“Keeper of Secrets” – Self Portrait Painting Complete!

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Finished Work, Oil Painting | 2 comments

“Keeper of Secrets” – Self Portrait Painting Complete!

My self-portrait is done! It’s been a long time coming – I started this project back in the summer of 2013 when I was really into the song “Doll Parts” by Hole. I remember I had been talking about this painting with my hubby for a solid month before we drank some wine and took some photos of me in the never ending Swedish summer sun. In the original photo I looked more accusative, rather than sad and weary! And that is how this painting changed from what it was into what it is….

self portrait christina lank oil painting white doves in forest girl in white dress with pink sash bare trees emotive pop surrealism art artwork

“Keeper of Secrets” – 16 x 19.5 in. – By Christina Lank

close up of face self portrait painting oils christina lank plantiebee

The wine induced photographs got altered, not on purpose, but through a succession of changes to the painting. When I took the photos I hadn’t planned a background whatsoever, or the doves for that matter! When I painted in the trees the feeling changed. It came from what the trees mean to me, and why I so often paint them to begin with. Though I live in the farmlands of Sweden now – I grew up right next to the forest in Maryland. I spent most of my childhood playing there, and my teenage years escaping there.

Which is why I made the name of this painting “Keeper of Secrets” – the trees hold all of mine.

dove oil painting forest apples dark woods christina lank plantiebee art artwork

As for the doves, I wanted to add in an element of movement. You all know how I love birds – but this had to be my bird as it was my portrait! In high school my nickname was Dove. I even had someone dedicate Stevie Nicks song “Edge of Seventeen” to me haha, it was completely appropriate šŸ˜‰ So therefore, they are my birds. I have a love of white things, soft things. And here in this painting they are a piece of what makes me: me.

dove oil painting christina lank plantiebee


I also have some fallen apples in the background as one of my favorite things to do is go apple picking. It’s also tied to some very precarious memories. Very suiting to my facial expression! So yes, you can see how this painting transformed into a moody, almost angry looking portrait to something much more fragile and vulnerable. I am a fan of delicate things, even when it is a side of myself.

painting of hands by christina lank plantiebee oils art artwork

I am sure we all have a place – where we go to hide away certain feelings or situations – even if it’s just in the recesses of our mind. I wonder now if I went back to that forest if you could feel it. I wonder how much the world is imprinted upon by the vast and ever-changing emotions of the people wandering it.

christina lank plantiebee self portrait oils with doves woods forest dark creepy sad emotive pop surrealism art artwork

Until then, this is the first painting of I hope many which are personal to me – from my own imagination! I have been painting for galleries and commissions for well over a year straight so this painting means a lot to me. It is the dawn of a new art path I have carved out for myself…even if it is only temporary šŸ™‚


  1. Gorgeous. I have been trying to get back into painting (used to do acrylics) do you have any advice for beginners in oil painting?

    • Thank you Sam! I used to paint in acrylics as well but switched over to oils a little over 2 years ago šŸ™‚ There are some great videos out on Youtube for the oil paint beginner. The drying time is obviously the biggest change you will experience after using acrylics! But – you can use Liquin (I like to use Liquin mixed with Walnut oil to make the paint go on smoother) to help your paints dry faster. You can also do the base of your paintings in acrylics or in thinned out monochrome oils – this will mean the oil you put on top of it will be more opaque and you wont waste as much paint building up layers.
      Experiment, have fun and I am really glad to hear you’re getting back into art! ^_^

Leave a Reply

Copyright Ā© Christina Ridgeway 2018 plantiebee.com All Rights Reserved