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A Dancer Painting Dancers
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Opening the paint tube with her teeth because residual acrylic has made fingers useless to loosen the cap, taking fistfuls of heavy gloss medium and slathering it onto the canvas with an open palm, pushing in old Chinese coins or Indian Shisha mirrorsâ€¦ Is she making art or just making a mess? There is just as much paint on her as the canvas. Gypsy Pirate Polka blaring from blip.fm, each movement hits the beat like a danceâ€¦ and why not? After all, we are watching a dancer paint. A dancer painting dancers. Parrots crying outside her studio window, sheâ€™s deep in the coffee country on the mountainside of a volcano. She lives on Mauna Lea Manor (Hawaiian for â€śMountain Joyâ€ť). It rains often in the afternoons â€“ the perfect time to work. Her three little boys will be getting off of the Elementary school bus soon, only a few precious hours of undisturbed bliss.
Stephanie answered an Artist call in an online forum to submit artwork for a book on belly dancing; the style of dance that she teaches. She grew up in an art supply store owned by mom, dad was a sculptor and architect, Nana painted portraits, and Grandma painted muralsâ€¦ art has always been in the blood but that didnâ€™t excuse her from going to Art school in Santa Barbara and then Italy to learn more. After years of doing commission work, doing revision after revision to satisfy a customer, she decided to throw any expectations to the wind and just paint a dancer the way she liked to paint- using a mixture of mediums and things at whimâ€¦ the way she likes to create in her personal journalsâ€¦ the way she hadnâ€™t really painted in years. Torn wallpaper here, a vintage postcard there, bits of an old map; chaos turned lyrical when united with intention.
Naturally after she sent it off, the doubts began to set inâ€¦ it was too messy, too personal, too â€śprettyâ€ť, not â€śprettyâ€ť enoughâ€¦ but actually it was enough; just enough. The author loved the idea of having Stephanie paint portraits of each of the contributing writers in this style to fully illustrate the book! This would mean she would be working on around 20 of these paintings. For Stephanie, it was the freedom she had dreamt of as an artist; to paint with no reserve, let the work pour out however it did with whatever materials were nearest herâ€¦ permission to let her hands dance on the canvas.
Many of the dancers she would be painting were not only dancers whom she personally admired, but living legends in the niche sub-culture of belly dance. Being the belly dance geek that she is, she now also had free license to interview these amazing icons in the field and ask them anything she desired. In speaking with her subjects and getting to know them â€“ their dreams, their personality, their passion, Stephanie is able to go beyond just a simple likeness on canvas, and infuse the personal spirit of each dancer in to the pieces she creates.
If you look close enough, you can get to know them too.
Read her interviews, get to know them and share the journey here: http://www.maunaleamanor.blogspot.com.