works most of the time...
Lewis Caroll's character of the White Rabbit was deemed to be of a nervous type, but arrogant with his underlings, and obsequious with his superiors:
"I think the White Rabbit should wear spectacles. I'm sure his voice should quaver, and his knees quiver, and his whole air suggest a total inability to say 'Boo' to a goose!"*
how very apt this all was... until he decided to steal the Dodo's clothing instead of his own ridiculous costume. and i think he looks rather dapper...

* from martin gardner's 'the annotated alice', p.37

Friday, August 12, 2011


so, what i was saying about that nice smooth transition, that little segue by means of G.I. Joe and Blythe together... bla bla bla! forget it! i'm just not passionate about Joe. sorry Joe, no offense, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and i'm now off on a different tangent.

ENTER: the Dodo from Tim Burton's film, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"! i absolutely adore anything Alice. i have drawn an Alice Blythe, of which i am very proud. so, this particular drawing shows the Dodo character having just had a wardrobe malfunction, and wearing the White Rabbit's costume. sometimes i wonder if i really did grow up or if that is just a mean trick the mirror plays on me every morning... you see, this seems like a very plausible problem for this particular (extinct) creature to have. i must be mad.

anyway, the dodo was originally from Mauritius, and related to pigeons and doves. it stood about 1m tall, nested on the ground as it was a flightless bird, and has been extinct for almost 400 years. it is the standard for an extinct species because it became so as the result of human interference and during recorded history.

what an odd little creature, especially in the rabbit's get-up!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


ok, it's time i think to begin branching out into other areas, and i thought this image of
Blythe with G.I. Joe would be a nice little segue.
in 1964, the toy company Hasbro came out with the 12" action figure toys called "GI Joe",
and they incorporated all 4 corners of the military - army, navy, air force and marine corps. they depicted the soldier, sailor, pilot and marine, and eventually they came out with the nurse. the initials G.I. stands for "Government Issue", which was a generic term for U.S. soldiers before Hasbro came out with the action figures. (at this point, i am reminded of the episodes from M*A*S*H*, where the korean girls would address the soldiers with, "hey, G.I.!")
the toys have undergone a few changes, especially with all the changes in the military and their daily routines, not to mention terrorism, and so each figure has taken on special capabilities such as martial arts, weapons and explosive expertise.
i'm still searching for that realism in the toy that i find in Blythe, so i'm not sure how long this little fling will last, but in the meantime, they are off riding around on Joe's Ducati, and Blythe, as always, looks very nonchalant...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


"Breakfast at Tiffany's" would have to be one of my favorite movies of all time. and i do so love a good ol' fashioned 1960's film, including some Elvis and a little humor from the hilarious (then) Jerry Lewis. but Audrey Hepburn's character "Holly Golightly" is famous around the globe, even to the point of graffiti stencil art on city buildings.
in the film, Holly Golightly plays an eccentric social butterfly/cafe society girl, who is accepting money to pass on coded messages to a drug runner in sing sing prison, but all the while playing innocently ignorant of the entire ordeal. the story is based on the life of a beautiful society page girl and her neighbor, who is played by George Peppard (also known from the TV series "The A Team", which is how i grew up with George). the real star of the movie is the "Cat", who is constantly getting into all sorts of trouble and is seen here pictured with Blythe Golightly.
when i was still living in Oklahoma City, the Museum of Art had a film week program, and they showed "Breakfast at Tiffany's" one week back in 2004. so my friend Erin asked me to go but we had to dress up as Holly Golightly, about which i was ecstatic beyond all belief!
needless to say, we did attract some strange glances, but everybody who spoke to us knew who we were dressed up to be. i think someone even called me "Ms. Gorightree" (from the chinese upstairs neighbor character, played by Mickey Rooney).

Saturday, August 6, 2011


so, lately my mom has been greeting me quite early in the morning with a phone call, a little bit of a worried tone in her voice "are you ok? what's wrong", she says. "nothing, why?" i reply.
"well, there's no drawing on the blog. are you sure you're ok?"
i think this is all very cute, and it's lovely to know that my mom is loving what i'm doing it, and almost as ritualistically as making a cup of tea and reading the paper every morning,
she's reading my blog. if there is one.
(remember i said i wasn't going to go on about it, but i had knee surgery.
some days i can't move, some days i can...)
so, mom's suggestion was a carmen miranda blythe. i wasn't keen on the idea, but now that i've done it, i love it!
what a gal, that carmen miranda. born Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha in Portugal,
she was raised in Brazil, and went on to eventually get a job in a boutique where she learned how to make hats which would serve her well in her movie career. after working in radio and as a samba singer, she filmed several brazilian movies before signing a contract in hollywood and moving to the US in 1939.
soon afterwards, she was formally presented to Franklin D. Roosevelt, starred in 13 movies, and became part of the President's "good neighbor Policy" which would help to strengthen ties between the US and Latin America and Europe.
by 1946, not only was she Hollywood's highest paid movie star, but she was the top female tax payer in the US, earning more than $200, 000 that year (roughly 2.2M today).
her most famous role in a movie was to be "The Gang's All Here" in 1943, in which she wore her famous fruit hat and outfit (designed by her).

