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  • Tiffany Davis-Rustam

Dancing Towards a Figurative Breakthrough, Part 1 of 4

Sept. 20, 2012 — original post

Previously most of my signature paintings have been more or less strictly abstract in nature, that is with little if any representational form. That’s mainly because I love creating new forms so much that I have little patience depicting realistic figures and nature.


Recently however, while discussing composition with my friend & seasoned painter Roderick Smith, he impressed upon me the depth of  fascination with drawing figures from life. Once you involve a human figure in a painting for example, suddenly there is a narrative story that develops within it. I can see this evidence for myself, as viewers I’ve met tend to identify more with paintings that have a person in them. How many times have you seen a painting like that and automatically insert your own identity into it?


Breakthrough drawing sketches, from the top left to the bottom right.

So, this inspired me to start drawing more. I haven’t drawn as much in the past, because I just want to move on to the colors right away— impetuous artist! But I was compelling to study the human body at it’s most dynamically beautiful shapes—dancing! The movement and energy of dancers leaping across the air was fascinating to me, and as I looked and sketched I started to find geometric shapes in the limbs and arcs of these limber bodies.

Suddenly I was finding a unique way to simplify and abstract human figures that really excites me. I suppose I’d started to abstract form a while ago, but it was only in this series of dancer studies that it hit me, and it felt like a big breakthrough!


Above is the first of 4 painting studies I’ve done, to be followed by 3 more in the next 3 days. To the right is the initial drawing where the creative switch flipped on for me. What do you think?


The original painting is now sold, but small prints are available upon request.

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