The post is already written; all that’s missing is artwork. Shown here is a first draft of a nude that will complement that post. This is one of the models whom I sketched with pencil in art class years ago. Now I’m trying to bring her to life — to convey what I want to say — with oil paints.
Ironically, before cancer, I had no interest in drawing or painting the human form. In fact, I shied away from these types of paintings.
It wasn’t until after cancer hit me that I became fascinated with this genre of artwork. Art has helped me recover from cancer trauma, and for a time, drawing nude women helped me cope and come to terms with my own body-image issues. There did come a point, though, where sketching nude figures became too much for me to handle. And I walked — or rather — ran away from figure-drawing class and never returned. Luckily, in my collection, I have quite a number of sketches I can convert to paintings.
And for this painting, I plan to translate the sketch of an innocuous, relaxed pose to reflect the devastation of a cancer diagnosis.
Nudes now appeal so much to me because when one is diagnosed with breast cancer, or any disease come to think of it, one is naked. “Ordinary” life is stripped away and replaced by sheer, raw vulnerability. In particular, breast cancer lends itself to introspection about body image issues. Clothes are just the outer trappings that cover up our disfigurements and our vulnerability. When I’m dressed, I look like everyone else, but the physical and emotional scars reveal themselves when clothes are stripped away.
And, to me, that is the purpose of these nudes: to strip away the outer trappings and get at the core of our vulnerability.
Tags: breast cancer, cancer, oil painting