Saturday, November 28, 2009

Polka-Dot Bikini

This painting was another commission: a friend of mine did some self-portraiture on a shell-strewn beach and asked me to capture the scene in watercolor. I happily obliged :-).

There were some good learning moments here: managing the little polka dots (with masking fluid) was a bit of a bear, and the seashells took a lot of patience with the no. 2 rigger.

What a great, great pose, eh? I just love the scissoring of her legs and the arch in her back.

I spent quite a bit of time on beaches recently myself. My wife had a meeting in Honolulu, and while she was staring at conference room walls, I was outside on Waikiki Beach. It was hell. I would stake out a spot on the beach; then I would go for a lovely hour-long snorkel (Waikiki has not-half-bad snorkeling: I saw lots of gorgeous reef fish, several different varieties of moray, barracuda, a sea turtle, and one poor lonely sea horse). Then I would lie on the beach and try not to make a nuisance of myself watching the people as intently as I watched the fish. By "people" of course I mostly mean babes. I'm a little sorry for and sheepish about my male-gazing, but I just really like to watch people on beaches, all people.

On beaches there is a rare opportunity to see people in a setting that's simultaneously intimate and public. Let's face it: we're all wearing less than most of us wear when we go to bed. We "stake out our space" with towels, umbrellas, folding chairs, etc. We "bathe," in front of God & everybody. We lie back, we rub lotion on each other's backs, we sleep, we read, and we look at other people doing all the same things. We even dress and undress, in sometimes daredevilishly choreographed ballets involving magical sleight of hand with various garments or towels. One late afternoon, I watched a lovely girl put on a skimpy halter top over her bikini top, then untie the bikini top and slip it off from underneath the skimpy halter. Now where, I ask you, is there a better show than that?

Well, what can I say? Artists gaze.