Ok, this post is long overdue, but after seeing @carlgnash's nudey post this morning, I've decided now is the perfect time to put my boobs on the block and donate whatever liquid steem they raise to help fund @llfarms' steemfest trip.
So Carl, I'll see your er... banana and raise you two papayas!
For everyone not in the know, there's been an ongoing discussion in the Curie curator's server about making a "Men of Curie" calendar for steemfest. Carl is the most enthusiastic since he's now made two posts with his gear off.
Back in May before I went to Greece, I went to Vienna for a few days. This is a city that I'd previously visited when I lived in Scotland for a few years, so I didn't go for the touristy things. Instead I went to meet @bella-volen-art, a gorgeous steemian who I've become friends since she joined the platform.
Our relationship started when she pinned one of her early posts to steemit worldmap. She writes awesome travel posts and takes beautiful photos. She's also an amazing artist. In fact, she has become one of my favourite artists. I love her style and the colours she typically uses. She's also a vegan and last Christmas she sent me some handmade vegan soap.
One of Bella's specialties is body painting, which she's super talented at it. She has a bunch of posts on her blog and they are all amazing. I challenge you to find someone who is better at it than her.
At some point late last year I thought to myself "I would really like to get my body painted by Bella". I sat on this for a while, since I didn't know how or when it would manifest. Then, when I was in Australia last December and the Greece trip came up, a side trip to Austria seemed like the perfect opportunity. I contacted Bella and we organised a date. I told her what I was broadly thinking and we came up with a vegan, mother nature theme. I then commissioned her to do the work (it was not free in case anyone is wondering).
Finally, the day of the commission arrived and I was super excited. First, we went to some florists near her apartment to get some flowers and leaves. Then we got an uber van large enough to carry the painting which would serve as the backdrop, to her studio. There was a surprising amount of prep involved to get the paints set up so while she did that, I walked around a nearby shopping mall.
When I got back it was time for a tasty vegan lunch which she'd prepared. On a side note, Vienna is great for vegan food so I totally recommend going there if you're vegan. The day before we had Budha bowls for lunch at Veggiezz, then ice cream at an all-vegan ice cream chain, Veganista. So good!
I think we started the body painting at around 1.30pm and it went for a full 12 hours. It's a really long day which is hard for both people. It was tough for me since I had to stand still for much of the time. Then it's obviously hard for Bella because she was bending a lot.
Apparently yogis and dancers make the best models because they are the best at standing still. However, despite my 20-ish years of practising yoga and standing in Tadasana, I found my feet were the least comfortable part of my body and I had to shift my weight between them between every paint. I had flip-flops on most of the time, but they still hurt. Some parts you can sit down for (like your arms) so that helps. You can also take breaks when required since the body paint is pretty robust once it's dry. Eating and staying hydrated are also really important because there's a risk of passing out from being on your feet so for long.
Bella shares a studio with another artist called Xenia Ostrovskaya. She was there for about half the day working on a painting for an exhibition she had coming up. I liked her and the conversation between the three of us was good. Being in good company helped pass the time given how long the painting process was.
Even though it took ages, getting painted was a pleasant experience. The feeling of the brush on your skin is really nice. Kinda massage-y. There were a couple of ticklish areas around my rib-cage, but overall I enjoyed the process.
A few hours before the photo shoot Bella sculpted my hair. This was so it had sufficient time to dry so she could paint it. It's weird cos there are no mirrors so I had no idea what it looked like, it just felt heavy and stiff. I was also thinking "how easy is this going to be to wash out?"
Obviously the longer we went, the more naked I became until I was literally down to a thong. Then as it got darker more lights came on. There are no blinds in Bella's studio, but there are a whole bunch of apartments on the other side of the courtyard. Basically those residents would have gotten a free show if they'd looked out their windows. Body painting probably isn't for anyone with nudity issues.
Eventually the painting process was finished, my eyelashes were on, and it was time for the photo shoot. These (and the top one) were my favourites. It turns out I have a good side!
Bella lent me a kimono for the uber ride back to her apartment (she was kind enough to let me stay at her place while I was in Vienna). I was glad I didn't have to go home naked!
It was around 2am by the time we finished and got back to her apartment, but I had to be up at 7am to catch my flight to Greece. Getting the paint off probably took about an hour. Most of it washed off easy enough, but there were pigment stains on my skin for several days despite exfoliating, then using baby wipes and coconut oil to try and remove them. I also had a bit of paint behind my ears right in the crease, which I didn't know about until my friend in Greece asked why my ear was green one day. To my surprise, the paint and plaster in my hair washed out the easiest.
My vegan message and body painting time-lapse video
Despite finding paint on myself days later, I'm more than happy with the experience. I enjoyed the whole body painting process and I got some great photos to remember it by. Thank you Bella for your fantastic work, your hospitality, and making this experience possible.
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All photos belong to me and may not be used without my permission.