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I Paint Faces

Slice of my life

By River JoyPublished about a month ago Updated 30 days ago 3 min read
39
"Maude" River 2022 oil on canvas

I paint faces strange, alien, colorful, unnerving, beautiful, ugly faces. It started a few years ago, almost like a compulsion. I was uncomfortable, lost, and I wanted to vanish into the background of everyone's story including my own.

"Paul" River 2022 oil and acrylic on canvas

I paint faces, they do not look away at the ugliness, they embrace it. I love them I hate them. I imagine if you put them up in a room it would feel much like I do when forced to make eye contact with anyone other than those to whom I am immensely connected.

"Magnus" River 2021 Ink, colored pencil, and charcoal

There are so many things more interesting to look at when someone is talking. Their passion lies in their hands, their confidence lies in their posture, their caution lies in their mouth, even their joy lies in the way their face wrinkles. Beauty in imperfection.

"Allie" River 2022 Acryllic, Charcoal, and Pastel on canvas

I paint faces, they are a reflection of me, they have scars and stories and texture they are genderless and full of righteous fury. They come to me almost without thought bits and pieces of the way I take in the world. They are my poems of art.

"Fae" River 2022 Watercolor, ink, pastel, glitter

They remind me despite my scars and texture and stories, despite the somewhat unreliable narrator living up there, there is always a soft landing in paint, in words, even in the right set of eyes.

"Aubrey" River 2021 watercolor

Uncomfortable is my default setting, as are my faces.

If I sit in that discomfort I often find it passes, it dissipates into more manageable chunks, it becomes part of the armor I build. I used to be good at building armor, if the armor wasn't enough then I would build a wall, if the wall was not tall enough there was a moat. I was good at building armor. That armor used to be unremovable, now it is unremarkable. Still necessary at times, but less so.

"Elva" River 2022 Oil and acrylic on canvas.

I have softened with my faces, the eyes are even kinder now, and my fury is still righteous but it does not turn me against myself anymore. I have found it useless to turn your fury against yourself, it only causes pain and awkward glances. For I have learned with the growth of the art born of some compulsion to make these things that should make me uncomfortable, I love them. They are part of me, because they are me.

"Annabelle" River 2020 Charcoal and chalk pastel on paper

My journey has been long, though I am young, I think I'm writing this becuase it's a miracle I survived myself. It's a miracle I made it to thirty, it's a miracle I see myself continuing. The mind can be a powerful tool, it can also be a powerful enemy. So I paint faces, each and every strange and unbearable and beautiful thought goes into them. When I can't paint faces I draw circles, soothing and repetitive, a slice of the obsessive person I am underneath all this mess.

"Underground" River 2020 Pen, Ink, Watercolor, thread on paper

I paint faces, for me, for memory, for that feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of discomfort when I look at my own work. It might sound strange, but it's quite inspiring. What makes many people squirm gives me comfort, and I surround myself with much of the same. The same kind of souls that can look at a person at their ugliest and say, it is not too much.

I hope whoever is reading this, whether it's the first day of 2023 or if its sometime down the road. The healing bits are hard, healing pain is still pain. Be kind to yourself. Keep going, you will learn to love the ugly bits, and maybe sometime you may find them kind of beautiful.

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About the Creator

River Joy

Queer, autistic, I paint with both paint and words. I was once described as an asshole with Mr. Rodgers vibes.

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Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (13)

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  • Official Behlicabout 12 hours ago

    Amazing, might consider starting a business from this?

  • Elsie Garnett11 days ago

    I don't wear makeup because I feel like I need to cover myself up or because I don't feel confident. I wear makeup because it's fun; it's like painting on my face. https://www.pfmlogin.net/

  • Kim25 days ago

    This is so beautiful. I just read this while eating my lunch in my office and I’m awkwardly wiping away tears. I’m sitting in the discomfort of coworkers potentially thinking I’m crazy. Like you said, I’m letting myself be uncomfortable. It’s not so bad. Thank you 🖤

  • ROCK26 days ago

    Real art comes straight from the heart and depths of our soul. Fabulous!

  • P.A. Wilkinson27 days ago

    I love these paintings. Good write up too. The second painting is something I can’t look away from!

  • Alfiya29 days ago

    Beautiful work! Both the imagery and the story behind them.

  • sleepy draftsabout a month ago

    Beautiful work. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Lexi Bautistaabout a month ago

    This is absolutely beautiful. Thank You for simply sharing.

  • Heather Lunsfordabout a month ago

    I like your paintings and your words. "Poems of art" is an amazing turn of phrase. Thank you for the very brave choice of sharing your art.

  • Aphoticabout a month ago

    These paintings are hauntingly beautiful, your words eloquent and relatable. I adore your painting style. This is art in its purest form. Great work!

  • Talia Devoraabout a month ago

    Wow! Your artwork is beyond amazing. I love how your using art to tell your story. Keep up the good work!

  • Em Starrrrrabout a month ago

    This is just divine. Raw and beautiful like your paintings. Hearted, subscribed, tipped...all of the things!

  • Jarae about a month ago

    I love each an every face, do you sell any of these? Your work is amazing

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