Mystical and Strange Experiences and Insights

Painting Femscape 2


Danielle in “Femscape” on display at the Showcase Gallery in Santa Ana


 I meet with the art group on Friday mornings to do life drawing. The models are mostly fat, old, wrinkled, covered  with tattoos, body piercings, varicose veins, etc. After I get started, this doesn't matter; since I hardly even think about whether it is a man or woman. A roll of fat is fun to draw and most models eventually become beautiful, regardless of how they appear at first. Lips especially take on an amazing beauty. Some women I have trouble even looking at first eventually seem beautiful. I rarely remember their names.

 The day I created "Femscape" I was preparing an easel as one of the big, fat, black ladies, who often models, entered. Since she is one of my favorites to draw, I had a nice relaxed feeling as I began pulling out browns and yellows for her skin tone. Then a beautiful, young lady, about 21, I had never seen, walked into the room, and I uttered, half jokingly, under my breath, "God, please let this woman be the model", even though I assumed that she was a new student artist. Nevertheless, I considered for a moment drawing her, clothed at her easel, instead of the model. I watched to see where she was setting up and was somewhat disappointed when she disappeared into the next room where the clothed models pose.

 For a moment I considered moving to the clothed model room myself. Her name was Danielle, and suddenly she reappeared draped only in a sheet. Standing on the model stand she uncovered one of the most beautiful, unflawed, voluptuous bodies I have ever seen, no stretch  marks, no piercing, not even so much as a mole. When she assumed a pose, her body just melted into the floor with utter naturalness and relaxation, but loaded with energy. The light draped her body with shadows and highlights that emphasized curves and valleys like a beautiful landscape. I got so excited drawing her that my canvas must have been smoking. My chalk seemed to make much more noise than usual, especially as I rubbed it into the paper I wondered if people would start complaining about how much noise I was making.  Every time I touched the paper with chalk it glowed with new energy; every line worked. The colors went on and blended in ways I had never seen with purple and blue shadows and lifelike flesh that was almost warm to touch.   I could do nothing wrong, I felt Picasso's soul inside my body.

 During breaks we walk around and look at each other’s work. I could hear people looking at my canvas uttering words like, "Oh my God, look at the flesh colors and shadows."  The model, draped only in the sheet she covered herself with during breaks, walked over to my canvas to see what the ruckus was all about. She stood their for a few minutes staring before going back to her position. When I returned to my place she came back over and said, "That is sooooo cool."

 Like one of those insets in the TV show, Alley McBeal, I saw myself melting down into the tiles and draining out under the door.  All I could think of to say is "You are fun to draw." Later I thought maybe I should have ask her if I could be her slave, put her in my will, give her my Lexus, or something.

 For the remainder of the session I realized the meaning of inspiration in art.  I asked myself, "Would I really want to be 21 again?" After thinking about it briefly, my reply to myself was a definite..............."Naaaaah.........".  Drawing this lady was about the most fun thing I could imagine doing with her. :)