Pink Portraits by Clare Chapman

Clare Chapman is the portrait painter stimulating a love affair between painting techniques and the color pink. Read on to learn more about these pink portraits from the artist herself:

Image courtesy of Clare Chapman

Goethe’s poem, Heideroislein, is where both pink, the vagina and a mirror intertwines in narrative, discussing their parallels and theirs attributions to each other. “It is the thing, without being the thing, and yet the thing; an image composed in the mirror of the mind, and yet identical to the object.”

The portrait in my more recent work has become a more stylized representation of a vanity mirror. Creating the connection between the mirror instead of an actual portrait which allows the viewer to be looking inside oneself whilst the portrait looks out at you. You are in the same instance within the painting, but also outside of it.

By using a more limited palette, the paintings gain a carnivalesque aspect creating a more sinister element. In a similar way to the Feminist use of carnivalesque as appropriation of masculine sexual/gender symbolism to mock Freudian concept of penis envy and to create laughter out of masculine role-play. Pink jests at both the private and the obvious. It suggests ‘between the lines’. The motive of concealment indirectly exposing what is concealed; masquerade as a liberating force.

Using only pink turns the images into a shrine, Majestic but abhorrent. The ‘sickly sweet’. Pink is often seen as Vulgar or kitschy, it is one of the most vehemently rejected colours all of which only underscores its unusual biologically based effectiveness.

I’m pushing the paintings so that I have to question whether it’s even a portrait anymore. I plan the outline of the face and then it becomes irrelevant, the hair is important but the excess and the swirls even turn into clouds, to baroque decoration, no longer representing hair. I’m starting to learn that the work is becoming more about my love of paint, than the portrait itself. I want to paint something beautiful but also abhorrent. Something you want to touch but also don’t want to look at.

The melting and dripping paint creates an element of losing one’s mask, “letting the mask slip”. The everyday face that one wears to hide their true feelings. It not only shows the mask slipping but also becomes a mask of its own creation. Showing that one is never truly one self in front of others. The creation of ‘self’ relates to many factors.


“Women must consider both how they want to be seen and how one thinks they will be seen. “She becomes both the surveyed and the surveyor” – John Berger


Image courtesy of Clare Chapman