Thursday, July 3, 2008
Native Dancer 1, new series has started
it's time for another post! I finished this one yesterday and am excited to have begun a series of native dancers that I've been thinking about for some time. Last week Ann and I had some of our extended family from Norway make the trip to Minnesota. They stayed with us for a long weekend before moving on to stay with other family members. When we asked them what they wanted to do while here, they told us without hesitation that a pow wow was a must. Luckily the Ojibway (Chippewa) were having one of theirs that weekend. It lit the fire under me to begin this series while it was still fresh in my mind. Man, those drumming circles are LOUD! I bought a CD of indian drumming at the pow wow and played it while I painted this piece.
This painting is all about the rhythm, balance, color and energy the pow wow dancers display. No unnecessary details here to distract from the focus. Just pure joyous abandon (just like in painting). It was a ball to paint. I discovered that when you photograph the dancers, often times they are obscured by so much fringe and movement. Usually you can't tell what the dancer is doing. You can't simply paint what you see, but must simplify and construct something out of which our eyes can make some sense. You must paint what you know, not what you see. That's the challenge on a painting like this. So much of this painting is about feel and intuition. You have to feel when it's right and when it's finished. I could have easily allowed myself to overwork it. I also wanted a more energetic and abstract background than I usually paint.
Thanks for looking, Steve
Posted by Steve Atkinson