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Why a Male Belly Dancer?

Encouragement for pursuing art comes from many places – both internal and external. One of my external influencers is my esthetician, Zubeda. Zubeda is the owner of Zubeda Spa and Salon on Salem Street in Medford, MA.

During my visits to the salon, Zubeda and I would talk about my artwork. I was inspired to create a belly dancer for her salon due to the Persian-like interior design.

Interior of Zubeda Spa and Salon – photo from Zubeda website
Another image of Zubeda’s Salon – photo from Zubeda’s website

I thought, “A belly dancer would be a good subject. A female belly dancer is too common.” I knew that male belly dancers existed. I also knew given the nature of Zubeda and her salon that both would support a more edgy subject. It was a great opportunity to push the envelope and create a male belly dancer!

I felt anxious about creating this subject. For one, I had never done it. Also, it needed to be something that would support Zubeda’s brand. The pressure was on!

I wanted it to be colorful and vibrant. I ordered some more oil pastel colors to support the piece. I added more flesh tones and metallic colors. I also bought some bedazzle because I knew the piece would need sparkly additions.

I also knew that I would need the definition that charcoal would add to the piece. I had just learned that charcoal and pastel can be used together.

I found a reference photo. My style is to be a bit abstract. I am definitely not a realist when it comes to my artwork!

Per usual for me, I plunged into the project head first with two failed first attempts. I was frustrated, but continued on.

First attempt – way too just wrong for me.
Second attempt – getting there, but just not quite. Later used for scrap to check my pencil colors.

It’s been said that the third time is the charm. This proved to be true for me with the male belly dancer piece. I took my time and focused. The sketch is the basis for success or failure. I really focused on that and the colors.

Success!! I was over the moon! I knew I had done it!!

I loved the stillness of the dancer, position of his arms, and continuing skirt movement. The colors! I just loved the colors! The gold oil pastel on the top of the skirt was just right.

I matted and framed it. The male belly dancer found his home.

Male belly dancer at Zubeda’s Salon and Spa.
A closer image of the male belly dancer at Zubeda’s Salon and Spa.

Thanks for sharing in my story of the making of the male belly dancer. And my triumph as well!

My artwork is for sale on pontiusartist.com. A small Mother’s Day exhibit of my artwork will be at Zubeda’s Salon and Spa on Mother’s Day. And I’m having an Art Sale on the Lawn 6/12 10a-4pm.

Let me know what you think. I love dialogue!

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