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Agnès Varda, Autoportrait devant une peinture de Gentile Bellini, 1962/2015. Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

Though known as the “grandmother of the French New Wave,” for decades 88-year-old Agnès Varda felt she wasn’t allowed to be an artist. Looking back, the filmmaker realizes it was something she had always desired: she had studied art history at the École du Louvre and photography at the École des Beaux-Arts, was friends with artists, and had been following the work of many others since the age of 18. But in France, especially, she was pigeonholed. “They put me in the drawer as a…

Source: Grandmother of French Cinema Agnès Varda on Becoming an Artist at 88


Inspired by Edward Steichen’s portrait of Hollywood actress Gloria Swanson covered in lace (Museum of Modern Art).

Orientation: Postcard

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Source: Hollywood Vintage Gloria Postcard | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Martha Mansfield, Photoplay July 1920 Card
Martha Mansfield, Photoplay July 1920 Card by FirstNightVintage

Martha Mansfield [1899-1923] was an American actress who was always determined on a stage career. At the age of fourteen she appeared on Broadway in Little Women (1912), while her film debut came in 1917 with a short called Max Comes Across. She made twenty-four further films, including Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde [1920] with John Barrymore but her life and career was cut tragically short in 1923 when she was filming a Civil War picture called The Warrens of Virginia. A lighted match was thrown in her vicinity and it ignited her costume which went up in flames. She was rushed to hospital but had sustained ‘substantial burns’ [Wikipedia] and died a day later. A sad story. It has never been known who discarded the match thus.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE 15th August 2014

New in my vintage store is this wonderful black & white portrait of Tallulah Bankhead. “I’m as pure as the driven slush.” “My father warned me about men and booze, but h…

Source: First Night Design | Tallulah Bankhead — “pure as the driven slush” | First Night Design


americanbeauty

Now what on earth was I going to do for American Beauty for Week 8 of Julie Powell‘s makeover challenge. There have been several different covers for the film which is directed by Sam Mendes and stars Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening and Thora Birch, in which a ‘sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter’s best friend’. IMdb

I knew I wanted to avoid a rose but what was my main focus going to be? I decided it was people so I swiped a slice from Tallulah Bankhead, a profile shot of Spacey from Wikipedia and set to work, the idea being that Spacey’s character is yearning for the out-of-reach schoolgirl (alright, so Bankhead was not a schoolgirl even when she was a schoolgirl). If knowing it’s Bankhead disturbs you, imagine she’s Spacey’s wife, Bening!

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 9 American Beauty © Sarah Vernon

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 9 American Beauty © Sarah Vernon

To be frank, I’m not enamoured of my treatment but — as so often — time was running out and I didn’t want to miss out, especially as I probably won’t be able to take part next week. Fonts used were Skia Regular for Sam Mendes, Bening and Spacey, Times New Roman for ‘American’ and Zapfino Regular for ‘Beauty’.

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Keep Calm & Then Scream Pillow
Keep Calm & Then Scream Pillow by FirstNightDesign

This is one of my favourite cushions because of the exhortation. I believe it’s very healthy to scream and let go of all those frustrations. Take a leaf out of Sally Bowles’ book and find a railway bridge to stand beneath so that as soon as a train comes along, you can scream your heart out without disturbing anyone — remember the scene in Cabaret with Liza Minnelli and Michael York? Mind you, I’m not sure just how much noise modern overground trains make so be careful. I can’t actually recall if this scene is in Christopher Isherwood’s book, Goodbye To Berlin, on which the musical is based so it’s time to read it again, methinks.

Keep Calm & Then Scream Bicycle Playing Cards
Keep Calm & Then Scream Bicycle Playing Cards by FirstNightDesign

Southwold Pier in the summer sunshine [Wikipedia]

Southwold Pier in the summer sunshine [Wikipedia]

When I worked in weekly rep in the delightful seaside town of Southwold in Suffolk (UK) in the early 1980s, some of us went to the beach in the middle of the night. The wind was immense and the waves frightening. Who would be able to hear us? And boy, did we scream! As we looked around us sheepishly, we saw that several upstairs windows had been wrenched upwards. We skedaddled!

