a few months ago, i got a message on instagram from a friend of a friend, amy, about something i instantly had mixed feelings about. see, amy's an incredible portrait artist, and she had recently painted a portrait of my best mate rebekah for an exhibition she was involved with. i loved bex's portrait, and thought it was incredibly accurate - there were similarities up the wahzoo, and amy had done such an incredible job depicting all of rebekah's facial features, her resting bitch face, and - in bex's eyes, her flaws.
naturally, i didn't see the flaws the way she did, but i guess that's self reflection, isn't it. which was my biggest, biggest worry when i first read amy's message. she wanted to paint me next. on the one hand, i was tooootally flattered! no one has ever painted me before, so i was really stoked to be asked, but on the other hand.. i reaaaaally hate having my picture taken, and i was terrified that amy would see those things i achingly try to hide, and make them more obvious.
but, i agreed. i dolled myself up, and i headed to the pub for a leaving do we were both attending, and i waited for her to come and take my picture for reference (apparently you don't sit for these things anymore!). while i waited, my hair dropped, my make up went shiny, and i'm sure i got a bit drunk face. all bad signs. but then, we had a mini photo shoot, and i felt really... fierce! granted, it was in a busy pub so i also felt really stupid, but like, her telling me to work it and do this pose and do that pose was all really fun, and i didn't feel self conscious at all!
she showed me a few of the pictures she'd taken and asked me to choose my favourite. there were two i really liked - one was really natural; i was mid-laugh, so i had more smile lines and wrinkles than i would have liked to see painted on canvas, so i chose the other; sultry looking, and a bit resting bitch face, but the one that looked the most "me" that i felt comfortable being the muse for some artwork. she agreed, and off she went.
weeks later, i was tagged in the first "work in progress" post. it was pure outline, and it looked a lot like wrinkles. to me, anyway. i was a little scared, but i have enough tattoos now to know that the outline is really more for shading purposes, so i held my faith. and waited. and waited. and as the #wip posts started coming in, my terror turned to pure happiness, because i absolutely *adored* what i was seeing. amy did such a good job of highlighting my favourite features - namely my eyes, hair and eyebrows (weird, but whatever), and didn't highlight any of the things i thought i hated about my face. at all. and i was so, so happy with the final piece, and so was my mum (!) - so much so that she asked if she could have it.
so, last week i arrived to work to find a giaaaant, almost 85cm square canvas of my own face, delivered to my desk. cue the questions. do you know how many ways there are to try and explain why you have a painting of yourself at work? not many. and rather than unwrap and pose with it like the muppet they all wanted me to be, i re-wrapped it in brown paper and sent it to my mum. i mean, i think she would have preferred a print of it, but if the option to have an original piece of artwork of your only child is there, you take it - right?! ha! i hope she mounts it above the fireplace (wall heater - it's australia after all), and not in the loo, but regardless, i hope she loves it as much as i do.
granted, i'm not the daughter that left home more than ten years ago, but i am the daughter that's made her the most proud, and i love knowing a giant painting of me - pink hair and tattoos, will now sit, pride of place, in her house. that's the coolest thing, i think. other than making me realise there definitely are things i do love about my face, and maybe pictures taken by others aren't always that terrible. so, massive thanks to amy for this opportunity. she really helped me blow some of those nerves away.
she's actually showing at the battersea affordable art fair this weekend, if you're in london and you fancy checking out some of her other work. sadly, my face won't be there, but maybe follow my mum's instagram for updates on that particular painting (*wink*). please do check out amy's work if you can, it would be an absolutely travesty if you didn't.