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:
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 ♥ ♥ ♥