Pain is real, but so is Hope

Hurt and Trauma

Some of you have read some of my past blogs. Just to recap, I grew up with an intellectual alcoholic father and a very emotionally unstable and overtly strict mother. Each one of these things has its own emotional results on the development of a child.

I was date raped at the age of 15, and pregnant by 16.
Leonie.e.Brown
Encaustic Wax Artist

At 14 going on 15, I met an older man. He was only 20 or 21 at that stage, but he was big and strong and I was looking for love and protection. A 5-year difference at that age is huge. He was also an abuser and a rapist.

I am not saying that I was not also to blame. I rebelled against my parents and started a relationship with this man without knowing what I was getting into. The night he first raped me is a blur in my mind. All I remember is standing in front of him and he is wiping the blood from my legs. I don’t remember anything else. Things got worse from there. He would beat me black and blue, and then come cry in front of me.

He would threaten to kill himself when I tried to get away from him. He would follow me to school and threaten to beat up anyone I spoke to.

He successfully isolated me from everyone and everything. He became obsessed with me.

Twice a week he would drag me off to his room and the sexual assault would continue. I did not have a choice. I was slapped or beaten, or dragged by my hair. I learned to just disappear into my own mind.

Some have asked me; Why didn’t you ask for help? You have to remember that I grew up with alcoholism and emotional trauma. The roots of my despair were already sown. I knew from an early age that my parents would not be able to help me, and frankly, I didn’t trust them.

How could I?

The lesson was learned from an early age…your feeling and opinion does not count.

Effects of Violence

There are many emotional and psychological reactions that victims of rape and sexual assault can experience. One of the most common of these is depression.

During a flashback, memories of past traumas feel as if they are taking place in the current moment

After a traumatic event, it is typical to have feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards.

Emtional Consequences

Those who have suffered this violent crime of rape feel ashamed and guilty. Despite all we know today about psychology, the psychology of rape, i.e.: that it is not a sexual but a violent crime and the fact that women who have suffered this horrible fate were not at fault, so many of them persist, for years afterwards, in feeling guilty and ashamed of themselves. I guess, that is the main point, that rape is a crime that damages the self esteem and dignity of a person at the deepest levels.

Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Personal style, culture, and context of the survivor’s life may affect these reactions. Some express their emotions while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some may tell others right away what happened, others will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing the assault, if they ever choose to do so. Whether an assault was completed or attempted, and regardless of whether it happened recently or many years ago, it will impact daily functioning.

Emtional Effects

Shame

Survivors thinking they are bad, wrong, dirty, or permanently flawed.

Guilt

Survivors feeling that the abuse was their fault. It is very difficult for survivors to place the blame on the person who assaulted them. Often the offender was a person close to them that they want to protect. Conversely, it may be that by placing the blame on the offender they then feel helplessness.

Denial

Survivors saying, “It wasn’t that bad.” “It only happened once.” “I am fine, I don’t need anything.”

Minimizing

Minimizing the assault can be a coping strategy. It might include survivors thinking that their abuse was not as bad as someone else’s. Those supporting a survivor should validate the impact of the abuse and that it is appropriate that the survivor is upset, traumatized, or hurting from it.

Boundaries

Because sexual violence is such a boundary violation, it impacts the survivor’s perception of when or how to set boundaries. Survivors may be unfamiliar with boundaries in general; they may not know that they have a right to create and reinforce them.

Trust

Sexual assault is a betrayal of trust. Most survivors find it difficult to trust other people as well as themselves and their own perceptions. On the other hand, they may place an inappropriate level of trust in everyone.

Safety

Survivors’ sense of safety has been altered; they may assess unsafe situations as safe and perceive safe situations as dangerous. It is important to explore with a survivor what feels safe by asking specific questions about safety.

Isolation

This is a big issue for adult survivors. Many feel that they do not deserve support, that they are tainted, and that others will not want to be their friends or lovers. A survivor’s culture and (lack of) community connections can, at times, compound feelings of isolation. Survivors may have been shunned or avoided by their families and/or communities because of their disclosure.

Amnesia

A survivor may not remember what happened. In the long-term, if the sexual assault happened before the development of language, the survivor may not have memory that can be verbalized.

