Every summer at the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governor's Island, I leave in awe of the beautiful 1920s costumes and snazzy dance moves of fellow New Yorkers. It is such a colorful event to take part in and to doodle afterwards. Every year I see this particular couple on the dance floor and they are marvelous. Watching them, I feel momentarily transported into the supper club scene of a movie where complicated dance steps are second nature and get even better the more bath tub gin one guzzles.
Drawing them was a little bit of a breakthrough for me. Some of my jazz age drawings have been looking a little tight and overly cartoony, but after a day of frustrated drawing last weekend, where nothing was quite working, I did a rough, loose sketch of them and it just began to come together naturally. With painting, I think I need a fair amount of warm up time to finally loosen up enough to create a piece I really like.
Here is the evolution of the painting. I started with a wet pink wash to play off of her red costume. Whether or not I have the patience to let it dry thoroughly before moving onto the next layer depends on my mood.
I've been playing a bit with time lapses while working and captured a bit of the layering process.
And the finished product. I often outline in black with a brush pen and India ink, but I liked the effect of using black watercolor and seeing it bleed a bit into shadows. I'm really liking this effect and I think I'll use it for my next round of Mermaid Parade paintings.
This piece is for sale in the shop and will be part of a short Illustrated Guide to the Jazz Age Lawn party I'm working up for August's to do.