5 Apr

Model Focus – Brenda Lee

Author: Léa Selley

Model Focus – Brenda Lee 

Written by Judith Whitelaw,   Brush Strokes Magazine Issue 6

Brenda Lee, shares her experience of being bodypainted for the first time and how she overcame years of low self-esteem and self-consciousness to model for this month’s cover.

Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee

Today was the most incredible experience of my life! I was beautiful, because a master bodypainter saw something in me that I could not see in myself.

I am 46 years old and have had low self-esteem since childhood.  I was an adopted child with several identity issues, and when I was 22 years old I was in a near fatal car accident that left me with a long scar down my stomach, one on my side, and another on my forehead. 
 
I had talked to Mark Reid about doing a body painting and threw the idea back and forth in my head. One day I would be excited to get painted and the next I could not imagine being naked in front of a man with my scars.  Mark stated that it would help me with my self-image, but the struggle continued.
I thought about what Mark said and decided that he might be right so I took a courageous step toward my fear, and the dreaded day arrived. I was terrified. I took a shower to get the lotions and oils off my body and had an extremely difficult time letting go of the towel. Mark assured me he was a professional, but this was about me, not him, and I did not think I would be able to go through with it.  Mark was very patient as he fiddled with his paints waiting for me to make a decision.
I took a deep breath, my chest tightened; I closed my eyes and slowly dropped the towel exposing my soul, feeling vulnerable and unprotected.  I could feel my heart beating exceptionally hard as my hands became clammy and each breath I took was so thick it was difficult to breath, and the painting started.
Little by little the tension eased and, as I watched a Master at work, I forgot I was naked and watched as a masterpiece started to unfold.  Each layer added enthusiasm for the next layer. I became a work of art, perfectly imperfect!  I was amazed and dumfounded as if looking at myself for the first time.
The photo shoot was grueling. I have never modeled before and holding poses was more difficult than I intended. Some of the paint got into my hair and when he brushed it out it hurt!  My back started to cramp, and my hand went to sleep. I was happy when it was over.  I loved the pictures, but my face still looked the same.  Mark stated there was still more steps involved.
When I saw the final product I gasped as a tear rolled down my cheek. I was beautiful.  I never thought those words would pass my lips, but today, I am beautiful.
Thank you Mark!

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