To Feel Human with You

Being with people naked with all different bodies, still and silent is liberating. Our bodies are ok, there is beauty in each, from the essence being allowed to be. Open and free allows, encourages each to flourish. That is a gift, that is magic, to share that is bliss.

To witness the unlocking of pain, but simply all I see is beauty. Individual expression, sometimes connection, the love of friends, couples, and the inclusion of all. The connections of the more confident and brave, the shapes of different bodies, sometimes balancing, sometimes relaxing, sometimes wanting to be looked at or not; to have all the variety is the magic of life.

At the begining of the morning session when I got on the platform, I found myself close to my friend Sylvie

As I was posing on the stage with everyone I noticed this wonderful feeling and it didn’t matter if we were being drawn or not, that was incidental. It was just being with everyone that mattered, and knowing we were all ok. I guess the artists do help though! That way you have a reason to stay still which helps. And impressions beyond photographs.

Thanks to all the models, and the artists at Spirited Bodies at the Drawing Theatre in Battersea Arts Centre last Saturday 20th October. Thanks also to Lucy, Steve and Denise for photographing art work. There is much more of it to be seen on our Facebook page; it may take a while to upload it all on here, so in the mean time:

Charcoal & Broomsticks

Like Cindarella after a hard day’s work I rest on my broom

exhausted and in a day dream about my Prince

Ugly sisters are having fun, being invited to everything and somehow stopping me from joining in while an evil step Mother holds the key to my cellar

Then a Fairy God Mother appears and offers a chance of freedom, to come out and shine

Cindarella figure from different view points; she is the hidden consciousness about to be revealed at the right moment

She holds the secret to unlimited success, beauty and Love!

Before you can manage your own affairs you must find the peace inside. Repeated rhythms of arduous work have kept Cindarella calm and disciplined. Drudgery has not dampened her dreams which sparkle more alluringly than ever. Solitude has brought her closer to herself and to value the company of others.

Reflection is a vital part of the discovery. To stay totally still and not move an inch, except for the infinitesimal but steady descent with gravity which the artists observe as they alter their measurements. I don’t notice, I’m locked in a stare and far away

A Feminist Uprising in Brockley!

The coolest thing just happened to me. I had been indoors much of the day working from home when I felt my antennae twitching. It wasn’t just the coffee. Thought I’d go stock up on fruit so took a walk in the warm evening.

I got some grapes and plums etc and was meandering back when I bumped into a woman I met last week when I joined up with fellow Lewisham residents who are part of 38 Degrees Campaign group. We had handed in a petition to our MP against plans by government to spy/collect more data on people’s internet use.

So we were chatting about her involvement in a charity supporting refugees in Lewisham, and about my naked events being tricky for some ethnic/religious groups when I saw a woman waving at me from across the way. I told Heather, my companion and she turned and recognised a friend of hers. We joined her in the little park by the street; she was sitting as she had a bad leg. This woman had a slow, lilting Scottish voice and a warmth which seemed to operate on a different time. She described the old ways with affection, when children played outside and books had pages. I recognised her at once for an artist with her care and pleasure to tell me what she valued. It was not a rant, more a musical aside; you might lean in to catch. Someone with a vision and a smile.

I wanted to stay in touch and as I took her details she mentioned an impromptu meeting of women locally coming up soon, they would take over a pub! She said she used to organise regular feminist gatherings in the 80s but had not done so since having children. This will be the first reunion of her womenfolk friends and some new ones for nearly 30 years! I was astounded and felt the serendipity so sweetly. I was/am looking for women. I want to bring back the sense of empowering women to my events. I not long ago removed the ‘Empowering Women Through Art’ tagline as men are blatantly invited too. However since this change I have stopped hearing from women so much but instead have a regular influx of inquiries from men. I want the men; it is important to have them, for themselves and for the women. But my first passion is the women. Men sometimes asked ‘why do women need empowering? – Are they weak?’ The answer is sometimes unfortunately yes. You might not be able to see it but I feel it. I also know that women are increasing in their power as I write; their energy is on the up.

While a few white men basically control the planet’s finances, I think it is safe to say what may be a cliche that women and coloured people and every other minority/alternative do not yet enjoy equality. There is I believe another way to do things… and 38 Degrees represent just that – People, Power & Change. Our MP Joan Ruddock argued that policing the internet is vital for catching evil criminals particularly from the porn industry. There may be much abuse in that area and I could not say I know the facts (who can?) but our society (globally) as we presently exist keeps sex as something which still has taboo about it. The idea of tackling crime by targetting ‘criminals’ is akin to treating disease by symptoms. It is a way to manage things, though I think short-sighted. In a better world, we may look deeper at our beliefs which allow the negative manifestations of crime and disease to function. Work in progress.

Meeting Joan Ruddock

Meeting With Freedom

When the doctor calls in the middle of the night, come to the hospital, this could be it. We don’t know if she’ll make it, but we need to know from you what you would like us to do if – if the life in her is not worth – if when she opens her eyes there is nothing there. They have the power and they need to know, have you thought about it? Yes because it happens each time – different doctors, sometimes different hospital, but each time she is under they have to ask.

Sometimes my instincts check in advance, they are not feeling adrenaline, I am sure this time will pass. Often I am pulled in to the brink on the edge of the rollercoaster seat. By the bedside crying, and appreciating time in the relatives’ suite, because that is the most meaningful conversations the rest of the family ever has with Dad. The family drama; and when the doctor calls, I know now that he is hoping. This time could be his meeting with freedom. He has discussed her wishes with her and the answer is to switch off from a life not worth the trouble. Meanwhile they continue, we keep on.

