Mother let us know, her four children, that we were Christians. “Us” four were products of a “his kids, her kid, our kid” union. A conglomeration loosely labeled as family. Most of the time we were intolerable. Most other times we were compulsively and openly despicable. Come hell-or-high water it was Mother’s fervent belief that physical and verbal discipline, always in the name of Christianity, would mold us into civilized, decent, respectable young adults.
Which meant that Us, my three siblings and I, had to sit in the front row of each and every churchly Sunday sermon Mother could find from the time my Oldest Sister got her driver’s license and drove us to our weekly appointed church. Us called it “Driving to Heaven”. That, sadly, became one of only two family jokes my siblings and I shared. When Older Sister left home, she gave the “Driving to Heaven” honour to Second Oldest Sister, until finally, the honour passed to me, Younger Third Sister. Even now I find it amusing that Mother never came with us.
[Insert: There will be no second-guessing as to why that was…]
One of Mother’s rules was: it was gambler’s evil to play any kind of card game, especially on the Sunday, any Sunday, every Sunday, and all Sundays. So we didn’t. Except when we did…which was almost every Sunday. We were farm kids. We knew we’d be forgiven because we were farm kids working hard to crash the gates of heaven. We were also bored. It was difficult being a bored Christian farm kid. I can honestly say that many hands of poker saved me from my languid adolescent life many, many times.
My three sisters and I shared a dormitory-like bedroom: three windows, three beds, three desks, three dressers, three closets. It was Mother’s idea to have everything in our room lined up and orderly, including us. One. Two. Three. Like prison. Albeit a Christian prison.
We were not allowed to date until we were exactly 15.5 years old. Older Sister got around this rule by meeting her boyfriends in the utility closet of our local library. Second Oldest Sister met her boyfriends at evening church. And me, the Younger Third Sister? Never dated.
I was so afraid of hell freezing over if I broke any of Mother’s arbitrary, meaningless-ever-changing rules, especially after watching the two Older Sisters play life at home with a daily-roll of the dice. I didn’t dare do any (well…many) UN-Christian-like behavioral discrepancies, disdainful or otherwise. Didn’t date, didn’t cheat at cards, and continue to this day to have skin-crawls at objects lined-up, in a neat row and orderly. One. Two. Three.
Which brings me to the most opportune time to mention nudity: nudity as in naked. Yes, we had clothing rules during my Christian childhood. We wore clothes all the time. What I mean is: All. Of. The. Time. Therefore, when my career bent was leading to doing ART, as in being an artist…this meant essentially I was going to hell. Artists then were known for their wild, wanton and totally naked ways. Hell had finally frozen over according to Mother’s House Rule Of All Rules: Thou shalt not do naked-ness in any form which included being an artist, doing art, life drawing, nude models, naked drawing or drawing naked. Becoming an artist meant, to Mother, that I would be doing naked-ness in any and all nude forms. Period. She was convinced I was going to hell.
That was then. This is now. I shall call this my “Bringing Up The Bodies, an Artful Period of Exploration” or “Buff, the True Cold Colour”.
Disclaimer Part A: The artful naked-ness of the professional model(s) presented herein may not be appropriate for the under aged, the over-excited, the weak or infirm of open minded-ness, or non-open minded personages who could…and most likely do…include Republicans (Tea-Party associated or not) and non-believers of the body beautiful.
Graphite Sketch: NUDE ONE
Graphite Sketch: NUDE TWO
Pen & Ink Drawing: NUDE THREE
Disclaimer Part B: No life-drawing models were harmed or mistreated during any part of the closed session life-drawing classes. Someone opened a window and one model got goose bumps, which are difficult to draw…so the window was closed. That’s about it.
Disclaimer Part C: I obviously have overcome my avoidance of nudity brought on by years of living life as a purported Christian and heaven gate-crashing youngster.
Be assured this artist was fully clothed during all life-drawing class sessions, especially and perhaps only after the instructor asked me politely to put my clothes back on.
Thank you. I’ll be in touch…