Original artwork, 100 x 120 cm, Oil on canvas, 2014
Blue Dreams is the first part of Pavel Mitkov's ballet triptych – subtle in conception and deep in embodiment. The blue colour is a reference to clear blue skies – as high and pure as this fragile little girl's dream of ballet dancing. Blue is the colour of reveries, fantasies and dreams, it is epiphany. “Blue is darkness weakened by light,” wrote Goethe. Blue is also the colour of creativity and is proven to facilitate learning. Yes, evidently, this little girl is only beginning to learn. The cute tutu – the fluffy tail of a future magnificent swan – is a proof of passing her first test, the stringent selection among many aspiring dancers to be initiated to the enchanting world of ballerinas.
The tiny girl has it all – the right body type, flexibility, thin ankles and curved foot arches. The small but sturdy body is fit for physical strain. Her artistic temperament and disposition to emotional intensity is highlighted by pitching the small childish figure against the pink background. Pink is red lightened with white. It keeps the passion of the red colour adding the purity, mystery and touching innocence of white. Pink and white are the perfect mix to render the character's gentleness. It looks as though in her new adult boarding-school life, the girl is carried away by memories of the pink room of her younger years.
The little ballerina's dreamy world is protected by silver tinkling in the air, much like in Konstantin Balmont's poem: “There it is, an invisible colour. It has air and silver jingle about it, yet no name.” The artist has used icon-painting silver leaf in his work. Silver denotes virginity, the feminine nature and, at the same time, the mortality of human beings, who need to constantly struggle if they are to reach anywhere near perfection. Silver also hints at genuine talent, recognised, “kissed by God”, for it is said: “The Lord's words are true and pure like silver melted in a hot fire. They are pure like silver that was melted and made pure seven times.” (Ps. 11:7, LXX).
The little ballerina's hands, in a somewhat clumsy gesture, and her sight, all draw attention to her right foot. A human foot is nature's masterpiece. With a high-rising arch, the foot perfectly aligns with the stretched leg in one finished straight line drawn in a dance or in the ballerina's frozen, sculpture-like body posture. And it is from the character's beautiful, perfect, divine foot that a “fountain” of blue butterflies shoots up. It is where an observer's attention is focused with all, hand movement, sight and the most exquisite butterfly, pointing at it. But why?
“Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.” There is a price to pay for everything in this world! Ballerinas look like butterflies, ethereal fairies, incorporeal creatures. But, oh, how much sweat and blood this gravity-defying “flight” takes! The little dancer will have to pay a hefty price for her “blue dreams”: Dancing en pointe will inevitably distort her feet. Her big toes are in for strain beyond what nature has devised them to take. From now on and for good, she will have foam rubber toe spacers between her toes, as well as foot pads. Nothing comes for free in this world!
And how gently, in compassion, the morph butterfly – the blue butterfly of dreams – is clinging the child's foot, as though to soothe the pain-to-come, to wipe away the inevitable tears and support the child in her effort to transform, asserting that the miracle of changing from one form into another does exist.
The tiny girl, still a child, has chosen, with so much feminine self-denial, to serve great art. So many emotions, feelings, reflections and doubts! The first part of Pavel Mitkov's ballet triptych has a strong potential for a fascinating plot. How will the Blue Dreams end up?