The author and her husband, Mark, after being painted by Andy Golub. (Photo: Courtesy of Andy Golub)
The author and her husband, Mark, after being painted by Andy Golub. (Photo: Courtesy of Andy Golub)

The author and her husband are getting their painting done. The photo is courtesy of Andy Golub.

When dignity should reign, I'm at an age. A nude model for a body painter is not a good example of wisdom and restraint as an elder. I don't know what possessed me.

There was an adventure to be had. I don't know how it would feel to let my body be painted. Is it possible to be naked before an artist for a few hours? Do you want to do something completely new?

Also, love was a reason. We were going to paint together. Andy Golub incorporated the two of us into a single unit. Mark and I would be nude against each other while Golub painted us. It was a nice way to celebrate our close relationship. This would be the first time in 22 years that this would happen.

I was trying to impress my friends and acquaintances. I try to be brave despite my lack of strength. I like to wear red cowboy boots because I think they look good on me.

I didn't think twice when I was offered the chance to model for the man who invented body painting as art. Mark has little body fat as a result of triathlons. I am not as athletic as I used to be, but I am still ok with my old body and was happy that it would be the inspiration for and the actual material of art.

On a Sunday afternoon, Andy Golub arrived at our house with his clothes and paints and set up in my study, which gets good natural light. He has been an artist since he was a child, but it was only when he was 40 that he found his calling. Andy is best known for his public body-painting events, in which he and his assistants paint hundreds of nude people in New York's Times Square. He has held mass events in several places. The New York event will be held in Union Square.

Even though I am not daring enough to get painted in public, I did it with my husband at home, in the heat, and it was great. Mark and I went to our bedroom and took off our clothes. We returned to the study slowly. Andy lay out his paints and brushes without looking up. He said that he uses theatrical makeup that is easier to remove than paint.

There was a dropcloth on the couch. He wanted to know why you wouldn't get on that. I reclined on it like Madame RéCAMIER in the Jacques-Louis David painting, and Mark stood by me. I didn't feel self-conscious anymore.

The author and Mark in clothes —

The author and Mark are dressed up. The photo is courtesy of Catherine Hiller.

Andy looked at us from a number of angles. The man walked around the room. He looked at us from above. He painted a green stripe up Mark's left leg. There was a pink stripe next to the green stripe. The pink went up Mark's body and onto my belly. He painted a dark green band on Mark's leg. Andy used to say "orange" or "blue" before he went to his colors. He would drop his lid as he looked at us.

Are your eyes still open? I wanted to know.

He said he was channelling.

We were stroked by the brush after he opened his eyes. It felt good. It took an hour or so. He painted my mouth and forehead. We assumed the same position after the break after he made little marks on our bodies. We stretched after standing up. In the classic John and Yoko pose, he took some photos of us holding hands, with stripes all over our bodies. We are very pleased with ourselves, even though we didn't do anything.

After aligning ourselves on the couch, the magic began. Andy started painting designs on our faces and bodies with black paint and a small brush. Mark looked over his pecs and ripples on his shoulders. I have a snail on my body. Black lines continued from Mark's arm to my leg. It was very peaceful. Mark was asleep after a while.

I saw a way that Andy could make more money from his work.

A wedding package could include painting young people. I asked him a question. They would be connected to each other through your art. It would be different. They would pay you a lot of money.

He said he wasn't interested in that. I think my art is related to social activism. Body painting is a form of performance art. I encourage people to think in new ways by connecting with mycanvas.

Andy has painted and photographed people of all ages and abilities. There are many types of bodies.

He took more pictures after painting us. I was at ease even though I was naked. It didn't feel like he was photographing us exactly; rather, it was more like he was documenting an entirely new entity. We looked at each other in awe. Our bodies were beautiful.

The author and Mark. (Photo: Courtesy of Andy Golub)

They are the author and Mark. The photo is courtesy of Andy Golub.

Mark and I took a shower. The colors would get on our clothes, furniture, and the sheets even though it was sad to watch. Photography captures body painting.

I took two photos that Andy shared with us and trimmed them a bit. I was proud to show them to my family and friends, who were relieved that the images were so colorful and beautiful. The nudity was not intended to arouse desire. The color on our faces made us look older. I was showing the photos to a lot of people I met.

I was reminded that I'm more radical than most people. I told a friend that I was going to get my body painted. I won't tell people who nudity at any age is offensive. The artist wasn't just painting us, he was painting on us. I will not allow those people to mention this particular encounter.

My three sons are not something to worry about. They know me and are past embarrassments about my doings. They were not surprised that I would remove my clothes to be a part of the artist's vision. They just looked at the photos.

Couples who have been together a long time are sometimes encouraged to do something novel and exciting together. The experience of getting our bodies painted was very different for us.

We looked at each other for the first time. We had been art for a short time.

The sixth novel by Catherine Hiller, "Cybill Unbound," will be published in February of 2019. She is the author of a short story collection and a memoir. She is a co- producer of the film.

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The article was first published on HuffPost.

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