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“The Ageing Dancer”

April 14, 2013

When I first met Susie, in September 2012, she told me that when she was young she wanted to be a ballet dancer, but a short career was curtailed through catching a terrible fever and being ill for an extended time. Normally I use models as actors for scenes that I have created in my imagination, but since I started to work more from life, especially for portraits, I have started to incorporate pieces of their real life in my paintings, to take inspiration directly from them. When Susie offered to pose for me, I thought that I could do something special with her, because I had very seldom worked with  models of middle age and because of her enthusiasm, a quality that is very valuable when you start a project that can potentially last several months. I thought about beauty and strength that changes with the ageing, and I wanted to relate these facts a little with her personal story. I painted her as a mature dancer holding on to her past and memories. I made the painting completely from life and it was a challenge to paint her from right above, and I had to be careful with my tools not to let anything drop on her.

My sketch for the painting, done from imagination.

My sketch for the painting, done from imagination.

susie 1

Susie during a break.

ESPAÑOL: Cuando encontré por primera vez a Susie, en septiembre de 2012, me contó que de joven quería ser bailarina y que tuvo que parar porque le diagnosticaron una enfermedad. Normalmente yo utilizo los modelos como actores de una escena que yo he creado en mi imaginación, pero desde cuando he empezado a trabajar más del natural para retratos, he empezado también a incorporar pedazos de las historias reales de los modelos en mis cuadros, a tomar inspiración directamente de ellos. Cuando Susie se ofreció para posar para un cuadro mio, pensé que podía hacer algo especial con ella, ya que nunca había trabajado con modelos de su edad. Pensé en la belleza y en la fuerza del cuerpo que va cambiando con la edad y quise relacionar estos hechos un poco con su historia personal. La pinté como una bailarina de mediana edad que se agarra a su pasado y a sus recuerdos. El cuadro está pintado completamente del natural y fue un reto dada la pose en picado. Tuve que asegurarme además de no dejar que nada cayese encima de la modelo mientras la pintaba.

"The Ageing Dancer, oil on linen, 110x80cm

“The Ageing Dancer, oil on linen, 110x80cm

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2013 06:29

    A magnificent work. It contains beauty, pathos and a wonderful story. It is to be gazed at, not just glanced at.

  2. April 16, 2013 00:54

    Very nice comment Jack, I’m glad that my painting can inspire, thank you.

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