Frustrations of a drowning dancer

dancer
I’ve had a day of frustrations.
The original photograph, of a shop window mannequin, felt like it should have been graceful. This should have been a fluid and easy collage to create but instead it has been fraught with frustration after frustration. Each move felt awkward. The background was heavy and difficult and each cut seemed to make the problem worse. I felt like I was reading a book with a disappointing plot; almost ready to give up at the turn of each page, but still with half a hope that it would get better with time. For me, this image never got better and I had to fight myself mentally to complete it. I look now and rather than floating in a luxurious surrounding, this faceless dancer has become swamped and is suffocating. She is drowning in a sea of opulence.
Only 2 days ago I attempted ‘An Exercise in Fluidity’ (see August 10th blog) which, as far as I can see, worked. The wispy smokes and gentle curves felt effortless. What could have gone so wrong in just 2 days?
I say wrong, but I mean differently. My preconceptions of what a dancer should be have clouded my ideas of the actuality of my source material. ‘Fluidity’ was easy because the background was delicately coloured and lacking in detail and of course the shadowed hand was easy to isolate. In contrast ‘Dancer’ is messy and complicated. Her clothing and beading is over-designed and ornate. The background is gaudy and pompous.Only the shape of the mannequin beneath holds any signs of grace and poise.
It is my misconceptions of this mannequin that meant I failed to see the actual photograph that I was working with. I was attempting to respond to my ideas of the dancer’s body rather than her visible adornments. In retrospect, my frustrations were inevitable. I was drowning in a conflict between what I saw and what my brain expected.
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