This life we's strange, painful at times, but oh so beautiful.

I am a fusion dance artist and teacher, a fire dancer, and a visual artist. I draw inspiration from nature, music, and the amazing people that come into my life. I am also a conservationist who makes jewelry and found object multimedia craft type art in my spare time (when I'm not reading, writing, or lighting things on fire and dancing around with them). I love to dance barefoot on the beach, watch the stars move inexorably across the heavens, and to laugh with the people that I love. I am currently based in Greenville SC, working with Discordia Arts to provide unique and exciting entertainment to the Upstate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Creation of a Peaceful Piece

We live in turbulent times, to say the least. Today I felt the need to create something that not only brought me peace, but that would hopefully bring this emotion to the viewer as well.
Sketching Ideas
For this piece, I began with the idea of a woman in lotus position. I used a google image search of "lotus position" to help me visualize what I wanted the central figure to look like.

After much frustration and sketching, I realized that though I may eventually revisit some of these drawings for a yoga inspired piece, that I wasn't going in the right direction.

I knew that I wanted this particular silk to be bold in color throughout the central figure, so I focused in on the idea of the chakras as a focal point with the person playing mainly a background role to the color.

Final Sketch
After taking a short break to let myself recalibrate mentally to this new idea, I sat down and quickly sketched the figure to the left.

I had my focal point.

I then began the process of transferring the design onto the silk. At this point, I made some pivotal design changes. I decided to make the figure more gender neutral by making the curves in the body less pronounced. I also chose to keep the crown chakra within the top of the head, as opposed to radiating slightly above as it was in my original drawing.

Resist Outline
I chose to rework the idea of a lotus flower - though I still wanted to include the lotus in the design, I didn't have room on this silk to have the flower be a central aspect of the background like it was in my sketch. I chose instead to include a smaller flower behind the central figure and mirror that with a flower underneath the figure.

The figure was crowned with radiating lines.

I kept the chakras overlapping but open so that  the colors would fade naturally from one chakra to the next.

When I started painting, I chose once again to work from the center of the piece outward. I kept the resist lines in this painting very large, so I wasn't as concerned as I normally am about flooding my lines, but I sill enjoy painting the figure first and following with a background color.

The chakra section of the figure was the easiest, as I knew the color order and placement before I began. I chose to paint on dry silk. I know there are two schools of thought on this, but for me, I find that the colors are more even when placed on dry silk. Wet silk is easier to fade, but dry gives a more even color where there is no fade.

To aid in the faded sections, I used water liberally over my dyes. I also tend to fade the lighter color over and into the darker color. One technique I use for this is painting a section of lighter color, placing a line of the darker color where I want the fade to end, and then going over it with the lighter color and water until the two lighter color sections meet.
Focal Point Finished

Remember that it is extremely important with professional quality silk dyes to paint wet to wet - if the dye is allowed to dry (and it dries fast) on the white silk, there will be a very distinct line. These lines can only be removed by going back over the dye with water or more silk dye.

Now it's time to paint the rest of the figure. I started with the legs - and chose a blue to purple fade because I thought it would look nice. It was only when I stepped back that I realized I was creating another mirror effect and decided to follow it through the upper body as well.

I chose a red, magenta, and orange color palette for the lotus behind the seated figure, and following my theme of mirrors.

*sidebar - though originally the only play on mirroring was having a flower both behind and below the figure, it became a deliberate (and I think very important) part of this painting when I painted the figure itself. I hope that my audience will not just note the occurrence in shape and color, but in the theme of the painting itself, for certainly to have peace without we must have peace within - and we are all a reflection of our surroundings as well as those that we choose to share our lives with. Peace begets peace, much like love begets love, and though there are always going to be oppositional forces to these, it must all start within.

I chose the green to blue fade on the base of the silk both for the very "natural" feel that I believe this color combination evokes but also from a land to sea or land to sky sort of perspective. I wanted the base of this piece to be both bold and serene, and this color combination seemed perfect.
Background Started

I decided to use a yellow/orange and blue/purple color palette in the radiating lines at the top of the piece. I continued painting on dry silk and using water and a very large brush to create the fade at the tips of the lines.

At the end of the day, I am extremely pleased with this piece. It honestly turned out even better than I expected it to. The colors are vibrant and bold for the most part, but there is a harmony in this one that is not completely planned. When I began, I was searching for a way to express my own hopes, as I feel that the best way to combat darkness is with light. This one is full of light, and I am filled with joy - and an overwhelming sense of peace myself. I will sleep well tonight.

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