I love how sometimes things just seem to grow and develop by themselves, into something you didn't expect at all. Last week, after I got back from my trip to England, I wanted to try out some of the thingsI had bought in my favourite shops in London. I had seen an image on Pinterest that inspired me. An airy dainty little watercolour. It was the pose that attracted me. The face of a woman, head bowed, eyes closed, with the hair covering half of the face. I knew it wasn't going to be airy and dainty at all, as I wanted to try out the new shades of oil paint sticks I had bought (more about those delicious oil sticks later, in a separate post). In fact, the result doesn't have anything in common with the painting that inspired me, apart from the closed eye and the half hidden face.
I had always wanted to try out oil painting, but somehow had never quite gotten round to it. It always seemed to be too complicated somehow. So much stuff you needed, and then the long drying time. Acrylics are just so much easier to handle. The oil sticks, however, seemed to be a perfect compromise to try it out at last. And I just love their creamy richness. You can paint with them directly on to the paper, like a crayon, and use your fingers to spread and blend the colours over the surface and to paint your picture. You can also use them with a brush, but I didn't have any special brush cleaner for oil paints, so I haven't tried that out yet. Here I just painted with my fingers entirely. I love doing this anyway. You really get the feeling for your materials this way. Just you, the paint, and the paper, so to speak.
I didn't pay any attention to proportions or real life likeness etc. The nose especially, I didn't really bother about. It was the expression of the face - the eye and the mouth - I was interested in. And most of all the colours, the soft pinks, the rich reds, the deep purples - Muave, Dusty Rose, Dioxazine Purple, Cadmium Deep Red, Alizarine Crimson, Grape. Oh, don't you just LOVE the wonderful, promising names of colours?
I absolutely loved doing this art journaling page. It just seemed to pour out of my fingers on to the page, the image emerging, layer by layer, in front of my eyes without me really knowing where it was going and how it would turn out. I also didn't have any intention of adding text, but at one point, I looked at it, and the word "strength" just came into my mind, and I just had to add it. And this is the final result:
The whole picture felt like something I just had to. Something inside me that wanted to get out, and on to the page. And I have a feeling that this is a painting I will turn to again and again, whenever I'm in need of some calm and strength. To remind me to close my eyes for a moment, to take a deep breath, to collect myself, to find some calm, ease and strenght somewhere deep inside me, before opening my eyes again and facing the world.