My oil painting on a stretched canvas expresses the entrapment of my relationship with my eating disorder. I've struggled with a restricted eating disorder since going into year 7 and I can tell you from personal experience that it's a debilitating mental illness that can wreck your universe. Before I sought treatment, I lived in an unpredictable world of self-hatred and loneliness. One thing I always wishpeople knew about struggling with an eating disorderis that it casts a shadow on everything in your life, no matter how small it may seem from the outside. And sometimes, it can feel like you're fighting a losing battle.
“Sleeping with Peaches” by American Contemporary Figurative Realist painter Lee Price focuses on the subject of food with the solitary female figure in private, intimate settings. This artist had a vast impact on my outcome in my painting as I connected extremely well with this due to similar experiences. I put precious time into my portrait to explore the entrapment I felt with my eating disorder.
A memory from a time that I was deepest into my eating disorder was when I would lay in my room for most of the day, wrapped and tangled in my sheets. My mother would enter the room not knowing how to help me or why I was doing this to myself. This for a fact I did not know either until further into my recovery. She would try and nurture me by placing my favourite food near me such as papaya and telling me to take slow bites. I would scream and kick her telling her that I hate how she was trying to make me fat, while she was just trying to nurture me. l was once again a child needing to be taught how to feed myself.
In my painting, I used a limited palette. For a more realistic effect, after I applied my paint I would carefully blend it with a soft brush adding medium where needed. I have placed myself in a cradle position curled up on my bed to represent myself as a child needing to be nourished. I took this photograph by placing my camera tied to the roof of my room and I took several self-portraits of me wrapped up in my sheets. While suffering from my disorder, I did not allow myself to eat my favourite foods. This is why I have placed my favourite fruit papaya in the corner of the painting to draw the viewers eyes to the position of my body trying to resent.
I’m pleading to the viewers who are suffering with an eating disorder, that you should not have to suffer in silence. If you are struggling with an eating disorder, it is not a sign of weakness but it is a sign of strength to seek help and support by opening up to a friend or family member or reaching out to a therapist or dietician. Developing an eating disorder is not a choice, but it is never too late to choose recovery.
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