Sunday, 19 July 2015

When Bollywood came to Basingstoke

 It's been far too long since I wrote anything there but I have still been busy.  Last year I went to a friend's wedding in Oakley hall near Basingstoke.  It was a lovely day which ended with a troop of Bollywood dancers bursting into the marquee and putting on a fantastic show for the guests.  When I went to the Figure in Dance workshop later in the year, I left with the thought that I would attempt to paint the dancers from the wedding.  Needless to say, it took a while.  For a start, I packed my paints away for a couple of months while I had some work done on the house.  Then it took me a little while to get going again.  I started with a single dancer, trying to think back to the techniques we used in the workshop.  I used acrylics for the background so would like to add a quick thank you to everyone who gave me Jackson's art vouchers for my birthday last year - this is the output of your present.  Then the dancer herself was added in pastel.

I was quite please with the end result but it didn't quite capture the drama of the whole troop of dancers in the way I was looking for.  The next version had 3 dancers in and was abandoned half way through out of sheer frustration so I'm afraid you don't get to see that one.  I stopped again for a little while after that, unable to quite focus myself and figure out what I wanted.  In the end, I decided to treat this as an exercise in learning about acrylics instead of worrying too much about getting the picture "right".  So I drew out this which is based on the dancers from several different photographs all blended into one.  There is one lady who appears at least twice if you can spot her.  If I was going to do this one again, I might rethink my approach to the dance floor but overall, I was happy that it captured more of the occasion than the first picture.  

Moving on, I continued my experiment in acrylics and changed the colours of the dancers dresses for the next version.  There was no real reason behind this, except I was getting a bit bored of blue and pink by this stage and wanted to do something different.  I liked the butterfly shapes they made in this dance so that was my main focus in this picture.  So that was it.  I figured I'd made a pretty good attempt at capturing the feel of Bollywood and starting thinking about what to move onto next.
The dancer photos were sitting on my coffee table while I was mulling over this decision.  I thought I'd quite like to to something using coloured pencil as I haven't used them much recently and sometimes it's nice to come back to something you haven't tried for a while.  So I started one last picture.  This time I wasn't looking for the bold colours and drama and instead wanted to take a more delicate approach.  With a bit more practice, I can see this style working well with ballet dancers or even for a picture of the bride herself.  it was a very enjoyable picture to draw and reminded me how versatile a simple pencil is.

Ellie and Ravi celebrated their 1 year anniversary in May.  I didn't quite have these pictures ready in time for that but even so, I'd like to wish them a very belated congratulations and thank them both for a fabulous day.