Drawing Dancers / by Kate England


I love life drawing. Getting into a state of being in the present. With quick poses I find myself both wanting to capture my impression, and at the same time being more open to the mistakes or surprises that a one minute pose often brings with it. 

The Swedish Artists Association organises drop-in life drawing sessions, but lately I've been favouring the drawing sessions that the Museum of Dance arrange. One week it can be a ballet dancer, next an African dancer, a modern dancer, or a flamenco dancer. How about tango? The dancer dances to music, and stops to hold a pose for one, two or three minutes. Occasionally you get a five minute pose, but those are rare. 

In the sketch above, I wanted to capture the dancer's motion with pastels. The pink figure at the back is the dancer dancing before she briefly freezes into the figure at the front drawn in red. On this particular occasion I was experimenting with a new colour palette, pastels as well as expressing my impression of motion. Challenging and fun! 

I really enjoy these sessions, and the work that comes out of sketches can often have a more spontaneous, energetic and lively feeling than the kind of work one polishes and refines into a finished piece. Flicking through my sketchbook, I thought I'd create a new section in my portfolio dedicated to sketches, as a way to display these studies that nobody but me usually gets to see, but that have so much life and character of their own.