This blog post started out as a response to an email I received asking about a post I did on FB. Two days ago, on a whim, I decided to put a post asking for local WOC mamas that might be interested in having me paint them.
Over 50 women responded, some sent photos, some did not, some are white, most are not, all are beautiful.
I’m having a hard time deciding who to choose. I wish I would’ve had everyone send me photos beforehand, but was met with such overwhelming response that I have more than enough info to pick a few mamas. I am loving the outreach. I don’t usually get that big of a response from my posts, but love that this is the one that stood out to others.
All of the portrait paintings that I’ve done so far have been either of friends or women that I’ve found & asked permission from online. So many of the women that I’ve reached out to in the past were white, because that’s what seems to be the easiest to find. Instagram is where I have found most of my previous references when typing in relevant hashtags, such as #pregnantmama or #motherandchild I was seeing that a majority of the posts were white women. Fine, but I want to show more diversity in my work. So I started typing in more specific hashtags, such as #blackwomenbreastfeed or #latinamamas or #asianmother & was met with a bunch of memes or women that didn’t speak English or women that wouldn’t respond to my messages.
I live in a majority white community in Purcellville. Whenever we venture East, my son becomes curious about people’s skin tones, food, & culture. I want him to know more about the people of the world...people that don’t look like him.
My favorite subject right now to paint is mothers with their children in all their beauty. Painting strong women is one of the many ways I hope to expose my children to how I love & accept others. Historically , our society has portrayed women as the weaker sex & men in power in this country are often white. While everything has “worked out just fine” for many, I tend to think there’s a lot of improvement to be done.
I want to give “ordinary moms” an opportunity to feel special, while loving on their children. Some of my favorite captured moments are breastfeeding, baby wearing, pregnancy, & snuggles. I love when the image takes up the whole canvas, showing the closeness of the bond.
I wish I could paint everyone that reached out & might just do that over time. I posted in two groups & got over 50 responses, so that would take about a year, but would be a fun project.
Right now though I’m taking a few moms that are interested in purchasing, which will become priority & a few that have not suggested whether or not they would purchase, but that I feel will add to my portfolio in one way or another.
Ideally I’ll get to take pictures of a few moms on the same day, art direct them a bit & have some pictures to paint from. I am also interested in learning more about the women I choose & hope that they share a bit of their story to post along with the final piece.
One of the main reasons I’m doing this so that my art can be my own. I’m not using some stranger from the internet’s photo, potentially taken by another artist (photographer). I don’t want the images to be overly staged, just casual, candid images capturing the love between family. I feel like I’m finally at a place to take another step with my art, I’m excited that my community wants to support me in my climb.
Thank you to all who reached out. I will be contacting my choices on/by Sunday.