It’s not always easy to find time to paint when I’m running around on camera. But it’s not for naught, because all that I’ve experienced helps me to refine my vision for one of my upcoming series.
This morning I dug out this unfinished painting, “Beauty Blinded,” from a few years ago; I’m not sure yet if I want to finish it or start anew. It’s part of that series I just mentioned, which I’ve been dreaming a lot about lately: Women + Mass Media (working title, hehe). After nearly eleven years working onscreen, I’ve seen for myself how this business affects us; both those of us in front of the camera, as well as those watching at home. And it’s something worth examining.
Growing up, I was taught that a person’s most important characteristics lie within: intelligence, talent, kindness and strength of character are traits to strive for. So I worked hard, earned top grades, and practiced my art & musical instruments with diligence. Focused in this way, I found little use for personal beautification, and that coupled with coke-bottle glasses and my nerdy nature, made for a rather homely presentation; but it did not bother me, because I knew I was a good person and that’s all that mattered.
Fast forward to many years later, I suddenly found myself on television — an unexpected turn that surprised me as much as anyone else. And I quickly discovered, that in this business, it’s not what’s inside that counts. In this industry, the most important thing is to be “beautiful.” And mind you, being beautiful on television, isn’t the same as being beautiful in real life. In real life, we think our friends, our mothers & sisters, our grandmothers & daughters, are beautiful not just because of the color of their eyes or shape of their face, but based on the content of their hearts. But on television, as in most mass media, beauty is very rigidly and narrowly defined. Despite talk of body positivity running rampant, so many of my colleagues are cutting themselves up with plastic surgery: I can’t tell you how many friends of mine didn’t “make it big” until after a boob job. Meanwhile, I myself have been admonished for the tiniest blemish (Horrors! An imperfection lol!), and then praised when I lost weight, even though I’m already quite thin. Rather like a dog who has retrieved a ball — “Good girl!” they say. Am I? Am I good? Because this kind of praise, as condescending as it is vacuous, doesn’t feel good.
And what about the viewers at home? What about the people connived into believing that their air-brushed celebrity crushes are as perfect as they appear, or that they too, at home, should aspire to squeeze and alter themselves to fit an unrealistic ideal in the name of self-improvement? And in my personal experience as a math & SAT tutor, I have discovered that so many little girls are more concerned with being pretty & popular rather than being smart, or even just being good human beings.
These conversations and thoughts are not new. We’ve been discussing this for decades. And when I was a child, my parents did not allow me to watch much television, in part for these very reasons — in my home, gender roles, unrealistic beauty standards, and the dangers of mass media consumption were topics for discussion. But now, having experienced first-hand the pressures that we, the women behind the scenes in media, are actually exposed to, I have something I’d like to add.
Working in the media, I could make a documentary about this subject, or conduct interviews; I could write a report or make a YouTube series. But since I am an artist first, perhaps I’ll just put brush to canvas and see where that leads me.
Thanks for reading, and as I’ve often said on the air, stay tuned.
Letting myself be free and drew this little girl just because I felt like it. Not sure where this drawing is going, but happy to be on the journey…
Did this little doodle in a book I illustrated for my mother as a gift. What actress do I think should play my Mom, aka Superwoman/medical doctor/nutrition expert/activist/entrepreneur & all-around bad-a$$, in a movie? Why, Pam Grier of course!
Pen on paper, colored in Photoshop.
The best Christmas gift I received was being able to draw again!!! (w/a little help from an arthritis brace hehe) Of course my first drawings had to be of people I love: my fiance, pictured here, & my mother, which I might share later. As we head into the New Year, I want to wish all of you the happiest of NYE celebrations!
Playing around with Photoshop and my latest live model sketch. First image is the original drawing; added the smile & eye movements on the computer ;).
Almost done with this digital painting; I block in the flat colors first (inset), then add layers of shading to give it life. I love drawing/painting strong female characters! Hope you guys are having a great start to your week.
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.”– Earl Nightingale.
Just doodling and thinking about the road ahead. We all have goals we want to reach & we’re all at different points in our journeys. What would you want to hear from your future self about the things you dream about today?
What fun I had drawing the lovely live model Sake! So gorgeous that even though I had to rush this one, she still came out lovely. I’m thinking of giving her a rainy street backdrop; she reminds me of a femme fatale spy in a drama…live
I left my gray-paper sketchbook and pastels pencils at home, so during this session with a live model, I improvised with NuPastels on large-format white paper. I haven’t handled NuPastels in many years and they were very blocky and hard to blend, but eventually I got the hang of it and something good started to emerge. Not sure if I will bother finishing this one – I rather like where it is right now.
Work-in-Progress Wednesday! (lol is that a thing?) Loved this model, & totally got caught up in my crazy colors & couldn’t finish the background in the 2 hours we had her. Thinking of putting Saturn behind her, IF I finish it…