Jewel

The start of the painting

Finding Models—An Anecdote

(Adventures of the Artist as a Young Man)

It was October of 1994. With brazen confidence I declared the subject of my next painting would be a nude. My friends in Bloomington had always spoiled me by modeling for free—with their clothes on—and I saw no reason why this slight variation should set any new precedent.

One of the better places to go on a cold, Halloween night for fun and dancing in Bloomington–whatever your sex or orientation–was a gay bar called Bullwinkles. There I ran into my friend Jewel.  She was dressed in a dark hat, sunglasses, and a black trench-coat. “What am I?” she asked. “I don’t know,” I replied and she turned away, then quickly turned back twirling a small, key-chain flashlight in her hand. “I’m a flasher! Get it??” she said mischiveously, and then walked away with a curious smile.

In retrospect, she must have had quite a bit of fun that evening asking everyone “get it?”, because she knew no one really did. Later on the dance floor, with some willful, inconspicuous choreography, she was kind enough to let some of us actually get it. She had nothing on under the trench-coat.

The next day I asked her to model for me.

Originally written for the anthology “Paintings From the Earth”, December 15th, 2005.
Reprinted on the web, March 2nd, 2006.
Reprinted again on November 2nd, 2017.

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