Sunday, March 22, 2009

Feminine Beauty In All Ages And Shapes

"Magic Act"© J Licsko 
30"x40" oil on canvas

While there is no doubt that the youthful vitality and perfection of a fresh, young woman is held as the ideal inspiration of figure paintings, there is yet something wonderful in the human form at all ages and sizes, either gender.

Many artists have learned much from working with cadavers and that study advanced the art of figure painting.  I was profoundly affected many years ago watching a documentary where a cadaver was being used to show how the nails continue to grow for a time after death.  The hand of what was once last a eighty year old woman was still so magnificently formed, so elegant even long after death, I was overcome with love and respect for the woman an the creative force that made her.

My most interesting model to draw is a woman who is without argument obese.  Her roundness creates wonderful lines. Her bulk drapes like fabric over her chair.  As much as I relish drawing her corpulence, it is only her facial expression that turns me off.  Her many years as an artist's model has come to be a routine, dreaded job.  Her boredom comes through on her face which improves only slightly when she falls asleep.

Tassajara is a favorite place in central California.  It is a Buddhist monastery that  in the summer includes guests and becomes a hot springs resort. The men and women are separated with two wooden bath houses beside a shallow river.  From the women's side I have spent many lazy days taking in the beauty of nature left unimproved, birds sing, the sounds of the  water running by, and the constant parade of women, young to old, perfect in shape to those ravaged by child birth, and perhaps lack of care, moving from the sunning deck, to hot sulfur water pool, then the river.  Warmed by both the sun and the warm water, these relaxed forms take on lovely harmonious shapes with one another.  All female forms including the woman who had replaced her missing breast with a finely detailed tattoo of morning glories across her chest, represent the divine feminine and prove beauty is everywhere.
Today the muse comes from an unexpected source - a blog called Every Photo Tells a Story.  My first visit.  The author of this blog offers a new vision every day to inspire the creatively inclined.  I recommend it. Instantly, upon seeing today's prompt, the drawing of an elegant female figure defined by vines and flowers by Laura Cannon, Larabird Art, I was taken back to my experiences observing and the creation of art inspired by the female figure.


  1. Strong and beautiful Joanne! Seeing what's going on without diving into her reflective intimacy - the "flesh-pink" dominance - angles of the composition - lines surrounding her as a large but quiet frame...

  2. Thank you Pierre! A compliment from you is especially valued.

    I accidently uploaded an inferior photos which lacks the true punch of the color. Does anyone know how to remove a photo from a post without having to retype the whole post?

  3. I very much enjoy your work. Your paintings are really well done. I also enjoy the fact that you are focused on the feminine: giving a voice to a particular slice of human experience.

    When I saw Tassajara I immediately thought of the documentary, "How to cook your life." It features Edward Espe Brown, the Zen monk who wrote the "Tassajara Bread Book."


  4. To remove a photo:
    1-click edit post
    2-open it
    3-click on the image, nothing else.
    4-clear-delete or enter, whatever :)
    5- click on the "image icon"
    6-choose another one then upload it, it will replace the one missing
    7-preview the post,if everything seems ok, then publish it!


  5. Interesting post. I was at your tree of life site this morning too, beautiful work there. I also visited your suggested location and that looks interesting, and I will go back when I have more time, I can visit about one or two places a day and really spend sometime with the back posts.
    I just learned how to post pictures and I know what you mean about getting something up there that you don't want. Another blogger friend suggested to me that you always preview before you post. That way you never get something your not expecting.
    Also, if your doing several pictures on one post, the last one you select will come to the top, you can move them around by highlighting and cutting and pasting, them to the exact place you want them.

  6. Pierre, I did exactly what you said and it worked perfectly. The only problem is the photo didn't improve, so I am thinking it is that something happens in the translation to blog. Oh well. I can accept that sometimes things just aren't perfect.
    Linda, I didn't know about the order in which photos appear. That knowledge will be helpful in the future. The preview step caused problems for me the first time, but I will try again since I have had some experience now.

  7. I'd love to read your blog - unfortunately the contrast between text and background is very poor and the font is too small for me to be able to read easily

    I'm sure it's all good stuff!

  8. Katherine, Thanks for the input. The choice of higher contrast versus the aesthetic I like has been an issue for me from the first. I have taken your comment as a sign that it's all about communication and I have increased the contrast.
    Now I have a new problem, so again I ask for the help of my fellow bloggers. I have brightened the text and attempted to change the links color so they could be seen. Now some have changed to the red I chose and some have stayed the same. I have tried going back to edit and redo the link but it still comes back in the original color. More help please!

  9. Beautiful painting.

    I agree that round models are more fun to draw.

  10. Good day to you,Joanne!What a beautiful place you have here.I am not that good in English so my coments will be poor in language but not in feeling and understanding.Thank you for joining my humble blog,very kind of you.I must say that I am impressed with work of your family,wonderful.Your work is inspirational,sensual work of art.
    Love Laura's work too,fresh and beautiful.Ciao Sandra

  11. Thank you Aleksandra! Your English is charming and easy enough to understand. I enjoy your blog too. It is an amazing collections of interesting items. One could spend a long time looking and listening.