Upon my return from Northern Iraq, I have begun painting my own portraits of the women, from photographs, and hope to exhibit these alongside the artwork by the Yazidi women.
A graduate in Arabic and History, I was 18 when she began selling my paintings to fund her humanitarian work, which I have undertaken in Mozambique, Sudan and Jordan. More recently I painted refugees in the notorious “Jungle Camp” at Calais; these paintings were shown last year at The Crypt Gallery in London in an exhibition marking UK Refugee Week.
My previous paintings were in oil paint however, for the portraits of the Yezidi women I hope to paint a series of egg tempera paintings with gilding on gesso.
This beautiful, luminous egg tempera technique was used by Botticelli, Fra Angelico and Fra Lippo Lippi in the early Renaissance.
It is a technique rarely used or taught today and it is wonderful to learn how to paint in this subtle method which requires a great deal of patience.
The photos in the gallery show the process of egg tempera technique which requires building up a tonal underpainting before adding transparent coloured glazes. This is the first of my portraits of the Yezidi women in progress and there is a long way to go still! Many egg tempera paintings require at least one-hundred layers.
I intend to apply gold leaf for the background of each painting is to show the sacred value of these Yezidi women, regardless of all they have suffered at the hands of ISIS.