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.
What do you think? Which one brings out her beauty and strength more?