Giselle 2-26-13 web


6″ x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission

Just finished Giselle yesterday. The painting is commissioned in honor of this client’s mother who worked as a seamstress for a dance company. In my mind I painted it for all workers toiling behind the screen-stage-platform with no spot light on them, but never-the-less indispensable. Just have seen Oscars, at least in movie business makeup people, costume people, hair people get recognition. I don’t believe in theater they do.

I learned an interesting technique while working on Giselle – painting translucent fabric. Really neat! I did quite a bit of work on transparent stuff, reflective stuff before – yes! But never translucent stuff until now. Apparently you can just physically mix the hue from underneath and hue from above and it tricks the eye just enough for “willing suspension of disbelief”. But then you still have go after it with glazes or dry brush or both.

This painting also was under a self imposed deadline as I am holding tickets to go on my yearly trip to Israel to visit my family. The painting had to be finished at least 10 days before my departure to allow enough drying time to be able to varnish and ship it. Yikes! Now it better cooperates and gets dry and ready to varnish by March 7 or I am in trouble.

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  1. eldy March 1, 2013

    I love this…I can feel the buzz of excitement of show night and the last minute whirr of the sewing machine as costumes are finished and re-fitted. Wonderful.

    • Alex Zonis March 3, 2013

      Such a lovely thing to say! Thanks, eldy!

  2. Karen Boe March 1, 2013

    Israel time again already? Time goes by so fast.
    This painting turned out great Alex – it’s lovely! That fluffy cloud of tulle is pretty against the all the metal – gorgeous composition too.

    • Alex Zonis March 3, 2013

      I know, it seems too fast. We only started talking last year about this time and suddenly the whole year is gone! But we both painted a number of paintings – so that’s where the time went, LOL! Thank you for the comment, Karen!

  3. Sue March 1, 2013

    I check every day to see when you post a new painting, and I’m never disappointed when I come to your site. I absolutely love this painting. It will mean so much to your client. Your explanation of painting translucency was most generous and very much appreciated. I’d love to give it a try, and intend to study your painting to be sure I understand. Congratulations on such an outstanding work.

    • Alex Zonis March 3, 2013

      Aww, Sue! Thank you so much! I do believe in sharing and not hoarding. I’ve learned a great deal from generosity of numerous artists online and IRL, so I want to do the same. Making art is hard enough, we should be helping one another.

  4. Carol King March 2, 2013

    Hi Alex, this is absolutely stunning. That pink tulle brought me into the painting immediately and it works so well against the beautifully decorated Singer sewing machine. So many women in my family who came here from the “old country” got jobs as seamstresses in factories. This makes me think of them as well as your description of the dance theatre seamstress.

    I love your translucent material. and I love that pink. Enjoy Israel. I’m sure it will be nice to be in a warm climate and to see your family. Have a great trip.

    • Alex Zonis March 3, 2013

      So happy you like it, Carol! This little Singer resonates with a whole lot of people for the same reason you described. Of course, it does not hurt that it is so pretty.
      I can’t wait for warmth. That snow got boring a long time ago, haha!

  5. thewhiteswan March 6, 2013

    This is beautiful Alex, your client will be so pleased. It is a great way to remember a loved one.

  6. barbtaub March 12, 2013

    Congratulations – you’ve been nominated for a Liebster award! To find out more go to

  7. eightdecades March 22, 2013

    Found your site and really like it, can appreciate your work as a fellow painter, This is a very nice piece of work covering many aspects of difficulty, and speaks to most everyone. Very well conceived and presented. I have looked at your other images too, all great! I like your site presentation too! Thanks

    • Alex Zonis March 29, 2013

      Thank you so much, John! Appreciate your kind words!

  8. joantav March 22, 2013

    This is absolutely beautiful!!! The fabric as well as the machine are spot on!!!

  9. edurne April 2, 2013

    HI Alex:

    I’m a Spanish sketcher and I’m going to Chicago for only five days from the 4th April.

    I go with my husband and my brother and sister in law (they don’t are sketchers) and we have a full visit program. So maybe, to meet Chicago’s sketchers would be complicated but if it was possible I will be happy.

    My flicker account is ….

    My English is very limited but I think we are being able to understand our drawings…


    • Alex Zonis April 2, 2013

      Dear Edurne, thank you so much for writing! I am travelling out of the country right now and am not in Chicago. But we have over 100 sketchers in Chicago group – many would love to meet you. If you are on Facebook – please join our group and let us know when you can meet. If you are not on Facebook, let me know what is your email – I will forward it to my sketcher friends in USk Chicago. Lovely to hear from you! –

  10. lindahalcombfineart April 7, 2013

    Alex, This is enchanting and so emotionally rich. REALLY beautiful work.

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