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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Of six-packs and dimples

Drawing and painting are good ways to shake up what you think of as beautiful.
In life drawing, for instance -- otherwise known as "drawing nekkid people" -- you often find that you lose what you used to think of as an aversion to imperfections of the human form. Yes, it's cool to study a perfectly honed body, especially in men, whose musculature, in its fittest form, takes on qualities of architecture. But it is also pleasurable to study the unexpected slopes and bulges of a not-so toned body.

Putting it much more crudely, I like to draw fat people.
A friend wondered whether this was because the more amorphous a body is, the less you have to worry about with accuracy. I see the point, but, no I don't think that's it. For me it just comes down to "more interesting to look at," in the same way the rolling landscapes of mid-Pennsylvania are a visual improvement over western Ohio.

That said, I'd rather try to buy clothes for western Ohio than for middle Pennsylvania. But I digress.

The illustration here is an early version of a yet-to-be-fixed sideshow banner project from school. These banners were hastily painted jobs done in fairly "flat" styles (not a lot of effort toward building the illusion of dimension). Garish colors drew the eyes of midway strollers. You can find actual sideshow banners for sale on the internet, and lots of artists have played with doing modern-day versions. In my project here, I got a little carried away with the idea of "crude" in my hand-lettering. (The real posters tended to have some crude hand-lettering but it was, um, less crude.) And it was pointed out in critique that the chaise looks like it's floating, in part because of the sky-blue color of the background and mostly because I didn't do shadowing or shifting of hue at what would be the floor. I could "fix" that, too, but I actually like it.

Dolly Dimples was a real Coney Island sideshow fat lady back in the day. She was said to have been famous for her beautiful face. I didn't make much of an attempt to capture her likeness. I enjoyed the idea that she might be sexily sprawled out on a chaise, exhibiting her abundance.


honey said...

"exhibiting in her abundance" will stay in my throat all day along with the smile i am wearing from reading this post.

Lynn said...

She's wonderful. And the fact that she's floating only adds to what's good about this.

Kay said...

from all of us fat people ..thanks! I love this painting. I figure the clothing industry is missing one wants to see fat people nekkid..but you and a few other artists!!! That said..I will not be exhibiting my abundance anytime soon!!

Karen Sandstrom said...

Kay - Um, yeah, I'm with you on that. Hats off to all the life-drawing models who own their own abundance and share it with artists! (I couldn't do it.)