Friday, September 3, 2021

Funky Friday: Black and White, Plus Snake Jacket Art Part II

Happy Friday, my friends! We have a long weekend in Canada (and my US friends also), and I'm champing at the bit for it to start. 

In this post, we have my Friday work outfit, which I put together specifically for Nancy and Shelbee's (blog links 'cause I love!) "Good Buy - Good Bye Book" link up for September. The theme is "Black and White" and it will be going  live in another week, so if you are visiting from the future, welcome! Feel free to poke around my blog - I post a LOT, heh heh. 

And lastly, I'm sharing another update on my latest art project, my Snake Jacket. I had to buy new pens/markers, and have been working at it here and there when I have time. 

Let's get 'er started - this is my Black and White work outfit. 
I have about six black and white dresses, but I wanted to push myself into wearing black and white separately. However, you know me, I couldn't resist adding a wee pop of red! 

  • Top - Scotch & Soda, Maison Scotch, thrifted; first seen here in January with a match-matchy outfit
  • Skirt - Dries Van Noten, Fall 2005, thrifted; last worn here in June 2020 (Flashback there also)
  • Shoes - Zoomies Ishshoes, Fluevog; last seen here in July for Canada Day (in yellow, white and red)
  • Jacket (below) - 2014 Stella McCartney for Adidas, consignment, Vancouver; last worn here in July

I've been wanting to wear my "pirate" skirt for a while - it's been sitting paired with a different top waiting to be worn, so I pulled it out and looked for something black and/or white to wear with it. 
As you know, "Always Be Upgrading" is one of my shopping mottos - I do not own a plain black pencil skirt. What I DO have is this skirt, which is:

  • Designer - Dries Van Noten is $$$, very high-end,
  • Natural fibre fabric - it's silk and cotton, so great quality, feels expensive and chi-chi, and
  • Detailed - it has a stiched-on sash that wraps around and ties at the hip, plus a fold-over waistband, a bubble hem and various tucks and pleats to give it an interesting shape.

Why on earth would I have a boring ol' basic black skirt when I could own this? And I bought it in a thrift store for $29.95! You can revisit all the ways I've worn it here - this is now my 8th wearing of it.
I recently did some digging in's files while researching my "circus" skirt, also by Dries Van Noten (Flashback here) and I think I have found the season/collection that this skirt is from! 

It's the Fall 2005 Ready-to-Wear collection (link here 'cause I love), featured on the runway in a lovely burnt orange, taupe, hot pink and black.
Link to the above outfit in the slideshow here - the black version is here, but I find that outfit less joyful. I should try doing a bow on the hip like that! How exciting to find my skirt! 

Moving on...the top is cream/black stripes on the sleeves, plus the pattern of the body is little floral puffs in cream, grey and red.
Masked up for the office, drug store and grocery store after work. 
I also did a vibrant red lipstick. 
I am a big fan of MAC make-up - this lippy is called "Dubonnet" from their Amplified line. It's a dark brick-red that is nice and bold. 

More black and white in my outerwear. 
It was overcast...then sunny...then overcast...the weather's very changeable this time of year. 

The stuff: 
I never thought white shoes would be a useful colour to have, but I now have 3 pairs! I've worn these 12+ times (Flashback here). 

Black and white bling: 
My actual item for my Good Buy/Good Bye entry in this outfit is this stretchy black and white Lucite bracelet. I found it at a vintage fair a couple of years ago for $5.00 and I probably wear it at least a dozen times every spring/summer (I put it away in the fall/winter - I have too much jewelry!). I'm sure it's at pennies per wear. Such a Good Buy

  • Lucite cuff - vintage fair
  • Crystal/Lucite bangle - Alexis Bittar, consignment, Sidney
  • Earrings - vintage, vintage fair
  • Silver/onyx ring - Toccara, vintage fair
  • Klimt ring - consignment

I love vintage fairs for finding distinctive accessories, often for far less money than you might pay for them new. This bangle is probably from the 60s or 70s, as it is actually cut Lucite - meaning, it's not cast in a mold like cheaper plastic jewelry. It's strung on very thick elastic (two rows) and is a snug fit on my small wrists.

Snake Jacket Art Project, Part II

Part I is here, if you missed it. 

With a great deal of terror, fear, trepidation, you name it - ack, what if I f**k it up?? - I started doing some work on the skull, which had only been a very basic outline up till this point.
I filled in the eyes, then took a deep breath and started on the nose and the teeth.

