I’ve loved to dance ever since I was 3 years old, from running around to Let It Go or shaking my hips to Shakira. It’s been one of my favorite hobbies and something I’ve considered a large part of my life for a very long time.
When I moved to Alabama, my mom wanted me to make friends and pick up a new after-school activity, so she enrolled me into the Notinee Indian Dance Company.
Fast forward 5 years, I started training for my half-graduation and my first solo performance. It immediately became a huge part of what defined me and I knew I wanted to document the time period in a unique way.
I decided to paint an Indian classical dancer to commemorate this important part of my life.
Art has also been one of my favorite past-times and it just seemed obvious that I combine my two favorite extracurriculars. This painting was my first acrylic painting of a full body and face and I knew it would be challenging, but with the help of my amazing art teacher, I was able to paint exactly what I envisioned.
The process of painting is long, so I started by looking at reference pictures of dancers and paintings by talented artists. Once I had picked out my favorite picture, I did a baseline sketch of proportions and spacing, which included blunt shapes and lines without much detail.
After I finished the preliminary sketching, I started color-blocking out the fabric of the dancer’s skirt.
My next step was to get as much paint down as I could, so I did a messy background and lightly colored the rest of the dancers. The point of this step was so that I could have a base layer in order for me to build up pigment.
After this, I began to really saturate the colors, add shadows and fix any shape imperfections, making sure I only painted one portion at a time. I’ve found that painting can be very overwhelming if you look at the whole picture, instead, you should zoom in on one part at a time and perfect that portion before moving on.
My last step was adding highlights and then blending the background to spotlight the dancer. Of course, there were many hiccups along the way, seeing as acrylic paint dries quickly and is harder to blend. But after many months of erasing and perfecting, I had completed my first painting of a person and was very proud of it as well.
The final Product: