It Takes Two to Tango

I’m a great fan of dancing of all kinds, but I especially love to paint tango dancers. The tango is such a sensuous dance that the figures on the canvas, caught in a moment of time, still seem to be moving. I really enjoy the challenge of figuring out where each leg needs to be and which shoe goes in front of which shoe, especially since they’re so often black on black on black.

Close Encounter found its way to Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year, and the lovely couple who own it commissioned a companion piece, Too Close for Comfort, so they could hang the two 30” X 40” paintings together on a large wall going up their stairs: two couples destined to dance near each other but never meet or even bump into one another on the dance floor.

Too Close for Comfort

Too Close for Comfort

Close Encounter

Close Encounter

 

 

About Girlfriends and Birthdays

I have a bff who was approaching a “big birthday” about five years ago.  Her husband was throwing a surprise party for her, and I was thinking about what gift I could give to a woman who really does have everything.  Of course, I would paint something for her, but what?  After awhile, it came to me…

Since my girlfriend and her telephone are never very far apart, I decided to paint a telephone keypad for her, with every number and symbol representing something personal about her.  To make it physically look like a keypad, I painted twelve 8” X 8” canvasses, each an inch and a half deep, to look like buttons.  The result, in its own way, is a portrait of her (I told you I think of all my paintings as portraits).  I’ll explain:

Number 1 is painted on a house.  She’s a very successful realtor and has been the number 1 producer in her agency for most of her career.

Number 2 is a conversation bubble.  She’s a talker.

Number 3 is a nod to our girl golf trips to Aruba and her enjoyment of the craps table.

Number 4 celebrates the game we love to play together.

Number 5 is all about makeup.  Did I say she’s a looker?

Number 6 is a conversation hearts candy.  See number 2.  Her favorite food is candy.

Number 7 is a ticket stub.  She loves plays, musicals, and concerts and is the social director for a group of friends who rely on her to get them tickets too.

Number 8 is a triangle.  Remember the ones you got to play in kindergarten?  She has one.  It makes her happy to play it sometimes.

Number 9 is a mah jongg tile: 9 dot.  Girlfriends like to play games.  See number 3 and 4.

The * key is a magic wand.  She has one and uses it when she thinks she needs it.  See number 8.

The # key is a scale (get it?).  She organized a group that worked with a nutritionist to lose weight and eat healthier.  See number 6.

Operator is a CD.  She’s a big fan of music (see number 7 and 8) and often gifts friends with CD’s she’s burned of her favorite singers.  If you play the notes on the music staff below the CD, you will hear Op-er-a-tor (Jim Croce).

Telephone Keypad

Telephone Keypad

Of Parrots and Palm Trees

I have a wall in my condo in Florida that was perfectly suited for a mural.  Now, I’m not really a fan of murals—I’ve never seen any that I could imagine on my own walls—so I started thinking about what I might paint myself.  The rug in that room is a needlepoint of parrots and palm trees, so I had to come up with something that wouldn’t conflict with it.

I was sitting on my patio, late one afternoon a year ago last May, just relaxing, playing word games on my iPad and listening to music, when I noticed the shadows of the palm trees in the yard on the building next to mine.  The fronds were moving in the breeze, and it was somewhat soothing to watch the motion on the wall in front of me, a little hypnotic.  I thought how cool it would be to have a palm tree inside, on my wall.  The dimensions of the wall (9.5’ X 12.5’, then an arch over the bedroom doorway and another 9.5′ X 3′) wouldn’t allow for a painting of those palms that had inspired me, so I decided on a Bismarck palm, a variety of the fan palm with a short trunk and sage green fronds.  I photographed one at my friend Judith’s house, because it was the perfect shape for my wall, then painted it last summer on a proportionately smaller canvas, as a sketch for my mural.

Last November, back in Florida, I was lucky enough to have one of my painting teachers, Alexis Baliotis, a young and very talented artist, come to stay with me for a week to help me paint my Bismarck palm on my wall.  A few weeks after, I  painted inside the arch of the doorway, then fiddled around with the background for some time, until I could call it done.  It makes me smile every time I walk into my home, but it will be the only one of its kind, since I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever…paint another.

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Bismarck Palm

Bismarck Palm

A Word About Commissions…

On my Artwork page, I have displayed all the paintings I have for sale at this time.  Just a little more than half of the paintings exhibited in my Galleries are for sale; the others hang in my home or have been sold or were commissions, and some have been donated to various fundraisers.  I do accept commissions.  You may have noticed that Tango Series IV, 22” X 22,” reappears as High Jinx on a 30” X 40” canvas; Tango Series V, 22” X 22,” transforms into Submission, 40” X 30,” and …To Tango, 12” X 16,” is the same pose as It Takes Two, which is 12” X 12.”  If an image interests me, I might imagine it in a different way, as in Black Swan and Reflection: two very different works, though based on the same image.

So if you see a painting in my Galleries and it’s not offered for sale in Artwork, I will consider painting it again–just for you.  I will change sizes and even colors, if I think it will work for the image.  I paint from photographs, as well as from life, so send me an image that you want reimagined as a painting, and I will be happy to open a dialogue with you about it.

Tango Series V

Submission