Keep Calm & Then Scream Bag Tag
Keep Calm & Then Scream Bag Tag by FirstNightDesign

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


#photorehabcovermakeover Week 6 What Dreams May Come

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 6 What Dreams May Come
Original & vintage art © First Night Design [www.firstnightdesign.wordpress.com]

dreams

‘Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than he could have ever dreamed of. There is one thing missing: his wife. After he dies, his wife, Annie killed herself and went to hell. Chris decides to risk eternity in hades for the small chance that he will be able to bring her back to heaven.’ IMdb

When Julie Powell announced this week’s challenge, I thought the film, What Dreams May Come (1998) with Robin Williams, was not one I’d seen. The original cover gave me no clue and even the details Julie gave about the movie winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction didn’t conjure up the story. Only when I looked at IMdb did I realise that we saw it on television a few weeks ago and rather enjoyed it. IMdb’s blurb makes it sound too ethereal for my taste but in fact, it’s a film that makes you think about life, death and love in ways you might not have previously. And the landscapes are luscious.

I have used a design I’m still creating as the backdrop in a bid to show the landscapes of the film. The title font and strap line is in Seravek ExtraLight while the star’s name is in Goudy Medieval Regular – perhaps a little too Gothic but I was running out of time.

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


#photorehabcovermakeover Week 3 Moon © Sarah Vernon

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 3 Moon © Sarah Vernon

Week 3 and it’s a space movie for the Cover Makeover Challenge now administered by Julie Powell, photographer and graphic artist. Whether by coincidence or conscious choice, Julie has decided on a film directed by a man many of us will have thought about recently because of losing his father — Duncan Jones, son of the inimitable David Bowie.

The film, Moon, which was made in 2009 and has a staggering eight gold stars on IMDb (very rare, in my experience)stars Sam Rockwell as astronaut Sam Bell who ‘has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems’. I haven’t seen the film yet but it’s on my list.

I have used a photograph of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon (or in a film studio under the direction of Stanley Kubrick, if you subscribe to the conspiracy theory) from Wikimedia to create my cover. I used our old friend Times Regular as the font for title, star, director, and tag line, and added a bevel & emboss style as if these had been etched on the moon surface. I also blacked out the reflection on Aldrin’s helmet. We wouldn’t want to be able to see Kubrick’s reflection, now would we!

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] in Fancy Dress Greeting Card
Miss Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] in Fancy Dress Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage


Looking into a mirror on her deathbed: ‘If this is what virus pneumonia does to one, I really don’t think I shall bother to have it again.’ IMDb

I do hope this is not apocryphal!


Miss Gladys Cooper Greeting Card
Miss Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage

Unless you’re a theatre buff, you will probably only know Gladys Cooper for her grand ladies on screen such as Bette Davis’ mother, Mrs Henry Vale, in Now, Voyager or Beatrice Lacy in Rebecca.

In Now, Voyager (1942) [Wikipedia]

In Now, Voyager (1942) [Wikipedia]

I always find it enchanting to see how beautiful these wonderful actresses were in their younger days. Have you ever seen a photograph of Ethel Barrymore when young? I think you’ll be surprised. Which reminds me that I have a terrific theatre postcard of her brother John with which I must do something before the century turns.

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


#photorehabcovermakeover Week 2 The Money Pit © Sarah Vernon

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 2 The Money Pit © Sarah Vernon

Already it’s Week 2 for the revamped Cover Makeover Challenge now administered by Julie Powell, Photographer & Graphic Artist.

MV5BMTIzODEzODE2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjQ3ODcyMQ@@._V1_UY268_CR6,0,182,268_AL_The challenge this week was to do a cover for The Money Pit, a 1986 film starring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. Frankly, the original poster is very dated, very ’70s in style. You may well think the same.

