I recently discovered a lovely painting of Tango dancers by Pat Murray which prompted me to get in touch with her for some tips about painting dancers. The things she said – see below – reminded me why I love painting so much – when I get the time – and how it all hooks into a phenomenological observation process. I love how she notes that it does not matter about the accuracy of fast sketches because so much still goes into your subconscious. I have definitely experienced this with my ‘Rose’ painting and the one of my daughter, ‘Princess’.
Fascinating – a true life’s work.
Unfortunately the original of this watercolour has been sold but you can get hold of prints from her website.
She was very helpful and provided these thoughts about the above painting:
“I also provide the portrait version of ‘Afternoon Milonga’ as a print now as a friend who dances Tango said that British Tango dancers would relate to the church hall image as so much Tango is danced in places like that in this country.
This painting was inspired by watching a friend dance at an afternoon Milonga in a church hall in Sneinton, Nottingham. Try as I might, I could not locate the exact place but tried to recreate the atmosphere that I’d remembered. Late afternoon light was filtering down from a high window and the music was beautiful and melancholic. I’m sure you know what I mean.
I actually did some lightning sketches, a bit ropey but that act of observation is crucial as so much goes into your subconscious mind. Also it helped me to identify the exact moves that float my boat. In my case they are the more subtle ones.
I did three quick tonal sketches from freeze framing youtube footage. You will see these provide me with reference for where the light and shade fall. I think watching carefully and really fast drawing is the trick. Even if what you do is wildly innacurate, you will capture some of the movement.”
I suspect that the hall in question in Sneinton is the Hermitage Community Centre because I think I can see the big window from the painting in the header photo from their site.
Pat very kindly sent me the following digital copies of her sketches.
Many thanks Pat!