Most skull images have perfect teeth, with big "chiclet" front teeth. My skull...does not. I also gave it slight vampire fangs, as I am a fan of vampires (you might remember this). And no, I didn't get the teeth anatomically correct (there are too many incisors), but screw it and let's call it artistic license! 
For the shading, I did loose hash-marks with some thicker lines, so it has a comic-book feel. These will be cleaned up, thickened and darkened in places, and I'll be adding some grey shading later with markers. 

After I took pictures of the back panel last time, I thought the upper left corner could use a few more leaves to balance the image. 
At this point, my one and only black pen died on me. Argle-bargle.

I went to the best local art supply store (Island Blue shout out and link 'cause I love), where I picked up four more black pens (just basic Staedtler permanent markers, 3 x small and 1 x medium).
I also bought these permanent alcohol-based "paint" markers. I got three different shades of green, a dark red and a bright red, and two shades of grey. 

They are by Tombow and were pricey. 
They run around $8.00 each, but they won't require the spray lacquer over them to keep them from smudging. The less stinky spray I use, the better! 

Once I had my new black markers, I started adding the jagged edges to the leaves, a dark line down the centres of the leaves, and shading under each petal on the roses. I did the same technique on my shoes
You can see what a difference the extra black makes. Adding a thicker line allows me to cover up little errors and makes my freehand lines look less messy. 

Oops, missed a leaf in that left cluster! I tend to hop around when I'm doing this, and I turn the jacket as I work to make it easier.
This is a tattoo-inspired style of shading to help the individual components pop. There's a big difference in the plain and fancy leaves.

I worked on the deck until the sun went down, so these pics are a bit dark, sorry. 
All of the bolding/shading has been done on the roses, and I've done extra blackening in the eye sockets. I'm not worrying too much about the wonky jaw or slightly off head shape or the uneven eye sockets - it's not like I can erase it and start over, anyway! I'm just going to take a deep breath and let it go, and when I'm wearing it no one will notice, right?

I'm reminded that this is an exercise in letting go, not seeing errors as mistakes ("there are no mistakes"...unless your cat is head-butting your arm!), and being less of a perfectionist. I do notice that my mental blues are banished when I work on this - I'm less stressed overall.

Next, I started doing some shading on the snake's scales. I'd drawn a line for the middle centre of the snake's back, so that I could make it darker on top and lighter towards the belly, to give it contouring and dimension. 
My snake is not very scary, which I'm good with. I've done a bit of extra black-lining on the side of the skull to help correct the bulge there - this will be less noticeable once the snake is coloured in. 

I'll be doing more work on this over the long weekend, for sure - I'm fired up to get this section done...and move onto the next! 

And now, I will leave y'all to enjoy your own weekend. I'll be back on Monday with tales of adventure - thanks so much for stopping by! 


  1. Talk about amazing art work! I'm so looking forward to seeing your work proceed :)

  2. I do like your outfit but I'm sorry your amazing work on your jacket steals the show again! it looks fantastic and I really like the snake!

  3. So much to love here! First of all you have some amazing luck/skill with your finds, that skirt is amazing. Secondly I love those shoes! And thirdly WOW, your jacket is going to look incredible!

    1. Thank you, Katrina! I know, isn't it incredible? I love Dries Van Noten's clothes, but could never afford them new. Thanks!

  4. Quite like your outfit, color combo, proportions and accessories! Uh oh, I am reminded of an old word play teaser…what’s black and white and read all over? (Here’s hoping you are not grimacing!)

    I appreciate your commentary around your jacket art…the serenity of becoming absorbed in the creation and letting go of perfection… From my vantage point, there are no mistakes, just an ongoing, fine tuning process, and the results keep my jaw dropping!

    Here’s to your 3-day weekend!

    1. Thank you, Laurie - I actually had "black and white and read/red all over" going through my head all day, but I've done that as a post title before (a couple of times, I think), so not grimacing at all, ha ha!

      I'm glad you like hearing about the process and how I approach it. Thank you so much - I actually had 4 days, since Tuesday is a regular day off for me.

  5. Loving the black and white with a wee bit of red outfit! I can't remember when I last wore black and white and have to think long and hard if I want to participate to the Good Buy - Goodbye book this time around. I certainly don't have a Dries Van Noten skirt as a starting piece! And you paid just $29.95 for it in a thrift store? How crazy is that!
    The skull and snake artwork on your jacket is beyond stunning. You are very talented, Sheila. And I don't think skulls should have perfect teeth :-) Enjoy your extended weekend, we'll be on holiday for a week as from tomorrow! xxx

    1. Thank you so much, Ann! I have always liked black, white and red together, ever since I was young. I know, what a STEAL, eh? I am still boggled by that.

