The personal page of Candace Elizabeth Gwilt aka Candy de Winter, the queen of Pin-Up glamour.
Two of Candy’s influences are June Havoc and Lili St. Cyr. The above poses were originally done by them.
-She was born in England; she claims to be a descendant of Lydia Gwilt, the female protagonist in Wilkie Collins’ Armadale, which according to her is actually a true story – what Collins didn’t tell about in the novel was the fact that Lydia Gwilt and Allan Armadale had a son who became the ancestor of Candy’s family.
And raised partly in France – her father worked at the British embassy in Paris so she became fluent in French at an early age. She also speaks Italian and Flemish, and can communicate in German, although she doesn’t like its sound very much.
-She shares her birthday, May 12th, with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Katharine Hepburn.
-She got the idea for her stage name from Milady de Winter from Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, a character that totally fascinated Candy in her teens. Faye Dunaway, who played Milady in the 1973/74 film adaptation of the novel, was young Candy’s idol. She even used to write love letters to her but unfortunately never got a reply. When Milady got sentenced to death at the end of the second part, Candy cried bitterly. Soon afterwards, she started using the name Candy DeWinter and got the Fleur de Lys, that Milady was branded with for punishment in the story, tattooed on her shoulder. It has since become her trademark symbol which she also adds whenever she signs autographs.
She also wrote an alternative ending to the story where Milady gets rescued and lives on happily ever after (and discovers lesbian love along the way), called “Milady’s Escape”. (This might be a future project for illustration …)
-She is a vegetarian and also eats a lot of fruit every day, which helps to maintain her splendid shape.
-Despite her name, she eats almost no sweets except for a piece of white vanilla chocolate now and then.
-She does not like hot weather and too much sun and feels best at moderate temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees centigrade.
-She loves to read and never travels without a book. Her favorite authors are too numerous to mention, she likes all things historic that take place in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century, and also biographies of her favorite artists.
-She loves cats and has two Thai ones, Veronica and Louise.
-She enjoys gardening – it helps her to relax and her artistic garden is a source of inspiration to her.
-Ever since her childhood, she has had a thing for trains and to this day prefers travelling by train over flying. She remains fascinated with European railway history and has a vast knowledge about the steam era with a preference for French trains.
-Very musical, she can play piano and Hammond organ in a variety of styles and practices whenever her schedule allows it.
-Always interested in art, she has a great fondness for the Belgian painter Paul Delvaux, who is sometimes called a Surrealist but was not really a part of that movement. She would have loved to pose for him, especially since in her youth, Candy looked just like his Chrysis.
-Apart from that, her preferences in art lie more in the mid to late 19th century, she especially loves Belgian and French Symbolism – her favorite museums are the Fin de Siècle in Brussels (that’s also where she met her partner, Lydia van Deurne) and the Musée d’ Orsay in Paris. Being born British, naturally she is also a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelites and Victorian art. Try to imagine if she had been around at the times of Rossetti, Burne-Jones and the likes – there were very few real blondes in their paintings so she would have caused quite a stir!
Two drawings from early 2015 embodying the elegant erotism that Candy likes best.
In her own words:
To those who dismiss erotism as male fantasy reducing women to sexual objects: “I couldn’t care less. All I want is to add a touch of beauty to a world which is sad enough as it is.”
To those who say she’s a little flat-breasted: “So what? At least they’re real, and I feel great the way I am! There’s more to a woman than a pair of balloons…”
About lesbianism: “I never denied it. But I don’t go around telling everybody, “Hey look, I’m a lesbian” – it is simply the way some people are. We should all learn to accept each other as human beings, regardless of such things as sexual orientation.”
“You’ve got to believe in art to the point of being obsessed by it. If you want to achieve anything, there just is no other way. Make it your religion.”
Discipline is most important!
To all aspiring artists who find themselves in a rut or a moment of doubt about their abilities: “If you want to achieve anything in art, first of all you’ve got to really believe in what you are doing. Make it your goal to get good at it and never give up, no matter what. We all have our moments of difficulties but if you remain confident and say to yourself, I CAN do it, the solution will come up, believe me. Reflect for a moment and think about it – it is such a wonderful thing to have the ability to depict beauty, so commit yourself to it and work as hard as you can. I may sound old-fashioned, but discipline is most important. It is the same as with playing a musical instrument – the more you practice, the easier it will come to you. But most of all, have fun! Look forward to your drawing sessions, rejoice in it and celebrate beauty!”
Note from Joe: A couple of days ago, I’ve been in a similar situation myself and followed Candy’s advice and it worked! Just don’t give in and have confidence. I’d also like to add, at times when I really get stuck with a drawing it is a good idea to put it aside and start something new and come back to it later – in that way I might look at it from a different angle and become aware of things I hadn’t noticed before.
“I second that!” – Candy
If you like Candy, please make sure to take a look at the other site, jlhennig.wordpress.com – there’s more of her there!