Dissociation

A survivor may have dissociated during the sexual assault incident(s). They may describe “floating up out of their body” or “looking over their own shoulder” during the abuse. Dissociation can happen even when the survivor is not being assaulted/abused; an event or memory can bring up emotions which trigger dissociation.

Anesthesia

The body is where the sexual abuse took place and many survivors feel betrayed by their bodies in various ways. They may have tried to numb/dissociate from their bodies in order not to experience the feelings brought on by the abuse. Sometimes in connection with the experience of numbness, survivors may seek out experiences that provide more intense physical sensations like self-injury.

Physical

Survivors may have somatic (body) complaints, eating disturbances, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and physical symptoms related to areas on their body affected by assault.

Emotional

Survivors may be very expressive (anger, sadness), disoriented (disbelief, denial), or controlled (distant, calm).

Cognitive

Survivors may be unable to block out thoughts of the assault, or alternately, forget entire parts of it. They may constantly think about things they should have done differently. Nightmares are common. Survivors may also have thoughts or fantasies of being in a similar situation and “mastering” the traumatic event.

Other related issues that may emerge are eating disorders, physical changes, changes in sexuality, substance abuse, self-harm, thoughts of suicide, anger, and mood disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress.

How did this Influence my Art?

My aim to make art that not only tells my story but all our stories. To speak to the abused, the down-trodden, the hopeless, the lost, the lonely, the shamed, the orphan, the abandoned.

We are the sum total of our past…but we don’t have to stay there.

From the age of four up until my late twenties, I suffered abuse in my closest relationships. At eighteen, I went to varsity in Potchefstroom to study my life’s passion – art. As I tried to find my feet as a student/artist/young woman, themes of angst, despair, anger, and abuse filled my paintings. I won prizes this way. I won respect and admiration for my talent. But I was also reliving the suffering and continually victimizing myself, which ultimately dug the pit of hopelessness deeper.

At the age of 29 life came to a turning point, as I had come to the end of myself – I gave up on trying to build life my way. I turned to my faith (which I had rejected along the way) for help and became part of a faith-filled family which is where I met and married my wonderful and loving husband, Rob. I never looked back.

In the past, I had used my story and negative feelings as the source of my artistic inspiration.

You see, everyone can resonate with negative visual language – we all drift towards it because it is a reflection of our imperfect selves. The Bible speaks of it in this way: “Sin gives birth to sin, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit”. I became a victor instead of a victim. I saw light and wanted to speak light in my visual language.

The more I began to see what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable through my walk of faith, the more I put it into practice – both in my personal life and in my artistic practice. I realized that the dark paintings I had painted before were not inspiring the viewers to a higher calling or glorifying the Creator, nor even showing what is good and lovely.

Painting is a strange business.

J. M. W. Turner

I now see my work as contemporary Romanticism rendered in an Impressionistic style, sometimes to the point of complete Abstraction. I enjoy applying bright colors in thick, multiple layers of paint to bring out messages of hope on canvas.

Insight Into the Artist

Thoughts on Art

[bctt tweet=”Healing is not about erasing the past. ​”]

[bctt tweet=”The version that someone created in your mind is not your responsibility. You do not have to believe others idea over who you really are. ​”]

[bctt tweet=”In many cases the inability to start a painting (or anything) is the fear of failure. Real artists face their fear every day ​​”]

Currently Reading: Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliott

Little Girl With a Brave Heart: Part II

The large painting that now stands behind us is not to be ignored, despite being unfinished. It cradles you in giant, resplendent hands and swallows you up in one, swift, biblical gulp. Leonie catches me marvelling at it and I comment on the religious connotations that weave themselves between the...

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Pain is real, but so is Hope

Pain is real but so is hope...Those who have suffered this violent crime of rape feel ashamed and guilty. Despite all we know today about psychology, the psychology of rape, i.e.: that it is not a sexual but a violent crime and the fact that women who have suffered this...

Read More

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All you have to do is subscribe to my Instagram account, comment, and share, to be in with a chance of winning one of my paintings.

Enter from any country!

