It often comes up with children when they come to my studio....."why do you always paint people with no clothes on?" It is such a simple and straight forward question. And yet so charged. And my true and complete answer would make little or no sense to them. So I answer with something that I suppose really says it all, although it leaves quite a bit unstated. I say, "because I think that is how we are most beautiful."
That usually satisfies because frankly most children don't really seem to be very interested in paintings. And right there....in that unassuming moment.....after the question and answer dance is complete....is where the magic begins, the magic of unfolding imagination and ultimately a greater understanding. Why do I always paint people with no clothes on....the Nude? In the face of such sweet curiosity I would have to be a hardened soul indeed not to let the question linger, provoke and unfold in the wake of such a tender exchange.
And so I will answer that question as thoroughly and imaginatively as I can.
Tonight, when my children have gone to sleep I will put down in my blog several thoughts that have come to light since I was asked this question by a young visitor to my studio a week ago. She will never read this blog, she is way too young, but her question unleashed 30 years of pondering, observing, creating and yes.....even wondering what the hell happened such that I would feel so all alone.
The Nude: From Kenneth Clarke to Porn....and back. I think that is what I will call my essay.