Friday, June 28, 2013

A Pleasing Silhouette

Has your summer started oddly?  Ours has.  Normally we are at a sunny 90 degrees F by now, but we’ve rarely topped 70 and it’s been raining!  Now I’m told we’ll jump to the triple digits by Monday.  That’s not really conducive to summer activities either.  So what would a young lady do in the early nineteenth century to pass the time?  She might have drawn a silhouette.

There's something elegant about a silhouette, as if the person’s character shines through when details are kept simple. Creating a proper silhouette, an outline of a person’s head and perhaps shoulders, was both a pleasant evening activity for friends and family and a lucrative business for some talented artists.  The very best silhouette makers could look at a person and cut directly on black paper to match features.  Some silhouettes were incredibly detailed, showing curls within hairstyles and even eyelashes. 

For those more inclined to do it themselves, whether from limited funds or a spirit of adventure, silhouettes could be created at home.  All that was needed was a piece of pale paper either tacked to the wall or affixed in a screen and a source of light such as a candle or fire.  The subject sits between the light and the paper, and an enterprising friend or family member traces around the lines made by the shadow cast on the paper.  Once the shape was cut from the paper, you could either put the white silhouette on black paper, or trace around it on black paper and put the transferred silhouette on white paper.

While silhouettes are becoming a lost art, you can still find artists at country fairs, popular shopping malls, and entertainment venues.  This silhouette is of me when I was a baby. 

This one is of my husband when he was a boy. 

This is one of our youngest son, who is obviously a silhouette, er chip off the old block.

If you decide to try silhouettes this summer, be sure to let us know!  And Marissa and I would like to let you know that we are going to take a little vacation for a couple weeks.  Look for a short post on July 12 before we head for our annual girls week out, er I mean the Romance Writers of America National Conference.  This year we’ll be Southern peaches in Atlanta, and we promise to bring you all the news. Until then, enjoy your silhouette, and your summer!


Leandra Wallace said...

I love silhouettes! Especially silhouette book covers, they're some of my favorites.

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, Leandra! I think they make for pretty covers too. They also seem to have been popular during my grandmother's day for decoration. I have a couple from her that show a man and woman in clothing from the late 1700s in silhouette on the glass with a landscape painting behind them. I always thought they were kind of cool. :-)

J.Grace said...

I love silhouettes too, my husband and I had ours done at Disneyland.

I've believe even King George III use to throw silhouette parties.

Regina Scott said...

That's where we had my son's done too, J. Grace. And I didn't know that about King George III. Excuse to research! Thanks!

QNPoohBear said...

The silhouettes are beautiful. I use Jane Austen's as my avatar.
I just discovered that the library not only as The Rake's Redemption is large print but also The Heiress' Homecoming in e-book. I prefer paper books but the library hasn't yet carried any of the Love Inspired line in paperback. I'm hoping they carry your future novels too. As much as I'd like to buy them, I'm out of money and space for more books.

Regina Scott said...

Thanks, QNPoohBear! I see you and J. Grace both use silhouettes as avatars. Very nice!

Thank you for letting me know about your library. You might mention to them that they can purchase the paperbacks. Mine are some of the few that are reviewed in Library Journal and Booklist (the other review publication for libraries). I am told such reviews are required for purchases, which may be why they don't routinely carry other Love Inspired novels.

And I totally relate to having no more space for books. You should see my reference shelves! :-)