I WILL DRAW THE WINNER AND SHIP THE PAINTING NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE

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Love this? Share a review

Excellent
Based on 3 reviews
Tracy-Leigh Jaap
Tracy-Leigh Jaap
2021-03-04
Belinda Mesecke
Belinda Mesecke
2021-03-04
Leonie is a natural born teacher. She just can't help herself! Even when your'e just popping in for a visit. She has this amazing eye, and years and years of accumulated experience in creating art and teaching art. Her own work is robust, textured, layered in both technique and meaning, vibrant and full of life and hope. Her creativity explodes on the canvas, and calls to one to look deeper. Her use of colour is extraordinary, experimental, and bold. It indulges the eye in layers of luxury.
ryan jaap
ryan jaap
2021-03-03
Taken on an amazing journey by this faithful artist and teacher. An amazing gift (not just the paintings!) “Art is so much more...if you allow it to be! Love art, love creative minds and talents, see the heart revealed, love the creator!”

Leave a review

Have your Say...

Thank you for your interest in me and my art. I'm curious to know your thoughts on me and my art. Please spare a few minutes to leave a review. It will really help. And...don't forget to join my Instagram account and be eligible for a FREE  monthly painting giveaway.

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What is Cold Wax Painting

Once I discovered Encaustic Wax Art, I immediately fell in love with the possibilities of this medium. Unfortunately I could not find anyone to teach me, and so began a journey of discovery which is still ongoing. During the search for information, I found out about Cold wax. Because I could not find any local teachers or materials, so I approached one of the local paint manufacturers, and together we created both the encaustic and Cold wax Medium. I love the expressive interaction with this very tactile material. You have to really get in there. In mixing Cold Wax with oils, Ive been able to use the transparency and luminosity of the wax and paint combo to create incredible visual depth.
Leonie.e.Brown
Encaustic Wax Artist

Cold Wax Painting

It’s a rare occurrence for one specific painting medium to have a whole genre of painting associated with it, but Cold Wax Medium is one such medium. Cold Wax Painting is unified by artists’ shared interest in experimentation, texture, and the physicality of paint layers.

Cold Wax Basics

The most significant difference between encaustic and cold wax is that, while with encaustic painting the wax must be molten to work with, and then reheated (fused) once it is applied to the surface, in cold wax painting there is no heat involved.

Cold Wax is an oil painting medium which is a buttery soft paste made of wax mixed with a small amount of solvent and resin. The cold wax paste is mixed with the oil paint on the palette. Cold wax adds body, transparency, and depth to the oil paint. It also speeds up drying time, increases the paint’s work ability, and does not require the special ventilation of encaustic.

What is Cold Wax?

The use of Cold Wax in art goes back thousands of years to cave painting where animal fat was combined with dry earth pigments such as reds and ochres and charcoal (for black)to create wall paintings. Turner was  and avid user of beeswax in his large oil landscape.

Cold Wax Painting is any type of painting that heavily utilizes Cold Wax Medium into oil colors. In its own way, Cold Wax Painting blurs the line between oil painting and encaustic painting.

Cold Wax Painting is a style of oil painting in which the artist mixes a wax medium into the paint and uses the thickened body of paint to create a heavily textured surface. You can paint with a small amount of cold wax medium to make your paint matt instead of glossy and this would probably still be considered regular oil painting. But if you use a substantial amount of cold wax medium in your oil paint then most painters would call that ‘Cold Wax Painting’. Cold wax painters are often very experimental, as the medium leans itself to it.

Unlike encaustic painting where you must heat the wax to make it fluid enough to paint with, cold wax is made with wax and a solvent (and sometimes a resin or oil) so that it stays creamy and can be mixed with paint or pigment powders without heating. 

How I use Cold Wax

After Ive laid out my oil paint on my glass plate, I add the cold wax paste onto a glass palette. I then mix the wax into the paint, varying the proportion of wax depending upon the amount of transparency I’m after.
Applying the cold wax and paint mixture is the exciting part. I use a variety of and any tool I can lay my hand on. Palette knives, squeegees, trowels, cabinet scrapers, old credit cards, rollers, cardboard, forks…
The paint has a creamy, buttery texture and spreads and layers beautifully. I often roll the paint first onto wax paper and then transfer the paint from the paper by blotting it onto the canvass. I also use oil sticks, wax crayons, charcoal, graphite, finger, back of the brush, whatever strikes my fancy.
After a day it can also be scraped away, revealing the underlying colors and creating more texture.

