There are some amazingly talented body painters out there in the world. They are paid top dollar for what they do. I dream of being one of them here VERY soon. I learn from each one. I am inspired by their extraordinary skills. I don’t know the stories that are behind their pictures. What was it like for their models? I don’t know. I know I want to learn from the best and share their space. Here shortly I am going to do just that when I go to the Body Painting Convention at the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas, March 11th through the 14th.
I remember when I went to Sarasota Florida and met my chalk art heroes. This time I am going to Las Vegas Nevada to meet my body-painting heroes! I have that same sense of anticipation. I can’t wait to meet everyone, and learn from them… how do they do the magic they do?
They paint the skin… but do they touch the soul? Do they teach that?
Right now all I know is my own experience.
When I went to Sarasota for the chalk art festival I only knew that I was good at color in Denver. I found out who I really was when I left the comfort and blinders of only being in my own backyard. I found out my place in the world at large because it wasn’t just a national chalk art festival, but international. Through the other artists from around the nation and world I found a way to accept myself. It was an amazing experience.
In a similar fashion, Denver is this small intimate community of body painters. We all work, live and paint side by side. We have watched each other learn and grow.
Last year, David (our oldest and most experienced body painter) went to the convention and came back infusing us all with his new tips and tricks. On top of that he brought other body painters to teach us new skills. Now it’s one year later and several of us are excited about going.
Many painters just paint. They get into the groove, the zone, the flow… and paint. In the end there is this miraculous piece of treasured art and human being called a canvas that has been transformed. The experience for many of the models here in Denver is one where they get addicted to the experience. They come back again, and again, because one human being pays complete attention to another for hours. Most of the time the artist isn’t necessarily talking because they are concentrating on the task at hand.
Then there is me.
I’ve written about my process before. Everyone is beautiful. How I am talking about how they are loved, loveable, beloved, perfect, whole, deserving, courageous, etc. While I am “in the flow” I also tell them that if I feel things about a certain part of their body I will tell them. This is the short version.
So my spirituality and art has been merging on a level that is meeting the deepest part of my own soul. The more I paint on them, loving who they are, sharing lives and stories, the more they are transformed, which in turn comes back to me.
Ok there is the short version… but behind a single image is a life forever changed.
Anna works at a sports bar where there are weight restrictions, and uniforms to entice the customers. She walked around all day getting compliments she didn’t really believe. She had a boyfriend who told her all the time she was gorgeous. No amount of people telling her, made Anna believe anyone.
I hang out all the time at the bar she works at. Every day I paint someone new I come in and upload the images using their Wi-Fi as a virtual office. The girls there have come to love and respect the work I do. So one day Anna said she would be willing to be one of my practice body painting sessions. As long as I can remember I have thought of her as being the one I wanted to try the wedding outfit on. She smiles more than anyone there. She is so bubbly! If anyone had the perfect image of happiness that a bride would have on that day, it was Anna.
We had a massage table for her to lay down on because all the gems and sequins we had to glue on her for the outfit was going to be a long & tedious process. I had a friend assist me because she had the table. I asked her because she also knows about energy work and could hold the space with me.
Anna also had a wonderful willingness to paint for as long as it took to make it happen. Eventually my friend had to leave with her table to go to another appointment. The body painting, because it is so long often enters the person being painted into a trance state. The only thing that is required is focused, relaxed attention… so people get into anything from a light to deep trance. Everyone is different. For Anna, she toggled through different levels through out the process.
There are moments when I feel moved to say something in particular. With her, I felt moved to inform her that I was nothing without her. A body painter without a canvas is only a dreamer… I needed her to make my dreams come true. Tears welled up and exploded out of her… It was just the right thing to say.
This happened four times over the course of body painting her. She’s not the only one that this happened to. I would say about 80% of the time this happens in my one-on-one sessions.
Anna revealed to me that she had never felt comfortable in her own skin her whole life. After being painted and seeing herself in the pictures we took Anna saw and felt herself in a whole new way. She now FEELS beautiful.
I had told her, or rather warned her, that her body would change because her mind had changed. I told her that it would change shape and it would be effortless. One week later she informed me that she had lost about 8 pounds. Before when she went to workout, it was a chore. Forty-five minutes on the treadmill. Now it’s like, wow! Forty-five minutes is over already???
When you change the core, the center of how you feel about yourself then it changes a million things. Most of the time, people try to change a million things, hoping it will change the core. It is how marketing in the USA works. They hope that no one will catch on.
This is Laura.
Today I got a comment about this body-painting piece I did. It was simply, “Not your best.” Fortunately my self worth and value isn’t wrapped up in his comment. What I know is that he’s looking at my little hand held camera shot, and doesn’t know Laura, or what the body painting meant to her. He only sees the surface. He can’t see the invisible work I did on and with her. Her relationship to her body is different. Her self-acceptance is more. Her relationship to cameras has gotten better. She felt more relaxed than any massage she’s ever had, and that was in the first five minutes. There is an assumption that my work is only what can be seen. That is why I wrote this… My work is more than just painting a body; it’s about touching and forever changing a soul.