Funny, to me, how people are still so uptight about seeing the nude in art. It is 2010, after all! Even this blog, has a button one must push to consent to seeing "adult content". This seems so hypocritical when television and the media assault us daily with blatant sexual and violent images. What is more pornographic, I ask, a classic nude painting, or the scantily clad torso of an emaciated young woman with an obvious boob job, blown up to triple in size, and shouting at you from store windows all over the mall?
My primary subject matter as an artist is the human figure. Maybe because my dad was a physician, I grew up with the understanding of the human form as an incredibly intricate and intelligent machine. This outlook was what called me to art in the first place. I was in my early twenties when I took my first figure drawing class at Sacramento City College. Northern California artist, Fred Dalkey was my instructor. (Fred is a fantastic figure artist and his portraiture is stunningly beautiful). I was going to study accounting, but when I took this class for the first time, something ancient awoke in me. Learning from Fred was like living in a past life. The whole atmosphere of the course was steeped in tradition. We had to keep a sketch book (I filled up three that first semester). Our text drew heavily from knowledge of anatomy. Fred seemed to me like a latter day Rembrandt (his favorite artist). I was able to repeat the course 3 times for credit. My skills grew.
I moved to the Sierra foothills and the first thing I looked for was a figure drawing group. I found one, every Monday night at Tyler Micheleau's Gallery on Commercial Street. I attended religiously for the next decade. I happily abandoned my puritanical upbringing and stepped into the other side of the experience to model myself. (It made sense to me that if I wanted to draw the nude, I should be able to model as well). My kid's, Dawn and Gaea, just got used to having pictures of naked people hanging all over our house. When their little friends came over they would ask Gaea why there was a lady with red boobs on the wall. Gaea would just shrug her shoulders and say, "that's my mom's art".
All this has been so natural to me, that I am still surprised at a street fair, or in my studio at the Placer arts Building, when the young kids stroll slowly past my art pointing and whispering, their parents looking too (often uncomfortably). I remember then that the "real" world does not take nudity in its stride.
When I started oil painting, I wanted to create images of clothed people, as portraits, their attire reflecting their personality. Funny how, many times, when I did ask a friend to model, they would just whip off their shirt or all clothing, to model for me in the nude. I didn't ask them to strip, nor had I planed on it, but somehow, that's what they did.... I think being a woman artist in this day and age, gives me greater freedom than my male counterparts. I am not considered chauvinistic for my subject matter, and somehow, my models feel safe enough to be nude in front of me.
When my fellow artist, Menlo, agreed to model for me, I didn't ask him to take off his clothes, he just did. The painting I came up with (above) is a reversal of the classical female nude (under the gaze of male society). The artist in his studio, surrounded by his paintings, he named this piece for me; "L'homme Odalisque". When I want to post this image in my Etsy or Bonanza online shops it is too sexy, I have to label it mature, and pull out the proverbial "fig leaf" to hide what god gave us all! Well I didn't have a "fig leaf" handy on my photoshop samples, so I used what I call a "rectangular black hole" instead. So if you look into my shops, and wonder why the paintings are censored, the vagina or penis is covered with the rectangular black hole, that is the reason. My limited edition giclee reproductions are the original uncensored version.
(The original oil painting was bought by my good friend Terry Hollowell, she loves the look of his bright pink balls and penis displayed proudly on her wall for all to see).
naked man paintings
naked woman paintings