Friday, 9 October 2015

We are never broken

Well, I finally finished my painting! It has been a long and laborious project, and there were times I had no idea how to proceed.

When I was looking back through my in-progress pictures I was surprised to see how many different layers this painting has. Sometimes I wasn't even sure it was the same painting ...

And even though I'm not even sharing all the steps I made, I'll have to warn you: this is a very picture-rich post, so if you want to skip all the in-between shots go straight to the end of this post and there you can see the completed painting :-)

 This is how it all started: back in Australia, when I was packing up all my art-stuff and decided to use up some nearly-finished paints on a blank canvas.

After spending a couple of months in the container crossing the oceans, I welcomed my canvas in Belgium and continued by adding more layers and a bit of collage

 always my favorite part: the dripping :-)

adding some contrast colours

and marks and drawings...

some more drips because, be honest, a painting needs drips, right?

adding some black lines

getting carried away with the reds and the turquoise ...

trying to break through all the red and blue, making lines and marks, still failing to see any images ....

And then all of a sudden I see her :-)

Starting to bring out her body

At this point I already know what she symbolizes for me. Now I "only" need to work it out ....

I see men everywhere in the bottom half of the canvas, and birds in the top half

At this point I want to leave the faces of the men in the background colours, and paint dark blue around them

or maybe white might be a better choice ... with some flowers and leaves .....

or red ...?? 

nah, don't like any of it, so I start painting a lighter blue

I kinda like the calming effect the blue has, so I go for more blue

But something is bothering me about this, and that has to do with what she symbolizes for me. I want to make the men less visible somehow

So I drip darker blue all over them ....

No, not good, too dark .... I decide to lighten it up with some white dots

Nooo, blah, don't like it. Too dark, too I don't know, it's just not what I want ....

Desperate times ask for desperate measures, so I take this picture and open it in Photoshop and try out some things. Because, believe me, there must be at least 20 layers on there already, and enough is enough .... I need to find out which direction to go, before I waste any more paint ...

I decide on lightening up the blue, get rid of all the white dots, and make the men more grey-ish in colour

And ta-daa: all of a sudden it's finished!

"We are never broken" - acrylics on canvas - 76 x 61cm - 29,9 x 24 inches

And now for the story behind this painting, or, at least, what it symbolizes for me. At the time I finally found her on the canvas, in between all the lines and marks, I was listening to Jewel singing "hands", don't know if you know the song but the refrain goes like "my hands are small I know, but they are not yours, they are my own and I'm never broken, we are never broken". And I had to think of all those women being victims of radical beliefs, and how systematic rape has become a "natural" element of war. I have been reading a lot about the lives of women in certain countries and I'm appalled by the lack of respect they get, it makes me sick how unspeakable acts are condoned in the name of religion. I am a fierce advocate of women's rights, and these things just make me so angry and frustrated. But I don't want to dwell on these negative feelings, I want to stay positive and believe in the power of women to stand up for themselves. I saw her as a strong woman, scarred by all she had to endure, but still rising up above it all, lightening up the world and leaving her past behind. Colourful and bright, while the men she's leaving behind are cowering in the dark and fading away in the distance, and hopefully, finally realizing that they did her wrong. Because that symbol was so strong for me it took me ages to get it right on the canvas. I don't know whether I succeeded, but for me it's finished. Phew ...!

And now I'm working on something new. A local gallery has asked me to make some very big paintings exclusively for them. So I ordered some canvases, and started on the first one:

It's BIG! I never painted a big canvas like this before, and it takes some getting used to. Not so easy to handle, and I'm always turning my paintings around to work from all sides. It measures 1 meter by 1 meter (39,4 x 39,4 inches).

Okay, very long post, so I guess I better finish here. I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday and to Show Your Face. I have been thinking about doing some drawings for Inktober too, but alas, no time. I started working on my new 2016 calendar though! Might be able to show some pics next week :-)

Before I forget: here's my funny for this week:

omg .... is this real !!?? :-D

Thanks so much for your visit, and I wish you a beautiful day and lots of warmth and love in the weekend! See you next week ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, 2 October 2015

A month of faces ...

