Only Cold Water Left...


In the spring of 1997 Buzz Bidstrup was managing the refreshingly believable singer/songwriter Diana Ah Naid. She'd recently made her mark with a defiant explosive song called "I Go Off" and was about to release her new single "See Through ".

Buzz called one evening to say that he was at a meeting nearby with Diana and Origin record company boss, the charming Phillip Mortlock. They wanted to come by my place to discuss the possibility of me doing some painting for Diana's new film clip.

Diana is no shrinking violet and before much was discussed she thoroughly scrutinized my paintings and was assured, with the nod from Phillip, that I could paint at least to the degree they required.

       I was then asked whether I could paint Diana for the film clip. I explained that portraits weren't really my thing, being more of an "inner landscapes" kind of guy, but I felt capable of capturing a fair likeness.

       They said no, they wanted me to paint her body and I said that yea that should be O.K., it's like a full-length portrait. They patiently explained that no, they wanted me to actually paint on to her.
       I confirmed that yes; I had painted clothing before andů
       No. Her vision for the film clip for "See Through" was that she should be naked but for the pants, spotted tie and blue shirt I would paint on to her.

       I don't know if I broke out in a sweat, but I certainly swallowed hard and stammered something like, "B-B- But I'm a just middle aged, retentive guy from Adelaide...surely not ...", but I got the gig.

      The clip was shot in the old Eveleigh Railway Yard in Sydney. It was a cold day, and the disused railway shed we were using was enormous. It was full of ludicrously large foundry equipment and dirt. There was a caravan on site to use as the dressing/make-up room.

       I was certainly more than a tad nervous before the robe fell and before I'd made my first few tentative white sketch lines, but the pressure was on so that finishing the painting became the only focus.



Diana stood in front of a small bar heater, goose bumped and cold, while I worked away, stifling hot.  

She didn't complain or hassle me at all although some of the other minions copped a serve (and with good reason).

I'd been promised eight to nine hours to complete the painting but was told I only had four hours on the day. It ended up taking six, the last two augmented by harassment from the edgy director.
   As not only time but also the black paint for the pants began to run out, I could barely see for the stinging sweat in my eyes. I was now openly abusing the director back. It was completed to some degree of sufficiency by 6.00 p.m. but the filming itself wasn't over until after midnight.


I'd been asked to use a body paint that would 'run' when exposed to water as the finale of the clip would be where they throw a bucket of water over Diana and the paint is washed away. I knew I had the right paint because I'd tested it on my daughter's arm the day before. I'd run the tap over it. It had worked no problem.
       You can imagine my disappointment/panic then when the large bucket of warm water was thrown at Diana, "sp-lee-ash", only to have her standing there soaked, with the body paint still in tact. The whole crew glared at me waiting for an explanation. I assured them I'd done extensive and exhaustive tests the previous day and the paint should be running. Maybe it was just too cold.
       I ran up to Diana and looked closer.
       Yes! The paint was beginning to run.
       Another bucket of water should do it.
      "Sp-lee-ash !"
       The second bucket of warm water had certainly started the paint running.
       One more would nail it for sure.
       Word came back.
"Only cold water left!"

       Freezing cold water from the tap!
       Diana stood there naked, drenched and shivering madly.
       Would she go the third bucket of cold.
       "Yes", she screamed," Just do it!"
       She shrieked as it hit her and the paint ranů to an extent.
       What a trooper!
       You've got to want it real bad.