Slide Show: Spanish Dancers at Harvey Nichols

Stage 1

The artist has begun to apply the first layers of wet-on-wet background washes. He has selected magentas and blues for the highlights, and browns so suggest the shadows of the central figure’s hair and the reflection. The central figure has begun to emerge from the background, but the watercolour washes at this stage give the composition an abstract appearance.

Stage 2

Additional background washes have darkened the composition’s tone considerably, allowing the figure to emerge further from the background. The artist has darkened the shadows and added watercolour washes to the highlights, almost completely obscuring the original drawing. The underpainting stage is almost accomplished, but details such as the folds of clothing are still only suggested by overlapping tones of watercolour.

Stage 3

Dissatisfied with the lack of contrast in the watercolour paints, the artist has substantially reworked the composition in oil. He has sacrificed the subtle tonal gradations of the watercolour background washes, but has gained much more powerful highlights, particularly on the central figure’s face and clothing. This figure has become a portrait rather than a still life, her ethnic characteristics emerging clearly. The realistic features and skin tone of what is nevertheless evidently a mannequin create a powerfully eerie effect.

Stage 4

Click here to view the finished piece.

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