It started with my request for Elsie de Wolfe. An Elsie wearing green shoes, though the green shoes aren't visible, Elsie materialized!
Friend and fellow blogger-who I've found a kindred spirit in, Victoria Thorne, is sketching-making people I've long admired materialize before my eyes. When one has the gift to capture features- a gleam in the eye or an unturned corner of a grin from a photograph in line and shade, we can see something new-something lost in the image itself. Perhaps it is seeing something beyond, or seeing what the viewer misses, that allows an artist to bring a photograph to life-or at the least, add their vision. Zeroing in on that "thing" that makes a person memorable. This is what Victoria has been able to do. This is why her portraits are compelling, exciting.
WE only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her-
and I go back to
Black. ~Amy Winehouse
ELIZABETHS I & II
I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. ~"I"
I asked Victoria to tell me how this all started. Here's what she said:
I actually started college in the art department, but wandered over to the English building freshman year, fell in love with Andrew Marvell and stayed there. For many years after, I worked as an artist and copywriter, always freelance, fitting it around the schedules of our four amazing kids.
The art jobs sort became design jobs and, some time last year, I realized that not going back to art–drawing, painting, calligraphy, collage–was sort of like continuing a forced march away from my soul.
So I started again, which felt bumpy at first. I thank God for the support of my family. My kids received (and applauded, usually) regular strange texts with odd doodles, my husband was incredibly understanding as the house became 90% art studio, and my Instagram pretty much turned into a giant pad of newsprint.
The people who stuck with me through months of sketch after sketch after strange little collage followed by yet another sketch: I'm so thankful. Beyond grateful. And those I've meant who've become collaborators and friends: a true treasure.
One of my kids said, several months before I started putting the art out there: Commit. Treat this as a full-time job. Her advice was good. I am so thankful for the chance to do this. And so appreciative that you have asked me how it came about.
When Bliss disclosed a hundred Toes -
And fled with every one ~ED
Bettina Ballard of Vogue called her "the most elegant and most talked-about woman in Paris, and Karl Lagerfeld called her, "the chicest woman I ever laid eyes on."
IF I were seeking out great fashion icons it wouldn’t be my first impulse to search the rosters of Nobel laureates or members of the Academie Francaise. On the other hand, an examination of the lives of the greatest women of style generally reveals individuals of some cultural sophistication. I can’t think of anyone who is known for her stylishness to be stupid or purely instinctive. The memorable women of fashion have to be intelligent enough to understand the rules and codes, often nuanced, implicit in fashion, and how far they can go in testing the limits and boundaries of those accepted standards. I love the fact that when someone is perfectly put together they are said to look “smart.” That’s as intellectual as fashion has to be. ~Harold Koda
And then, after All -there is the utter charm in many of Victoria's pieces, capturing the whimsy- the wonderment -of a fleeting fashion idiosyncrasy, or the innocence of a child.
Isn't that what draws us to anything worthwhile?
The inexpressible-the "we just know it" wonder of something that we may not remember indefinitely, but that we can feast on for a time. On Instagram, the essence of that same wonder, Victoria posts her portraits, compiles them, draws insta-ration from the images others post.
Living in that childish wonder is a most beautiful feeling - I can so well remember it. There was always something more - behind and beyond everything - to me, the golden spectacles were very, very big. Kate Greenaway
If you've a notion to such a feeling, of such wonderment, follow Victoria here, & also on her blog- here.
I'm delving into Instagram too-& you can find me here posting daily. It's another avenue into what's inspiring me this instant.