“It is my way to explain what is stressing my mind when words can’t anymore. It goes beyond and it goes faster. No hour long talks.. just a look at a DinA4 sheet.

I’m not afraid of what society could think about me or my mental illness, but it’s important to me that the people close to me somehow understand me a little. The idea that there could be the slightest possibility that they understand me better when they look at my artworks, is what keeps me painting.”

Name: Rebecca Doe
Art materials: Watercolour/ Guache

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Rebecca. I am 21 years old and trying to manage my life with borderline, depression, and selective mutism. I love everything vintage, black, white, and red.

So many pieces of your work look as if they’re actually photoshopped images rather than paintings! It’s incredible. There is also a distinct color pattern, while all of the images are black and white, only a small amount contain the color red. Is there any significance behind not using the red as often as the other two colors?
That’s a great compliment, thanks. But nothing is photoshopped. I also often get asked if my works are digital art but they are all done by opaque watercolours. The colour red to me seems like a warning sign, so the red paintings are like a warning sign for my mind. That’s why I had chosen it. But I am a huge fan of minimalism, so I tried that in my paintings. Instead of the black backgrounds I tried it clean white. And what can I say, I love it. I aim to find the balance between minimalistic and realistic, vintage and modern, disturbing and classy. It feels like I found my style. I still return to my beloved red from time to time, though. But the reason why you see less red than silver ones is simply that I’m more productive this year than ever before. I did around 20 paintings over the last five years but almost 50 this year alone. And I don’t want to stop!

How would you describe how it feels to create your artwork?
At the start, it almost feels like work and like I never could manage to finish the painting. But once I feel the brush in my hand, it feels very satisfying. I find watching the pigments flow and dry a very soothing thing.

Where does your inspiration come from?
That depends on the mood. The trigger can be a movie, a song, a conversation. But in general I can say that when I feel bad I paint the beautiful things to feel better, and when I feel good, I paint the sick things that I don’t have the strength to explain when I feel bad.

Art can be such a wonderful medium to process things when we don’t feel the words coming to mind. Do you feel like the words are easier to find once the picture is on paper? 
That is a really good question. To be honest I never thought about this but now that you asked me: Yes! There is no painting I did just for fun, I can tell you a story about each and every one of them. To me the titles are as important as the paintings themselves, they are like keywords of the story. That can be memories or desires or anything from the dark parts of my brain. If you would ask me what a specific work is about, I could write you a story about it.

Tell us about your creative process.
I find a reference photo that speaks to me. Then I do the first sketch or sometimes several. Then when I’m in the need to paint, I take one of these and start the artwork. I usually don’t stop until I’m finished. That can be between 2 and 7 hours. I only take breaks for portraits because they can take up to 10 hours.

What is the story behind your artwork, if any?
I’ve spent a huge part of my life in a hospital so I had a lot of free time. Out of boredom, I began painting those depressing things since drawing had always been something that I loved. Some nurses then told me they could see a lot of pain in my works, that’s how I found I could reach people. Back in the clinic, I could only use what was available there, some cheap watercolors and some blank pages from their bureau. I continued this way because I feel like this is me. No large canvases. Just some simple painted sheets. Maybe this will change once I feel more “sane”.

Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about how to use their art as a vehicle for communication?
I think there are reasons why there are things like art therapy and such. There are no rules and that’s the great thing about art. You can still be judged but you don’t have to give a damn because it’s YOUR art and no one can take that away from you. I did works that are even more personal than the ones I share and I just don’t post them. That reminds me that my art is first for me and then for others. So just do your thing, you write the rules.

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