Tag Archives: arts

Nude Modelling (!)

Figure drawing has always been one of my favorite artistic activities. There is nothing I find more interesting to draw than the human form. While taking many figure drawing courses and classes over the last 25 years, I often wondered what it would be like to model. Many years ago, I put nude modelling on my list of “1001 Things in 101 Days” (a sort of bucket list), thinking that it would never actually happen. More recently, the wondering became a wanting.

In the last few months, my friend Deseré Pressey (an amazing artist – check out her work) began the Off-Beat Figure Drawing sessions in Calgary. There are several models at these events (read about one male model’s experience here), and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. When Deseré decided to host a special woman-focused session for International Women’s Day, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to make my first attempt at modelling.

There were two reasons I had for wanting to try nude modelling. First: my meditation practice has been more regular in the last few months, and I look for opportunities to try longer practices. This seemed like the ultimate meditation practice (nude, in front of strangers, with long poses). Second: my journey to fully and completely accepting my body is far from over, and it seemed to me that exposing myself in front of strangers would either push me further into acceptance, or at least, allow me to learn more about my process of acceptance.

The session was held at the beautiful Wolf Willow Studios, and was an intimate gathering of women, with accompanying harp music by the amazing Eily Aurora. I had been excited all day, which flipped into nervousness in the hour before dropping my robe. Luckily, a more seasoned model was willing to give me tips and she helped me feel more comfortable before we began.

Turned out that there were women attending that I knew, but I didn’t allow that to freak me out. I noticed that I thought I “should” freak out about it, but I wasn’t really feeling it. The hardest part was dropping the robe, but that was easier once I saw that the other two models had done so already.

During the first few poses, I noticed that I felt a bit closed off from the group, and I think my poses expressed that somewhat. By dropping my physical protection, my mind gave me a mental protection, a kind of barrier. Eventually, as the night went on, I relaxed and was able to drop that feeling.

photo by Michelina Bamford

photo by Michelina Bamford

The modelling portion of the evening went well – I didn’t choose any poses that I wasn’t able to hold, and none of my body parts fell asleep – YAY! I did notice, though, that because I have been an artist at figure drawing sessions, I have preferences about what I enjoy drawing (women more than men, and women with more folds and curves more than angular, thin women). These preferences influenced the way I thought about my body during and after the session. My usual feelings of not measuring up because of the way society tells me I should be (flat stomach, clear skin, thin, etc), completely flipped around to feeling like I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t large enough, wasn’t curvy enough, didn’t have enough folds – basically, not interesting enough to draw.

Fascinating how the mind works, yes?

Instead of feeling not good enough, I would love to come to the place of fully accepting that all bodies are beautiful. I understand it, I just don’t completely feel it yet within myself. Getting there, though. And I’m a lot closer than I have ever been to really knowing this.

So many people commented to me that I was brave for doing this. This hasn’t completely sunk in, or I maybe because I have done it, I no longer think of it as that big a deal. Or maybe, I didn’t quite understand the sentiment. I don’t think it’s necessarily brave to stand naked in front of strangers, but I do think it’s brave to try something that is completely new and a little scary, whatever that may be for you.

Drawing and photo by Deseré Pressey. The two central figures are me!

Drawing and photo by Deseré Pressey. The two central figures are me!

Action in the Shop!

I have really been neglecting my Etsy shop for the last several months. Not renewing my listings, not listing new items – poor thing! I have finally given my shop a little action – some new cards are now listed! And I will list more soon – I promise!! Click here to purchase a card.

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The painting on the cards is one that I made for a show featuring the work of many Calgary artists. We all used a 2′x 2′ base, and the themes were “music”, “wine”, and “the colour red”. When I first made the painting, I had forgotten the “music” theme, but it seems to have come out anyway; when I posted it to Facebook, I had many people comment that it looked like a rock concert, and they could see guitar frets! We had the show opening at Wine-Ohs in Calgary last week.

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It’s Strange but I like it!

I’m so glad to be back in the swing of things – I’m painting more regularly and really enjoying it! I am finding today’s composition to be a little bit odd, but sometimes odd is good. So I am embracing it and as usual, enjoying creating color explosions!

Today’s painting is up for auction on my Facebook page, so please head over there to bid! The auction ends tonight at 9 pm MST.

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Painting in … New Zealand!

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Remember this tutorial I posted back in 2011? I had no intention of writing a serious tutorial, but I thought it would be a fun way to show how I paint. Turns out, it’s my most popular blog post, ever, with almost 10,000 views. I am still stunned by how seriously people have taken that post! And happy!

Most recently, a group of students at the Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School in New Zealand used the tutorial to make their own paintings. The class was led by their teacher, Megan McLellan, in the process. Megan and I went to high school together (and used to take the same bus!) and we have been connected on Facebook for several years.

Here’s a photo of the students and their paintings:

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I feel like a proud mama!! I hope they all had fun with it (I see smiles – good sign)! One of my greatest wishes for children is to enjoy the process and have fun with art!

It’s a colourful day!

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Last night I chose to dance, rather than go to Gorilla House. It was a wonderful night, but I did miss painting! Painting at Gorilla House is such a different experience that painting in my studio, so I decided to bring a bit of that energy to the studio: I made two paintings in two hours.

I had lots of fun making these, and although the color palette is the same, the energy is very different (to me). Sticking with the Gorilla House theme, I am auctioning both of these paintings on my Facebook page today. The auction ends tonight at 10 pm MST, so head on over!

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Studio Tuesday

Here are some recent works in progress!

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I worked on this one today. I’m feeling like it’s almost finished, but I am going to let it sit for a bit, and see how I feel about it next time I head down to the studio. I know that when I am not completely sure, it’s probably not done. On the other hand, when I leave a painting for long enough, I sometimes get used to how it looks, and it becomes done (like the one on the ground in the photo, with the squares!).

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How do you know when you are done?