This painting is one of my favorites. The Ballerina is painted in artists oils with a thick, impasto texture medium that makes you want to reach out and run your fingertips over the work. When seen in person, the thickly-applied translucent colors in the flowers appear luminous, and the metallic gold details add an elegant quality to the work. I applied fine detailing in the costume and golden slippers to draw the viewer into the scene, and juxtaposed them against the textured impressionist strokes of the vibrant flowers and dramatic background. The sides are painted in a deep indigo blue to support the deep colors in the background, and the work is ready to hang.
When I was a child, I saw the Nutcracker ballet and it was thrilling. Afterwards, I wanted a pair of gold ballet slippers so I could become a ballerina. My father was a POW from WW2 who had spent 18 months in a concentration camp, and he suffered terrible physical pain and PTSD for his entire life. I had been so moved by the ballet that I came to believe that if I could dance for him in my golden ballet slippers, he would become happy and forget about his pain. This year, I was contemplating that memory about my father when I was inspired to paint this work. In it, my ballerina is wearing the golden ballet slippers of my childhood dreams, and her tutu is covered in blooming flowers that represent the joy and happiness my father and I might have shared, if not for war. She represents a little girls hopes and dreams - the ones that came true, and the ones that did not.
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