I have been working so hard the past few days that I needed a break, so I decided to work on what I thought was going to be a fun and silly challenge. Every month Petra’s Art has a challenge in her international group and this month was to create a self portrait using the “Paint Over” Technique. This is where you take an image and literally paint over it.
This turned out to be the most personal and emotional piece I have ever made. I was so surprised at the emotions that came welling up inside me as I created her. I wanted to stay with those feelings, and figure them out so I apologize for the limited amount of photos today.
I started by taking Mod-Podge and gluing the photo to my art journal. When that I was completely dry I added clear gesso to the page. Then I took my acrylic paints and loosely painted the values.
The next step was to add my pastels. I was not liking how it looked so I kept going back and forth between the acrylics and pastels until I was happy.
It was at this point that the Big Feelings started to come up. The next step was adding details to my mouth, hair and eyes. I also worked on her shirt and background.
Here “I am” completed…I do want to share with you some of things that I learned…Just like this “completed” self portrait it is not perfect, neither am I and that is okay! There are areas that I would do differently, but it is where I am at today on this journey. I think I need to learn how to be kind to my self. As I was creating her the negative self talk started. “She looks so Ugly” “I am never going to be able to fix this” Then it occurred to me that I was literally talking about my self…Whoa! Yes, it was just a painting but it was deeper then that. I am always so encouraging to everyone one I love about their art work, I speak kindly to them, I tell them it will be okay. I realized that I would never speak to some one the way I was speaking to my self.
If that was not enough… I was realized that as I was discovering my self in the painting I am also on a journey to discover who I am. For years, I was the wife, the woman battling infertility, then “just a mom” I was the one who over came a traumatic childhood….but none of these things ever felt like it was really who I was. These where labels I placed on my self or that others placed on me. So this year as I learn to be courageous, part of that is going to be discovering who I am apart from all those things.
Just as the “me” in the painting went through some ugly stages so have I and I am ready to move to the next stage…I am becoming courageous!
Please tell me what you think in the comments below, but please be kind!