Thoughts on Indecent Exposure

Making new friends is a treat to be savoured, or else ravenously devoured because when you hit it off, nothing can stop you.

Getting to know people properly with whom you have been acquainted for years may take a similar turn, if only that some of the leg work has already been accomplished.

When new faces are foisted upon us situationally, it may be wise to hold back. Otherwise we risk the forcing of friendship, the over-burdening of our companion; the unhappy match of divergent dreams. It is like casually undressing for a near stranger while you are still in the street, and asking them to inspect the folds of your belly button. You can expect to be left naked and ridiculed, if not generating hysteria.

Dancing for Pan, recreating a Poussin

Image created by a student at Candid Arts, as I took the pose of each character in Poussin’s ‘Dance before a herm of Pan’.

HoneyMoon Currents

There was something about him as we were chopping up the vegetables, so gentle, a tenderness in his eyes and in the corner of his smile. I felt comfortable. He was cheeky too, in the subtlest of ways, as I could tell he did not want to offend me.

When we sat down to dinner I talked about my work and my project. About being a nude model and for some reason how other people see this. He asked if other people judged me for what I do, and I replied that everyone in my life had gotten used to what I do, though there were surely some more distant family members who looked down on it, but I hardly saw them. I don’t think they look down because of the nudity come to think of it, rather the low status and low pay, the insecurity it bodes for my future.

It was the most probing thing he said, maybe in his tone, and I probably enjoyed revealing a little more of myself. Most of all I liked that he wanted to know. He seemed interested in the right way.

I feel a current streaking through me, and I am not sure if it is anger any more. It feels more like vitality, energy, a healthy desire to move things, move myself forwards. I think it is the drive of my surging genes, coming into focus as I hit the ground stumbling at first, yet quickly picking myself up, brushing the dust off and launching straight for the next goal – I am in my mid 30s and there is no sign of a baby; I have successfully maintained black sheep status since puberty in my left-of-centre middle class with the most righteous of roots family – THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO! And I feel like a warrior woman with some comic turns!

BP Portrait Award

I recently visited the National Portrait Gallery and checked out this annual fare of assorted portraits. It was quite enjoyable with a reasonable amount of deviation from the photographic style which tends to dominate. Not that that isn’t admirable, just gets a little dull when we are constantly surrounded by quality photographic images.

I was less impressed by the winners I have to say, which said very little to me and hardly stood out; one of them, ‘Holly’ barely even a portrait, far closer to a classical nude.

There were two pictures which I particularly remember, and which managed to capture a great deal in terms of resonating with contemporary issues close to my and I am sure many others’ hearts.

'OHH!' by Cayetano De Arquier Buigas

This is an amusing image which the artist set up to spark discussion about different styles of art; the model is regarding another depiction of her which has an incredibly abstract style. The artist was born in 1932 which makes me think that he was around for much of the modernist era in Spain, his native land. He has witnessed the breadth of change in art from Picasso through to the present day and must be struck by it, and wonder that we don’t recapture some of modernisms’s finer moments more often. This painting speaks to me about how we view ourselves, and has a comical expression. I visited the gallery with my friend Julia Parr, who has participated in Spirited Bodies, and she pointed out that it clearly reminded her of what it was like to model at the event, and then look at the pictures of herself with awe and wonder.

'I Could Have Been A Contender' by Wendy Elia

This is my favourite picture in the exhibition and if I was in charge it would have won! It speaks to me about what Spirited Bodies aims to address, and it so very directly and succinctly sums up the portrayal of women, in relation to family, and as posed by the artist, so it is empowering and questioning, analytical simultaneously. The daughter intrigued by her Mother’s boldness, while the son is shocked, not wanting to see her nude form. The image created by the naked artist comments on society’s unrealistic expectations of women.

Role Reversal

When I met you I was nervous, I mean I couldn’t ask you out.

You were like an angel, just appearing, offering to model and then when you did, showing me, explaining to me how to draw. I’d drawn before, from photos, and in a very technical way, and you showed me how to draw with feeling, expression, how to capture essence. In a very remarkable short time, you showed me this and it changed the way I worked. There was no looking back. It was a gift.

And there was a new and powerful connection – I trusted you and felt very open to you. That I moved you was even more amazing. I’d never have guessed yet it felt quite natural, that it was new for you too. That you had opened up because you wanted to share, to talk, and in me you had found an avenue, a channel for communication, which for some reason, you lacked everywhere else.

