I paint in part to show that women's body are BEAUTIFUL. In an attempt to show women that THEY are BEAUTIFUL. Because, unfortunately, so many women think their bodies are not. There are a lot of reasons for this - social pressures, the ridiculous amount of air brushing that occurs on just about anything you see in print. The absolutely fabulous lighting that accompanies any professional photo shoot or on-camera interview these days. Past sexual abuse, verbal insults from middle school or high school, or thoughtless comment from a former lover. Whatever it is - many women struggle with self-image issues.
Ironically, even I, knowing better, still fall into that trap of not always honoring and loving my body. Of at times beating myself up about my body. Like this week, I was looking at this painting - called Shadow Play - and caught myself thinking negatively about my body. Cause - OK for this one, I was the model. And I was looking at the stomach on this painting and thinking - "Damn, why did I not suck it in for that photo?" And "Damn - why did I not paint that stomach flatter and skinnier?"
When I use myself as a model, it's not a vanity thing, it's a I need a new painting and it's 2 in the morning and I'm my the only model available, kind of a thing. So I have taken pictures of myself to use as reference at the worst possible times likes during my time of the month or right after my miscarriage. But hey, I had the urge to paint something new, something my previous reference pictures weren't showing, or to finish a story I needed to tell. So I did.
I suppose I wish for myself, what I wish for all women - to love yourself, curves, "flaws" and all. I promise, most men and any man worth his weight, will look at those seeming imperfections and LOVE them. So give him a head start, and love yourself first.