Each image shows a different stage in the painting of My Dancer. The last image is the finished painting.

As a break from sitting at my computer doing graphic design, I love to paint. This painting was created using two photographs as reference. In the main reference photo, the ballerina didn’t have a tutu or pointe shoes on. For this painting I used a piece of Masonite primed with gesso. I sketched the figure with charcoal onto the board after it had been primed. The underlying sketch is the most important part. If you don’t have the foundation correct, you can’t build a good house. The same is true for a painting. After the sketch is complete the fun begins. I primarily paint with acrylics because of the flexibility and speed it gives me.

It is really important to me that my paintings have depth. This was challenging in this particular painting since the ballerina was so close to the wall and there isn’t anything else going on in the painting. I was able to achieve the depth that I desired through shadows and highlight reflections. The stroke direction in the floor really helps draw your eyes right into the painting and the shadow that she casts onto the wall defines the space.

The ballerina in this painting is my daughter, Matisse, who’s passion is dance. I painted it as a present for her seventeenth birthday.