This glittery painting of a mysterious woman was inspired by a friend moving to New Orleans, and also reminiscing about my childhood there. Being pregnant has brought on a lot of my own childhood memories…

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This painting depicts the intense gaze of a mysterious woman. The Hebrew words of the Havdalah prayer are written across her skin and intertwined in the curls of her multicolored hair. This is a blessing over the separation of different things, giving thanks for there being an abundance of opposites in our existence. Night and day, joy and sorrow, excitement and calm. All of it is a beautiful part of life and we are thankful. Click the picture to view a larger version.

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It is amazing how much you can do with photo manipulation, and how much we take for granted when we look at faces/bodies in magazines and don’t realize that stars have just as many stretchmarks and wrinkles as us. This is a before and after photo of my face that I manipulated in Photoshop (I smoothed out some marks on my face, took out the bags under my eyes, took out the shine on my forehead and nose, made my skin look milkier, fixed my eye makeup, made my hair longer, and totally changed the colors of everything).

But we can do so much more with photo manipulation! From little things like whitening teeth, and removing acne or wrinkles, to larger things like increasing cleavage, decreasing waists, and even swapping heads and bodies from other pictures to create the “perfect shot”.

As an artist who is fascinated by these things and loves manipulating photos, I have mixed feelings. I mean, there is definitely a negative effect when the youth turns to magazines to know what beauty is, when the women on those pages are all manipulated to the extent of not even being human anymore! But it seems like people are becoming more aware of these things in general, so perhaps future generations of young girls will all just KNOW magazine bodies are total fantasy, and not aspire to become those unrealistic ideals.