      Thanks, my friend - it is very satisfying to work on this, and so good for my mental health. I appreciate the thumbs up on the teeth, ha ha! Thanks, hope you had a good one too!

  6. What a pretty outfit. The blouse is wonderful and the black skirt is fabulous. I also like the orange incarnation of it as showed on the runaway, but the black version of this Dries Van Noten skirt is more versatile...and how great you thrifted it. I always love when black clothing items have clever or unique tailoring, makes them more fashion forward and special. I think black is the ideal colour to play with cuts and dimensions in clothing, makes them look sculptural.

    I love the details/ tattoo style shading you added to the skull design, they make it looks more three dimensional. I also like the teeth, makes it more unique. The tattoo shading on the roses is lovely. I love how the whole design has a tattoo feel to it. It makes sense you would use tattoo techniques when working on leather because shading it any other way (especially with markers) just wouldn't work as well. Years ago, I met a tattoo artist who wanted to make me his apprentice and teach me tattooing. Who knows, maybe some day it will happen. I still remember some tips he had and how he talked about shading in tattooing- that is quite different from shading with other mediums like pencil. I believe practicing on real leather is advised for tattoo artist (before doing it on real people). Doing a marker design on a leather piece is a bit like tattooing I think.

    1. Ivana, thank you so much! I do too (the pink was also very sweet), but the black is more versatile and I can totally see why its former owner bought it in the first place. I always look for unique details in my black skirts (I have a few of them!) - yes, sculptural is a great way to put it.

      Thank you - I have looked at pictures and tutorials to get it right, and my Zentangle training is also coming in very handy. I like the classic Sailor Jerry tattoo looks, and this is a fun way to try it out. Wow, how cool! But when I consider it, I know that it's a lot of hunched over work, with tight muscles, very hard on the back and hands. I don't think I have it in me - my arthritis would kill me. I agree - the markers on leather are close enough!

  7. I'm on the,, one can never have enough black skirts,, team! Love it! Keeping it short..... vacation.....

    1. I was thinking of you, Nancy! I love it too. Happy vacation!

  8. Oh my goodness Sheila I totally missed part one, so I'm glad I got to read it here!! You are an incredible artist!! So talented in ever wa. This looks amazing!! I also love what you're wearing of course:)) Going to read more of your posts right now xx

    1. I'm glad you checked it out, thank you, Lucy! Aw, that's so sweet. Thanks for reading!

  9. Wowza! This entire post has my jaw dropped to the ground! First, that skirt is such fun! All of those details! And, then what you are creating on your jacket...holy moley! I can barely draw a straight line! I don't see any mistakes, but I know we are our own worst critics. It's amazing how you created a design encompassing the entire back of that jacket! I'm even ok with the snake! Are you going to color in the entire design or just pops of color here and there? I can't wait to see the final project!

    1. Thank you, Marsha! It's a really special skirt, for sure.

      Aw, I so appreciate that, thank you - and you could do this, too, it's not that hard when you follow a tutorial or two. Yes, I'm my own worst critic, for sure!

      I did add colour (check out the next post!), and even a bit of gold.

  10. Black and white is such a classic combination and the touch of red is perfect.

    I'm amazed at your artwork and I can't wait to see the finished jacket. You could have a side hustle creating original pieces. Just a thought!

    1. Thank you so much, Nana!

      Aw, thank you, my dear! No, I couldn't sell this stuff - I'd prefer to give it to a friend or keep it. Too much work in it!

  11. Don't worry about the number of teeth in your skull -- my husband has an extra incisor, my daughter was missing two. Hers had to be surgically and orthodontically encouraged to erupt. Little chains pulled them down into place so that she could then have braces to correct an overbite.

    Tooth stories are horrific, aren't they? Scarier than snakes and vampires.

    1. Oh, thank you, Lin! Lovely, I can totally empathize with your husband and daughter, as I've had a lot of dental issues in my life. Lol, yes, I can handle snakes and vampires, but dentists...? Nope!

  12. I find that working on creative projects like this are very good for my mental health too. You get in the "Zone" where you are only focussing on the piece in front of you and all else falls away.

    1. Yes, very much this, Shelley! It really does help keep my mental state on an even keel.

  13. Jaw-droppingly incredible work, my uber talented friend.

    So true about rarely being able to let black and white exist solely as an ensemble colour duo. I too will often weave at least a hint of another color into the mix as well - with red, grey, and various metallics being amongst the most common.

    Autumn Zenith �� Witchcrafted Life

    1. Thank you so much, Autumn! I'm really having fun with my art project.

      I always like some other colour, even if it's just my lipstick or glasses. I love pops of red, and also yellow, with black and white.


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