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Monday, 3 May 2010

Painting a Dancer, My Work in Progress - Part 1

This unfinished painting is my work in progress. It is 10 by 10 inches (25.5 by 25.5 cm). The support is pre primed acrylic gesso canvas on wood stretcher bars. The lighter image is the true value. I darkened this image on Photoshop’s colour variations to make it more visible for my readers.

I first did my figure on paper. With complicated subjects, such as figures and buildings or objects in linear perspective, I transfer them from my paper to canvas with graphite transfer paper. I decided on my overall design, hues and values. I use high viscosity acrylic paints. I like to place a matte medium over the pre primed canvas. It helps paint adhere to the support. I add a few eye drops of water to my mediums to improve flow. All other layers will be in gloss medium which is less absorbent. After the matte medium dried, I transferred my figure to the canvas. On Sunday, I started to paint. I use transparent glazes to build up values (light to dark scale) and hues (colours, i.e. blue, red). I add my paint to the medium and not vice versa to improve transparency. I glaze until near the end of a painting when I use opaque paints. Acrylic paints darken when dry. By painting with transparent glazes, I limit and control this color shift. I first started painting the dancer so I wouldn’t lose my lines and shapes. I did not complete the figure. I next started to glaze the background. I will continue to work on the background until it is finished except for final details. The background has a greenish hue because I used glazes of yellow orange and blue. I like to work from background to foreground. I can blur and dry brush the figure’s edges into the background. I had extended the dress on the left side as I had a tangent with the dress and arm. I have decided I will make the dress in that area smaller. This will create one negative shape - not two shapes as you see now. I also need to adjust the head’s profile.

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In August 2010 my paintings will be exhibited at the Art for All Canada’s Rainbow Gallery. The Gallery is across from Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market.