Thursday, August 4, 2011



while we're on the subject of notable women in history (sorry guys, you'll have to wait a little while, at least until i start drawing boys toys, like Tonka trucks or Mr. T dolls...), who doesn't remember Mary Quant? if you don't, you know of her by her legacy - the mini skirt (now do i have your attention guys?)

Mary Quant was a British fashion designer who laid claim to the rise of the hemline on the rise - the mini skirt - and of course, hot pants. she was the first designer of our century to encourage people to dress to please themselves (what a novel concept!!) When she was asked what it was that inspired her to design the mini skirt, her reply was "Legs. I had good legs."*

In the mid-60's, women's clothing saw a change in tax methods - previously, the government taxed women's clothing based on the length of the skirt. now with the mini skirt being tax exempt due to the garment being classified as children's clothing, they began taxing the garments based upon bust size!

Quant was also a success in the cosmetics and beauty industry, and was known for her accurately cut short "bowl" hairstyle, and her dramatic eye makeup.

'good taste is death. vulgarity is life'*
-Mary Quant

*from "Women who Changed the World", Pier 9

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


i'm really not fond of reading blogs that begin with "it's been 3 days since i last blogged, because...". it sounds too "dear diary" to me. and it's usually some quite lame reason as to why, and it's not as though we're in high school and we have to blog every day, and now this is sounding more and more as though i ought to... so, let me see, how to begin... it's been 3 days since i last blogged because i had knee surgery and the pain has set in! and now that i've said that, i'm going to get straight into the business of blogging.

i'm almost certain that most grown adults would know who Dita Von Teese is, however if they don't, it's not that uncommon. she's a very influential, almost cult-like figure in the world of Burlesque, strip-tease, and the tasteful art of seduction. once i had decided on this drawing today, i spent the best part of the day researching von Teese, her iconographic looks, (you can even learn how to do Dita Von Teese makeup on You Tube!) This lady has taken us on a journey back to a time when corsets were not optional, they were as mandatory a piece of clothing as your left shoe, and she has created a newfound interest in the corset as naughty-but-nice lustful underwear... the thing is, she does it with such elegance and high-class that it seems almost unimaginable!

corsets, a constrictive undergarment made from whalebone, steel or horn, were thought to have been around since the 15th century, and worn primarily to alter the appearance of the figure. they were a sign of status and wealth, usually only reserved for aristocracy, and were a source of constant medical problems from day one. women used to have access to "fainting couches", "smelling salts", and were known to have "spells", all of which were due to the corset constricting and limiting the human body's normal functions, namely the cutting off of circulation, causing digestive problems, dizziness and light-headedness, even fainting. the smelling salts were made from ammonium carbonate, and were used to revive the unconscious women.

we now find that corsets have made a comeback in the fetish realm, namely in burlesque perfoming. fortunately for the performers though, they get to take them off at the end of their shift! they do however, look a lot more pleasing to the eye than they did back then... and can you believe that men used to wear them?? see if that would happen today!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

100 DRAWINGS IN 100 DAYS - the bunny strikes again

after i graduated college with my MFA in printmaking, i was invited to join and participate in the AGD (american graphic design) show called the "20 x 2", which was a monthly event held in a swank little lecture-type place, and there were 20 artists with 2 minutes each to discuss the chosen topic. the topic my group was given was "passion". well, can i just tell you that it's not easy coming up with a 2 minute presentation about passion, especially one that won't confuse the audience. the objective was to captivate their attention and leave an impression.

so, i invested in a playboy bunny outfit, did quite a lot of research, and found that i could take people on a 2 minute journey through history which went from the passions of christ and the crucifixion to easter sunday, then the easter bunny, and finally arriving at the playboy bunny, quite obviously one of many objects of passion. my presentation was fast, furious and to the point and all the while, i was striding through the crowd in my skimpy outfit and the highest of heels, handing out plastic pull-apart easter eggs with a bag of "passion" tea and a chocolate inside each egg.

