Protect The Children

Protect The Children
Protect The Children - final version

‘Protect The Children’ is the title of one of my latest acrylic paintings. This is one of my spiritual and healing paintings, infused with an energy and message. In this blog I share my thinking behind the piece and my process.

Protect The Children

The Thinking Behind The Piece

In an earlier blog I asked the question Might Angels Walk Among Us? I talked about various aspects of angelic intervention, including during bad times. It included my poem ‘Tears For Aleppo’ and an accompanying photo art illustration. This was born out of my rage, desperation and frustration about the dreadful plight of the people and children in that war torn part of the world. That was in 2016.

Here we are in 2021, and I find myself again enraged and filled with helplessness over the plight of children, in particular, around the world. Whether that is COVID, famine, the effects of wildfires or other natural disasters, war or whatever. The final trigger for me was the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the chaos that ensued and continues. Even if it no longer makes the headlines every day. The sight of children crying with fear breaks my heart. And I needed to paint something about it or I would explode!

Initial Design for Protect The Children

The initial design came to me overnight and I felt compelled to get into my studio and get a draft underway. I created an underpainting of white and roughly sketched the design I could see in my head onto the canvas.

Protect The Children
Protect The Children – First Draft

I have talked before about my photo painting and how sometimes even as I take a photograph I know how it will look when I have worked on it. The feeling of being driven to work on something until it feels right – note not always the look but how it feels. I am even worse with my spiritual/healing paintings.

For the design, the angel is slightly turned to one side and looking down at the children. The back and wings of the angel are protecting the children from the danger behind. A few children are being held in the angel’s arms while others are trying to climb up to safety.

It Took Some Time To Paint

My Process

This painting took its time. The image I wanted on the canvas was so clear to me and intense that I needed to take a break for a while once I had sketched the draft.

I found I had a clear idea what I wanted to do with one aspect of the design. I wanted to use an acrylic pour technique on the wings of the angel. For the rest of it, I had the outline but found I could only work for a couple of hours on it each day because it was quite an intense process for me. I was riding my emotions as I painted, sometimes actually shedding tears as I worked. I would get a clear idea about what I wanted to do with one section of the painting and when I had finished that I had to stop, sometimes after only half an hour. It is actually quite difficult to explain!

Creating Angel Wings

Protect The Children
Protect The Children – Day Two WIP

The first step was all about working on the wings of the angel. First I put in the background behind the head and top of the wings. The dark orbs represent danger heading towards the angel and the children. I then spent some time deciding on the colours for the acrylic pour for the main part of the wings and executing that part of the painting. I finished the wings with some brush strokes but knew at the time those were a mistake and I would have to come back to that part of the painting.

Continuing To Work On the Painting

Once the thick pouring on the wings was dry I got back to work. I could see that the angel wasn’t right, ie it didn’t match the picture in my head. It was too feminine and I wanted the angel to be non-gender. In my head it was golden and large and solid. The bottom of the wings needed a lot of work too.

Eventually, I got the angel to a point where I was happy with it apart from the colour. But it was time to add in the children. I actually felt them tugging at my clothes to start putting them in the picture.

Protect The Children
A draft of a painting depicting a golden angel with spread wings.

Symbolic Children

Clearly the angel is a symbolic figure. I made no attempt at making it realistic. So the children needed to be symbolic too. I made no attempt to show sex, skin or hair colour. The gestures of the children are what is important in this painting. The ones in the angel’s arms needed to give off the feeling of safety, even relief. The others needed to show a degree of desperation to be rescued and protected. I decided to achieve that with gestures. Children clinging on to the angel’s robe and trying to climb up to the safety of the angel’s arms. Others standing in front of the angel with their arms extended to be picked up and helped.

Protect The Children
Protect The Children – getting there!

Finishing Touches

I felt a lot happier once I had the children sketched into the painting. From that point I worked on adding texture and shading. I also added in more children to suggest there is a crowd of children in front of the angel. The last thing I worked on was the gold of the angel and final highlights. The whole painting took ten days from start to finish. Though remember sometimes that was only a short period each day.

Protect The Children
Protect The Children – final version

Once I got to this point my head was empty – no more ideas or colours. Which is my definition of a finished painting! I think I got my point across don’t you?

Where You Can Purchase Fine Art Prints

My painting ‘Protect The Children’ is now available as fine art prints on Pictorem and RedBubble. Use the links below to find out more.

Before you go

Mid-week Reflections
Dorothy and Barnet Boy

My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound (ShannathShima) an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading!

About Dorothy Berry-Lound 376 Articles
I am having fun living half way up a mountain in Central Italy with my husband Barnet Boy, Stevie Mouse and the rest of my fur family. I am enjoying creating art that people will love having on their walls. I also love storytelling through my blog and short stories.

10 Comments

  1. Beautiful painting and an important message behind it. Children are always the victims of this world madness. It was interesting for me to see the process until the painting was finalized.

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