Friday, April 3, 2009

Native American Dancer's portrait

Native Dancer, 16X20, oil/linen

Eyes Closeup

Feather Closeup

Hi Everyone,
Here is a painting I did of a Native American dancer I came across at a pow wow last year. He was always smiling and seemed to know everyone there. As I was taking photos, I was lucky enough to get some serious expressions. I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted this painting to look like. That's not always the case. His face paint and porky roach was an important part of this one, but like so many portraits, the eyes tell the tale. So I made the background simple and neutral. The area around his eyes are the sharpest and most clearly defined. I enjoyed doing this one, getting lost in the painting of the different edges and textures. Feathers, beads, skin. They all have their own unique edges, and therefore their own unique brushwork. I always start with the face and usually can tell if a painting is going to work for me pretty early on. Though, sometimes you can't tell which areas of a painting will give you trouble. I swear, I wish I had a nickle for every time I thought a difficult passage was going to trip me up, only to the tough part paint itself and have the simple parts derail. Well, that keeps me on my toes anyways.


Thanks for looking, Steve


Jeremy Elder said...

So good. The dry brushing you did in some areas gives this an almost chalk-like texture.

By the way, I couldn't agree with you more about not knowing what will give you trouble in a certain piece. A lot of times I even go as far to fix what I think is wrong to realize it's only sticking out like a sore thumb because it's right and everything else is wrong!

hbedrosian said...

Very powerful portrait - I love the colors.

Anonymous said...

This guy is actually not Ojibway, he's Ho-Chunk. His name is Charles Hindsley.

Steve Atkinson said...

Thanks Anonymous. I've been trying to locate Charles since he was at a Minnesota pow wow many years ago. Do you have his contact info, or would you be able to pass along my email address to him. I'd like to get him a free print as gratitude for the painting. My email is: I sure would appreciate any help! Steve