The Eyes are the window to your soul.— William Shakespeare
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In October 2019, I had an idea. It was approaching Halloween, one of my favourite times of the year. I was seeing a lot of facepaint ideas for the usual scary faces, with the addition of some gory ones on various social media platforms. That’s when I had an idea. To paint my face in the style of an artist, to the run up of Halloween. I would do it for 9 days. It would be fun.
I wasn’t sure about this idea, so passed it by a couple of friends who said, ‘Yes 100%, do it’.
So that is where this journey began. I remember feeling so nervous about posting the first picture. Would people like it? Would they think I was strange? I was putting my face out there for people to see. Something I hadn’t done before.
I started with what I thought were easy replicates. Yellow dots on a red background. Nothing challenging. I remember feeling anxious about posting the picture. The series that followed saw me paint more complicated pieces, where I progressed to painting landscapes on my face. I was still playing it safe with my choices.
But there was something else that was happening during those nine days. I was healing. I was seeing myself for the first time. I don’t have a beauty regime in the morning. I brush my teeth, quickly wash my face and that will be the last time I look in a mirror, until bedtime. I don’t have mirrors all over my house and as I spend the majority of my time outside, I don’t have the opportunity to stare at my reflection to check my appearance. It is something that just doesn’t interest me.
I found myself staring at my face for 45-60 minutes a day. I was looking into my eyes. I was liking the work I was producing, I was liking myself. No, it was more than that. I loved myself. For the first time in my adult life, I was talking to myself in a positive encouraging way. It gave me confidence in my ability as an artist. It gave me confidence to be the version of myself I wanted to be. It gave me confidence to realise that I deserved to be loved, respected and more importantly, I learnt a lot about myself.
It was something I hadn’t thought about, at the beginning of the series. How I would develop creatively. I just had an idea and went with it.
I had not spent that length of time looking at my own face… ever. As I mentioned apart from a quick wash in the morning and at night, that would be it.
I think I warmed to myself. I can actually say that I like myself… No, I love myself. I am not talking about being ‘up one’s own arse’ love. I mean a connection to me. The true me. I know what I like, what I don’t like, what I want and more importantly, what I don’t want.
It had been an empowering process and one that I channelled into my art. The face painting has continued and I now challenge myself with more complex paintings.