Dancers leap to life on Roberta Falkner’s canvas

Roberta Falkner. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d450059
Roberta Falkner. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d450059

A LOVE of ballet awakened Roberta Falkner’s artistic sense when her mother took her as a teenager to watch a Russian ballet company at His Majesty’s Theatre.

“Unlike many girls, I had no contact with ballet as a child,” Falkner said.

“All I wanted to do after that production was dance and I was 16 by the time my mother said I could, which is incredibly late to start.

“I’ve just enjoyed it as an amateur and gone to adult classes ever since and never stop learning.

“I currently do classes at Charlesworth Ballet Institute in North Perth and the Perth School of Ballet in Osborne Park.”

Falkner’s adoration of the art form inspired her to begin painting ballet dancers several years ago, having since exhibited in group and solo shows at Gallows Gallery in Mosman Park.

Her latest collection of works is currently on display at the gallery until March 6.

“I’d always had the urge to(paint dancers) but practicality is a problem as dancers are constantly moving, so how do you draw them?” she said.

“I realised if I wanted to do it, I needed a dancer to model for me in my studio.

“I have a three-hour session with the model, doing different poses while I draw them; I have lots of drawings then use them as a starting point for my paintings.”

Falkner paints with oils on canvas and said seeing her visions fully realised was a long way and a lot of work from inspiration to the final painting.

“The satisfaction is in achieving that result because not all of them work and some are abandoned along the way,” she said.

“I’d like people to take away the sense of beauty and hard work in a dancer’s training.

“Because of this, not all of the paintings are of dancers dancing or looking as if they’re on stage, but perhaps looking tired, having a rest or about to start class.

“I’ve tried to capture those daily aspects in a dancer’s life.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Roberta Falkner exhibition

Where: Gallows Gallery, Mosman Park

When: until March 6