At the front of The Royal Festival Hall, Lucy and I find a table and furnish it with my large painted Spirited Bodies sign. We discuss the press release, skirting over our brushings with mental health. I was supposed to prepare the meeting we are about to have with our brand new SB models. We’ll wing it; well it’s not like we haven’t done it before. The hardest thing I find is putting myself in the position of someone new to the whole business. Remembering what it was like before nudity was normal, and even then it wasn’t that new to me. And tuning myself to a sensitive mode that is ready for newbies both anxious and nervous, as well as those in it for the craic, or because they just love what we’re doing. I’m a tiny bit nervous but it’s going to be fun.

They arrive one by one, with warm hand shakes and smiles, chairs gradually accumulated from across the room. They find me familiar, I have been emailing them individually, and it’s like we know each other, except now they’re all here I don’t know who each one is. It’s ok. We have important informations to impart and light-hearted anecdotes of bodily fluids and anti-sexual encounters. We – Lucy and I – are on familiar territory, and we pick up after each other. I try to feel what the interested faces are hoping to glean, and they ask about the photographs (for London Drawing) and how to choose poses. It goes well and I am high and full of love afterwards. That’s why we do it, because of them (and us). I love it when they are happy. The artists make another level of content, but for me it’s for the models first. They make me feel both humble and worthy. They are on edge with excitement to meet themselves in a space that is about just being, and being drawn. And they will be together, as in a drama, complimenting and interacting with each other, creating a story where there are bodies. We will be guiding them, but now already these that we have met, know more what to expect. Their minds will imagine and start to build the scene of the next event. The seeds are gestating in time for a rich bloom.

In The Midnight Hour

A dark basement which is also a corridor, recorded in the midnight hour for Charles Hayward‘s installation.

A congregation of pipes, a gas meter, a large china basin and an iron door to a noman’s land. Windows partially blocked, a concrete floor. Lines demarcating a work zone, a stairway above and a garden outside. How did the room wish to be displayed?

Charles felt moved by the room. He sat in it and waited until he knew when and what, how to record.

Time is accelerated and slowed in the final take, and passing by, my own time is overlapped with The Midnight Hour.

a basement, Art House Lewisham

Wired for Work

At an advertising agency in Kensington I am surprised by how lovely the young things make me feel.
A very dry, cold ‘theatre’ room with a cheap decor, slowly fills with keen, appreciative artists. I don’t want to like them; I checked out the multinationals they represent in the portfolio down in the lobby, but these yes privileged persons, have been requesting life drawing sessions from their seniors for some time; have been starved, so this once monthly occasion is feted.
I relax, improvising with the furniture, admiring their sketches. There is a chill at first, so I naturally huddle into protective, warming, apparently sex-kitten poses! Then a quality heater is delivered, and I uncurl into passionate, open posture; I let myself be the way I really am – cute, coquettish and angularly striking.
A young man announces he modelled in Florence whilst attending classes at the world’s premier life drawing academy. I ask if it paid for his tuition and he said he was lucky to have parents covering that. But knowing that he knows what it’s like to do what I do, does make me feel much more at home.
Candles are brought to illuminate my feet and I bask in loving ambiance.
Red flows to unwind their charcoaling fingers and lubricate a love for drawing. Why do I feel so enamoured? Am I projecting the love I desire on to these rat race rabbits? If I am I’m sure they feed it back because by the end I overflow. I do not resent their commercial creed; art unites us for a short exercise in loving connection where the only touch is on paper. They allowed me to be beautiful, and even to forget about sex, which is an achievement at present!
A good model friend of mine advised me on structured meditation while modelling, to avoid unwanted thoughts and attention. I cannot instill this instantly, but something of her wise words must have sunk in – I feel like I am on a higher plane. I’ve always fallen in my own time to the rhythm of meditation, but with practise a greater discipline will work for me. I do not want my sexual appetite to get the better of me, there is more to art and life.

Keeping Schtum at Torrens Street; Model Life

It’s Wednesday evening and I’m busting some moves in the basement at Torrens Street’s Candid. I reminisce briefly of old times larging it on the dance floor next door; I wasn’t naked then, but getting there.
There’s a buzzy vibe tonight with total beginners and long time regulars packing it in, sketching on the floor, sitting on garden seats or braving it at the easel. I storm in exhausted and ready to take them on. It’s been a zigzag marathon today starting in Baker Street, afternoon Blackheath way, ending up in the Angel. But something feels rocking; at the girls school I was reminded of the first rule of life modeling: ‘When the going gets shit, strike it hotter baby!’ There’s no hiding your feelings – everything’s out for all to see so just grab their eyes with every curve you’ve got, lure their gaze with unfolding angles. You’ll reap the rewards; to see their complementary images I am reminded that it’s not so bad. And while I hold their attention, I feel their warmth. I imagine each of them wondering who I am, but really I know they’re just trying to measure me.
I’m intense, climactic; I may finally attempt a long lost goal of singledom with a capital S. Or is it C for celibacy? I have no idea how this is going to go… and a terrible track record when breaking up with boyfriends. 2 – 3 months is a record since age 16. At 33 it’s high time.
It’s just a trick of the mind surely, and then one can progress, but with so much more chi! So much more anticipation oozing, coaxing and channeling into friends, work, art.