Storyline:
Walter Fielding and Anna Crowley have to start looking for a new house – but there’s not much they can afford! This soon changes when they meet a lonely old con artist who sells them a beautiful mansion at a ridiculously low price. Only there’s a catch. The second they move into the house it falls apart, starting with the stairway collapsing to the bathtub falling through the floor to eventually the chimney falling into the house! Finally, they have to renovate the house before the frame collapses but the renovations also prove to be a disaster. IMdb

I had no idea how to do a cover for this film and pondered for several days. Today, realising that time was of the essence, I found a photograph of a dilapidated, abandoned house from Wikimedia and looked at it for several hours!

One texture from Kerstin Frank to brighten the original image and a green box with details of the stars, director and producer, and I had to stop and ponder once more.

I was happy with the fonts — Skia Regular for Steven Spielberg and Richard Benjamin, and Shopaholic Regular for Shelley Long, Tom Hanks and The Money Pit — but the box on which I had placed the title and names made it look far more like a book cover than a film or DVD poster. I’ll tilt it, I thought. I tilted it but I still wasn’t happy.

Then I realised I could roughen the boundary edges of the box with one of Photoshop’s distort tools. I ended up using ZigZag. I liked it.

Final touches were the dollars and a DVD symbol from Wikimedia and that was it. It still looks more like a book cover to me but what the hell!

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


It’s time for another of my Edward Steichen-like Hollywood makeovers. When I’m in need of some glamour, I head straight for the silent movie headshots of the 1920s, especially as found on Hello Tuesday at Deviant Art, which is where I discovered this photograph of Louise Brooks.


“I never gave away anything without wishing I had kept it; nor kept anything without wishing I had given it away.”
Louise Brooks


Some of you may remember that I was originally inspired by Edward Steichen’s famous photograph of actress Gloria Swanson covered in lace (Museum of Modern Art).  I’ve already done one such of Louise Brooks and this is ‘Take 2’!

In what one might say is now time-honoured fashion, I overlaid Brooks with this lace effect vintage wallpaper from MGB-Stock.


“Most beautiful dumb girls think they are smart and get away with it, because other people, on the whole, aren’t much smarter.”
Louise Brooks


For more Hollywood Tattoo makeovers, click here.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


#photorehabcovermakeover Week 21 The Conjuring © Sarah Vernon

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 21 The Conjuring © Sarah Vernon

Week 21? Who’d ‘ave thunk.  I didn’t have a chance to take part in The Photo Rehab Cover Makeover last week. Run by Desley Jane of Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist and Lucile of Lucile de Goday, the challenge this time is to re-imagine a cover for the horror film, The Conjuring. No, I’ve never heard of it either and probably won’t rush to see it as I’m not a particular fan of horror, unless it’s the subtle variety like The Turn of the Screw.

In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Perron move their family into a dilapidated Rhode Island farm house and soon strange things start happening around it with escalating nightmarish terror. In desperation, Carolyn contacts the noted paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, to examine the house. What the Warrens discover is a whole area steeped in a satanic haunting that is now targeting the Perron family wherever they go. To stop this evil, the Warrens will have to call upon all their skills and spiritual strength to defeat this spectral menace at its source that threatens to destroy everyone involved. IMdb

The main image (luminosity mode) is a bad iPhone photograph of a painting showing a house — somewhere in Herefordshire, I think — that used to belong to my mother’s family. If you ignore the dirty marks of the mobile’s screen, the residence looks rather grand. What I wouldn’t have done to inherit it!

hoskynshouseblog

The underlay (normal mode) is part of a texture by 2 Lil’ Owls.

I sharpened edges and adjusted contrast on both images in Photoshop before adding the text.

‘From the director of Saw and Insidious’, ‘Based on the true case files of The Warrens’, the actors’ names and ‘directed by James Wan’ are all in Sukhumvit Set Semi Bold. The title font is Catharsis Requiem Bold, which seemed rather appropriate with its nod to the Gothic. I also gave the title and the actors a bevel and emboss, drop shadow and inner glow style.

