I had a notion to paint some interlocking patterns of  colour using the human form as key . I wanted to balance on the edge of the figurative and abstract and let the interaction of colour be the main driver of the piece. I had some images of dancers and thought that this would be a good subject to use and then I thought of the title Dancing away the blues which then gave me direction for the hues and distribution of the colours.

I firstly did a watercolour sketch just to try out the colours and their distribution.


It also gave me an idea of the placement of the figures. I then had another go but this time with acrylic paint using both liquid and heavy bodied acrylics. I wanted to use acrylics to get the vibrancy of colour that they can give. I started with the liquid acrylics, washing them in and allowing them to mix like watercolours. I liked the effect and then I started to cut out forms with heavy bodied acrylics. This gave me the following sketch



I thought that the heavy bodied acrylics killed the dynamism of the liquid acrylics, so I had a second go but this time only used liquid acrylics, using subsequent washes to cut out the figures which resulted in the image at the top of the page.

Having only a limited number of liquid colours I did employ some heavy bodied colours but diluted them down and tried to get them mobile. I think it is coming along and I might get some more liquid acrylic colours to start a bigger version.

Other acrylic and watercolour paintings are on my website:  grahammcquadefineart.com



  1. I love seeing your progress through the piece and your thoughts as you went along. I love the top painting that you wound up with. It really is special, IMO. It’s so alive, and I love how the sunny colors in the middle are chasing the blues away to the fringes. Terrific stuff.


    • Thanks, I’m glad you like it, but it is only quite small and is just a sketch. I will be doing it bigger, but I also want some other ideas so that I can do a series of them.


    • Thanks, the liquid acrylics do have a great watercolour effect. I have used them before to create ethereal washes before applying other textures. This time I’ve used them almost exclusively.


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