Drawing nude or naked figures from life can be a strangely asexual enterprise. Of course there is great sensuality - following the body¹s line - the possibility of going from the curve of a hip into some deep part of a person. But she is there on the model stand, not here where I am. It is like this girl who is getting into a reclining pose, her breasts sinking into new lazy positions left and right on her rib cage, with her skin and her nipples and her graceful collar bone and her shaved vagina - as if she is inside a glass case - a specimen looked at for serious student reasons,not a naked lady in the same room with me.
Just once in that intense period when I was drawing scores of women - maybe hundreds or a thousand - just once there had seemed no glass case. What was on
my mind that one time as I drew had little to do with a detached understanding or the relationship between the trapezius and the deltoid and pectoralis.
The League had models of many shapes and ages. It was hard to tell this woman's age. Late thirties maybe. Maybe older. Eyes that had seen more than a young girl would see. A big, smooth, brown-haired woman, with breasts at a point of ample over-ripeness.
I did not especially crave large female appendages, Playboy magazine clichés that can have little to do with abandoned desire. But the way this model swung her breasts as she changed poses made me feel the way I had felt when I was 19 and discovered Vasco Pratolini and was overwhelmed by the description - which went right to my groin and which I had never heard before but would never stop hearing from bad writers - of breasts like ripe melons - which I saw in my mind, as I saw up the model stand now, were actually more like soft pears than melons.
In the break I asked her if she would like to join me on this spring day for a lunch of sandwiches in a part of Central Park just off Columbus Circle that was the League's backyard.
So far as I can remember, it felt like life was flowing at that point.