9 x 12 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
I am very uncomfortable when drawing or painting people. I have had limited instruction, and that was in Korea where I attended a women's university for a semester. My figure drawing teacher did not speak any English. My Korean was very limited. I took art classes because I thought it would be easier with the language barrier. I was very wrong about this class. I struggled daily. Finally, the teacher got so frustrated with my less than steller work and took my brush, dipped it in black ink, and put a big black X across my drawing. That may be why I shy away from this very important part of my art endeavors. It is funny to me now, but it wasn't back then.
This is my second attempt at this painting. Amazingly enough, I put the first one aside because of the background. I made it way to dark and strange. I tried to fix it, but it never looked right. When I decided to do it again, I used several reference photos taken at the event and selected the foliage I thought best stayed in the background. I like the triangle the three dancers form. I like the placement of the hula instruments. I think I will bring a branch of the pink/white foliage across to the other side for better balance. This is a work in progress so there is still much left to do. Faces, for instance.
Hula is a very beautiful dance. When I first visited the Hawaiian Islands, I thought it was done for the tourists. I had no idea about the rich heritage of this art form. I have learned so much from my kumu (teacher) since those days. This painting is of the beginning of a ceremony where a dancer earns the right to become a kumu. It is called uniki. I was privileged and humbled to be invited to my kumu's uniki a couple of years ago. It was a very hot day and the ceremony began during the hottest part of the day. All the candidates came out carrying the greens they would put on before they began. In this picture, they are tying the greens around their ankles. I like this scene because my kumu is in the middle, the apex of the triangle. I want to do this well for her.