The Heart of Women


Have you ever had a soda explode all over you?
You are just opening the can or bottle, anticipating the prospect of a sweet, bubbly drink and suddenly you are hit in the face with a cold, wet blast that breaks you out of your habitual routine. My experience with The Heart of Women is like that.

I was invited to contribute a part of myself and that invitation was bold, dangerous and tempting. I saw the contributions of other women and I was beyond touched. I wept at the depth of those contributions and I knew that I had to step up and contribute as well. We all wear a mask, or several masks, depending on our lives. Now I had to take off my mask and show parts of myself that deliberately stay hidden. People see my mask: a calm, confident, capable woman. I was going to take off that mask and I was not sure what others would see. What would I see? A. Kaye took my hand and guided me though an amazing process. The paint became a mirror that reflected a deep part of me. It looked like a volcanic eruption. It was beautiful. It took my breath away. I truly felt like I had imprinted my heart on that canvas. The Heart of Women is immense beyond measure. It is made up of the deepest part of the heart of each and every woman, whether they know it or not. I am proud of my paint and proud that I let down my mask and proud that I contributed part of my own heart.

The Heart of Women is an astounding project and I am grateful to A. Kaye for issuing one little invitation: “Body painting interest you?”




I knew the instant I met A. Kaye that we had an uncanny connection. The chemistry we had was neither accidental nor contrived. We visited, shared a few laughs and exchanged a few ideas on photography.
A. Kaye had given me his business card before we parted ways, but I had lost that card and therefore contact with him for a few years. It was purely coincidental, and dare I say maybe even fate, that we met up again on the Model Mayhem forum, he as the artist seeking models for his The Heart of Women series and I as one of the models he had contacted. From our initial email exchange, I knew that A. Kaye was different from the other photographers. After the viewing his portfolio, particularly his Heart of Women series, I KNEW that I was right about him ­ he IS different than other photographers. A. Kaye brings a powerful, soulful feel to his photos. He captures not only the beauty of the women he photographed, but also beautifully conveys their spirit, dignity and grace. It gave me great pleasure to have been given the opportunity to work with A. Kaye in the Heart of Women series. Being a part of his artistic vehicle not only fueled my personal desire and goals to move further with my own artistic desires, but it presented me with the unique opportunity to express myself. On the canvas, with the cooling paint on my hands, I was able to leave a bit of who I am as a mother, a daughter, a woman behind. The feeling of paint on my skin, watching my creativity come to life in front of me was the best artistic and soulful release I’d had in years. And for the moment, I was free…free from the controlled and controlling daily existence that is my so-called life. A.Kaye was kind, gentle and comforting in his instructions. And this has been the best photographic experience I’ve ever had! I love A. Kaye for allowing me to be free, to be ME!


I am……

Staring at a clean sheet, feeling the emotions roll within me.
The air, cool on my naked skin, shivers with my intent.
My thoughts boil and twist within me. What am I to tell?
Glancing over, I see the bottles. Their colors beckon to me.
‘ Use me to speak emotions to others like you.” they whisper.
A lid opens with a click of a finger.
The color glistens in the light. I quiver.
A flash of light behind me flares. There is no one but me to explore.
I am the artist and the art. Or at least I will become something that will exist forever.
I whisper to myself of dreams unspoken to others. Dreams that had died long ago are to be reborn this day. This day, I resurrect my past.
This day, I will exonerate my life.
This day, I will hurt but this day.

This day…..
The flashes brighten as my heart unfolds. The paint, slick and smooth, kisses the papered wall. It runs in rivulets down to the floor. My bare feet make footprints that mark my life. I walk the path again, reliving the moments that broke me once.
My hand marks the smooth wall with my words. Pressure locked in my chest, I cannot breathe. Blinded by words of the past, marked like a ruined scarlet woman, I paint. Freedom, I do not feel yet. The threshold is not in sight. Heart pounding out ragged and staggered beats, I breathe. I breathe in the metallic scent of the colors that run a course race through my fingers. Tattered, I begin to tell the tale.


A spearing jealousy and rage fills me that my dreams were thrown out by those careless hands. The paint becomes the dream. The spotted dabs of it ruin the pristine virgin paper, unmarked before my rage and pain sullied its innocent face. Innocent as I once was. Gripped in terror, the colors swirl. I am going to be lost. I know that hopelessness. It is as familiar to me as a lover’s touch. It whispers. I answer. I cannot help it. I release myself to the pain. I have no choice. It steals me away. I am a captive, a slave. I am alone here. I am alone in this place. No words are spoken in my head other than my own. A voice murmurs to me. I answer its questions. I answer the truth but will remember it not. Flashes catch my eye but I am too lost to process the reason. I work, I create.

My words reverberate on the paper as pain takes over. Blood streams from my heart, smearing the future I once believed I would have. The past speaks louder than the voice that would become a salve to me later. I listen to the voices of the yesterdays I have lost. I am encased in a memory, a painful cocoon. The webbing binds me to it. It screams at me that it will not let go. It will not loosen its hold. It will not allow. It will not relinquish me. Happiness, I once longed to embrace, joins the battle. Intertwined with snake like curls of the brush, I work. Clawing through my hands, the words fall upon the page. I cannot stop their leaping. Tears blind me. I cannot see. Trembling knees and knotted tongue, I breathe deeply. Fighting through the horror of my life, I work. What once plagued me is pushing against my knowledge. Joy dances with the pain, holding hands and laughing as the chains weaken. Hysterical howling as the past screams its wounds putrid and foul. Salve made of colors and soothing caresses extend my mind. I slash with the steel clad blade of my brush. Knowledge of change and growth flows out. Colors blend and separate to blend again. The voice speaks as flashes move and brighten. The past released and the future whispers of new dreams, new promises. Light spotlights my pain and covers it, soothes it like a wounded child. I survived and grew. Strength tangles with the weakness and binds itself to me as armor. I am a warrior, full of breathless excitement at the battle I have won. Survival and forgiveness are mine now. The child I was lays safe in my heart, slumbering and protected. The wife I was once smiles with hope. The mother I became held the peaceful memories of sheltering her children in her arms. The woman I am became hope. I am the dreams that I once held. I am the one who believed. I am because I was allowed to become. I am a treasure. I am art. I am…. I am the moment that I thought I lost. I am a survivor. I am the future.
I am you.