I had a terrible self-image when I was a teenager. I used to hate my big bulky fore-head. When I rode my bicycle to school I tilted my head so that the wind blew my hair over my face. I used copious amounts of hairspray to keep my fringe in place for fear of exposing my bulky fore-head. No matter what my mom or others told me (for example that a big forehead is a sign of wisdom, blah blah blah) I didn’t believe them.
I always wore a fringe, up until my oldest son was born. I didn’t have the time or energy to tend to a hairstyle with a baby in tow. 5 Years ago I shaved my hair and wore my big bulky fore-head with pride.
A couple of days ago an artist friend of mine let me know that she is painting my portrait:
I feel honored being painted by her! I admire her skill, technique and talent! check out her blog here for more amazing work by Vanessa Berlein!
I also feel kinda weird (self-conscious) being ‘watched’ and so closely examined in order to be painted by her.
And I feel super strange seeing that big bulky fore-head again! (Its different seeing yourself in a mirror than seeing yourself through the eyes of someone else).
I cannot help but wonder how others eg: Mona Lisa felt after seeing the painted version of themselves?!
Suddenly I am thinking about a snippet of this ‘story’ from the book= “Possessing the secret of joy, by Alice Walker”:
….”Days went by when the only voice she heard was her inner one.
Soon, she began to listen to it.
Lara, it said, sit here, where the sun may kiss you. And she did.
Lara, it said , lie here, where the moon can make love to you all night long. And she did.
Lara, it said, one bright morning when she knew herself to have been well kissed and well loved: sit here on this stone and look at your beautiful self in the still waters of this stream.
Calmed by the guidance offered by her inner voice, Lara sat down on the stone and leaned over the water. She took in her smooth, aubergine little snout, her delicate, pointed ears, her sleek, gleaming black fur. She was beautiful! And she was well kissed by the sun and well made love to by the moon.
For one whole day, Lara was content. When her co-wife asked her fearfully why she was smiling, Lara only opened her mouth wider, in a grin. The poor co-wife ran trembling off and found their husband, Baba, and dragged him back to look at Lara. When Baba saw the smiling, well kissed, well made love to Lara, of course he could hardly wait to get his paws on her! He could tell she was in love with someone else, and this aroused all his passion.
While Lala wept, Baba possessed Lara, who was looking over his shoulder at the moon. Each day it seemed to Lara that the Lara in the stream was the only Lara worth having – so beautiful, so well kissed, and so well made love to. And her inner voice assured her this was true.
So, one hot day when she could not tolerate the shrieks and groans of Baba and Lala as they tried to tear each other’s ears off because of her, Lara, who by now was quite indifferent to them both, leaned over and kissed her own serene reflection in the water, and held the kiss all the way to the bottom of the stream.”
Check out some more amazing portraits here!
2 thoughts on “on being painted….”
your forehead is beautiful. The winters night I met you and photographed you, you looked like an Elizabethan queen and I have thought of you as such ever since. – An Elizabethan Queen, living in Africa, making art and being a mum. Am honoured to know you and loved painting you!
Aw Vanessa, Thank you for the beautiful words. making me all teary eyed here. xxx