Disrobed Sangria

(recipe at the bottom – I recommend eating the oranges. And the pears. And the apples.)

Before there was my first Bikram Yoga class…gesture1

There was my first Figure Drawing class.

sketch2At the age of 34 (and a married woman), I was preparing for my first class in drawing the live, nude, human form. For the most part, I had avoided drawing or painting people up until then. They were difficult. Leave it to the masters and the portrait artists.

But I also had the bug. The “what will I try to do next?” bug.

sketch1I was nervous. Really nervous. But I had The Man’s blessing and a desire to paint the contours of the human body like my artistic heroes: Matisse and Cassatt.


I did what any normal first-timer would do.

I got myself drunk.sketch3

Well, not drunk. But I was tipsy. I went with the family to our favorite little Mexican restaurant and lubricated myself with Sangria. And then I was dropped at class.paint1


I was ridiculously nervous. I was sweaty. I shook. I couldn’t get comfortable in the unmoving plastic chair I was sitting in. The table was so flat and so far away. I hadn’t touched charcoal in ages. I was concerned for the model, too (though I know not why).

The moment she dropped her robe, I dropped my eyes. I waited to look up until I was sure she was finished moving.


She didn’t seem to mind us looking at her. No big deal. Like she visited small town art centers all the time to let housewives and men (!) look at her.

After a few gesture drawings and quick poses, my fear was gone.

gesture3The model was kind. She understood our fears. She spoke to us like we were having tea. Not like she was on stage in a dim room with spotlights blazing on her skin, surrounded by a tiny class of nervous adults. She was brave and she was beautiful. She walked around the room (robed) and complemented our work, even if our foreshortening was off, or her bosom looked like a pair of smooshed papayas.gesture3

paint3I am now in my 3rd season of Figure Drawing class. I love it. After this first experience I wasn’t nervous at all. Until the night the male model visited us.

Sangria, anyone?

Disrobed Sangria

Disrobed Sangria
A tasty sangria for any time, but great for fresh cold-season fruit. Not too sweet, but just sweet enough.
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  1. bottle red wine (I chose a Malbec)
  2. 2 oz brandy
  3. 2 T sugar
  4. 1.5 oz pomegranate juice
  5. 1 navel orange, sliced (ends discarded)
  6. 1 pear, cored and chopped (and peeled if bruised or spotted)
  7. 1 green apple, cored and sliced
  8. 2 c club soda
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a pitcher. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours (at least 5). Add club soda before serving.
  1. I recommend organic fruit, since the peels are staying on.
  2. You can double this recipe. Or triple it, if you plan on sharing. ;)
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