Insight Into the Artist

Thoughts on Art

[bctt tweet=”The creative spirit must acknowledge no limitations except that of the greatest creator of all…God. ​”]

[bctt tweet=”Most people are predisposed to failure. Do you see the glass half empty or half full? Its the same glass. ​”]

[bctt tweet=”In many cases the inability to start a painting (or anything) is the fear of failure. Real artists face their fear every day ​​”]

Currently Reading: Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliott

a glimpse into the studio

The versatility and raw artistic talent of Leonie E. Brown has been recognized and celebrated at a very early stage in this prolific painter’s career. At the tender age of twenty-two she has already won the prestigious 1986 Volkswagen Atelier Fine Art Award, in addition to both the Schweicherd and...

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Sneak Peak on Encaustics

The surface of the painting is made up of layers of oils, inks and wax, which give the finished work a three dimensional quality. A sense of seeing through the top layer into hidden messages and layers below. The layering give the work a softness and richness that invites the...

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Win a Painting!

Win an original Leonie.e.Brown painting

All you have to do is subscribe to my Instagram account, comment, and share, to be in with a chance of winning one of my paintings.

Enter from any country!

I WILL DRAW THE WINNER AND SHIP THE PAINTING NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE

I do a competition every month and you are automatically entered by subscribing, commenting, and sharing – it’s as easy as that!

Win Now!

Love this? Share a review

Excellent
Based on 3 reviews
Tracy-Leigh Jaap
Tracy-Leigh Jaap
2021-03-04
Belinda Mesecke
Belinda Mesecke
2021-03-04
Leonie is a natural born teacher. She just can't help herself! Even when your'e just popping in for a visit. She has this amazing eye, and years and years of accumulated experience in creating art and teaching art. Her own work is robust, textured, layered in both technique and meaning, vibrant and full of life and hope. Her creativity explodes on the canvas, and calls to one to look deeper. Her use of colour is extraordinary, experimental, and bold. It indulges the eye in layers of luxury.
ryan jaap
ryan jaap
2021-03-03
Taken on an amazing journey by this faithful artist and teacher. An amazing gift (not just the paintings!) “Art is so much more...if you allow it to be! Love art, love creative minds and talents, see the heart revealed, love the creator!”

Leave a review

Have your Say...

Thank you for your interest in me and my art. I'm curious to know your thoughts on me and my art. Please spare a few minutes to leave a review. It will really help. And...don't forget to join my Instagram account and be eligible for a FREE  monthly painting giveaway.

Click Here

Art Lovers Exclusive

Become an  Art Lover and get notified of special discounts and latest paintings by Leonie. Discount are ONLY available for subscribed Art Lovers.

Art Lovers Exclusive

Choose your preferance: I am a

View previous campaigns.

Learn to Paint with leonie

Living in the Age of Envy.

Joyfull

Transformation

Social media has created a world in which everyone seems ecstatic – apart from us. Is there any way for people to curb their resentment?


We live in the age of envy. Career envy, kitchen envy, children envy, food envy, upper arm envy, holiday envy. You name it, there’s an envy for it. Human beings have always felt what Aristotle defined in the fourth century BC as pain at the sight of another’s good fortune, stirred by “those who have what we ought to have”  (The Guardian)


 

Recently an acquaintance made the comment that they wished they could live my life. In this person’s eyes it seemed as if my life was perfect…great husband, happily married, beautiful house, dogs, horses, and creating art.
In the back of my mind I thought; Would you be willing to pay the price that I had to pay to get where I am now? Would you be willing to be emotionally and physically abused, raped, beaten and rejected, sworn at, hurt, accused and abused? And yet…take 10 + years and more to work through all that rejection and abuse to reach forgiveness and freedom?

None of us knows the story of the other. I used to (and sometimes still do), look at others and ask: Why them? Why not me?

