'A Dance for Dionysus' watercolor and acrylic on canvas

An older favorite:

My figurative work is usually loose and playful, fluid and experimental.  ‘A Dance for Dionysus’ was one of my first watercolor and acrylic paintings on canvas.  After toning the canvas with poured and splashed watercolor washes I worked into it with acrylic paints I had mixed into a fluid consistency that could pour and splatter.  I was curious to see if I could manipulate acrylic as I do watercolor.  I had tried with oil paint, but lost all vibrancy of color when I diluted it to a pourable consistency.  Glazing with oil over watercolor washes worked somewhat, but the process was too slow for the energy that drives me when the figures begin to appear within the layers of paint.

For these paintings I don’t use models or photographs.  I look for the suggestion of figures within the patterns.  Sometimes I will work out the twists and turns of the bodies in my sketchbook.  Sometimes I will jump right in and work directly on the painting without the quick sketches.  I find that most models aren’t able to get into the dynamic positions I desire.  I realize that I push the figures beyond the realistic capabilities of  anatomy. I don’t care about the reality, I care about the extended motion of the figure.

As the painting progresses, a story begins to unfold.  When  it reaches the storytelling stage, I must be alone to listen to the tale being told and to respond, as a painter, to that story.

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