Where is he , Red Fudo, no sign of him in this pic. – its not that I have abandoned him or he abandoned me. After all every piece of learning has its context… but this life class is my new context for a few weeks.( Once a week ) So he is hiding here tapping his feet , while the life model rests. This weeks’ model has a mobile which rings every fifteen minutes. He heaves himself into a robe, resting his stillness by moving among the easels examining the images we have made. He is very polite and moves his bulk easily among us all. I am relieved to find most of us students are using pencils and graphite sticks like me. As to how I compare as a visual artist … too early to say… my first effort in more than thirty years, below.
Beforehand I wondered if I would last two hours concentrated observation and mark making but I take the same breaks as the model and all is well. I think of this as a holiday in a manner of speaking. Away from the stresses of every day.
I now have a much better appreciation of Lucien Freud’s work. portraiture, in particular the civil servant model , the one in ‘All too human ‘ exhibition mentioned in the last blog She is/was also very corpulent and they had, perhaps have, interesting bodies to draw. I think I can draw a body like that without judgement, having been pretty heavy myself.
Sonnet on my body
I miss my luscious body
buttocks spreading, cushioning my bones on a bench
breasts billowing over bra cups
the texture of a good marshmallow
now they are thin pour like a reluctant liquid
my ankles are bony like a girls
thighs like soft slack tubes
rather than supportive columns
a backside that could take a music hall slap
a seaside wobble
self image takes a long time to learn
this was not the body I wanted
wrinkled , meagre and slack
but generous, given over to pleasure
and up for just one more !
I wrote this after losing weight because of having diabetes, and I am grateful to be symptom free but see the cost above.. All the images of Fudo are thin and muscular, well I am not muscular, but having a body which no longer causes comment makes for a new learning context. This is the body which acts as others first introduction to me. The assumptions made by strangers about me are noticeably different ( less judgemental ? ) now I am thinner.
There are other places to discuss the disappearance of middle and older women. https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/life/…/invisible-middleaged-women-are-fighting-back or google dissapearing women So I will not do that here but needless to say it’s a real lived experience and the purple hair mitigates some of the worst effect of that I find. Back to the weekly mark making and more on Fudo’s role.