I finished, for the 7th time, the 29 faces challenge, hosted by Ayala Art! I'm always amazed by all the work I got done in a month, and although it's hard sometimes to produce a face every single day, I'm always happy with the possibilities all the new faces give me (for making postcards or use in my Society6-shop etc....). Plus with the new things I've learned, because when you don't have much time you don't think so much about what you're doing and how you're doing it, and sometimes the "fast" faces are the ones I'm most happy with. And there are some techniques that I'll definitely use again.

Here are the ones from last week:

Numbers 25 and 26: pen sketch
Number 27: another page in my journal: collage and paint

Number 28: painted on top of a wooden box (that is not finished yet):

And the last one: number 29: pen sketch with background added in Photoshop

And then, of course, as always: a mosaic of all the faces for this month:

I'm happy with the variety of faces. I don't like to stay with the same technique all the time, I have days that I feel like painting, and other days I just want to sketch or collage.

I have also been painting on my big canvas. I finally know agan where I want to go with it, and it's nearing completion. Here's a sneak peek:

Hopefully next week I'll be able to finish it, and then I'll show you the in-progress pictures.

Thanks so much to everyone who has been following me and encouraging me throughout the challenge! I'll be linking this to Paint Party Friday, to Show your Face and for the last time to 29 faces. Click on the links to take a look at all the beautiful work that's being produced every week by talented artists all over the world!

Here's my funny for this week:

 Can't remember if I used this one already, but even if I have, it stays funny I think :-)

The only thing left to do is to wish you a beautiful day and a relaxing weekend! Thanks for being here, I'll be back next week ♥ ♥ ♥

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

29 faces: the end ...

Well, time ran away from me today, and in the end I only had time for a quick pen sketch. But I did it: 29 faces in 30 days! There were days that I thought I would have to give up, but I'm glad I continued :-)

Here's the final face:

I made the pen sketch in my journal, scanned it in and then added a background in Photoshop.

Tomorrow I'll be back with a mosaic of all the faces I created this month. Thanks for making this journey with me, I really appreciate all the lovely comments ♥ ♥ ♥

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

29 faces: number 28!

Today's face is on top of a big wooden box, that I've been meaning to paint for ages but never  finished. It's still not finished, but at least the face is :-)

It has this texture because I did the background with a sponge (a long time ago!)

Only one more! Seems like a lot of people have already finished their 29 faces. I'll be back tomorrow for my last one. See you then!

Monday, 28 September 2015

And here's number 27!

Didn't think I would make it today but I did :-)
Here's another paint and collage face in my journal:

Not sure whether she's finished. I might do some more with the background, or with her arms, or with something .... But no time for that now. This makes face nr 27! Only two more to go!

Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Faces 25 and 26!

In the nick of time for my next two faces! Told you I wasn't gonna get much art done this weekend, and I was right. Just had time to do 2 very quick faces. Here they are:

So that makes number 25 and 26! Only 3 more!! Can't believe September is almost over ....
Will be back tomorrow with the next one! Thanks for stopping by ♥

Thursday, 24 September 2015

29 faces and Paint Party Friday

Yep, it's the end of the week. Again. I measure September in terms of faces, so only 5 more to go!

Here's face number 23: collage and paint in my artjournal:

And face number 24: (very) quick (and a bit weird) pensketch in my sketchbook:

And here are the other faces I did this week.

Faces number 18, 19 and 20: collage and  paint in my journal:

Number 21: sketch

Number 22: (ugly) messy painting with some Photoshop-styling ....

That's it for this week! No time at all for my big canvas. Won't have much time this weekend either, my daughter is turning 13 tomorrow and has planned a very busy weekend ....

Linking this to Paint Party Friday, to Show your Face and of course to 29 faces!

Hope you're having the most beautiful day! Thanks so much for visiting, I'll be back on Saturday (I hope...)

Here's my funny for this week:


Have a lovely weekend! ♥ ♥ ♥