Dance the Night Away

This painting is based on a sketch of a photo that I took with my iPhone4. We had gone to dinner at East is East, a Vancouver restaurant with amazing food from the silk road, with friends. We had great food and during dinner we also enjoyed great music and flamenco dancers. This restaurant provides live music and dance, often Jazz or a mix of diverse cultural musicians and tonight we had Flamenco.

The performances that evening were so inspiring. I took what seemed like a million pictures, all blurry, because it was dark and they were moving fast [and, you know, my old phone]. I've finally gotten around to sketching out ideas using these "great shots" as reference. What I noticed first is how illustrative and exact each movement by the dancer was. Their arms, legs, hips, faces all moving to and stopping in exact positions. I used several photos as reference for the clothes and how they moved, when the bodies stopped. After, some trial and error, I came up with this sketch of a dancer with her arms up, her toes pointed and her skirt moving.

I've been trying a lot of new things lately and one of them is working in new mediums (papers, colours, styles). For this painting I used a new to me paper called Yupo paper, which is 100% Polypropylene. Sooo, plastic? I've tried using this paper before, maybe it was a different brand, but I wasn't happy with the results. It was quite resistant to the paint and the drying time was a few days, which is unheard of for watercolour. I was still determined that I wanted to use Yupo paper, so I tried a different brand. I'm glad I did because it was a much better experience this time. I love how white it is, like a clean slate. Any colour on this paper would just pop off of the page. Also, because I often work with very fine tipped pens that wear out quite easily on other papers, this one saves me a lot of pens.

It is still very difficult to control where the paint goes and how it looks when it dries, but it turned out much better than I anticipated. I'm definitely going to use this paper again. Next up are coloured inks! I'll keep you posted on how that turns out.

Work in Progress.

Flamenco Dancer, 11"x14", watercolour on Yupo paper. Watermark on digital file only