|Judy has no balls…yet|
It was tricky. It needed to be a prototype of sorts, outside the box, a little riskier than the others. I was, after all pushing my friends off the ledge of their comfort zones by asking them to pose topless with only balls for coverage, I should walk the walk and leap further.
My first concept was this: a full on frontal nude pose with hands down, palms out, an “I got nothing” expression…with no balls. I loved the irony of not having balls, yet posing in a decidedly ballsy pose.
|Detail from Judy has not balls…yet|
What stopped me from actually posing this way was picturing the inevitable CWB art exhibition opening reception. Friends, relatives, strangers, my kids and my husband would be present and I would be the only naked one hanging on the wall…chatting away and wondering what people were picturing. I wasn’t ready to abandon that comfort zone yet.
I liked the “no balls” concept though, so I posed without balls, but, with a carefully placed arm and of course my thrice stretched belly spilling over my painting jeans…perhaps more of an intimate revelation than simply showing breasts. I loved painting the belly in all its dimpled puckered glory…way more fun than abs of steel.
|Detail from Judy has no balls…yet|
Anyone who is familiar with my other work knows I’m not shy about painting myself and what makes me fascinating (wrinkles, fat, awkward expressions, you know…the good stuff!) And, as Gilda Radner once said, (I’m paraphrasing here) “It’s okay to look as bad as you need to for your acting roles because you can always dress up and look cute at the parties.”
And that is what I intend to do…the painting being more important than my vanity. And I do plan to get a cute dress and shoes for the Chicks with Balls Art Show Opening.
But enough of the physical aspects of me. I get tired of spending precious female bonding time obsessing about body image and talking beauty. Ladies, (and the stray man who might be reading still) let’s change the subject!
So what are the figurative balls I lack?
I hesitate too much. I think too much. I plan too much and then I miss an opportunity that comes around only once…or twice if I’m lucky. But often I miss it the second time too. And I’m not talking about speaking up when I’m dissatisfied…I’m okay with that, especially strangers and telephone solicitors. It’s telling people the good stuff that I’m more shy about. And the very nature of this project gave me an opportunity to express some of the good stuff…admiration for people who secretly knock my socks off.
And as many women as I was able to include in CWB, I meet many more who amaze me, but I hesitate and then opportunities are lost. As CWB grows, however, it becomes easier to recruit. Now that there is a body of work, a business card and a blog, I can point them to something real, instead of fumbling for words that may be misinterpreted…like “balls” and “topless”.
The other balls I lacked were the artistic ones.
Between my sensible graphic design career that supported us for years and then my sensible full-time mom career, the past 25 or so post art school years forced the passionate artist in me to take on different forms. She has been spliced into the pages of corporate brochures and neighborhood newsletters, wrapped up in teacher gifts tied with raffia and cinnamon sticks, glued into family photo albums, sewn into artsy throw pillows, hammered into the reclaimed lumber of the house we live in and smeared all over the kitchen by little boy hands covered in play-do, melted crayons, tempera paint, hot glue gun glue…along with boogers and regurgitated wet Cheerios.
|Detail from Judy has no balls…yet|
It is all good. I don’t regret a single moment of the years where the painting was suspended for family raising. (I won’t even insert the funny “well, except for…” story about poop, vomit, or tantrums you might expect here, because all that is good too. And, as for the truly bad stuff that makes us eagerly brag about the funny bad stuff, I keep my friends’ secrets and I keep my own as well.) For me it is all part of the checkered continuum that my life has and will go through. And now is the time for me release the passionate artist in me, get her up before dawn each day and let her paint obsessively.
And as the painting comes along, I come out of the closet by entering shows, approaching strangers and trying to show the world what I do. While, yes, painting is a deeply selfish hedonistic exploit for me, the idea of just having that private joy with no one ever seeing it seems a waste…all dressed up and no place to go. I do not paint for other people, but I do want other people to see it and perhaps be moved in some way. So, the risk—rejection and indifference being equally damning—in putting it out there was part of the artistic balls I lacked.
Good news is, the balls are starting to sprout (or descending…for those of you that have prepubescent boys and know that term. If you’ve read this far, you are along for the ride and probably don’t mind a little testicle joke…haha, there’s another one!)
So, there is a second self portrait on my back burner. It will be complete in time for the show at BAYarts next summer (show opens August 9th 2013…I trust its on your calendar already). It will show me with the balls I hope to grow as an artist as Chicks with Balls develops…not sure where to hold the balls, but I’m thinking that future painting will be called:
Judy Finally Grew A Pair