now, the real connection i found between "passion" and the Playboy Bunny was a no-brainer - the bunny, present at easter and at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Clubs. as it turned out, to become a playboy bunny was quite an extraordinary feat. there was a certain protocol to being a Bunnygirl, beginning with the audition, the "Bunny Stance" and even the "Bunny Dip" (a technique for bending down to serve a drink while keeping the low-cut bunny uniform in place), down to the Bunny having knowledge of 143 brands of liquor, and how to garnish 20 different cocktails. Bunnies were not allowed to fraternize with the patrons unless they were a C1 patron, the most important of all patrons.

in a way, you could say that the Playboy Bunnygirls were some of the most memorable of the influential women in history, because let's face it, what little boy hasn't grown up without sneaking at least one peek at a playboy magazine? and what would the world be like today if it weren't for the Bunnygirls and Mr. Hugh Hefner?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


now this little lady is not any particular woman of note in history, but who doesn't love a sexy vampire? personally, i am of the opinion that all vampires should be sexy to the point of 'don't do it, you'll regret it, there's major danger ahead if you proceed, but you can't resist the urge to be drawn in by this creature who wants to bite your neck, drink your blood and possibly ruin your life' gorgeousness.

historically speaking, however, the vampiric stories have been around since prehistoric times but were not popularized until the 18th century. they became legendary in the balkans and eastern europe where the vampires were known as "vrykolakas" in greece and "strigoi"* in romania.

after quite a long period of the vampire being portrayed as a nightmarish, almost rotting-corpse figure, it was John Polidori's novella "The Vampyre" in 1819 that settled the score for the charismatic, sophisticated and attractive appearance of the insatiably erotic creatures. but it wasn't until 1897, when Bram Stoker's "Dracula" was released (at a time when people were still reeling from the anxieties of the victorian patriarchy) that we fell in love with the quintessential lustful, erotic and increasingly sexy vampire creatures of the night.

and in this image of Blythe, she is drawn in the most seductive light possible, so as to emphasize the powers of being a lusty blood-thirsty vampire...

*information courtesy of wikipedia


as i was trying to wrack my brain for inspiration for a new Blythe drawing, i was poring over images of historically powerful women, or women of note in historical times, and i came across an image of the late Elizabeth Taylor in her role as Cleopatra. what a beautiful woman she was, and timelessly lovely. my mother used to say that there are two types of beauty in women - "chocolate box pretty" and "classical beauty". the former being that of the glitzy, sparkly, shiny and attractive (on the outside, but lacking inner substance) women, and the latter is the type of woman who was just stunning all the way around, just like Elizabeth Taylor.
now, i did some research on darling Cleopatra, and while she was a very influential woman historically, she came from a period in time when families were in-bred to preserve the integrity of the throne... ahem... wow! that's all i got to say. wow! (and YUCK!) yes, her first two husbands were her brothers (again, YUCK!).
her third partner, to whom she bore a son, was Julius Caesar, who was not related (hail Caesar!!), and finally Mark Antony, to whom she bore 3 children. when Mark Antony committed suicide, Cleopatra followed suit by way of a bite from an asp...
Cleopatra was renowned not only for her leadership in the Egyptian Empire, but more notably her liasons with extremely powerful men, which were testimony to her aesthetic and sexual appeal. go Cleo!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


this morning, it was all over the news that 27 year-old singer Amy Winehouse died last night. i have to admit, i wasn't her most devoted fan, but i did enjoy her music, i loved her beehive hairdo, and the woman had an amazing voice! unfortunately, as her famous song "Rehab" tells the story, she was known to indulge in too much drink and drug from time to time.

but she's not the only young singer to have lost their lives at the ripe old age of 27 - joining "club 27" are Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, and Jim Morrison from the Doors. so, in memory of Amy Winehouse, today i decided that Blythe should be a famous singer with an even more famous beehive hairstyle...


it was just a couple of weeks ago that i was watching the morning news show, and they had the stars from "I Dream of Jeannie" in the studio, and i could not believe how Barbara Eden had aged so beautifully! who knows, maybe she has had some work done, but she looks amazing. and what a racy little number she used to wear on that show from back in the 60's!! they were talking about how she could expose her belly, but not her belly button - that was taking things too far (if only they had known then what we are like now!)

i've decided, at least for a while, to feature famous women or female roles in showbiz history in my 'Blythe' drawings, simply because i think we all get a bit of a kick out of seeing how someone else might portray that figure. and i will be drawing the Blythe dolls for a while, possibly moving along to other things for the rest of the 100... or maybe not. i have yet to decide... so stay tuned.

so, how do you feel since reading this blog?