When approaching the very emotional task of creating a painting of Carmen for those that loved her, immediately two things filled my mind. Firstly, dance: it was Carmen’s passion, her chosen vocation, her life. Secondly, the way Carmen carried herself and her personality, her grace, and one of my favourite poems, by Byron, seems to have been written with her in mind.
She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
I knew that I would paint Carmen in dance as we all remember her, a gentle smile upon her face. Why the purple hue and shades? Music to dancers is a completely different experience then to others, even musicians. Music to a dancer is a tactile thing, it is a blueprint to a creation, a map to a destination, it is a journey…it is a sound that dancers can see…a colour.