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Ella is the fifth painting in this series of eight.
As you look at this series, you may feel seen and understood – maybe even a little less alone. Or, maybe, you’ll feel a hint of understanding for what a loved one once tried to explain to you in a time that they were struggling.
I've gone back to my roots, you might say.
Early on in treatment for an eating disorder, when I discovered this passion for creating interesting and beautiful things to look at, I was doing it in old books. Actually, the first book I painted a face in was a book from of one of my favourite childhood series called The Dandelion Library.
Until recently, I hadn't painted faces or in books for quite a long time, so I set about playing around in my trusty old art journals.
I decided I wanted to paint some faces that would express some of what I experienced while living with an eating disorder. As I scoured the internet looking for interesting reference photos, I found myself drawn to images of people wearing sunglasses.
I asked myself what it was about the sunglasses that might be attracting me to them. What I realized was the glasses are a symbol of how an eating disorder changes perspectives.
When you wear sunglasses, they alter your view of the world. They change the tones of your environment. They dim the brilliance of the things you see. And just like they change your view, they also change how the world sees you. If the eyes truly are the window to the soul, wearing sunglasses is a great way to stop the world from really seeing you for who you are.
In many ways, that's like my experience living with an eating disorder. The eating disorder consumed so much of my mental space as I moved throughout my days, that I often wasn't able to fully live those days. It kept me from taking in much of what I had available to me to encounter. Not only that, but the eating disorder also acted as a barrier to protect me from the things that had either hurt me in the past, or that I feared might hurt me in the future.
Excited about this realization, I followed my intuition. I chose eight old hard cover books from my stash, prepped them for painting, and got to it.
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