Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Elephant in the Room

Reflections by E. Cheung

Speaking of which... nudes. Why do I get the embarrassed looks, the shuttle-my-children-away-from-this-crazy-woman reactions, the ignore-the-elephant-in-the-room? I've decided I don't like inviting people to my home anymore (I don't mean my friends, of course), but I mean acquaintances.... people that presuppose everyone is like themselves or else they're a bit off. For example, I have one of my nudes hanging in my living room. It's quite large (4 feet by 5 feet). It's there. So, I've gotten the "I'm just going to ignore it for the next two hours over dinner" or the furtive glance followed by a nervous laugh. As if it were something I were embarrassed about! Painting people is a pleasure for me. I see no shame in it. I love capturing the way the light falls on skin, the expression of contemplation that can only come from sitting still for hours on end, the individuality of the sitter that comes out in each work, the settling of the muscles... it's all so much better in life. Why do people have to interject their insecurities about their bodies and sex into it all? We all enjoy being nude when alone, don't we? Yet, to openly admire someone's physique or a sensuous sculpture or a painting of a nude is wrong? And, of course, one shouldn't hang up nudes in their living room... yes?


  1. Fill the house with them,put one on the front lawn that'll show em!

  2. Attaboy, Elaine. Serves the holier-than-thous right.
    Icame here from 'Blogged(am a follower now).' Saw your 'About me'..... honest account... you can be a successful professional artist(if you not already one).
    Brought back memories of a book I read long ago(Hawai)...of ethnic mix at Hawai...polynasians, Japanese,Chinese(read my "Who Hung King",June, 2009, in my blog Fun Doctor)..etc. Sounds fascinating, Hawai is.. Cheers

  3. It is amazing that people cannot enjoy the human form expressed in stunning paintings like this one, for instance. I guess Americans are obsessed with sex mostly because of the media and allow themselves to be "embarrassed" by natural beauty. A strange phenomenon, for sure.