So from the get go I had this notion of this ancient, eternal city with it's mysterious buildings and passageways and then this singular figure/fashion-plate/cutout breezing through. The juxtaposition of this timeless structure and the breeziness and temporality of the figure in her bright and breezy dress and hat passing through it or perched precariously on it.
Since the majority of the description of the dream was about the outfit, I feel like that has to be the most detailed thing in the piece. So step one to getting this figure right was to research 1940's style dresses, hats and belts. Sir Google to the rescue! Click HERE to see some of what I was looking at.
I was most interested in the images of 1940s dress pattern packages and the fashion plate sketches/drawings on them. I also looked at a bunch of black and white photographs from the era and silhouette images. I found a few I liked and drew a few to different scales (my printer decided to die on me not to long ago so no printouts for me :P - forcing me to improve my drawing skills so I guess it's ok). I cut out the drawings and started playing around with taping them to the base in different positions to see what appealed to me the most. Take a look:
I'm partial to the one I drew with the outstretched hand. I have this notion she's looking at a watch. That she's on her way to something, or waiting for someone and bringing up the idea of time - how fleeting her time is here in this city that's thousands of years old. Also that we are looking at someone in a n ancient city in clothes from the not-so-distant-past that already seems like ancient history in some ways given how much has changed in the past 70+ years. The tall columnar figure fit quite well in front of the column but I actually think I'm leaning towards a feeling of displacement. I don't want the figure to fit in. I think it should stand out and have some distance - a flat, detailed-yet-2-dimentional figure fleetingly passing in front of this solid mass. On it but not of it.
Back to practicalities. I drew a couple versions of the figure on some of that scrap poster-board from my collection and cut them out.
Then I gessoed the figures and left them to dry while I got lunch. Didn't take pics. I really will get better at this documenting thing...maybe. After lunch I played around with paint trying to figure out the dress and all that jazz. Lots of cross referencing with images from google. There was a lot of penciling in dress styles and painting over things before I arrived at this:
Now I know the dress is too muted and will have to be punched up but I want to get her on the base first so I can tell how far it has to go. So I played around again for awhile (I'd made this cutout a little bigger than my original paper doll so the original pose positions weren't quite right). I finally decided on placing her right on the edge of the bottom step. FYI she's tacked on with hot glue. Also, the light is crap in my living room/studio at night so sorry about the variable picture quality.
She looks a little Vanna White-ish. I need to stare at it on my wall for a while to decide about how to punch up the dress and if I want to try moving her. Things to think about. I'll get back to you in the next few days.