The Ultimate ResolutionSunday, August 27, 2017
Until I was around 16 I painted. I was considered good enough that I had a couple of teachers. One of them, in Mexico City was an English woman who made me draw and sketch a still life every time I went to her house for classes. The other was much more interesting. His name was Robin Bond, an Englishman who during WWII was an expert in painting camouflage for buildings and vehicles. In the early 50s he moved to Mexico City and his talent was in demand painting and designing sets for the Mexican b+w television networks.
He gave classes. His house was a mess of countless ashtrays with cigarette butts and all the tables had almost empty cups of coffee or wine and liquor bottles. Whenever he painted he mixed his paints on any wall that was near. The place was psychedelic before the word and idea was invented.
Bond had many girlfriends and I met a few. Many appeared in his paintings.
Then at about age 16 I developed a massive painter’s block and I never painted or sketched again. Perhaps that was why I bought a camera a year later.
Now at age 75 I regret not being able to paint and draw. My friend Juan Manuel Sánchez was obsessed with the female nude figure and painted every day. His subject was unwavering. The breasts of his women became perfect circles with a point in the middle representing the nipple. Every blank canvas he told me was a problem that had to be resolved. Once he finished his work he had found a resolution. I asked him once if the ultimate resolution for the ultimate and essential woman was a blank canvas or even just a point on the middle it. With a smile on his face he answered, “Quizá.”
I am jealous of the now dead man who could paint without a nude subject facing him (he did like the women I brought to his or my studio). I am jealous that because he was an artist (and, a well-known one) his work was admired and valuable. He had many shows.
He did not need social networks to “post” his stuff. He did not have nor did he ever understand what my blog was about.
He did teach me one very important lesson. He told me that my obsession for the undraped woman was no different from his and that it was perfectly natural and that painters and sculptors had been doing it from time immemorial.
I miss the man particularly now as he is one important person I could show my stuff without getting back anything from him that was not sheer enthusiasm and approval. If I had ever a doubt that I was an artist (for a while I did not even suspect I was one) Sánchez made me feel comfortable with the idea that I was one.
I have a friend who posts beautiful female nudes in social media. These photographs could never be deemed as pornographic or lurid by anybody with an artistic temperament. And yet they do look obscene to me as my friend places little gray circles over offending nipples and that triangular area that is verboten.Thusly they pass muster with the cyber-watchdogs.
The only avenue for what I do is a gallery (not much of a chance of finding one here). But I do have one happy thought. Perhaps not taking any more photographs of the undraped female is my version of Sanchez’s ultimate resolution.