The small paper you see hanging on the sawhorse next to the painting was my second step on this painting's journey. I wrote out my own words, and then chose a verse I wanted to finish the painting to give hope. The words are:
'I move in a living dream, life all around me painfully beautiful, while death, angry and bloody and vivid, lies buried in my soul. I remember. Suicide. Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him. Stand firm in the faith. And the God of grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.' This verse is 1 Peter 5:8.
You see the drips of red paint coming down on my sketch - my original thought was to make the background dark and have her dripping red. That changed.
This is the first coat of paint on my big canvas. Already knowing where I wanted her face to go, I centered the red and black around that. As I went out from that center, my brushstrokes got more noticeable and chaotic, to indicate the chaos going on within her.
The gold layer was meant to be laid down in fast lines, brushy and wild, too, to keep with the tumultous feelings within. I left spots for the undercoat to show through, and buffed off some of the gold.
There was a little problem with her expression and with her chin up she looked too judgmental, so I shot my sketch off to a friend for a critique. Thanks, Kim Abbati, for your suggestions! A little downturn of the lips, a little softening of the eyes, and her expression changed to internal sadness.
Once the newsprint sketch was finished, I simply transferred it to the canvas in the old fashioned way. Here she is laid in over the second layer of gold. Now she herself is ready for paint.