Once more into the breach! Memorial Day. A sober day of remembrance of and for those who sacrificed for a higher goal. Devotion. I’ve spent that day for the last 15  years at the Palette & Chisel Art Center’s 12 hour Life Drawing Marathon, drawing nude women and men, of all shapes, sizes, persuasions, and color, along side artist of similar variety, grateful that I live in a society that has made an effort that we may openly practice the arts and sciences. That the study of the human body can be conducted without shame. That I am in a room peopled by members of my society that decades ago, would not have been able to share this moment, openly practice this craft together, or use the same restroom. Unfortunately, that privilege cost people their lives.

Just this week, two people died in an attack on a Portland public light rail. They died defending the civic and human rights politicians are quick to extoll, one of them was a veteran. A white racist suprematist murdered them when they stuck up for two teenage girls he was verbally assaulting for living in “his” country.

It’s simple thing I do on this special day. I devote myself to a craft I believe in. A craft practiced by millions and millions over the centuries. One that has educated, enlightened, informed, delighted, challenged, inspired, carried meaning and understanding into the future that we may know something of who we were and are. A craft that some have been punished for having the temerity to express new or differing ideas from those who would venture off the well worn path. Some of their efforts were hidden, burned, destroyed. Some of those who practiced were themselves blacklisted, banished, excommunicated, and murdered.

All I do is draw. To me, the craft does demand devotion. And sacrifice, and tho it hasn’t yet cost me my life, there are those for who the sacrifice proved too much. For me, it has been sustaining and has delivered much more to my life than the considerable amount it has required. I love doing it and am grateful that I have been supported in my pursuit first by my parents, and then by boatloads of people, some teachers, some friends and peers, collectors and patrons, and even scores whom I have yet to meet.

I don’t take it lightly that I can so very casually traipse out the door, sketchbook in hand and draw, my society, and the privileges it enjoys. Thanks to those who have given so much that we may have so much. We may still have a ways to go to live up to our inalienable rights, and full equality, and incidents just as that which occurred in Portland show that we live among those who would resist the promise of this country’s Constitution and history, but I sit on that wooden horse in that studio, surrounded by 30 odd people, open my sketchbook, and on that day, as with every day in the year, I am truly thankful to enjoy what so many have worked and sacrificed for. My mother would have echoed that sentiment with, “Amen”.

 

       

 

Memorial Day and Nakedness Everywhere I Look

  • May 30th, 2017
  • Posted in Drawings
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