Art In Progress: Kindness Is The Way

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.


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:

Kindness is the way 1

I added in some lines and stamping, just to mix it up a little.

Kindness is the way 2

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!)

Kindness is the way 3

I added her dress, feeling tentative about the colors of it but went with it for the moment.  Again, checking in with my gut.

Kindness is the way 4

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.

Kindness is the way 5

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.

Kindness is the way 6

Once I went with the different color dress, it all fell into place.  I loved the way it looked!

Kindness is the way 7

Here’s a close up of her sweet face with the sentiment: the gesso helped to make it a true flesh color.

Kindness is the way 8

And here’s the finished product:

kindness is the way final

 You can find prints of Kindness Is The Way  in my shop here.

We all need kindness in our life, friends.