'A Dance for Dionysus' - Watercolor and Acrylic on Canvas

Earth tones and strong value changes to emphasis shapes …

My figurative work is usually loose and playful, fluid and experimental.  ‘A Dance for Dionysus’ was one of the first paintings where I began by toning a canvas with poured and splashed watercolor washes and worked into it with acrylic paints that I had mixed myself to a fluid state so that I could also pour and splatter the acrylic.  I had been curious to see if I could manipulate acrylic as I do watercolor.  I had tried with oil paint, but I lost all vibrancy of color when I diluted it to a consistency I could pour or splatter.  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 a quick study of position.  I find that most models aren’t able to get into the dynamic positions I desire.  As the painting progresses, a story begins to unfold.  When my paintings reach this storytelling stage, I must be alone to be alert to the tale being told.