Andreina Bates "Her stories" series

Her Stories

An owl.  That is what I set out to paint that afternoon when I met the easel in my studio.  I was going through a bit of a block artistically and had a little voice inside of me that kept saying 'no, not an owl'.   I unwrapped the big canvas anyway and started sketching it, all the while trying to ignore the little voice that said "a portrait, that is what you *really* want to paint".  Umm excuse me inner voice...I am NOT a portrait painter.  "You were not even a 'painter' three years ago but you tried anyway", my inner voice replied.  I changed the music, kept on sketching my owl until finally my inner voice won.  I grabbed a little canvas and ran back to the easel.  My brain and heart suddenly feeling electrified.

I started sketching a portrait of one of my favorite writers, Emily Dickinson.  All the while witching back and from the owl to the portrait, but eventually putting the owl aside.

When I was nearly done I did a watery bold stroke covering her eyes.  Her eyes mesmerized me, I spent that night re-reading her poems and finding out more about her story, her life.  I was mesmerized by it all.   And that is the moment this series was born.

Here is the thing, I don't think I'm the "right" person to tell any stories.  Yet I do consider myself a storyteller, words do fail me but I have a brush and paint.

About two years ago I learned the importance or truly understanding my story.  Trying to knit it together after going to a retreat.  It was life changing, suddenly I realized why certain things give me butterflies in my stomach, what drives me, what I am scared of, what parts I was playing that actually weren't really *me* gave me the freedom to own my story so that I can continue writing it with complete awareness.  Here is the most magical part, once I became more aware of my story then the universe started to become more in synch with who I truly am.

I felt so connected to that first portrait that I knew I needed to dig in deeper.  I didn't know then the journey I was about to embark on.  I started researching amazing women.  Their stories.  Asking friends and family who I should paint...and why.  I loved learning why certain people chose certain women for me to paint, which part of that story connected with them.  

I went online and ordered six wood panels.  I am not a portrait painter remember?, but I felt like I *needed* to do this.  Parts of me were like "girl, you are in over your head" while the other part screamed "hell to the YES!".  

The eyes, I always painted the eyes first.  The rest of the time I spent with each portrait became sort of like a conversation.  I had moments of laughter, moments of tears, moments of frustration and had one moment when the connection I felt to one of the portraits knocked me down to my chair as tears fell down my cheeks.  

Here they are, a piece of my heart in each of them and my wish is that you will feel empowered to start thinking about your own story and why it matters.  To live your life out loud, doing the things that set your soul on fire.  Not ever apologizing for being who you are and why you are here.  My hope is you look at these women and feel how we are all connected through our stories.  Dig deeper friends, because it is worth it.

They will all be available here, along with a few of my own portrait studies on Tuesday May 29th at 10:00am EST.

xo~ Andreina

Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead - Yvonne Woon


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