I’m painting again! After a year in China, where I couldn’t find a canvas anywhere, and then six months of planning a wedding and home-hunting whilst living on my brothers sofa bed, the first thing I wanted to do once we moved into our new apartment was set up my eisel and plant myself firmly in front of it all day, every day.

My first project? A new self-portrait. I haven’t painted myself since 2009, in a painting called ‘Me And The Bird My Cat Killed.’



Before China, I started working on a new self-portrait, inspired by Frida Kahlo’s ‘The Two Fridas.’ This was supposed to represent the separation I felt between who I was and who I wanted to be, the version of me that was caught up in the superficial, and the true, raw, authentic me. I felt torn between the two.



I planned to finish this painting once I returned from China, but by that time came, I no longer felt torn. I felt whole. I am closer to being my true, raw, authentic self than ever before, so I don’t feel pulled towards this painting anymore. It did what it needed to do.

A helluva lot has changed since I put a brush to that canvas. It’s definitely time to leave the old behind and create something new, something that fits with who I am today.

So, I decided to paint a new vision of myself over this one.

I unpacked all my arty things, my heart smiling bigger and bigger with each rediscovered paint brush, pencil and pastel.



I put on my hippy pants, made myself a coffee, drew a sketch of my vision, put on my Charmed DVD (a must-have for me, I always watch it while I paint), and set up my art area.



And I painted.



And painted…



And even though something weird was happening with the paint and I inadvertently ended up with a weird spot that made it look like my mouth was open, I kept on paintin’…



And everything started coming together, weird-mouth-spot included…



And in between releasing the Self-Love Issue of Wild Sister Mag, launching the Wild Sisterhood, celebrating my 25th birthday, writing a post for Tiny Buddha, being interviewed here and here, doing this giveaway on Kind Over Matter, and then releasing the Women We Admire Issue of Wild Sister, I painted some more…



And this is what it looks like today, getting closer to the finished piece with every brushstroke…



It feels so good to be painting again! I’m so excited to see how this creation continues to transform and come together even more. I’ll be sure to share the finished piece here, but if you would like regular updates follow me on Instagram: @smilingheart.

Stay Wild!






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4 Responses to Work in Progress: Wild Spirit Self-Portrait

  1. shanna says:

    This is incredible! I’ve always wanted to paint, but didn’t know where to begin and was afraid to try. It’s definitely on my 2012 list. I have every season of Charmed; can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it 🙂

    • Jen Saunders says:

      Oh Shanna, paint! 😀 Just begin, it doesn’t matter where you start or how it turns out. Just put a brush to a canvas and see where it leads you 🙂

      Always so happy to find another Charmed lover! With all the paintings I’ve done, I’ve gone through the entire series about five times, and I never get sick of it! It’s the best show 🙂

      Thanks so much for connecting! xox

  2. Dusty says:

    Its true to say when you start a piece of work, it can take on a life of its own, and I cannot wait to see the finished piece. Keep painting!

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