I love to paint faces, especially eyes and big hair. One day, a Facebook friend asked if I have ever painted a bald woman. I have not. And never thought of that either. She is a breast cancer survivor and she sent me a photo of herself, bald, smiling radiantly with her friends. It inspired me. She inspired me. I decided to try it. Paint a bald woman.
As I did this painting, a few thoughts came to my mind…
Firstly, the role of hair in my life..Hair has always been such an integral part of my appearance and identity. A bad hair cut used to be devastating when I was younger. I would feel ugly and not confident. As I grow older, i would be self conscious about a bad hair cut but not to the same degree. Hair is like my safety blanket.. especially long hair.. I don’t think I am alone in this kind of thinking. So I can only imagine the adjustment someone going through chemo will have to make when they start losing their hair. The courage and bravery to step out with a wig or without one. I have a lot of respect for women going through that.
And while I am painting this, I also realized that without her hair framing her face, her features stood out even more. Her eyes look more beautiful, her facial shape looks more distinct… it’s like I can see her better. There was no hair to cover anything up. This is her true self. She is bold and beautiful.
Anyway, I really enjoyed painting this. Think I will paint a few more.
The one thing I struggled with was the background. As I am used to painting big crazy colorful hair, this pure state without her hair left me wondering what to do with her background.
I started with no background color. Like this..
While I liked that her eyes stood out, I wondered if something was missing. If it feels too cold and stark. So I painted in some color in the background, added some flowers, then some additional texture with acrylic paint and stamps. And this is her.