Dancing under the sun

I work at the nonprofit The Task Force for Global Health and recently had the opportunity to create art for our CEO’s office. The study I had done for the possible Moreland Mural Project (now on hold) seemed like a good fit. The Task Force programs work often in Africa, and many of my colleagues had traveled to various African countries. Using colorful, patterned fabrics from Africa, I set out to make a mixed media piece on a large panel.

I used a 30″ x 40″ Ampersand panel, starting with a drawing.Drawing-webUsing vine charcoal, I drew the dancers in an imaginary landscape. I saw the dancers in a circle and wanted to emphasize the circle throughout the painting.  Also, there’s an Andikra symbol (originating in West Africa) that’s layers of circles and means leadership and charisma, perfect for our CEO.

Underpainting-webAn underpainting with warm colors.

Painting-in-Progress-WebAdded the cooler blue tones and lights.

painting-in-progress2Started adding elements of collage, using an acrylic medium to adhere the fabric to the board.

Materials-webBesides the fabrics, I made a lot of painted papers (using circular patterns). I wanted more muted colors in the papers to contrast with the bright fabrics. I give credit to the artist and wonderful teacher Elizabeth St. Hilaire for teaching me how to create handmade painted papers.

African-Dance-Final3-webWas tempted to cover the entire surface with paper and fabric but thought some places worked without texture. The final painting is covered with a UV-protectant varnish. Final painting: Dancing Under the Sun, 30″ x 40″, mixed media