Dancers in the dark 夜幕下的舞者

Scotland_edited_edited.jpg

2019

24cms (W) x 30cms (H)

Oil on Panel

Love it? Rate itDon’t love itNot greatNot badReally goodLove itLove it? Rate it

This one is about a friend of mine I got to know as she is married to a friend of mine. Originally, I was working on an art deco painting based on one of their wedding photos but it ended up being incongruous with this series' style. I'll finish that one later and write about it.

Anyway, she is a Psychology lecturer at a university. However, in her spare time she is a dance teacher and runs a dance studio. She sent me a lot of photos of the style of dance she teaches, which is traditional Chinese dance, though in the photos she sent me the most striking aspects were the dresses/costumes. This made me think about the giant bilboards you see in high-end malls in Shanghai that while similarly colourful are in stark contrast to the philosophy behind traditional dance. This made me think about doing a night scene, with this person in a humble setting (her dance studio) but presented in the same way a high-end fashion brand would advertise here.

These images are most striking in a night scene (because the lighting is so powerful) so I thought i'd try a night painting - which i've not done before. The buildings in the right side are nearby where they live and I liked the lighting effects on them.

The dance my friend is doing is based on a regional Chinese dance called the 'Peacock Dance'. The characters in the purple sign in the middle spell out the last character of 'traditional' and the characters for 'Peacock dance'. To continue the peacock theme (and to reflect the fact that I originally started on an art deco painting), I used a peacock feather art deco pattern on the illuminated wall below the bilboard.

Finally, linking to the theme of dance, one of the features of Shanghai life that is most intriguing to us foreigners is the practice of public exercise. It doesn't take long to get used to seeing people do Tai Chi in the park, but it's harder to become accustomed to people line dancing in the street at night whenever the weather is passable. It seems to be something that an older generation prefer, and apparently there is some concern about the noise pollution, so it's difficult to tell how long this will be a feature of the city. I thought this was worthwhile capturing, so the people in the foreground are all dancing.

这幅画画的是我的一位朋友,认识她是因为她嫁给了我的一个朋友。起初,我想依照他们结婚照画一幅装饰画,但后来发现和这个系列的风格不太一致。后续我会把装饰画画完,并附上介绍。

朋友是一名大学的心理学讲师。不过,在业余时间她也是一名舞蹈老师,经营一家舞蹈工作室,教传统中国舞。她给我发了很多民族舞照片,不过照片最吸引人的是那些民族舞服装。这让我想起了上海的很多高端商场大型广告电子屏,虽然也绚丽多彩,却和民族舞的五颜六色完全不同。于是我有了画这幅夜景图的想法,背景是朋友在简单的舞蹈房(她自己的工作室),同时高端时尚品牌广告也作为背景。

这些绚丽的色彩在夜幕下更加耀眼(因为灯光),所以我想尝试一幅夜景画-以前从未画过。画中右侧的建筑在朋友住所附近,我很喜欢那墙上的光影效果。

画里我的朋友正在跳的是一种民族舞蹈“孔雀舞”。中间紫色牌子上的汉字是传统的统和孔雀舞。为了保持孔雀的主题延续性(并反映出我最初想要画装饰画的事实),广告牌下方电子墙上用的是孔雀羽毛装饰画图案。

最后,与舞蹈主题相关,上海生活的特色之一,也是对外国人来说最有趣的一点是全民健身。我很快就习惯了看到人们在公园里打太极拳,但还是不太习惯广场舞,不管天气好坏,晚上跳舞的人都排成队伍在广场跳舞。跳广场舞更多的是老年人,而且显然是有一些噪音污染的,因此很难说这项特色锻炼活动会存在多久。我认为这种画面值得捕捉的,所以画总前景是正在跳广场舞的人们。