Georgia O’Keeffe on Creating One’s World

“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”-Georgia O’Keeffe 


[Alternative Muses] Style Guide: Schokko with a Red Hat

 Schokko with a Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky is my favourite painting. She lives at the Columbus Museum of Art: I like to visit her when I go home.

Schokko with Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky, 1909

Schokko with a Red Hat by Alexej Jawlensky, 1909. Columbus Museum of Art.

Schokko was an artist’s model. She adored drinking hot chocolate so much that it inspired her quirky nickname. I wonder if it kept her warm during long hours of working in drafty ateliers?

Her gaze in this painting is simultaneously direct and circumspect, which nicely mirrors her unnaturally presented yet magnetic appearance. She’s a woman with something to say, but what?

Did Schokko like or care how she was presented to the world, through other people’s eyes?  Was she a fan of modern art? Was drinking cup after cup of hot chocolate, between poses, the highlight of her day?

What did she look forward to, go home to, do in her spare time? Did she even like the colour red?



There’s more to style than what they tell you about in the pages of Vogue. Inspiration is everywhere. In this case, it shines at us from inside a picture frame. 

What does it say?

Colour is expression. Hats are relentlessly chic. Boldness is armour.

Building an unusual colour palette, deliberate and nuanced, isn’t just for paintings. Continue reading

Giveaway Reminder: There’s Still Time to Win a Copy of The Lives of the Muses [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

The giveaway closes at 5:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, 9th September. If you’d like to enter, please leave a comment on either this post or the original one.

Good luck!

The Lives of the Muses

The Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose

[Our First Book Giveaway] The Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

I’ve no idea how it happened, but I own two copies of The Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose. As much as I love books, I obviously don’t need more than one copy of anything. I’ve decided to gift one lucky reader with the extra one.

The Lives of the Muses

The Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose [cover image courtesy Goodreads]

To read more about the book, go here.

How to enter: leave a comment. That is all! If you’d like to go the extra mile and like us on Facebook, that would be lovely. The contest is open internationally. The winner will be chosen on 9th September 2014. Good luck!

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Seven Reasons to Love Anita Loos’ Look

“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.”-Oscar Wilde

Seven Reasons to Love Anita Loos’ Look:

#1: She rocked one of the best hairstyles of the Roaring Twenties. The tousled bob with bangs was her thing, and she wore it with few variations for decades. With that hair, she could walk into any 2014 shindig and look more modern than anyone else.

Anita Loos rocking her famous locks

Anita Loos rocking her enviable locks. 

#2: She knew how to wear a scarf without looking like an idiot or an octogenarian. We all know how hard that is, right? For some reason, the thought of wearing a scarf as an accessory intimidates a lot of American women, myself included. Here’s Anita, proving that a scarf worn tied around the neck can be chic and fun: Continue reading

[Alternative Muses] Writerly Style: Dressing for the Four Seasons with Sylvia Plath

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”-Orson Welles

Sylvia Plath is best remembered for the sharp-edged precision of her poetry: word-vessels that are hard, clear, and passionate examples of literature’s trickiest form. Her style, although of minor importance to both literary historians and laypersons, remains fresh and appealing fifty years after her death. The timeless quality of Sylvia’s wardrobe is easy to emulate, and personalize.

Four Seasons, Five Photographs, Forever Stylish:

Sylvia Plath: Spring

Sylvia Plath: Spring

 A crisp white tee, corset belt, and floaty high-waisted skirt is the perfect outfit for the windy days of spring. She finishes it off simply with lipstick and a hairpin. Typewriter: optional. [This is my favourite photograph of a writer caught in the act of writing. I’ve always envied the imagined comforts of working in a garden setting. Sun-on-skin; light, earth-tainted breeze; a lounge chair to sink wearily into for moments of reflection; a glass of lemonade nearby–just out of frame; birds in trees. Sylvia kicks that fantasy up a few rungs by being so perfectly attired, and so full of creative concentration.]

Sylvia Plath Summer

Sylvia Plath: Summer

The architectural details at the top make this bathing suit a gem. Clean lines and a good fit can turn a basic, sporty garment into something unforgettably elegant. If I had one of these in every colour, I would live at the beach. Wouldn’t you? [It’s funny how certain summer days are inexpressibly golden, when words fall off of tongues unspoken and melt on the air like dissolving grains of sand. The whole of the world, for a split second, seems beautiful and warm. Contentment emerges, as fleeting as a skittering crab. Sylvia’s expression here is surely one of those moments captured and entombed by a photograph. Serenity is the best adornment.] Continue reading