The experience of painting this young model was memorable. It began in a group life painting session as each of us positioned at our various viewpoints, sought to capture her. There was something compelling about her gaze that immediately drew me in. She had a delicacy and captivating fragility about her. As I looked into her face, particularly her eyes I felt as though I was drawn into her soul. With a few photos, a conte sketch of her, and strong memories of her presence that day, I began anew at home on canvas painting quickly and as much Alla Prima as possible; while using a certain care for accuracy, and handling with a delicacy that would not be overworked... especially her eyes. My hope was to go beyond mere image to capture her delicate expression in those moments while they were still fresh in my mind. I hope I captured an essence of her to share.
Why the title Moon Dance? As I was painting her, I was struck one evening by a large harvest moon rising in the east of our home. The colors in the sky were beautiful reminding me of the background I had already painted. Then as I worked, I imagined that she was at a grand ball. Her beau took her out in the moonlight. He could see the light from inside the ball spill out through the tall Palladian windows over her form warming her skin. The cool moonlight dances in her hair and filled the shadows in her face and neck. What a wonderful night for Moon Dance.
Life painting is challenging. You never quite have all the time you want to work. Sometimes the model moves, grimaces, lose their beginning expression. What a hard job it is for the model to sit still for so long. I appreciate their willingness to do this.
At the studio that I paint at, we all show up, set up our easels and supplies. The model is put in his/her pose. A flood of activity is taking place. Then suddenly the light goes on, the timer is set and all is silent as we take in what we see and formulate our next steps. Sometimes I feel so honored to have the privilege of standing before a beautiful living human being to paint him/her. The beauty of the colors of light on the skin, warm and cool tones are something that doesn’t show up with such nuance and subtlety in a mere photo. Beyond the imagery is the person hood of the model that seems to emanate into the room. How do I capture it all with mere paint on a blank canvas?