This painting started out as one thing and ended up as something completely different!
Originally, I was envisioning the background of birds with a very colorful young woman. Not the usual skin tones, but lots of yellows, pinks, and lavenders.
The birds are decoupaged on, and once the painting was finished, I had thought that I would add more birds and flowers in her hair.
But, I just couldn’t make it work.
At one point, it was actually turning out, but I chose the wrong color for her hair, and I ruined it.
I was so sad! I had spent hours painting her and now what was I going to do??
So I sat her aside for a day and contemplated my choices.
In the end, I scrubbed away as much of the paint as I could, but some areas were stained with color.
So, I sat her aside for another day and thought about it.
The cradled wood canvases are really too expensive to just throw away.
I can’t just rip it up as I have done with watercolor paintings on paper that went terribly wrong…
and then my husband reminded me that even the great masters reused their wood canvases.
SO, as far as I could think, these were my choices:
1) I could sand the entire picture away with my electric sander, or 2) I could paint over the entire thing with white gesso (pronounced Jesso) or white watercolor ground…
but I really liked the bird background and wanted to keep it!
1) I could completely cover the young woman with white gesso or 2) just gesso out her hair and go from there.
I chose the latter because I had worked really hard drawing her face, and I liked it.
So, I gessoed out her hair and started painting her face in skintones.
I’m sorry, I didn’t take any photos at this stage.
Finally, she was looking pretty, but I didn’t like the shape of her hair.
I played around sketching over her hair, changing the shape, changing hair styles. I even tried braids and a circlet… but I just wasn’t happy with it.
I kept thinking that it was shaped right to be a hood or a scarf.
Next, I looked through my inspiration board and came across this photo of the late, great Frida Kahlo.
It’s such a beautiful photo!
She is wearing a blue scarf or headband. There are either beads traveling the length of the blue scarf/headband or in her hair, and there is a lovely red fringed scarf over that.
I knew immediately that this was the inspiration that I needed and started painting right away!
At this point, my husband asked me if this was supposed to be a religious painting because the bright blue made him think of Mary.
I explained that it was not and that I was working towards a red scarf, and I showed him the inspiration photo of Frida Kahlo.
Here she is! All finished!