If I were to write a book about my art, I might start it like this…
With great clarity I can recall the moment Manda stepped out of her cloths and stood nude in front of me for the first time. She had come over and divested of her clothing so that I might draw her. An odd, if not awkward situation, in an office building doubling as a make-shift and temporary studio. This would be our first of many times working together.
As an aside, the word “work” has always struck me as too clinical to describe our artistic interactions – but, such a sterile term seems to offset the “scandal-factor” in the minds of those who can’t understand non-clandestine nudity. Makes it seem less like humans interacting. More like scrubbing the greasy floor at Wendy’s. It wasn’t really like work at all. It was a sincere, genuine, and intrinsically rewarding endeavour…
Ancient Greeks used the term “Kairos” for such moments. Kairos refers to subjective units of time – usually significant “moments” – such as the moment in which a decision is made that forever changes your destiny. Or, perhaps, a memory that is forever burned in to your mind. Blue Muse Fine Art, and my studio, were quite literally, built up around such an etching.
Manda didn’t come to pose for me because I was an established artist, in exchange for a valuable piece of art, or to build her portfolio. At that time I was not an established artist. Indeed, it was only while working with her, and through working with her, that I first came to truly accept that I was a real artist. Not just a pretend one, a weekend one, not just going through the motions. She came to pose for me as part of a personal journey and, at first, it was good enough that I wasn’t a creepy SOB and, perhaps, she saw some potential. We began weekly sessions.
Drawing Manda was a process. I learned – about her, about myself, and about art. We were mutually inspired. Thus, she became not just a model, but a muse – a term she very reluctantly began to accept somewhere between our 40th and 50th session working together. As muses are known to do, she pushed me and my art. She encouraged me to try different mediums and, reluctantly, I would, on occasion. I was usually concerned that the pieces would not turn out well enough and that she might question why she was coming over, undressing, posing in awkward poses for long periods of time; but she returned, every week, for about a year and a half…
It was 2010 that she last bared her body for me. I could not draw for 9 months after she stopped coming over.
There may only be a handful of people in a life time that will truly change your worldview, the course of your life, and even how you see your own self. A person who, by their nature, brings out something sincere in you that you didn’t even know existed.
The pictures below were my first attempt to use pastels – mostly done at Manda’s insistence (perhaps “encouragement” would be the proper word). I haven’t finished them, and hence the casual shot of them against the studio wall. I think maybe I don’t want to finish them. Too symbolic, perhaps.
I will, in fact, publish my first book shortly. I have learned a lot in making it. Notably, 1) each chapter cannot help but build on the chapters that preceded it, and 2) I believe the best stories stay with you, even when the words are done.
– October, 2012