The early stages of the portrait of belly dancer Rachel Brice expressed an energy and spontaneity that I did not want to risk losing. After allowing the under painting to dry for a week, I liked the blue color of her skin and had no desire to begin the layers of glazing. My curiosity won out and I had to see what would happen when I began to apply more color. Besides, I was rather tired of mixing greens for the landscapes I have been working on. Getting back to the movements of a dancing body was a welcome change.

Pushing a painting further challenges my ability to manipulate color and brushstrokes and to correct the drawing with simplicity in mind. Pushing a painting to another level also tests my intuitive instincts to know when to stop, to know when a painting has made a statement that engages the viewer to keep the communication going. If the painting has the last word, it has reached the point of boredom. The viewer will move on with no intention of returning to finish the conversation.

At this point, I think the painting will require at least two more layers of glazes.

Image: Portrait of Rachel Brice
Oil on wood panel 10 1/2″ x 14″

Link to page on website featuring progress of portrait paintings