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Archive for January, 2011

After the red dress (see posts for 12.4.10 and 12.31.10) the second most requested dress was the “Infanta” evening gown by Charles James (1906-1978), designed 1952.  It had been donated to the Chicago History Museum by Mrs. Nancy Epstein.  The bodice , which extended over the hips in a front and back v-shape, was made, not of satin or some other shiny fabric, but  of tiny, glittering black beads.  It must have been heavy.  Under the black tulle of the skirt there was a layer of peach colored tulle.  (Though I don’t know if tulle is the correct technical term here.)

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Many mature women chose this spectacular dress.  It was also the most popular dress for girls under twelve.  For them I often recommended that they choose another color besides black, either pink or turquoise, and sometimes they saw my point but some girls stuck with the black.  Needless to say, they all came out looking much older than they actually were.

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The word Infanta refers to the title of a Spanish princess in the 17th century.

Charles James adapted the Infanta style in other fabrics.  A more day-time version of the Infanta style is in the Met’s collection.  See  it at http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/the_costume_institute/infanta_charles_james/objectview.aspx?collID=8&OID=80096834

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http://facefame.wordpress.com

www.khilden.com

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A caricature of a friend or lover, son or daughter, grandpa or boss…makes an excellent gift.  To whom?  To the one caricaturized, of course.  Actually, that may sound odd, since you might think there would be a risk of offense.  But if you know the person and have a comfortable relationship, it will work.  In fact, it will make for a fabulous,  intimate gift.

Most of my work from photos celebrates someone’s greatness or a great event.  For example: a colleague at the college where you teach, a son who keeps winning medals, a nephew who just got his college degree, a super team leader at the office,   an au pair who’s going back to France after a year with the kids.  A great event might be when he asked you—on his knees, yes it still happens!—to marry him, the wedding announcement itself, or when you exhausted yourself in Australia, abseilen and climbing that steep crag of a mountain and you’re not kids any more.

Here’s how it works.  People send me photos by email.  I need a good front shot of the face and optimally a side or three-quarter view.  I immediately make a pencil drawing and email that, asking for comments.  In most cases I hit it right on the head (so to speak).  This is uncanny and I don’t know how I got the knack, but there it is, it happens most of the time.  Sometimes the client will ask for more symmetry in the face or more of a smile or a little more hair on the bald guy.  At this stage people sometimes seem to say to themselves, “ohmygod, what have I started here, will he get the joke, maybe I should just get him a tie like I did last year.”  But not to worry, the artist has been here before and knows the psychology operating in your loving heart.  So, if you want sweet instead of riotous, I can do sweet.

This is Karen and Bob, a we’re-not-kids-anymore couple who flew to Australia to do some strenuous climbing near the Three Sisters mountains.  Karen wanted this caricature as a Christmas present for Bob, who, you guessed it, is hard to get presents for.  From initial email to finished drawing took one week. The client approves every stage of the drawing, including color choices of clothing, so that before I put the pencil drawing on my light table to trace it in color, the client has approved every detail and knows what to expect in the finished product.  It’s a proven process, works every time.  The only topic that had to be weighed here in the case of the mountain climbers was just how far the derrières were going to drag behind them.  Apparently, there had been some conversation between them when they were thoroughly exhausted after the climb, something about “you’re dragging your ass.”  What better way to commemorate a daring adventure and something about your ass, than to get a celebratory caricature.  No photo can do this.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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Ten on the tenth

On Sunday evening I got a call from a mom in Glenview who was planning a birthday party for her ten-year old the next day.  That would be on the tenth.  What a great idea!  If you turn ten on the tenth you shall have your birthday party on the tenth no matter what day of the week that happens to be.  Monday?  Fine, we’ll have your party on Monday.  And Monday it was.  It’s more than yet another great idea.  I’m in favor of writing this into law.  That way I’ll get to draw at birthday parties every day of the week, not just on weekends.  Hear ye, hear ye!   Let it be known…spread the word….

I drew twenty-four kids plus Tess, the dog, in about three hours.  And I got a piece of yummy birthday cake.  Thank you, Kathy.  Happy birthday, Grace.

It was a surprise party, where the younger sister was in charge of making sure that the birthday girl would be distracted upstairs as the party was being set up.   Here’s a sampling of the drawings I did yesterday at this wonderful party.

www.khilden.com

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://artamaze.wordpress.com

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Facefame

There’s a new blog on the block:  http://facefame.wordpress.com

I started it on December 15 (last year!) and intend to post daily.  It’s all drawings, no text except links to the articles, video clips or movies that inspired the drawings. The drawings are caricatures of newsmakers, celebrities and other intruders in our peaceful lives.  Also, artists who inspire us.  I hope you’ll enjoy following this blog as much as I enjoy making the daily drawings for you.

For an idea of how the blog got started, go to http://artamaze.wordpress.com

After your daily—not too presumptuous?—visit to Facefame, please, dash down some comment, anything that comes to  mind.

(Right:  John Boehner, our new Speaker of the House.)

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