I suppose the only time the "real" me emerges is when I am about to step into the shower; when all my clothes, jewelry, "statements" are removed, then surely we are shown without any pretensions whatsoever. That person is the me before I attempt to create a persona for myself - in Jungian terms to present to the world the character I wish to be seen as.
For what a lot our clothes say about us If I see a woman in a long, flowing dress, long dangly earrings, long, flowing hair and ethnic jewelry, it says "I am a creative free spirit" to me. And a man in a battered hat, cords and an old fleece (particularly if he is also sporting a beard) says,"I am my own man and I don't care what I look like." The woman with shoulder pads, tight fitting suit and high heels - "Don't mess with me!" At least that is the image they are trying to project.
The fact seems to be that without our clothes were are uncomfortable (yes, I know most of us live in places where the weather is wrong for nudity), could it be because the real person is one we don't necessarily want to show to the world?
These thoughts occurred to me on the drive back from Tesco this afternoon. You never know what is going on in the minds of drivers who pass you on the road! They were prompted by a David Hockney painting would you believe.
"Bigger Trees near Warter" is a Hockney painting which measures a staggering fifteen feet by forty feet and he has given the painting to Tate Britain, where it goes on show today. Painted on fifty separate pieces of canvas it occupies three walls in the gallery.
How does this relate to my earlier thinking? Well all the trees in the picture are bare. The artist had to rush to finish the painting (in three weeks) so that he caught all the branches before they came into leaf. In fact he raced against the onset of Spring in 2007 because he did not want the emerging leaves to hide the beauty and detail of the branches.
It is very beautiful - each and every branch and twig stands out in such detail.
Then I thought how foliage similarly defines a tree and hides its imperfections. It is only in Winter that one really sees the shape, the beauty, the flaws and the secrets. I would never have seen the long tailed tits nest which you see above had it been on a leafy tree - only when all the leaves are gone and the tree is stripped bare is all revealed.
The farmer searched long and hard for the nest of our resident carrion crow (don't ask why, tis best not to know), never found it until all the leaves fell and the crows were long gone - there it sat in the topmost bough of an alder in the plantain.
There is such beauty in a bare tree and Hockney has captured that in the same way that great artists through the ages have captured the beauty of the naked human body.
There may well be somewhere on the web where you can view this picture - if not then like me you will have to hope that one day you can see it in Tate Britain. It is flanked by two identical photographic images of the same scene - and I dearly wish to see it - fully clothed, I might add.
Don't think this post is necessarily in praise of nudity. Somebody once said that after forty everything begins to move South - and I am sure they are right - so I will keep my persona if you don't mind - although I do feel it is sad that we are mostly reticent about removing our clothes.
##Don't read the title as "water", I haven't spelt it wrongly - Warter is obviously the place where the trees are.