Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on swimming nude in the Blue Danube

Here's the other response I got to my thoughts about doing a nude self-portrait.  They are a fascinating contrast to Adele's comments yesterday and her feelings about nudist colonies. This one is from an Austrian friend of mine who has been going to the Nude Bathing Beach in Vienna, Austria for many years.  I'm translating from the German, so please excuse any strange language I may not notice!

Dear Susan,
I read your blog today after spending the day in the Gaensehaeufl - the FKK (Freie Koerper Klub - "free body club") (!) part of the gorgeous little island in the Old Danube in the Kaisermuehlen part of Vienna.

... I spent almost the entire day naked (!) with other naked people whom I don't know -
and I felt really, really, really comfortable.  I read and slept under the shade of old poplar trees, sat at a table in the cafe of the FKK Bathing Club naked with naked people (I had a sarong around my hips, many other people did as well, but many were just naked and sat on towels on the chairs) and ate, looked at people, and read... then returned to my chaise lounge - I swam in the Old Danube and later slept on my towel.

It was simply a wonderful, wonderfully beautiful summer day!!!  Just like I love it!

I love feeling free and comfortable around other nude people who are simply being themselves: beautiful, fat, thin, tall, short, tan, completely pale, with a big belly and big breasts, or men with a big belly, or thin and fit, with penises in all shapes and colors -
I like being naked -
of course particularly if no one is looking at me judgmentally or is comparing me negatively with others!
In addition I often go to the public sauna where people are nude, and to a friend's house where we sit in the sauna nude or swim in the nude - just me and them and their two kids who are 5 and 9 years old.

I find it very comfortable to be naked,
today for example, at Ganensehaeufl I ran into a former work colleague.  We spoke very comfortably with each other..., and last Wednesday I saw a married couple, whom I knew from a trip we went on together, naked for the first time there - she's a teacher; he is a famous surgeon...

Today I spent a lot of time comparing myself - with younger, more attractive women, and also with women my age whose bellies are flatter, or who weigh less, or have prettier breasts, or fluffier hair...

I compare myself to others often, I fine myself not as attractive as other women..., but I find the comparisons less painful when I'm naked than when I'm at a party or an art opening where other women have taken the time to get all dressed up and made up.

Susan, I think it's great that you're thinking about doing a self portrait in which you're nude!!!
and I already like the picture that you put in your blog a lot!!!

You are beautiful!
and that you are beautiful - rather, just how beautiful you are - will become even more evident when your face is in the picture also!

Overall my belief is that the person isn't really visible until the face is visible anyway -
with it, of course, comes the vulnerability.  (I think I've already mentioned to you that that's my only (!) criticism of your work - that you don't/can't show the faces of the women you paint -
I think I'm more interested in the whole person - not just in the female body.)

One final note:
Did you get a chance to look at the website I sent you about Paula Modersohn-Becker?  She was the first woman (!) who painted a nude woman (! it was a scandalous thing to do at the time!)  She was also the first female painter who painted herself!   I loved the exhibit of her work - it moved me deeply - and made  me think of you the whole time.

So - I am delighted about the courage and verve with which you take on your artistic work
and especially about the work which you're making public - we'll see what else is to come!  :-)))

With love and hugs,

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