My lovely friend Alex recently sat for me. I had asked to paint her for a few reasons;
1. She is one of the most beautiful people I know – both inside and out!
2.She has been a huge supporter of my work, right from the beginning …. and a cup of tea or (more likely) glass of wine with Alex can set the world to rights on days when I am questioning what the hell I am doing with my life.
3.I knew it would be fun and we could have a bit of a catch up …..
And we did! But what surprised me most about the whole process, was the fact that this stunningly beautiful girl was actually really self conscious. I took some snaps on the day and made the mistake of letting her see some when she asked. “Noooooo! Ugh, I look awful. Delete, Delete, Delete! Pleeease!” No-one likes themselves in photographs (unless perhaps you are Gisele)! But in the end, Alex put her trust in me and I’m so glad she did.
I must admit to being super nervous to show her this work. I tried so many versions before I eventually stripped the whole thing back and just made it about the lines of her face and her eyes – pretty much the first thing I noticed about her.
Anyway, I hope I did her justice. Thanks again Alex! x
A couple of years ago I met up with some of my old girlfriends for dinner. I hadn’t seen them in ages and wanted to look my best. It was the middle of winter and as my skin is naturally pale and hadn’t seen anything resembling sunshine in months, I reached for the fake tan. I swear by St.Tropez. If you apply it wearing gloves and have exfoliated etc beforehand, it can give you a very natural looking tan, which usually boosts my confidence.
But …later on that evening, after a few glasses of wine, one of the girls took a photo of the group. When we looked at the photo somebody commented “Helen looks SO brown!” I looked at the photo and yes, I did look very brown, no, orange! My eyebrows were even darkened by the stuff. I looked like an oompa loompa!
I think the problem was this – I had put on the tan on the morning of the event and as such, while I thought I looked naturally sun kissed in a “I’ve just popped back from the South of France” kind of way, the tan had actually had time to develop throughout the day and by the time the photo was taken I was a little overdone. It was then that I vowed to only use the fake tan a night or even two nights before an event, allowing enough time to wash the stuff off and for it to look natural.
So, once I accepted my natural paleness, I decided to embrace it! I love a strong red lipstick on others, especially those, like Dita Von Teese with beautifully pale complexions. The result is so retro and glamorous. So I figured I may as well try vamping it up myself. I went to MAC to talk to one of their makeup artists since usually I’m actually a bit scared of lipstick and only ever shove on a little of their Politely Pink (seriously, that’s what it’s called). The very helpful lady picked out a fantastic matt colour called “Ruby Woo”. Woah! Very red! We put it on and I was all lips! I liked it though.
Feeling slightly self conscious I wandered out the store, towards Pret a Manger. It was lunchtime. But, after tucking into my sandwich I nipped to the loo. There was lipstick on my chin and a weird patchy bit in the middle of my lips where most of the lipstick had been removed. It was hideous! No wonder I had some funny looks when leaving Pret.
There is obviously much to be learned about the fine art of wearing lipstick. If I go for gloss it will always, I mean always, be a windy day and I end up with my hair stuck to my lips and with bright lipstick you clearly can’t eat anything (is this why French women are so thin?)
What do you think? Any tips?