dance & drawing. movement. cycles.

i switched majors in college when i was 19 from ballet pedagogy (university of oklahoma at norman) to visual art (university of arkansas at fayetteville). ballet was a passion of mine but i found that it may not have been my calling. i love dancing … tap, modern, theatre, lyrical, ballet. i wasn’t too shabby at it, but i felt my heart pulling towards working creatively with my hands.

diving into painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and everything else was very therapeutic and natural. however, i missed dance like crazy. after all, i danced from when i was 4 to 18. i ended up taking instruction at a local dance studio, which satisfied that need. while finishing up my BFA, i decided to challenge myself with finding a unique way to express the melding of dance and drawing. i researched various dance photographers and took several figure study courses. figure study from professor ken stout was an inspiring set of courses that pushed me further towards my interests.

at the time, i ended up painting a few pieces that i felt achieved the goal i was going for. but after college, the project was put on hold.

last year, i was inspired by a motivated friend to do a little clean-out of ye ole soul. time leaves its baggage piled up in your chest and sometimes you have to get in there and clean it out. you also have to take time to appreciate all the goodness. it is a great favor to do for yourself. so i began to find a healthy path toward focusing on emotional, physical, spiritual clarity. it’s not something to cross off of your “to do” list, but it’s nice to shift your lifestyle just a bit to gain clarity and let go of some aging hook-ups.

during this process of journaling, sketching, reading, pacing, analyzing, resting (and a little bit of dancing), i began my “undercurrents” series. i’m a pretty private person and have been wanting to challenge myself by exposing a more emotional side in a tasteful, expressive manner. i worked with dear friend and talented photographer Lily Darragh back home in little rock to shoot a couple of dancers. i shared with her my goals, we painted a backdrop and did some planning on how this would best play out.

Working with a dancer during the Little Rock photo shoot.
working with a dancer during the little rock photo shoot.

after spending quite some time narrowing down the emotions/narratives i intended to convey, i built playlists to correlate with each narrative. we met one afternoon with two dancers that ended up really pushing the idea. as the dancers listened to the music, i loosely “choreographed” the shoot and encouraged them to improvise and tap into their own forms of expression. it was a pretty incredible experience watching these talented girls put my description into action.

the photos turned out better than imagined: i now have a beautiful custom library of photographs to create from. and they all tell a personal story. i am currently in the process of organizing the photos, sketching from them and creating mixed-media paintings while also creating from live models. more to come …







thank you to jenny wittenberg, georgia & ashton, lily and momzie. 

[dancing to the bangles, of course.]

movement on canvas.

“suspension in music” • 26″ x 26″ • mixed media on canvas

continuing the dancer series.
here’s a little inspiration from alvin ailey to get you in the mood, too.

bringing back the bodies.

when i was 3 or 4, mom enrolled me in ballet and tap classes. when i grew up some, i began to appreciate what dance was and i continued through to college, becoming a pre-dentistry / ballet pedagogy major. after a year of studying dance at the university of oklahoma in norman, my art calling pulled me to arkansas. i grew depressed without the outlet of physical expression that was like an appendage to my life. i started taking classes locally and felt that goodness again.

in college as an art major, some of my favorite classes were my figure studies courses with the talented professor ken stout. there is so much about the human figure that is beautiful; so many planes, curves, platforms, connections, shadows to work with. why not combine the two creative forms of art and movement?

one of the first original oil paintings i created other than still lifes was “bird dancer,” an image pulled from my sketches (see slideshow). the dancer’s figure extends outside the finished background, giving it an endless power. over the years i have created and sold a few of these pieces at art shows and at the pilates studio of little rock in arkansas. i haven’t painted in this theme in a while and i’m gladly bringing them back into the mix. dance, pilates and a little bit of yoga all on canvas. working on graphic design, pistols and dancers presents a nice balance.

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special thanks to vanessa gottfried.