I started to paint another Native American dancer this week. The photo was taken at a Pow-wow in September, 2010. The work is 36” X 48” and my second largest work to date.
I rolled and scraped three coats of gesso on the canvas, then scaled up the photograph onto several sheets of Bristol Board. I transferred this drawing to tracing paper, and laid the tracing paper over the canvas. I made a piece of homemade carbon paper by rubbing a #2 pencil all over a small piece of tracing paper, and lay this under the larger tracing paper. I used a #2 pencil to outline the large areas on the tracing paper, moving the “carbon paper” along as I worked. Light pressure will produce a light pencil line on the gessoed canvas. I don’t use commercial carbon paper because the imprint will bleed through most acrylic paints and ruin it.
I started the background and dancer by blocking in opposite colors of the sky and clothing. This under painting improves the final color as the work progresses. The dancer has a pink shirt and buckskin colored pants. There are only a couple of small feathers, rather than the many feathers of the last Native American dancer I painted (scroll down to see that one). I’ll add more photos as I make progress.