We each live a life given to us and influenced by our circumstances. Some of us were blessed to be born with good parental guidance, some of us were born with nothing. Some of us were born broken in body and soul.

I do still feel unpleasant pangs of envy every now and then. Perhaps in part, it is because we do not know how to answer the question: “What would be good enough?”

We each were given a portion.

What I do with my portion is my choice. I can choose to continue to envy others, wish for their lives, for what they have. It will never be enough. Each one of us pays for our portion. We pay by allowing God to wash us of our past and renew our minds.
I also had to to do that. I had to face my own transgressions and reaction. The choices I made that hurt myself and other people.
I had to choose to renew my mind. To see the glass half full and not half empty.
I had to choose life.

‘I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’. – Deut 30:19

The black voice of death

The black voice in my mind...

People who are creative have more in common with people who are bipolar than they do with “normal” people, but the commonalities lie not so much in the mood disturbances as in idiosyncratic thinking patterns, enthusiasm and passion for their art, how easily they can produce new and strange ideas and connections.

The black voice behind the art…

The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs.  It is a disease which arises from men not having sufficient power of expression to utter and get rid of the element of art in their being.  … the very great artists are able to be ordinary men—men like Shakespeare or Browning.  There are many real tragedies of the artistic temperament, tragedies of vanity or violence or fear.  But the great tragedy of the artistic temperament is that is cannot produce any art. 

Sometimes I feel like there are two voices in my head, The one that keeps telling me its hopeless. Nothing will ever come from this. Why do you keep trying? You’re useless, no one wants your work. You have no value.
It is a continual battle to keep going. To keep on fighting for my passion.
Generally, I can overcome the emotion and voice. It is a voice that has been with me all y life. The voice of the parent or authority figure that kept showing me that I have no value

I have no rights. 

I was wondering why I continually struggle with this issue of value? Logically and spiritually I understand the impact and point of view, but why is it still influencing my thought? I’ve also been reading “The Artists Way”

Part of the journey and task is to explore your inner voices. So, I decided to sit down and write down the specific words, and then try to associate each negative with a specific instance or situation. 

 

The effect of negative language on a child

Abusive and hurtful words that a parent or parents use affect all the areas of children’s lives. They grow up with feelings of ‘not being perfect’. They feel inadequate and blame themselves for being the cause of parent’s frequent reprimands and negative communication. They feel that they are constantly being watched with a critical lens. There is a feeling of being judged all the time.

These children grow up to be harsh on themselves. It can even make them demanding of others and set very high expectations for themselves as well as for others. They become sensitive about negative comments and there is a tremendous amount of guilt. Children with verbally abusive parents can even get into substance abuse or commit suicide.

What is childhood emotional neglect?

Childhood emotional neglect occurs when a child’s parent or parents fail to respond adequately to their child’s emotional needs. Emotional neglect is not necessarily childhood emotional abuse. Abuse is often intentional; it’s a purposeful choice to act in a way that is harmful. While emotional neglect can be an intentional or non-intentional disregard for a child’s feelings, it can also be a failure to act or notice a child’s emotional needs. Parents who emotionally neglect their children may still provide care and necessities. 

How does childhood neglect affect adults?

People who are emotionally neglected as children grow up to be adults who must deal with the consequences. Because their emotional needs weren’t validated as children, they may not know how to deal with their emotions when they occur.

The most common effects of childhood neglect in adulthood include:

  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • depression
  • emotional unavailability
  • the increasing likelihood for an eating disorder
  • shunning intimacy
  • feeling deeply, personally flawed
  • feeling empty
  • poor self-discipline
  • guilt and shame
  • anger and aggressive behaviours
  • difficulty trusting others or relying upon anyone else

These adults have never having learned the importance of their own emotions, and have difficulty identifying their own feelings.

Now…I’m definitely one of these adults. Apart from emotional neglect I also suffered from severe sexual and emotional abuse. (But that is a story for another time). In order to help myself, (and others), I have been using this Emotional Chart to identify what is going on inside my heart. 

Sometimes I despair, and I wish God was a Fairy God-mother with a magic wand. Just magicking it all away. But unfortunately, He doesn’t. He leads us into deeper waters so that we can learn to trust Him in the Storm.

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