Posted by: jeanne | November 17, 2008

cancer art 8

my ex was here today. stopped by on his way home. we still talk and be friendsa fter being divorced longer than we wee married at this point. he saw the picture of his kid that i’m working on. he wanted to know why there were no breasts painted in.
i showed him what i was going to do with it. i showed him the stiffened bra. i handed him my silcone breast bag and he shut his eyes and squished it.
do you know if you fold a bresast form in half, they’re triangular, they look very much like swollen vulva lips. he asked to borrow it for a couple of days. that’s one of the reasons we got divorced. damn it, it’s art, not a sex toy.

he was kind of uneasy with the objectification of his daughter. the asking people to come up and squeeze her breast thing i’m doing with it made him a little squeamish. he didn’t get the mirror and empty bra and restraints part.

he’s never really gotten my art, even when my art was about pretty pictures. it’s a painting, he’d say about something i’d been working on for months. that’s one of the reasons we got divorced. damn it, it’s art, not a couch painting.

this morning i couldn’t stand the paleness, the whiteness, so i mixed up some burnt sienna and started back in with the colors. but maybe now it has a little more depth. glow.

i might have fixed the right hand waist and hips. tho it still looks off. like one side is shorter than the other. i put a kink and change of direction at the waistline and that helps some.

looking at the funny waist and the shorter skirt on the one side, i realized tht her right arm isn’t long enough. i had to use a mirror to reverse the hanging arm of another photo, but i drew in her hand again, larger, lower down, and this time in front of the skirt.

so much for not showing hands and what that means symbolically. i think the wrist restraints on the back of the canvas will probably speak to that theme.

i put the bra down on some brown paper and cut the outside dimensions. the hole in the canvas will have to be smaller than the paper. i stuck it up on the canvas with pins. the strap is in the wrong place. the edge of the bra cuts into the upper arm. it’s not stuck down at the right angle and now her upper chest and neck look too small. i’ll reposition it before i take the photo you’ll see posted here.

i’m thinking i should read up on the actual operation doctors do to remove a breast. i imagine a careless surgeon holding it up by the nipple and bending their wrist, slicing around the base of the breast with their carving knife. altho i don’t remember my mastectomy, because they made me unconscious and incapable of observing, commenting, or objecting.

do you know that before you go in to surgery they always make certain what they’re taking and what they’re leaving. when i went in to have my right breast taken off they used a sharpie to put a big NO on my left breast. just in case. careless surgeons. the nurses roll their eyes. if it weren’t for them, the doctors couldn’t go to the bathroom.

the day’s gone. i never called my surgeon’s nurses and they’ve gone home now. maybe cvs has stitching thread. maybe bookbinding thread is the same. do surgeons use catgut anymore? i end up sitting at my computer late in the night finishing the blog entry. i know in the last few there’s been all sorts of references i wanted to link to, and that’s one of the things i like about blogging, but i haven’t had the time or energy, and so the link, that other form of communication, goes unmarked. unresearched. all the things there are to research just in this one painting.

i’ve put it on the long finger. i’ll get to it eventually. maybe. if i’m still interested.

i traced the back of the bra onto the back of the canvas, the inner tolerance of what i can cut out. i straightened out the bra on the chest and repinned it, then held it to the light and traced it onto the back with a soft pencil. then i drew a straight line along the midpoint of the bra and used a razor to follow the countours an inch or so in. a razor blade so sharp i just drew the line and it went thru. i was surprised at how little resistance. i wonder how much resistance skin and fat give to the scalpel.

her head’s too big.

after i cutting her breasts out and turned the painting back to the right side, the dark hole looks almost positive, like breasts, rather than the absence of breasts. that’s just a stage, of course, but it looks uncanny when i sit and look sideways at it. iI’ll have to wait until the chest and stomach are done before i can attach the bra, because once i do, i can’t be painting near it because it’ll get all nasty. i can pin it, tho.

i need that catgut.



  1. Jeanne it is looking great.

    When you talked about your ex not getting it, I thought, maybe only the artist needs to get it and the rest of us just look at it and try to figure it out.


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