Academic journal article Hecate

Nude Standing (Self-Portrait)

Academic journal article Hecate

Nude Standing (Self-Portrait)

Article excerpt

First Sitting

She looks at me but she can't see herself yet. She can't see the saddle of my hips or the roundness of my calves. She can't see the sweep of my fringe clipped back from my forehead. She can't define the sway of my shoulders or the nubs of my knee caps. I am unknown to her. An illegible figure lurking in the depths of a 10' × 20' canvas.

All she can see is the darks and the lights. The darkness that runs down my left side, that vacuums part of my body into nothingness, that exists only in her mind. The darkness that swallows my left ear, that leaves me ungrounded, suspended in her imagination, flirting with gravity. And the light, my symmetrical half. Points of interest on my right-hand side that will eventually animate me.

She paints the line beneath the cliff of my chin that splays at the collar bone, a beautiful line that forms an exquisite arc, that comes from nothing and exists only for that moment. She cannot focus on any other part of my body. She is intent on that one line which she paints over and over again.

She looks at me but can't see herself yet. I still belong to the canvas.

Second Sitting

You think I will emerge from this canvas a faithful representation of yourself. You think you can create me in your own image, but you don't know me.

Your clothes lie in a puddle on the floor, but your feet are still sandaled, lacing me to the ground. An Amazon woman. Is that how you see yourself? Is that how you want me? Fierce and brave. I can do that. I can make the shadows between my eyes lurch. I can curl my lip and push out my chest. I can give you strong and hard. A female warrior. Is that what you'd like?

I see you're taking refuge in that awful drape. But what's this? You're changing the colour? Deep red velvet. You're so theatrical. Can't you see it's too plush and sultry. …

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