I have been very busy of late so I haven’t updated my Blog much. Im very sorry but I will soon enough share all the exciting news with you!
Anyway, I was recently contacted by a wonderful woman in India (Im now a fully International Commissioned artist). She found my illustrations on a whim and asked me to sketch her some illustrations of her life-obsession, Mata Hari.
Dutch born, Mata Hari was a famous exotic dancer in the early 1900’s. Hailed for her risque moves and beautifully embellished costumes, she was one of the most sought after performance acts.
I was asked to produce three sketches in blue and purple tones, all heavy on the silver pen and detail.
Mata Hari looked toward Asia, Egypt and India for inspiration for her costumes. I based all of the sketches on some vintage images my commissioner had found.
The first in a Tryptic, I drew the model facing backward, I wanted to capture the elegant moves of the exotic dancing within my illustrations.
Mata Hari’s costumes consisted of Sari’s and multilayers of fabric, with large embellished brassieres, headpieces and jewellery. I tried to capture the extravagance of the costumes without making my illustrations look too laboured.
The second illustration is a vibrant purple, facing front on, this illustration sits in the middle of the three.
Using a mixture of intense gel-paint and watercolour, I created this rich purple hue. The strong Indian influence is very visible in this sketch, the hem of the draped skirt covered with silver detail.
I decided that every hem would be edged and every surface would have some texture. She used her costumes within her performance, swirling and creating dramatic effects with the masses of material, which I tried to emulate in all three sketches.
The third sketch features an empire-line dress, with a jewel encrusted bodice and a lace skirt. The constant headpiece, arm cuffs and bracelets create a constant through the sketches.
Another Sari-inspired garment, I tried to add a different texture, of the lace to this sketch. The overall colour is very much the same but the difference in materials really make the two sections stand out.
Fluidity and drama were the key words I tried to capture with this set of drawings. the gentle drape of the fabric and how it drifts away from her body. Plus the amazing detail in every costume she wore really made for a lot of fun whilst I was sketching.
Mata Hari was actually accused of being a spy and was Executed in France in 1917. I can see why my Commissioner had an amazing fascination with her as the costumes are breathtaking and her history is very intriguing. These drawings will now travel across the world to India and hopefully be enjoyed by many.
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