I’ve been thinking about kindness a lot lately, especially around the holidays; my personal mantra has always been ‘kindness, regardless’ because, well, you never know what people are going through/feeling on the inside and it actually takes very little effort to be kind. The world can be tough, and I don’t want to add to anyone’s suffering.
And yet still, I have my moments of forgetting the mantra (oops). Even though there are times I’m not so great to myself or others, somehow I always come back to this thought as my touchstone. I find that if I ultimately stay focused on kindness, it gets me where I need to go.
So I was really psyched when the sentiment of this piece popped in my head as I was painting. I think it had to do with the soothing colors + the gentle overall tone–it was fun to experiment along the way. And this painting was a great learning experience for me–the process gave me the faith + confidence to stick with my gut until it felt right, even when I got frustrated for not getting there sooner.
Here is the first pass through where I’m just getting some colors, textures and layers down. At this point, I try to stay loose and enjoy the free-style painting:
I added in some lines and stamping, just to mix it up a little.
Then I felt like the girl was ready to appear–I experimented and used gesso for the first layer of her face, just to see how it made a difference. I usually paint with a flesh color right on top of the other layers. (Turns out this was a great idea!)
I added her dress, feeling tentative about the colors of it but went with it for the moment. Again, checking in with my gut.
When I added her face and hair, it dawned on me that the dress was all wrong. I was feeling my way through the process–rationale doesn’t have a huge role in my decision making while painting. I try to stick to how it feels, no matter what.
So after I added the butterfly and leaves to her hair, I tore off the dress and used some turpentine to remove it from the canvas. This isn’t a fun process because it’s stinky and can stretch the canvas a little, but it was well worth it.
Once I went with the different color dress, it all fell into place. I loved the way it looked!
Here’s a close up of her sweet face with the sentiment: the gesso helped to make it a true flesh color.
And here’s the finished product:
You can find prints of Kindness Is The Way in my shop here.
We all need kindness in our life, friends.