“7000” My First Portrait


Here’s my first ever “finished” portrait and I submitted it to my first ever contest. Hurray. Finished. Period. That’s it. Only it’s not.

I have been plagued of this idea and originally planned to do it for the president’s 6th month mark. I felt the need to do it again when I came across a zine calling for contributors on EJKs. When the figure rose to 7000, again I had that urge. And finally now I used the contest #paintyourpeopleph as that extra push to get on with it.

I knew it would be difficult trying to contain emotions but when it came, it still stunned me. Here is my first portrait and it is brought about by terrible circumstances. I wasn’t able to reach the planned 7000 strokes for this bloody portrait of the president thus I put quotation marks when I say “finished” portrait. It was weighty. I did not even come close. About 200 in, I started doubting if I could do it. By 400, I knew it was going to be hard. I stopped counting at around 750, giving up. I still probably got to more than a thousand brush strokes of red watercolor but the piece was too small and 7000 was just too many. 7000 is just appalling and it worsens as it sinks in that it hasn’t been a year. How did it reach this number? I felt angry, helpless, afraid and ashamed. I felt hopeless. I feel hopeless.




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