The artist as canvas

Some might suggest I have rather been neglecting my canvas of late, and I suppose that they would have a point.  I have been considering whether GofaDM needs a change and part of me feels that the more diary-like posts should be shown the door (and, if necessary, encouraged to use it).  However, without the impetus provided by the events of my so-called life I fear that the muse would have meagre rations indeed to use for sustenance.

As a relatively recent post suggested, I am keen to avoid becoming any more of a caricature of myself than is already the case.  I am too young (in my own eyes) to start ossifying and living within the constraints of an ever diminishing self-image.   In consequence, I may be a little too keen in my pursuit of novelty, but I’ll let you be the judge…

I am currently in Edinburgh, ostensibly to combine catching up with friends with the multitude of delights offered by its annual Science Festival.  Being the butterfly-minded creature that I am, I have also allowed my attention to wander into history, the visual arts, dimmer switches for LED lamps and cinema.  I have also discovered a hitherto unknown talent when it comes to estimating bolt sizes.  Oh yes, I am the complete package!

This very lunchtime, my desire for the new led me to sample a smoothy containing a selection of fruits, ginger and – controversially – spinach.  It looked worrying, but tasted rather fine.  Bouyed by this success, my main course contained blue murder: surprisingly quiet and I assume it to be some sort of cheese.  My dessert was chocolate cake containing avocado – rather tasty and presumably healthier than usual – garnished with white chocolate and horseradish ice cream (they were out of marmite ice cream: this is not a joke).  The ice cream, I feel, was more of an acquired taste and each mouthful remained as unexpected as its predecessor.

However, my most exotic new experience came yesterday evening.  As part of the Science Festival I went to an evening of anatomy and body painting.  At this I learned much about the shoulder and its environs and about how relatively flimsy is the join between my arms and the rest of my body (NB: this is not unique to me: everyone’s arms are broadly the same in this respect).  I wound up acting as the model for our teacher (and so the whole class) as she painted my bones, muscles and fascia onto one side of my upper body.  My friend attempted the same on the other.  He did a rather better job than I had expected as the image below illustrates (those of a nervous disposition should look away now).

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The Illustrated Man

Why, you may ask, is he in the position known to the yoga enthusiast as Downward Facing Dog (or as close as he can manage at his age)?  According to our tutor, this would better display my body’s underlying structure and, to illustrate this claim, she is pointing out my thoracolumbar fascia.  I’m not entirely convinced this could not have been achieved without my blood rushing to my head, but didn’t feel certain enough of my ground to argue the point and at least my calves benefitted from a decent stretching.

I rather enjoyed the whole sensation of having my body painted and am inordinately pleased with the results.  Sadly, social convention – and the Edinburgh weather – meant I did have to replace my clothing before I ventured outside.  Concern for my bedsheets also meant that I had to shower, destorying the artwork,  (just) before bed-time.  The paint came off very readily in warm water and produced some lovely rainbow colours in the bath before they disappeared down the plug-hole.

What we have learned from this experience is that I am far more of an exhibitionist than even I had imagined.  If anyone is need of a body to paint, I can make myself available at very low (or no) cost.  The session was filmed by the Festival and, unless I am demoted to the cutting room floor, I may have a somewhat starring role in this celluloid gem.  I was also rather extensively photographed by my fellow students and so it is no longer just the back of my head which has acquired an unexpected degree of fame.  I now find myself, perhaps, rather less opposed to the concept of tattooing than might once have been the case – but the permanence remains an issue, I am as inconstant as the wind so I think I’ll stick to being painted as a more fleeting work of art…

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