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 21 The Conjuring © Sarah Vernon

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 21 The Conjuring © Sarah Vernon

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


FROM THE ARCHIVE — I THOUGHT IT WAS HIGH TIME FOR SOME HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR!

Here is another in my Hollywood series that takes its inspiration from the famous Edward Steichen portrait of actress Gloria Swanson covered in lace and held by the Museum of Modern Art.  The Greta Garbo photo (Hello-Tuesday), and the vintage wallpaper (MGB-Stock) that I used to create the lace effect, are from Deviantart.

Garbo’s skin in the original shot is so luminous that I was, at first, reluctant to…

Source: First Night Design | The Greta Garbo Tattoo


#photorehabcovermakeover Week 18—The Long Kiss Goodnight

#photorehabcovermakeover Week 18—The Long Kiss Goodnight © Sarah Vernon

Let’s hear it for Week 18 of the Photo Rehab Cover Makeover run by Desley Jane of Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist and Lucile of Lucile de Goday! The instruction this time was to create a cover for the film The Long Kiss Goodnight.

I’ve taken a light approach to this cover since the film, while purporting to have ‘the most spectacular action scenes you’ve ever seen’ (debatable) is also reasonably amusing. The other reason for such an approach is that I was out of inspiration and this is all that came to mind!

The retro housewife is from The Graphics Fairy and the gun from Wikimedia. I’ve used Dali Handwriting for the title font and Catharsis Requiem Bold for the actors. I did add a rolling-pin to the mix to emphasise the contrast between the character’s home life and her assassin alter ego but I couldn’t make it work.

The Long Kiss Goodnight is a 1996 action film directed and produced by Renny Harlin, written and produced by Shane Black and starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.

longkissgoodnight

Samantha Caine, suburban homemaker, is the ideal mom to her 8-year-old daughter Caitlin. She lives in Honesdale, PA, has a job teaching school and makes the best Rice Krispie treats in town. But when she receives a bump on her head, she begins to remember small parts of her previous life as a lethal, top-secret agent. Her old chums in the Chapter are now out to kill her so she enlists the help of a cheap detective named Mitch. As Samantha remembers more and more of her previous life, she becomes deadlier and more resourceful. IMDb

Click here for instructions if you would like to take part in future challenges.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


bighatexhaustion

I wanted to let you know, kind friends and followers, that I am pulling back on my furious pace. There is always a problem with bandwidth and a decent connection in this part of Crete and I’ve now discovered that the worst offender when it comes to eating up gigabytes is not the uploading of my art to the various galleries or downloading free images to work on, as I’d thought, but the visiting of so many blogs to like and comment!

This is very frustrating as it’s important to me to give as much as I can in the support of others. I always knew I would have to cut the amount of time I was spending on myriad blogs at some point because it leaves me no time or energy to commit to my art which rather makes a nonsense of doing it in the first place! I’ve always tried to keep up with followers who post four or more times a day but oh my, it’s tough and I just can’t do it. Ordinary (and often extraordinary) life has to play a part, including sitting on the sofa eating chocolates and watching Casablanca, Day for Night or the Sharpe series with Sean Bean for the umpteenth time. Very heaven.

If you’re on Twitter, then you will probably know that @RoundTeam retweets my followers’ tweets. but there will be far less of me tweeting direct from blog posts. I will give priority to those who actively support me here and to those history or theatre-related posts that I plan to re-blog on First Night History or Rogues & Vagabonds.

As for future blog posts, these may not be every day. And during the next week, I will be spending time updating my Zazzle Design and Zazzle Vintage stores as too many pieces from the last few months are limited to cards, postcards, stamps and posters. I don’t sell every product that Zazzle produces but it takes a lot of time to do even the reduced number.

And so, I bid you adieux until we meet again. Have a splendid Halloween!

#BLOGSHARELEARN LINKY PARTY OCTOBER 30/15

#MidLifeLuv Linky

My work can be bought at the following galleries and on various products:
Redbubble
Crated
First Night Design Zazzle US
First Night Design Zazzle UK
First Night Vintage US
First Night Vintage UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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