Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I See Naked People

I'm thrilled to have Lisa Olech visiting Tattered Pages today, with a guest post about a real-life experience she used in her latest contemporary romance, Picture Me Naked! Whoo Hoo! If you haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet, you SHOULD! I did and rated her lovely story five fabulous sparkly gold stars! Take it away, Lisa!

Let me start by saying, I’m an artist. I’ve been drawing and painting from a young age, and it’s always been who I am no matter what I happen to be doing in my life. However, due to lack of means and opportunity, I never had the privilege of attending art college. One of the few ‘should haves’ I have in my life. Everything I’ve learned over the years I’ve gleaned out of a few private lessons, studying on my own and simply by doing.

Not too long ago, I heard about The Saturday Life Group that hosted life drawing close by. Twenty or so artists, nude model, three hours of serious art study, $10 a week. I was so in! As I said, I’d never attended art school, but I knew that life study was essential to an artist’s education. Basic. This was Art 101.

So there’d be a naked person in the room. I’m an ARTIST. I’m an adult. I’m no prude. Just don’t be asking me to strip down, and I’ll be just fine. I gathered my small sketchpad, my drawing pencils and my favorite charcoals, and off I went.

Entering the classroom, I was hit once again with that unique, undeniable smell of ‘art school’. I love that smell. Oil paint, clay, wet canvas. Other artist began to arrive and set up their easels. I quickly became aware of the fact that I was way out of my league. They were setting up huge newsprint pads, had palettes of beautiful chalks and paints. Gorgeous French travel easels joined the room’s large industrial metal easels and all were dragged into place surrounding the model’s dais. There I sat with my little sketch pad feeling most inadequate, kneading my gum eraser like I knew what I was doing. The other artists were wonderful, however. Very welcoming and friendly. I began to relax. Things would be fine.

Enter the model. Off came the clothes. By his haircut and the tattoo on his upper arm, I deduced he was an ex-Marine. Okay… I’m an artist…I’m an adult… He stuck a pose. After about two minutes of ‘Oh My God, there’s a naked man in the room,’ I relaxed into the shear joy of drawing him. He had a great back. Strong arms. Soon bared shoulders and legs became simple form and shadow. This was a wonderful experience that was stretching my artistic muscles (pardon the pun). I was totally at ease. My role as artist gave me a professional distance. I had the same emotional connection to this man as I would a lovely landscape, a beautiful bowl of fruit or a stunning vase of flowers. I’m an artist.

Then the buzzer sounded and it was time for the model to take a break. I was still in the zone concentrating on my drawing. I was working on trying to highlight the crown of his thigh where the light from the back windows flooded through. I was oblivious to anything happening around me until the model came to stand next to me.

Okay…here’s were I explain that most models, during their break stroll around the room to check out what each artist is doing. And most models put on a robe during their breaks to cover up and keep them warm. And MOST models, while totally free with their bodies and comfortable with their nakedness, are not card-carrying nudists. Not this guy. He was a nudist, although I never saw his card! He never robed during class. He wandered through the easels naked and proud as the day he was born.

Did I mention that I was sitting down? I’ll give you a minute to get a mental picture… Me sitting…naked man standing to my right…talking to me…asking me my name. It would have been rude not to look in his direction, right?  Damn! All I could think of was imagining a wide line painted in caution-tape yellow across his midsection with my brain screaming “Don’t look below that line!!”

I’m an artist…I’m an adult…I’m an artist…I’m an adult…

Lisa A. Olech is an estrogen island in a sea of testosterone. That makes her queen. She has carried her love of art and her unique brand of humor into her debut series centered around an art school and its host of talented, quirky artists. The first book in the Stoddard School of Art series titled PICTURE ME NAKED is available now through AMAZONBARNES&NOBLE and THE WILD ROSE PRESS.

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Unknown said...

Really amusing piece. Have shared. :-)

Debbie D said...

Nice job, Lisa. I enjoyed reading this piece. Picture Me Naked is an excellent book. Thanks for Sharing your inspiration for it.

Lisa A. Olech said...

Thanks Wendy and Debbie! And thank you A.J. for having me here today!

Any name said...

Oh this made me laugh out loud for real. I can't even. Eyes UP!!!!

Sandy Blair said...

LOL, Lisa. I loved your book and can see you in this art class. A few years back I signed up for a life size sculpturing class, never imaging they'd use nude models. (Duh!) Like you I found myself thinking, "Don't look down!" Worse, the professor demanded we use calipers on the models so our proportions/measurements were correct. Oy.

Jennifer Parris said...

Love your description! This made me laugh and want to go to art school!

Lisa A. Olech said...

Sandy, Jennifer, 'Any'... So glad you enjoyed this. Sandy, calipers? Eeek. Hope you had enough clay!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!