Two Steppin’

‘Two-Steppin’ is an original 8”x10” oil-on-canvas figure study of two dancers doing the Texas Two-Step. Available for $75 plus shipping.


‘Two Steppin’

I applied the paint with a palette knife to provide lots of texture and the impression of movement (one of my favorite aspects of figurative art). I originally chose to place the woman at the center to make her the focus of the painting, and because the woman is intended to be the focus of two-step dancing (and life generally — right?)

But after I began painting, I had second thoughts because the left hand side looked pretty empty. I actually considered chopping an inch or so off the left side (reducing the size of the painting to 6.5” x 10” and re-framing) to make the composition look more balanced. I experimented by covering up the left edge of the canvas; but this moved the woman off-center and severely reduced the illusion of motion — not the effect I was trying to achieve. So I completed the painting as originally planned.

These thoughts reminded me of the story behind French impressionist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s ‘At The Moulin Rouge’:


Figurative Painting ‘At the Moulin Rouge’ by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

The original masterpiece was painted sometime between 1892 and 1895 and appeared as shown above; but during the early 1900s, someone (either Lautrec or an art dealer) cropped several inches off the right side! Art scholars believe this was done to remove the lurid image of the risqué singer May Milton, making the painting more salable in the stodgy Victorian market of the time. Fortunately, there was a change of heart, and the section that had been removed was reattached sometime before 1914. Lautrec’s original oil-on-canvas figurative painting is now on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

So, if I change my mind or decide that success in the figurative art market demands the removal of the left side of ‘Two Steppin’, I’ll cut it off – saving the  piece for future reattachment when I’m famous. 🙂

About Valerie Rawlings

Austin, Texas oil painter focusing on portraits, landscapes and still life paintings
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2 Responses to Two Steppin’

  1. Karen McDonald says:

    Love the twirl of her dress…and we know how I like to twirl!!