Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Constructing a Whirling Dervish

"Whirling Dervishes" 4" x 5" original acrylic © Gwen Duda
I have always found the Whirling Dervishes amazing and I finally had a reason to put them to paint and canvas. 

First we start with some palette work - which colours to use, what colour palette to construct. Also how to illustrate the whirling Dervish. Should he or she be solo or in a group? What colours and values to use? Note I started with a red/green idea but changed it after realizing it was not creating the right mood. Also I could see that we needed to have yellow (raw sienna/cadmium yellows) involved here. But it needed more than that.

Onward with the color workings. You'll see in the lower right hand area of the photo a color chart made of my yellow ochres to raw umber. Yes, I have a LOT of paints. I don't even want to think of the $$$ in paint I have but, this gives you some idea. In the upper left I am working out colour theory - and decide on a combination of a trapezoid for balance worked in with mother colour theory.

Here is the trapezoid. It's a yellow (raw sienna) with orange (burnt sienna) with alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue (combined for the violet). You could call it triangular but really and yes, in theory that would work, but I wanted to figure out how exactly this would work and ultramarine blue needed to be in the mix. 

So in the final art work, it appears to be a gold (yellow) violet and burnt orange (burnt sienna) painting but there is blue in there, oh yes there is. Good colour theory, good design and execution is crucial to a good painting and it takes careful planning to have a successful painting. Oh yes it does : )

To purchase a reproduction of "Whirling Dervishes" please go here


  1. I am extremely grateful as I am in possession of this amazing painting. Really cool how you put it together! Thank you!
    -Ali Jafri

  2. You are MOST welcome, Ali! It was a joyful learning experience and I am just glad it turned out, cause ya never know. Lol!