Studio Brunstrum

Unveiling Nude Artwork

June 6, 2017

There is something very beautiful, organic and truthful about nude artwork, but it's important to establish the right tone.


Photo Courtesy of Rico Heil

"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?" -Michelangelo

One look at Michelangelo’s David (1504) and it is easy to understand his reverence for the naked human form. For me there’s something very beautiful, organic and truthful about nudes. They can convey simple or complex emotions, life’s energy and challenges, sometimes with just a few, expressive strokes. Nudes have fascinated artists for as long as people have been creating art – they have even been found in prehistoric art works! They will always have a place in my home and Chicago studio, but it is important to keep the tone elevated.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

Because this nude, by Los Angeles artist Melissa Herrington, is so subtle and tastefully drawn it is perfectly appropriate for our new studio in Old Town. (It is on loan, and for sale.) The relaxed, contemplative pose and the uninhibited splash of color have an amazing ability to make me feel at peace with the world.

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

With her festive red torso and carefree pose, this nude by artist, Elliott Hubbard, sets the mood I wanted for myself, and for friends and family when I entertained in my previous Chicago condo.  At the end of the day she always lifted my spirits and put me in touch with my feminine, playful side.

Photo Courtesy of

I just recently visited the studio of Kim McCarty in Malibu, California, and instantly loved her large-scale watercolors - they draw me in and are so fluid. The young girl in this piece, entitled “Pink Girl Twisted,” has an expression on her face that is typical of McCarty’s work. In her artist’s statement she says, “I have always been interested in identifying an expression that suggests both longing and loss.”

Photo Courtesy of

I tend to choose nudes drawn from the back versus a full frontal pose. I’m drawn to the curve of the back, waist and legs. It leaves more to the imagination, but for me that is more seductive. Black and white sketches of nudes, such as the one above, convey so much with just a few strokes of the pen or brush. How does she feel? What is she thinking?

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Peas Design

The female torso alone is very evocative for me, too, as I can bring more of my own emotions and interpretations to the piece. This small, ebony colored nude sculpture is by Erica Everage, a California native who attended Northwestern University and studied under Robert Graham. The figure  may be small, but she’s got great strength and ambition, at least, that’s the way I see it, and that’s why I chose it for the Lake Forest Showhouse master bedroom. I embrace the feeling that she’s completely self-assured, facing the world with honesty and purity.

What do you look for when choosing a nude? For me, it is whatever speaks to my heart, my soul and my mind. You’ll know it when you see it!

Susan Brunstrum
Previous article Next article

You Might Also Like

Connect With Us

Our monthly journal and weekly blogs are designed to inspire.

Studio Brunstrum