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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Line Dancing

"Dance" is such a lovely word...even if you do not take to the floor to shake a leg per se, you probably allow your thoughts to dance, your dreams to prance, and your imagination to fly away.  Nature is known to stage many a dance. While shadows dance upon the road the ivy dances up a wall.  The word alone implies movement: a sweeping, dipping, and swooshing motion spiraling back around to repeat.  

What does this have to do with art...a lot!  Motion is probably one of the hardest things to convey in a 2d rendering.  Capturing something with a line is a frozen moment, not a motion.  Implying motion is the best we can hope for and every artist chooses to do it differently.  In the National Gallery of Art this week my husband said he knew a drawn figure was swinging something heavy simply by the position of the toe.  That was an amazingly detailed nuance for movement.

Sometimes color can be used to convey motion....a blur of many colors may convince the viewer that the object is moving much too fast to warrant seeing details.  

I had not really spent a lot of time thinking about this until someone suggested that a small painting I did of palm trees reminded them of a "chorus line."  That became the name of that piece but as I had intended to paint it again much larger, I would need another, similar, title.

          
                        Line Dancing, oil on gallery wrapped canvas, 12" x 36"

Thus I painted "Line Dancing" based on the same photograph taken in the Florida Everglades.  Now a few of these trees are really dancing and some seem not to be.  In line dancing everyone is supposed to do the same thing...but they rarely do.  Sometimes I look at this and see the extravagant headdresses of a Vegas show and other times it is the colorful backlighting that reminds me of a stage set waiting for dancers.  At any rate I feel compelled now to do a third iteration of this piece where I really concentrate on the depiction of movement....either by blurs, by specific frond shapes or by curves in the tree trunks themselves.


               Detail of "Line Dancing"


What first attracted me to paint this scene was the backlighting of the sunset behind the long row of palms.  I loved that basically the trees were nothing more than shapes against a colorful wall.  And I still love the fire like colors of the backdrop ( and can imagine pushing them even deeper into oranges and reds).  But something nags at me in using the word "dance" to title such a piece....can I make them dance a bit more?  We will see.

Meanwhile think about the various ways artists have depicted motion on a flat surface.  What technique made you believe in the action they were portraying?  I know that I am certainly more conscience of it now and will be hyper sensitive to not only observing it but in perfecting ways to show it.

Colorfully yours,
Cindy

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