Abstract Pas de Deux

Now that the first semester of grad school here in New York is over, I’ve finally had time to catch up on sleep, see friends, and take some art requests.


A friend of mine is doing the dreaded ‘moving in New York’ thing and asked me to create a few small pieces for a gallery in her new space. She already had a beautiful black and white photograph and lovely botanical print that she wanted me to work around. Therefore, I stuck to a black and white palate with pops of green.

I don’t know about you, but when someone says ‘just make something, anything!’ rather than have a creative explosion, I usually feel like a deer caught in artistic-freedom headlights. Anything!?

I started with a free draw with pastels on vellum. At first I had it facing the other way, and hated it. It looked like a big egg. Or maybe a dancer with arms held 5th en haute. Do I see ballet in everything?


So then I turned it as it is here, and I liked the teardrop shape, which I used in the solo female’s skirt (pencil and watercolor on vellum) .

From there, I wanted to try that shape as a pattern, and it turned into this little corps de ballet of watercolor and chalk on card stock. When the light hits it, it has a lovely ethereal quality and the formation reminded me of Giselle act 2. So, for the last small pencil and shapree piece, I went very literal with a rendition of the Act 2 pas de deux.


I think the dark shape, extending towards the right side of the paper, circled by the vibrant green looks like the ghostly Giselle being supported by her living breathing partner, Albrecht. I used this gorgeous photo of Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones in American Ballet Theatre’s 1979 production.


I love the transformation from abstract to concrete. It’s  a fun way of tackling the ‘make something’ dilemma, which of course, is a good problem to have. Now to format and frame!

Limited number of prints available. Contact Jess at copelia12@sbcglobal.net for pricing / sizing.

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