By Nicole Hennessy
A few years ago, the director of a Solon arts center asked Judy Takacs to hang some of her portraits for a small show.
Excited, Takacs invited her to look at some of the completed pieces she had.
But she was unable to display them, as they were all nudes. She began running into the same problem at other galleries, too.
Takacs has always preferred painting folds of skin rather than fabric, and started thinking of ways she could paint nudes without showing the offending parts of the body that might exclude her work from shows.
“Chicks with balls!” she thought, literally, and began asking her female friends and family to take off their tops and pose, holding a variety of sports balls, or even plastic eyeballs and globes.
“Oddly enough, many of them said yes,” she wrote in her blog. And so she began working on a collection that she says will never be completed.
Hanging now at BAYarts are 19 of these portraits.
Taking this theme a bit further, Takacs began exploring the implied metaphor of this collection – the ways in which these women showed strength and courage.
Listing all the things she sees women maintain, like taking care of aging parents, husbands, children, the housework and cooking and full-time jobs, Takacs says she wants these pieces to speak to those women and their families.
“I would like for women of a certain age and a certain level of responsibility in their lives to take a look at these paintings and maybe see some value in everything that they do – to see how many balls that they, themselves, are juggling to keep the people that they love afloat,” she said. “I also want people to look around at their mothers, their wives, their sisters, their friends, and say, ‘Wow! Look at all the things my mom is doing!’”
In addition to her show, which will be on display until Aug. 30, Takacs will also be hosting a figure and portrait painting workshop geared toward adults and teens this weekend from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Participants will have the chance to paint one of the models from a piece in the show called “Laurel … Just Another Day.”
Takacs says this workshop is also special because the paintings will be on exhibit right downstairs from the studio – so, on breaks, students can immerse themselves in them.
“I have done my darndest to capture the female form with boatloads of personality and hopefully some grace too!” she wrote.
“I will continue to do this and I probably have about 10 or 11 women waiting on the bench for me to do their painting. In fact, a couple people at the opening reception actually volunteered – strangers.”
To sign up for Judy Takacs’ figure and portrait painting workshop, call BAYarts at 440-871-0452.