Ballerina (Aug. 2012)

Hello all!

It has been a while… I was away for a week on a family vacation… we were up in Decorah, Iowa visiting my in-laws for Nordic Fest, and on the return trip home we stopped off at Wisconsin Dells for three days so the kids could get their fill of water parks, boat rides and ski shows.  I have not been there myself since I was a kid in perhaps 1978 or so, and it turns out the Tommy Bartlett Show is still pretty great.  We also went to Circus World, a museum/active circus located on the site where the Ringling Brothers winter camp was in the old days.  By a happy coincidence, that day there was a “guest” show performing- the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  As I love westerns and shoot ’em ups, we had to go.  The actors dress up as the original stars like Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, etc.  They also incorporate a little bit of history and demonstrations like gatling guns, tomahawk throwing, trick shooting, horse races, and so on.   At one point they had a “comedy” gunfight sketch where a couple of cowboys got all riled up and and challenged each other to a duel at ten paces.  About ten “witnesses” stood scattered around them, and when the shooting started, the duelers aim was so bad, all the bystanders started falling to the ground.  It was humorous, but the best part came courtesy of a 4 year old boy in the crowd, about ten feet away from me…. when the smoke had cleared and the “bodies” littered the field, the little kid stood up a second before applause started and asked really loud and clear: “Did he really just kill all those people???”  Ha ha ha… the audience got a kick out of that!

Anyways, attached above is the first drawing I have done since I last posted.  This took about 3 hours all together, and is pretty straight forward… done in three layers where the back and middle ground could be blurred out relative to  the fore ground.  I sketched out the figures then painted the basic colors in, then used the airbrush tool with a very light opacity setting to blend in colors.  I also again made extensive use of the dodge/burn tool for detailing and shading, and even the lacy details on what was basically a solid black dress.  The composition is based on a reference photo I took during a break time in our Black Swan figure drawing session (see previous post).  The model was talking to one of the artists attending, and I liked the way she was standing in a graceful way.

I am pretty happy with this painting, except for the face of the girl in green… it is still too cartoon-ish for my taste, and I want to experiment with ways to pull all the colors together better… perhaps an overlay of color or using one of the many effects in the paint program to mimic sepia tones or water or oil paint textures… I’ll have to step away a while and come back with a fresh look later.

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