Alternate Lives – Belly Dancer

This is a body print I did several years ago in one of artist Pamela Underwood’s Bodywriting classes and then embellished. The image is a gesso print colored with ground artists’ pastels.

Of course, I thought this was all in good fun, since the friend who had told me about the retreat never mentioned it was for people with body image problems and that Pamela was an art therapist. So there I was running around naked and having a great time and not getting that others were really struggling with this process. Oops. I had a good time anyway, until the last day when I was being rushed to finish my work and go back to the group circle. I really resented being rushed to finish up, and all the tears spilled out. My biggest personal issue has always been dealing with groups of women, and it felt like “here we go again”. I had to go sit with all these women while they confronted me with their anger about me having a good time being naked. Hmm. Was this my problem, or theirs? Anyway, it was just an unpleasant wrapper to put around a really good experience. I did get a lot out of the whole idea of the circles, and the constructive criticism and all, but it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for group art classes.

BTW, Pamela charges several hundred dollars for her Artist’s Way classes, so you can see what a huge bennie doing this online is for me. No confrontational groups, and it’s free….

And yes, I still like getting naked and smearing my body with paint and onto canvas. It’s great fun. I just do it without other people around these days.