I hadn’t been with a woman for a while. I’d had setbacks, a health problem, and my confidence had been low. Medication made my sex drive weak, I wasn’t in a great place. Had the shit knocked out of me you might say. Fucked around by the hospital, doctors didn’t know what it was and I didn’t talk about it with friends… My habits had to change with the meds.

So when you had no idea about me, but were so open, so giving, so lovely, and I knew you thought I was part of some big cool group of friends, well I had to let you know, you know. That it wasn’t like that. I didn’t want to mislead you. What you may have known about me from years ago was no longer the case. Of course some of it still stood, but like most of us, I had changed. So it came out, and you too were telling me things about your past which concerned you, stuff that’s not so easy to bring up, and you knew because of the people I know, that I’d probably understand. We come from the same background. There’s an understanding.

Lessons in Life

After a good runaround in the park

I am looking for answers on my spirited journey, and my search has brought me to a new place.

It has become apparent that those who are not in the know are not qualified to wholly advise. But I wanted intelligence from new quarters; so in this effort, I find myself as teacher. Now I’ve never been to art school as a student or a tutor, but I’ve been listening and watching many times. My pupil is learning how to draw me. It’s never been like this before.

He is challenged by my nudity, and I by our pairing. I show him what I know or what I can do. He slowly realises what life drawing is, and what I am like. He is frustrated by the difficulty, and I by a new tenderness I feel. I want to cross over and embrace him, because he has presented a most welcome opportunity for a blurring of  worlds. There is no money here, but an exchange of skill and a sharing of time.

I laugh out loud from my bed and wonder where I have been all these years.

This is no random contact, we are old friends (of friends) and more than a decade has separated us. I grew up with them in all our immodesty and irreverent rapture; something of my soul belongs with them. It was first on the dance floor together we all were spirited bodies.

He at first was married to line, and careful measured proportion. I bark at him through the briefest of poses, “What do you see? What draws your eye most? What does the pose say? DRAW THAT!”

Stunned by his muse’s orders, he gets it. It’s my stern expression that must be caught, or sheer feminine fragility, the essence in a hand gesture, and the poise of a being inclined to take him on.

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (via Her Sight [Sīt])

Thank you Anna/Phyrecracker xxx

It’s Friday night in Detroit. There are at least two hot poetry tickets in the city tonight. You could come through Elyssium if your into the club sort of thing; the music is loud and the people are sexy. Little Miss Sunshine is on television. I’m a starving artist so it’s just a regular work day for me, feeling shitty unless i write something and then feeling shitty because i wrote something. You know how it is. We’re also ending violence agains … Read More

via Her Sight [Sīt]

Haxan

“It was a general belief that the witch was naked when, at night, during the so-called Witch Sabbath, she danced with the devils.

Women who wanted to participate in the ‘Sabbath’ sneaked away to the sorcerer where they could have their backs smeared with ‘witch ointment’. The witchcraft of the ointment would allow them to fly through the air.

The Witch Sabbath was a secret satanic rite to which thousands of women asserted their participation.

During the witchcraft era it was dangerous to be old and ugly, but it was not safe to be young and pretty either.

In the arc of a few centuries, over 8 million women, men and children were burnt as witches.”

Corpsed

Mother lay on the couch motionless; her brain removed so work could be done.

I thought I better take off her clothes to let the body breathe.

This proved hard work – a pair of tights, skirt, buttons and impossible sleeves… all that tugging, manoeuvring, even yanking down below and I’d lost track of her head. It was hanging off the side, how undignified. I slowed down to rearrange her, gently lift her head where it belonged.

As a natural position realigned I noticed a twinge of life, some left over electricity perhaps. A wave of subtle motion from her eyes to her shoulder and down the right arm. Just a moment of life, so strange, almost shocking it moved me too.

I stayed, wondering if her brain really would come back.

Life Club

Birdsong in the morning,  zone 6,  cemetery path and a silver haired community centre.
I face Margaret. She always gets missed out, so today I look her way. Two minutes picking her medium; charcoal in a chocolate box, or pens in an elastic? Doesn’t look at me, just feels her materials, places her pad.
And then eyes raise, lid removed. A long look, small marks. Wait; spectacles are in order, and minutes go by.
I work hard for 2 ten minute poses, arms high, toes tipped… and then dry up. Too early, close in, and cover what they’d like to see most. Senior sauce. But hey! Even protruding knees and elbows please their select number (to get in you have to make good cake).

In the 2nd half they stop me mid-stretch, frantic scribbling what could be a glamour pose.

I only came because I like Margaret (and the cake).