Monday, January 2, 2012

Remembering Lucian Freud - New Year's Resolution Time

David Hockney posing for Freud in his studio.
Freud - Full Length Nude Self Portrait (detail)

Lucian Freud
painted reality
in the flesh

Lucian Freud, grandson of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, passed away last year. He was considered one of England's great artistic treasures and although collected by many conservative Brits, his paintings were often very graphic, spread-legged nude portraits.

Nude with Leg Up (detail)
I remember, with some humor, strolling through a solo exhibition of his work at a public venue in the Lake District of England. All of the other (English) patrons viewing the work on that Sunday had on their Sunday best outfits, with the women all wearing very large wide-brimmed hats with feathers, artificial flowers, etc. (Visualize the ladies' hats at the recent Royal Wedding.) It was so bizarre to see all of these very prim and proper Lords and Ladies "very seriously" viewing Freud's gigantic paintings which included prominent and graphic depictions of male and female genitalia a few inches in front of them as they made no mention of the obvious and showed little emotion one way or the other. 

Reclining Nude
Freud was not a pornographer. He was a realist, showing us a reality we do not really want to see, in paintings of "the man or woman next door" often undressed and vulnerable and in unflattering poses. But, there is a voyeurism built into these paintings, which cannot be denied. 
Naked man on Bed (detail)
He painted only from life and his subjects would have to pose for hundreds of hours, until he was finished. In his signature style, he rendered these subjects with a heavily loaded brush in slow and decisive strokes, using white paint very generously with his hog bristled, stiff brushes. His palette was mostly neutral with a range from fleshy, creamy to dark browns and the same range with gray tones. The occasional rosy cheek was used as an accent. His paintings attained a remarkable presence to be mere oil on canvas and every rag and floorboard was given a sense of importance. 

The 89 year old painter created almost all of his work in his stark London studio with walls encrusted in paint wiped from his brushes and his palette. He had a famous firetrap of used oil soaked rags piled like a mountain in one corner. Most of his subjects were acquaintances and his paintings were always displayed in ornate traditional frames, not the simple frames most contemporary artist use today. He also produced very masterful and elegant etchings on paper.

Lucian Freud moved beyond caring what anyone thought of him or his work which allowed him to create a great legacy with his life's work. 

Mr. Freud made us aware there is beauty in all shapes of humanity, not just the ideal.

It is New Year's Resolution time and there are hundreds of diet and exercise plans out there. 
The reality in this shopping mall of choices is that most actually work, but for those of us who want to get into better shape through diet and exercise, we must actually follow the guidelines and stick with the program. This year I am setting goals for the year, for each month, for each week and a plan for each day.

"The reward for a thing well done is having done it."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Here are Trainer Vic Magary's 55 reasons to eat right, exercise and get into shape.

1.  You’ll have more energy to play (with your kids or with friends).
2.  Standing in front of the mirror will make you smile.
3.  So you can walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing.
4.  Because despite the eroding of our palates from a lifetime of processed crap, real food tastes better.
5.  People guess your age at least five years less than your actual age.
6.  You’ll reduce your chances of getting many cancers.
7.  Using the last notch on your belt feels great.
8.  Donating your “fat clothes” to the thrift store is a good thing to do.
9.  Wearing a bathing suit comes with zero hesitation.
10.  Nothing beats when someone who hasn’t seen you for several months unexpectedly runs into you at the grocery store and says, “Wow!  You look amazing!”
11.  Because climbing a tree is just as fun as you remember.
12.  You’re sick of feeling tired, sluggish, and having a general lack of energy.
13.  Discipline gained from sticking to a healthy diet and fitness regimen transfers to other areas of life.
14.  A spontaneous hike in nature no longer scares you.
15.  You’ll reduce your chances of heart disease.
16.  When you keep your promises to yourself, you feel unstoppable.
17.  Moving the couch, placing a heavy box on a high shelf, or carrying a bag of mulch is no big deal.
18.  You can pick up a child (your child or grandchild).
19.  You are certain you will have plenty of room in an airplane seat or amusement park ride.
20.  On those rare occasions when you do eat a piece of chocolate cake or a cheeseburger, you enjoy it so much more.
21.  You’re game for anything – whether that be ballroom dancing or indoor rock climbing – you know your overall fitness level will take care of you.
22.  Because push ups are cool.
23.  Having your blood pressure checked or getting your cholesterol results will no longer make you anxious.
24.  Food no longer controls you.
25.  You’ll reduce your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes.
26.  You hate the terms “muffin top” and "spare tire".
27.  Improved energy levels can translate to better performance on the job which could potentially mean more money.
28.  You command more respect when you are fit.
29.  Dogs only play with people who eat broccoli.  Seriously!
30.  You’ll set a healthy example for your children to follow.
31.  It’s been FAR too long since you looked down and could actually see your toes.
32.  It feels so good to fit into those skinny jeans.
33. Making your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse regret what they’re missing might be shallow, but damn if it doesn’t feel good.
34.  Because you refuse to “outgrow” another pair of pants.
35.  Bending down to pick up a dropped coin should not be an ordeal of extreme effort.
36.  So if you do need extended medical care, the orderlies, nurses, or physical therapists can move you without calling in reinforcements.
37.  You’ll fight off osteoporosis.
38.  It feels good to be able to help someone push their car out of the snow.
39.  The words “pool party” should not strike fear into your heart.
40.  Because the desk job and the commute to and from the desk job need counterbalanced with intense physical exertion.
41.  A sudden adrenaline fueled sprint – whether to get out of the way of a speeding car, avoid a mugger, or beat your nephew in a foot race – should not result in a pulled hamstring or near cardiac arrest.
42. Sex is better.
43. Because it’s always fun to prove the doubters wrong.
44.  Because you are sick of wasting money on little frozen boxes that have the words “Healthy” or “Lean” blazoned across them and still being overweight.
45. When people hug you, they can fit their arms all the way around.
46.  You can sit on cheap plastic lawn chairs without fear of them breaking.
47.  “How many burpees can you do in 10 minutes?” is always a great way to start a conversation.
48.  Because that last exercise contraption you bought from the late night infomercial is now doing time as a glorified clothes hanger.
49.  You want something more that requires your body.  Maybe it’s climbing Mt. Everest.  Maybe it’s getting the newspaper at the end of your driveway without feeling lightheaded.  But there is something more.
50.  Life is too short to be a slave to reality television and pizza delivery.
51.  Pull ups are easier when you weigh less.
52.  So that the chains on a swing set don’t dig into your hips when you swing with your kids.
53.  You can use a public restroom and fit into the regular stall instead of the handicapped stall.

* 54.  Because there is no magic potion, pill, or powder to make you thin and strong.  Only you can do that.

* 55.  MAINLY because it’s simple!  
And you know it’s simple:
- to eat real food in limited portions
- and to exercise outside of your comfort zone.  

But simple does not mean easy. 
Good Luck and have a Happy Start to this New Year.

To access Trainer Vic Magary's workout and food log click on the link below. You should also check out his diet plan.

The Beginner's Guide To Using The Gym

Another trainer's diet and exercise program:
Until later.
ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2012 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.

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