Body work No. 10: Curve appeal

I’m heading into the final week of working with the body theme for Creative Every Day. I was inspired to finished this 11 x 15 mixed media work on paper. I began this several years ago as a sketch, working from a reference photo. The subject is a jazz singer who performed at a summer party at my home. She was so curvy and confident that beauty radiated from her very core. I want that feeling. For now, I’ll settle for capturing that emotion here with my watercolor pencils.

The funny thing is that this sat so long untouched because I didn’t like the initial drawing, and I didn’t know how to fix it. Suddenly, after working on art every day thanks to the Creative Every Day Challenge, I have more confidence. So I just plunged in and let what happened happen. Feels good.

One body: Human

Watching the devastating stories continue to unfold in Haiti after the earthquake, I’m thinking about how we are all connected. No matter who we are or where we live, tragedy can strike. And when it does so on such a dramatic scale as in Haiti, it is so heartening to see people from all over the world pull together and offer help to a country that already had nothing and now has even less. At times like this, we tap into the fact that we are all a part of one body—the human body, in the broadest sense. For the body theme of Creative Every Day this week, I created this mixed media piece on paper using a map to create the figure and paired it with circles indicating our connectedness.

“We are all cells in the same body of humanity.”—Peace Pilgrim

Fruity talk

So now even our fruit is involved in picking at our body image. A friend recently shared this sticker she found on a banana. “Lose Weight” it says. I say, “shut up banana, you don’t tell me what to do!”

Of course, the sticker is just the company’s way of encouraging shoppers to eat the product and go to the company web site. But, hey, I have enough things telling me to lose weight, including my pants. Maybe I’m just getting cranky after nearly a month of thinking about “body” as the theme for Creative Every Day this month.

Maybe we should print up our own stickers to stick on fruit. Here’s what mine would say:

“You are fabulous!”

“Keep up the good work!”

“No, your butt does not look good in those pants…and so what if it does!”

What would your stickers say?

Body work No. 8: Soulful painting

As part of the Creative Every Day Challenge, I’ve been working on this painting since I created a sketch (see below) based on this quote by Wayne Dyer: “Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.” The sketch was very loose, and I had hoped to capture that feel in my painting. I didn’t achieve that.

This painting (tempera, acrylic and collage) seemed to have a mind of it’s own no matter what I did. I loved the background and tried not to touch it too much once it was established. But I’ve worked and worked on the body, trying to capture the duality of the soul and body. I think it is a work in progress. I’m not sure I’m done. Part of me wants to leave it alone and let it be what it seems to be insisting on being. Part of me says rework it keep going. What do you think?

Soulful

Body work No. 7: The heart

I have given much thought to the body this month as part of the “body” theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge. But what is the body without the heart? The heart drives the body, as well as the spirt.

“Feelings” play such a big role in life. An emotional hit to the heart physically manifests throughout the body—the pulse quickens, the breath shortens, the mind clouds with racing thoughts trying to comprehend the situation and figure out how to get through/over it.

Taking this into consideration inspired me to create this piece. An image came to me and quickly grabbed a scrap piece of paper and scribbled it down (see above). Wish I had better paper at the time. The second drawing (below) was done in my sketchbook, based on the first. It is more control and lacks the emotional immediacy of the first, but I like both.

This is about self love, taking care of self, as well as loving and adoring the people in your life that you hold dear.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with heart.”—Helen Keller

Body work No. 6: Soulful

Soulful

Inspired by another quote while thinking about the “body” theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge, I created this sketch. Quickly scribbling across my 9 by 12 sketch pad, I pondered the words: “Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.”—Wayne Dyer

In this drawing, I imagined the soul to be a mass of movement and the body nestled within it. I wrote the quote along one side of the figure. Currently I’m working on a mixed painting based on this drawing.

I like rethinking the body this way. My soul definitely deserves more attention. What if we fretted over our souls as much as we do our bodies? What do you think would happen? What if instead of worrying about whether we are thin enough, we worried about whether we are kind enough?

Body work No. 5: Sacred

"Sacred"

As I continue to think about the “body” theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month, I’ve started looking at quotes about the body that I find inspiring. I found one by Walt Whitman earlier this week. It inspired me to create this drawing in my sketchbook: “If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.”

The body is not just something to look at. It is our sacred vessel, holding the essence of who we are as human and spiritual beings. When I think of the body that way it seems really trivial to worry about the extra rolls around my waste. They do not define me. They do not tell people what is truly special about me.

Body Work No. 4: Abundance

Abundance

I have been inspired this week by a comment another blogger, Julie Jordan Scott,  made on my blog regarding my drawings. She said: “I so want women, everywhere, to feel comfortable with their abundance… in shapes and sizes regardless of how abundantly curvy she may be.”

That word “abundance” stayed with me this week as I thought about the “body” theme for this month’s Creative Every Day Challenge. I’ve never thought of myself as “abundant.” I like that idea—not full-figured, not full-bodied, but abundant. Yes. I made this 12 x 16 pencil drawing on canvas paper in honor of the word while waiting for my son to finish with basketball practice.

Body Work No. 3

Today was a busy one, returning to work for the first day since the holiday break. So I just did a quick sketch for the “body” theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge. I’m focusing on viewing full-bodied as beautiful.

Body Work No. 2

"I'm Fine Now"

I spent some time at a cafe this morning eating a pumpkin muffin that I had no business eating (considering the fat grams) and working on sketches in my series following the Creative Every Day Challenge theme: “Body.”

I’ve decide that I’m going to continue to create visual affirmations about what it means to  have a beautiful body—my own vision of what I want to believe. As I write this, I am struck by the fact that in focusing on the body I immediately head toward notions of beauty rather than health. That is odd since a healthy body is so much more important than having a “beautiful” body, or at least it should be. I guess that means that I’ve been appropriately brainwashed by too many visits to the magazine stand.

Just walking into a book store this morning  I was confronted by rows and rows of diet books and magazines screaming from shelves that were perfectly positioned to be the first thing that shoppers see when they walk in (all guilty from their holiday overeating and pumpkin muffin breakfasts). All of them, regardless of the title or the author, carried the same message: You must change!

Here’s a radical thought that I picked up today as I visited few blogs about body image, including Angry Gray RainbowsThe Body Image Project and Cool Body Image Sites: What would happen if you stayed the same and (gasp!) accepted who you are at this very second, right now? The blogger in Angry Gray Rainbows is working on doing that and says that the world has not ended—yet. Maybe she is on to something.

"Naked Truth"
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