I could try to explain the sacred mystery that an artist goes through when they are inspired to do something, but every artist is unique, and every inspiration is also unique. My friend Alicia asked if she could post to my wall/timeline some body painting images she found. I said yes.
One of those images was of two women, back to back, eyes closed, arms covering breasts, with two koi fish painted on their hips with flowers, almost touching the other… (a friend of mine informed me he knew the artist .) I saw it and was struck quiet forcefully by it. I knew I wanted to do this, but I knew other things, intangible, but felt none-the-less.
I looked up koi fish tattoos and found one that was a painting. I used it as a reference for my first practice session. I saw in the tattoos that the skin itself was used as an element of highlight. I had never done body painting with just black and used the skin itself as a gradient color… usually as body painters we completely cover it… so this was a new concept to me that I was obviously going to need to practice if I was going to make it look right.
After that first practice session I realized the first inspirational image sat flatly on the surface, and that the tattoos played with the skin as a middle ground… that an image could go below the skin and above it in a more 3 dimensional way. I looked back at the original image and I had the 2nd vision. I saw a shape in the two bodies, a circular kind of pool… I saw the skin, and the fish swimming both under and over it, chasing one another in true Yin Yang fashion.
I had to figure out how to add the color to the concepts I learned from doing the black wash effect. So I arranged the 2nd practice session. Painting the koi fish with color was very different, and I more watched my hands paint the fish, than I can say “I” did. I had to figure out which orange to use… then using the red as a deepening effect on the fish sides was total… inspiration. It was the same with the gold dotting on the top for sunlight reflection. These scales with the color needed to be less precise because the color “filled in the blanks.” White was used much less sparingly as the highlight because of the gold… also in photography the gold reflects the flash too. It looks very brilliant.
There was a third practice session where I painted koi fish that had the black scales mixed in with the orange. I had seen both of these in various tattoos and paintings. I used what I had learned in applying the gold in scales and did that with the black. It turned out well and I figured I could do the same with the white koi fish. So another layer of depth was added to the koi fish concept. I was excited because this would really emphasize the Yin Yang concept.
The black and white image took me 3.5 hours to paint. The color image took me 4.5 hours to paint. The final took 5 hours, and that was with the help of an assistant. Putting the added element of having 2 human bodies match up is an incredible, and magical thing. I was very fortunate. In order to have the continuity of the images that touched on each of them we had to constantly adjust and align them at each “break.” During painting if there was an adjustment it became a matter of adjusting hips on the table and where the thigh itself went and making sure that it went back consistently.
That is a lot of what went into the physical aspect of this physically executing this project…
But there is SO much more to it. You can stop reading here if that’s all you are interested in… but for me this was a spiritual experience, not just a physical one. For me, it is impossible to separate the two.
A friend of mine had gotten 2 sisters who were very yin yang, one blonde, one dark brunette. They had to cancel the Friday before the painting at the body jam on Sunday. Part of me freaked out about it… but another part of me wasn’t. A friend overhearing this on the phone reminded me how “Hey this is YOU remember? Not going to be a problem.”
She was right. The two matching models came up within two hours of finding out the first two couldn’t come. Neither had met the other before. One was dark haired, one was blonde… they were amazingly perfect in ways I couldn’t have thought of… their skin tones were perfectly matched. Same Height, same build, same breast size, hips, thighs… I mean SERIOUSLY matched in every way. This happened sight unseen.
Other things were revealed. One of the models was a Pisces, the astrological sign of two fish swimming in opposites. It was the 2nd time I had painted something having to do with astrological signs with her. This time I was painting her sign. The other model shared that she was part native American and was drawn by the spiritual aspects of my body painting. By the time I had painted the base coats for the koi fish they were both tranced out… the photographs of their faces clearly shows the transformation on the levels of relaxation in their muscle tone in their faces.
One of the things that I would periodically do (but I did not see pictures of) was when I would put my hand on the tops of both of their hips and close my eyes… I would listen to the energy cycling between the models. I would listen to my own. I would harmonize between us. If I felt myself getting to agitated by the rush of time or pressure, I would close my eyes and put my hands back on their hips, and they grounded me, without even knowing it. It was really beautiful. At one point I asked if they knew what oscillation was. It is cycles per second. The Earth oscillates at 8 cycles. I explained that they were vibrating like that, to explain I took their opposite hands and placed it on the other model’s hip so they could FEEL what I was talking about… they did. It was one of those moments for which there are no words. It was a profound moment. I got to share something with them both… about themselves, about each other… and for that to happen between two human beings who have never met, not previously bonded, is utterly profound.
There were 2 breaks as well. Even though they got up and moved away completely from the table, they instantly went back into the trance state once I began painting again. This happened twice and you can see through the photos that there is no break in energy. It was wonderfully amazing.
Even before we began both held their hands across their chests like in the original photo… I had mentioned that they didn’t have to, but looking back at the photos it is obvious that they were absolutely one in this and it completely added an element to the photos, from beginning to end. The inner wisdom in their co-joined decision humbled me in retrospective.
The amount of trust that they placed in me was huge. To come to a place they had never been. To be with people they hadn’t met, to lay exposed on a table with a stranger attached at the hip… all because there was an element in my body painting that connected to them… Again. This is a thing for which I have no words, how this humbles me. I felt such a sense of protection over them.
There were several times where I felt an overwhelming sense of love for each of them. It was when I was making the koi fish on each of them… the soul of the images… I don’t remember when, but I remember stroking the hair on their heads, and kissing them once on the head. It wasn’t contrived. I remember feeling very motherly.
I wish I could have had more time at the end to ask them both questions about their experiences.
During the photo shoot at the end, when I helped to arrange them, and the placement of their hair I had that sacred feeling, kneeling with each one in turn. As I picked up their head’s there was complete trust… it felt like my heart was going to explode with divine love… agape. Then there was the sudden explosion of cameras from the photographers…
I had to interrupt them to take a few with my dinky little camera because I knew it would be many days before I saw any of those images. I took a few, and then looked into my view display… it was like being punched in the stomach. The air left me, and my lungs… it was WAY before my brain could engage… tears were flowing down my cheeks before my first intake of breath. The magic of what the camera sees was revealed, the two koi, swimming after each other… true yin yang… my vision, made real… I cried harder when my brain caught up with my body…
The models told me not to cry… lol But it came true, better than I could have imagined. There was a lot of picture taking after that, but suffice it to say that I cried several more times after that, as it hit me in successive waves.
I am so blessed.
I don’t know what else to say.
I don’t know why me, but I am glad it is me.