I painted my first landscape merge on a woman in Israel.
On a summer day at the beach, I stood for hours painting her hair, face, shoulders and breasts to blend into the gorgeous water and sunset behind her.
Seeing the finished piece was amazing for both of us.
Everything we stood for, connecting people with earth, had visually come to life.
I painted people into the landscape all over the world until I made it back to my Aussie homeland.
In the beginning, it could take me up to three hours to finish an artwork. Today I manage to keep it to an hour most of the time.
The outdoor pieces are challenging.
Of course, for my clients, standing nude in the elements isn’t easy! And contending with passers-by can be tricky.
For me, sunlight is harsh on my sensitive eyes because I have a rare condition which causes pigmentation on my retina.
All things considered, I decided to build an indoor studio in Sydney.
I print large photographs of selected landscapes and custom designed backdrops, and paint people into them.
Then, I snap pictures of their camouflaged bodies.
People come to me for all kinds of reasons, such as trauma, heartbreak or grief.
They want to feel beautiful and connect with their true nature.
Some, like Elena and Raffi, celebrate milestones of marriage and pregnancy.
For others, the focus can be body positive art therapy, merging into backdrops such as flowers or surfboards, or even their own art.
It’s a very profound experience.
I learn about my craft every session. Because it’s such an intimate experience, I spend time with my clients before, so we can build a connection, and I can be clear on their intentions.
Setting clear intentions is a core part of the magic of body painting therapy.
After the painting and photography are complete, they wash off, and we share a cup of tea and debrief.
This year, I painted my amazing mum, Sharon, 68, for Mother’s Day.
I blended her into the background of Lake Louise in Canada, the last place she holidayed with my dad, Oren, before he passed.
‘I could literally feel myself becoming one with it all,’ Mum said.
Now, after 10 years, I’m still just as passionate about it as the first day I started.
The creation process and my clients mean so much to me. It takes a lot of energy, but I love every minute of it.
I feel honoured to help people feel happy and tap into their own healing with the strokes of my brush.
Follow Orly on Instagram, @orlyfaya