It’s Strictly season again and I’m hooked right in already. Loving a dancing show feels kind of weird to me as I’ve never been good at dancing myself, though I love music of all different types, and I’ve certainly never been a sequin and sparkles kinda girl. I am, however, mesmerised by the dancers and the way they move their bodies and express themselves to the music, living embodiments of emotion.
Last year I began to try to capture movement when painting musicians, which I interpreted as repeated patterns of movement and backgrounds that blurred into figures.
Painting dancers would give the additional opportunity to paint the figure in motion, figures are a huge challenge but painting flesh and muscle is hugely satisfying to me (and it’s a reason I’ve gone back to regular life drawing sessions). I would also relish the challenge of applying colour and pattern to further evoke the sound of the music, the rhythms and the beats.
I have two sets of references to work on that I got during the summer of two wonderful dancers, here are a couple of thumbnail ideas I have sketched out very roughly.
I think dance and music also link with another recurring theme I have previously explored; that of depression. Using figures contorted into poses that express their inner turmoil is still a form of expression through the body.
Emotion is something I really want to come through my painting, whatever end of the emotive spectrum that may be, from sorrow through to joy.
Art and dance and music and mental health are all bound together. Anneka Rice, a Strictly contestant who has never danced before has spoken of the joy she hs felt with this new form of creative expression. Many people I know who enjoy painting and drawing do it as a release for stress and anxiety. And singing and listening to music are known therapy for those suffering from mental health problems.
I am a member of a choir where I know that singing makes me feel good, and our choir leader implores us to give our songs ‘soul’; to abandon ourselves and our hang ups and experience the pure joy of making music. Strictly judges implore contestants to set themselves free and give themselves over to the dance. Sing like nobody’s listening, dance like nobody’s watching. So with painting, I’d like to abandon my caution and let my colour and brushstrokes loose and let that joy and movement into my painting.
Anyway, as a start I’ve got into the Strictly spirit with a couple of portraits, I hope I get a chance to do some more!