Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nude Self Portraits

     I have always had a special place in my heart for artists and art students who are brave enough to do nude self portraits which are then shared with the public (in the case of artists) or with their classmates (in the case of students). 
     At Beaver College (now Arcadia University, north of Philadelphia) nude self portraits - life sized, yet - were required of students in one life drawing class. I am sorry to say I did not get photos of any of those, but I was impressed, and wrote a poem for them which follows below. 

                  NAKED SELF II

Each has seen his nakedness of spirit;
Each has shown her unencumbered form.
I salute the artist playing model,
Abandoning the segregating norm.

So celebrate creation's living wonder,
And know that you are marvelously made!
Be innocent and childlike in your gazing,
In seeing and in showing unafraid.

     From time to time, students in classes I have posed for have shared nude self portraits with their classes, going a step further than the "self portrait" assigned by the teacher. I am posting some samples here. 

     It was for a Mark Gottsegen assignment that a talented African-American student did "self portrait 3"; the assignment was to show the planes of the face (that was all that was required) in a self portrait, and she chose to go a step further.        

     And a special tribute to two art teachers: first, Michael Ananian, art professor at UNC-Greensboro, who has featured himself, nude, in more than one series of paintings. For samples of Michael's work, go here: Also, kudos to Renee Foulks, art teacher in Philadelphia, who has done a number of nude self portraits, one of which I found online and have posted above.

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