Last week I sketched out The Warrior, a start to a collection of work inspired by the complexity of a woman. To be clear, this is not to say that women have multiple personalities such as those diagnosed with schizophrenia. Rather it is to say that if we are being honest with ourselves, there are many aspects of us that make us whole. Sometimes we are strong, sometimes we are scared little girls, and sometimes we are somewhere in between. In each chapter of our lives we change and become more than we were before, based on life circumstances. Sometimes we revert backwards, and sometimes we leap forward.
This week the sketch is entitled The Abandoned, which can be perceived by many in different ways. When I drew this I thought about it in relation to that moment when a girl becomes a woman. Not in the physical sense, but more so the point in life when I started to take care of myself on my own as a young adult.
In my experience, I feel that I was raised in a somewhat sheltered and conservative environment. I had a strong work ethic, intelligence, and this idea of who I was supposed to be, but looking back it seems that those ideas were in some ways planted in my head and I wasn’t truly choosing my own life.
I wish that when I was in that very fragile state of early womanhood, that there was someone there to offer guidance in following my dreams instead of working my ass off in a miserable job in the hopes of one day making a good salary. I wish there was someone there who taught me how to respect myself enough to be in a healthy relationship. I wish there was someone there to show me what a healthy relationship looks like. I wish that there was someone there to offer me a sense of strength and confidence to know when to walk away from someone who wasn’t treating me well. And so in many ways when I hit those lows in life, I felt abandoned.
I believe that every woman has felt some sense of abandonment at one time or another. I think about children who are without mothers and/ or fathers, teenagers living in homes with unhealthy parent relationships, wives abandoned by husbands, woman in arranged marriages, and the list goes on and on. The thing is, all of the adults in my life in those darkest moments did the best that they could with what they knew at that time. As children and teenagers we expect adults to be all-knowing. But in reality many adults make just as many mistakes as children. Many adults struggle to have their own healthy relationships and their own personal successes, so it would be unfair to expect them to teach their children what they do not know themselves.
The bright side of this very dark blog entry is that by hitting those lows (maybe for some over and over again), eventually many of us become stronger for it, and shoot for the stars!
The Warrior is the first sketch of a collection that will encompass the topic of the complexity of women. We are a myriad of facets, exquisitely put together in a very powerful way. We are compassionate yet ruthless, intelligent, cunning, peaceful, elegant, kind and graceful. We are all of these things wrapped together in a way that makes us desirable yet for some, quite intimidating.
As I looked back on the great artists of the past, I realized that throughout history female subjects have often been portrayed as either property or objects of affection. Rarely have they ever been depicted as the complex individuals that we are. Only recently have we seen more and more artists create work that shows strength in women. I am reminded of this in work such as Amy Sherald’s portrayal of the beautiful first lady, Michelle Obama.
And so my idea is this...
In honor of women everywhere, my challenge will be to create a collection of large scale paintings, each depicting one facet of the complex woman. My first painting will be the warrior. She will be strong and unforgiving, using her courage to humbly fight for those who are not strong enough to help themselves. She will be their voice.
In the coming weeks, I hope to have some additional sketches. Stay tuned!
Visit www.danielamilinkovich.com to view artwork.
I was very excited and nervous to take on a commissioned portrait for a very dear person in my life. As it is a work in progress, I sent over pictures of my work to make sure it was turning out as she envisioned. And while the portrait is quite accurate (if I do say so myself), I learned that the person in the portrait is very self-conscious of certain features. So I was asked to make some slight adjustments, which of course I’m happy to do.
However, this got me to thinking about the way that we see ourselves and why we aren’t ever happy with how we look as is, without angles and without filters. We market ourselves on social media to portray these fictional characters and perfect lives that only exist in movies, books and fashion magazines.
And the funny thing is those closest to us, who see us in our worst and best states, who see us in our darkest and lightest moments, think we’re much more beautiful as we are than how we portray ourselves in those filtered images we put on Instagram and Facebook. Yet we all do it because let’s be honest, it makes us feel good when acquaintances and strangers tell us how great we look, how cute of a couple we are, or how beautiful our kids our. I still can’t figure out why we need that validation...perhaps it’s human nature.
I created this self-portrait on a very dark Saturday night in 2011, drunk on Martell VSOP. I was angry and sad. Don’t lie, you’ve all been there at some point in your lives;)
It was the perfect state of mind for an artist to do her best work, ha! Meanwhile when I look back at it, I like how raw it is. I like how cold and angry I look, and how I faced myself dead on in the mirror like I was challenging myself to get over it. I like that I just drew what I saw, without skewing the image to make myself look thinner or prettier. It was simply me in that moment.
I’ll leave you with this. You are beautiful as you are, so don’t forget to let people see you that way from time to time.
Please visit www.danielamilinkovich.com for my latest artworks.
I painted “A Broken Man” about a month ago. At the time I painted it, I didn’t really understand where it came from. It was one of those surreal moments where I was painting without thinking and then all of a sudden it was just there. I can’t speak for all artists but when I paint I almost go into a sort of trance, where hours seem like minutes. Then I take a step back and shock myself with what I've created.
As I look at this painting more and more I’ve come to develop an intimate relationship with it. I’ve pieced together my subconscious with recent events in my life and it all makes sense.
Like most people life has beat me up a bit. Relationships have not been kind to me and I assumed, like most people assume, that I was the broken one. And then something interesting happened...
Someone from my far away past found his way back into my life, whom at the time I had very strong feelings for. When this relationship ended, it ended in a very terrible way that ripped through my heart. It took me a long time to feel whole again. Over time those feelings faded and the recent contact was more of an apology for being an ass rather than any sort of hope of rekindling or reviving something that was lost.
Through our brief conversations I came to the realization that this man has been broken his whole life. It is very clear to me that he is still broken. Then I further realized that in the few somewhat longer relationships that I have had I have always been with men who are severely broken in some way; mentally unstable, emotionally unstable, and/ or socially awkward. I now think that it was because I thought I was broken and that we could be broken together, which is in itself is a very destructive way to begin a relationship.
Most recently I started dating someone who said to me something to the affect of, maybe instead of thinking of yourself as being strange for having been in relationships that haven’t worked out, perhaps you could instead think of yourself as being strong for being able to walk away when you figured out that you weren’t right for each other. It was a really nice thing to hear from someone who is relatively a stranger.
A broken man needs to heal himself before he can share his life with someone else. (Perhaps that is what my past man is trying to do.) And perhaps at one time I was a broken woman but I haven’t been for a long time and this painting has helped me to realize that. Woah, mind blown!
Now that I’ve figured out what the hell this painting means, I’m ready to let it go!
Please feel free to contact me directly through my website if you are interested. www.danielamilinkovich.com
Stories about how art inspires and changes us.