I Love Black People (Paint Yourself)

Watercolor painting of girl with dark skin
Watercolor painting of girl with dark skin

I need to start my day by saying one thing that this painting reminded me. I just love black people. I love the richness of black skin. I love the cadence of black voices. I love the thickness of black hair. More than anything, and particularly as a painter, I love the inherent diversity that blackness presents. There are so many colors in a black face, from lemon to crimson, to purple. I really believe that there is something about painting and drawing and sculpting and writing music and dramas and literature (ok, participating in all and any arts) that lends to a richer appreciation for the beauty in life. When I was writing, I started listening to conversations on the metro. How wonderful are dialogue and accent! Can you imagine the joy of sculpting a man with broad shoulders and a round belly? Painting overweight models is as empowering for the artists as it is for the model because there is so much more to capture, and I don't mean volume, but structurally - bodies that don't fit the skeleton and do more than just what an anatomy textbook tells us a body will do are amazing teachers. Elderly bodies, whose skin refuses to be bound by the rules of muscles and reveals its many adventures through spots and scars, give the artist a new way of seeing.

I encourage women who have confidence issues to paint their bodies. Photograph yourself. Look carefully at the way your neck comes to your chest. I promise it is beautiful. See that fold in your waist when seated (where your navel is when you are standing)? Capture the shadow and the light. What better way to see how amazing you are than to look at yourself not as a bag of bones or as what you believe to be there, but to look at yourself through the eyes of an artist.

In high school, I began using myself as a nude, and I am sure this influences how much I love my own body for all its faults. What a magnificent machine! The muscles alone are amazing. The skin, the shape itself -- so many lights and darks, triangles and ovals, blues and yellows.

The painting featured here is a commission for a Christmas present. The recipient has seen the sketch and luckily for you is too young  to care about the nuances as it develops, so this second to final version preview is for you readers, all three of you.

What subject is most inspiring or challenging for you and what is/are your art form(s)? Have you tried painting yourself or having your picture made? Anyone had boudoir or pregnancy photos? Did they help you appreciate your body?

Have a magnificent, delightful, wonderful, inspired day!