The Pearly Story Behind "Dusting in Pearls"

I always feel like a walking paradox. I can get out in the garden with my shovel and sledgehammer and love every dusty dirty minute I'm out there. I spend the majority of my life dressed in my "grubbies". Yet there's a part of me deep down inside that still likes "the frillies", "the pearlies", and "the sparklies"--all the pretty things. Maybe it's all the great classic Hollywood movies I watched as a kid. I don't know. All I know is that I can be dirty and sweaty and still want to put on heels when it isn't practical; buy the prettiest apron even if it will get dirty; and don pearls when all I'm going to be doing is dusting and vacuuming the house. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to. I've decided to claim it, celebrate it, and have fun with it... and create some "pearly" goodness along the way.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Constance

I've had a sketch in my sketchbook for quite some time (I called her "Constance") but have been stumped as to how to finish the dress.

As I was playing with some textures yesterday, I ran across one that is the scan of the outside of a beautiful antique botanical print portfolio. I named the texture "Library Paisley". Then I started playing with it to see if I could get it to change colors, and my experiments worked! I got a great red version that I called "Library Paisley--Red" (along with some other cool color versions like peacock, violet blue, and kelly green.

Today, it dawned on me that it was the perfect pattern I had been waiting for to use as the dress for my "Constance". I cleaned up the line drawing and elongated her legs in the process. Then I used the "linear burn" method that I wrote about in the "Downward Dog" post.

To apply the pattern to her dress, I used the masking technique in Photoshop straight from my copy of Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book (I couldn't have done it without my book because for some reason I have a mental block when using masks and it isn't intuitive for me). The cool thing about using a mask layer is that I can change the dress to be any other pattern I want with just a few clicks.

Then I set my brush on "Watercolor Heavy Pigments" and went to work adding color to the drawing that would coordinate with the dress.

Finally, I put the fully colored "Constance" onto a background of a scanned piece of old sheet music with the opacity dialed way down. I added type with the font Jellyka Saint Andrew's Queen (free at and skewed it to make it look like an autographed "photo".

Here is the final art (click on the image to view larger):

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