I hesitated to post on this because it seems I'm always posting unfinished pieces lately, but I'm so close on this one that it's just about there. It's gouache on black Stonehenge, which was a whole new challenge. I figured out that on the skin tones you have to lay down small, quick strokes and don't go back into them until they're dry and then I had to lay fast strokes of color in parallel strokes to build up the color, almost like weaving or cross hatching. The dress was much easier, and if I didn't like something I could fairly easily scrub it off with water and the brush and/or paint over it with black watercolor. I'm still refining the hands and arms, as I'm not satisfied with the anatomy or the final skin tones yet. But it's close...
Kim, no wonder you have been so quiet lately. This is utterly breathtaking and dynamic. I love the effect of movement that you have captured here.
Margo Schwirian Fine Art
Thank you so much, Margo! Yep, I've been working on this some during the day, as well as until about 2:00 a.m. each night! The late nights are catching up to me. And I'm so glad you entered the Easter Egg Pigeon, I was going to prod you to do so if you hadn't.
And guess what: I took a real, honest to goodness shower today in our newly tiled and grouted shower!!!!!! We still have lots to do to the room before it's done, but at least we can use it now!
Kim, I bet you are sooo excited about your shower. I am excited for you. Yeah, I went ahead and entered my pigeon. Are you going to enter your flamenco dancer? If you don't manage to finish by the deadline (which it looks like you might be able to make - you are really close to finishing) you should enter it in the next one. It really is amazing. I know about those 2 am nights, but sometimes you get so excited and wrapped up in what you are painting or trying to paint that you just don't want to quit. But, I have to behave tonight because I have to be at work in the morning.
Enjoy the new renovations!
I'll post a couple pictures of the tiling so you can see. The grouting was very difficult because the Mexican Talavera tiles are so thick and you have to place them about a quarter inch apart. It takes a lot of grout and a lot of elbow grease to grind it into the spaces. I'm going to enter the flamenco in next month's competition, giving myself plenty of time to get the anatomy and skin tones right. I learned by trial and error that for any of these sorts of competitions it is better to enter something after you get it right than to try and rush it to meet a deadline.
Thanks, Paul! I resolved the lower arm/hand last night, and now I have just the upper arm/hand to clean up. With your commercial art background you probably dealt with gouache quite a bit, I imagine. It has such great qualities--if you can get a handle on its quirks!
I'm using designer's gouache. I have been experimenting with gouache on many types of toned papers, even utilitarian brown wrapping paper until I can find a paper that is similar to vintage brown papers and boards used in the 19th century for gouache and essence paintings. I wanted to do something on black because of the drama it would lend, and it seemed more direct to render the flamenco dancers' mostly black dresses by using the black of the paper. Yep, I'm pushing the paint but it is in limited areas and this was my first foray into gouache on black and I wanted to try it. It was a lot of fun overall! I do recall reading somewhere that if gouache is applied too thickly there is also the danger of cracking and chipping. So far this one seems to be intact and OK in that regard. The Stonehenge is a smooth paper, but as it is apparently and unsized paper it does absorb the paint more than one might assume.
I'll definitely check out the Pro White, thanks! I plan on doing more along this line so I will need it.
What a beautiful job you have done bringing this dancer to life! The flowing lines of the garments and colors you used just make it electric & exciting. The dancer's profile is lovely and authentic, and her body shows grace & movement in the arms & hands. You have nicely captured the power of the dance in the strong arch of her back. Very, very, nice!
Thank you so much, Carmen, for your humbling comments! Sometimes we struggle with paintings, and then out of the blue there's one where everything seems to fall into place, and that's how it was with this one. I'd been toying with the idea of using gouache on the black paper and decided to work a bit larger than I have been. I think working larger perhaps gave me the mental 'room' to loosen up with this.
I haven't been posting here as much lately because I've been 1) working on the other gouache flamenco painting (the manton dancer), and 2) I've been working on making my new website. I tell you, making the website, and now going through the hoops to get it up and running, has been a lot harder than any artwork I've ever done! But it's almost ready to go. Thank you again for taking a look at this painting! I hope to have the other dancer done and posted here soon...
Kim, congratulations on your website! That is really exciting news. I have been watching for your new flamenco dancer. Let us all know when it is posted.
You've done an amazing job with this dancer. I love the flowing movement. I also enjoyed the discussion about gouache paint. Learned a few more things.
I really like this piece so far. I think there is an explosive energy in the way you've articulated the clothing that feels organic. I also really like the skin tones; you're quick process of applying strokes is really helping to build up a very rich skin tone. I think this looks great so far and I can't wait to see the final painting! How large is this painting? It looks huge.
Thank you so much! It is done--I posted it in the member gallery some weeks ago, but I'll post it again here. It is about 15" x 23", or a half sheet of paper. I think I'll try working on a full sheet some time in the very near future. I haven't worked that large in some time. I know that a full sheet isn't all that huge (some people buy watercolor paper by the roll and cut very large custom sizes) but because I'd been away from painting for several years I've had to work my way up again from quarter sheets, and a full sheet just seemed really big. Let's see if I can get this posted here...yep, it came through. I reworked the arms and hands between the last photo and this one. The manton dancer is almost done, too, and as soon as I'm finished with that one I'll post it here as well as the member gallery.
Thank you, dania! I'm working on that second dancer in gouache and learning a lot as I go along. I found a very interesting website article about gouache that I should link to here. I'll do that soon. It seems there are some distinct differences between gouache and watercolor, and while I kind of already knew that, the article goes in to great detail about them. I'm really loving gouache because I already feel pretty comfortable with watercolor, and gouache can give some visual effects that are kind of a hybrid between water media and oil.
Thanks, Margo! I was burning well past the midnight oil night after night to get it done. I took that 3 day web design workshop back in November, but I wasn't able to buy the necessary software until a couple weeks ago. My husband designed a website many years ago so he was able to help me over some stumbling blocks, but I struggled through most of it myself. I still have a couple things that need fixing, and then I have to submit it to the search engines like Google before it can be seen by people on the internet. There are more steps in between making the actual website and then having it in the system than I had realized. I am actually really terrible with technology so this is not like me at all to have been able to do this. Go figure.
I had to go buy some new gouache today in order to finish it. I needed a very high chroma purple for the dress and I thought I could mix it myself using what I had on hand, but nothing really worked very well, so I went and got a purple gouache that I can use. I'll definitely let you know when it's done and posted. I've been missing posting here with all the stuff that's been going on!