Mannequen Blondes: Daring Detour from the Department Store

Introducing the leading ladies of the 4th floor, women’s activewear. Something about their look and attitude reminded me of the gorgeous women I used to see at Oak Street Beach where I worked as an attendant one summer, long ago. These ladies were iconic for me: red lipstick, blue eyes, silky skin. They almost seemed unreal... As perfect as mannequins, you could say. Andy Warhol talked about the beauty of every day. If you have the eyes to see and the imagination to appreciate, all you need is something out there to trigger something in here. I think most people have this ability.

This piece, along with all art, presented both challenges and feelings of accomplishment. The creamy skin and shadows were a challenge. I used large, soft brushes called “mops” from Rosemary Brushes to smooth the skin. They don't shed bristles and maintain that soft stroke, the perfect tool to create buttery skin tones. Then, I added small dabs of color to indicate blush and shadows. Finally, the hard white highlights gave the skin the shine that you’d see on a department store mannequin.

Our lovely Mannequin Blondes are serving vintage, classic beauty on their trip to the sea. A blue sea that’s crashing into the nearby shore, a cool breeze breaks up the heat of the sun and carries the iconic scent of Coppertone across the beach, and the heat visible shimmering off of the sand epitomize everything that the mannequins are enjoying and the rest of us are pining for: the ideal day on the beach. Even the squawk of seagulls would be worth the serenity that these gals are surely feeling.