Friday, March 18, 2011

The Vargas Girls

The airbrush class was in Louisville, Kentucky.
(That vintage fur coat weighed a ton!)

(Are you sure it doesn't make me look fat?) :-)

As I have written before in an older blog, I fell in love with the airbrush when I was a teenager.  Years later, while working in a photography studio, the opportunity to study airbrushing presented itself. I attended a three day seminar in Louisville, Kentucky, and I was hooked!  Later I would be teaching the airbrush technique.

This "template" is from the original
pattern from the long ago airbrush course.

If I were to airbrush her right cheek,
I would paint right along the edge where
it meets her cheek.

The airbrush instructor was an older gentleman from Chicago.  He had a book of the art of Alberto Vargas and told us we should be able to paint similar figures (yeah, right! :-)) using two template patterns he gave us in class. Some details to the paintings are done with a brush and watercolor. 

Alberto Vargas, (1896-1982), was a Peruvian painter of pin up girls.  His dad, Max,  was a famous photographer who taught him how to use an airbrush. At a very young age, I was studying those figures and thought I had never seen such beautiful painting.  I think it was my dad's boss who gave him a yearly subscription to Playboy when I was young.  ( I sneaked and looked at the magazines just to see the Vargas girl, I could not imagine how someone could paint so beautifully)

My first "official" airbrush painting, I won a second place
award out of 660 paintings at the Dulin Sidewalk Show in
Knoxville, Tennesse, in the 1970s.

I really needed this at
that time in my life.

Years later when I was able to attend the class,  it was exciting to me when the airbrush instructor used a book of Vargas pin up art as a perfect example of what could be achieved with an airbrush...the Vargas girls I had admired for years.

Back to the beautiful art of Alberto Vargas ...

Jane Russell, 1942

I adore the art deco influence in this early Vargas portrait.  Notice the lines
reflected in the compact's mirror, I thought "how clever" to repeat
the deco design that way.

Those elongated fingers ... I simply love this painting.


Clint said...

Wonderful post! I remember Vargas, as well. He is one main reason I used to "read" Playboy. Ha.

PS---you certainly did learn the airbrush technique! You are a master.

Cindy Ellison said...

Yeah, honey ... you just read it for the articles like everyone else. :~D

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Beautiful! I'd love to do stuff like this. Thanks for sharing. lol @ Clint!

Shady Del Knight said...

I became familiar with Vargas girls around age 8 or 9, Cindy. In a drawer in the subterranean game room where my parents frequently hosted parties I discovered a stack of pages ripped from Playboy magazines. Each page contained a cartoon and many of them had Vargas pin-ups. I never located the rest of the magazines and, like Clint, I SO wanted to read those articles! (LOL) In recent years I collected pin-up art, mostly Elvgrens, and own dozens of giclees, some framed and hanging on a wall in my den. Clearly you have an abundance of talent in a variety of media, Cindy. It's hard for me to fathom somebody who is so gifted and so nice to boot! Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend!

Cindy Ellison said...

Karen, thank you for being a follower. I look forward to learning new photograpy skills from you blog. Your photos are beautiful!

Shady, so you made the same discovery, seems to be a rite of passage. ;-) Love the Elvgrens, too. With your framed movie art, the giclees and the pin ups, you must have a fantastic art collection. Thank you for the nice compliment.

Life 101 said...

Very nice, Cindy. Your blog is beautiful.

Franz said...

Hello Cindy, sorry if it's a bit of time that does not comment, unfortunately, the work leaves me very little free time.
These works are wonderful with the airbrush, I'd like to learn how to use it, has always fascinated me!
Congratulations on this Post!
Have a good Sunday and God bless.