Thursday, April 23, 2009
A View from the Other Side
Well now I'm really glad I've gone on record here respecting the artist model as now I've seen the whole thing from the other side.
For our latest session, the model did not arrive; we don't know why, they're usually very prompt and responsible. The artist in charge (we don't have instruction, but he's the guy who handles the administrative stuff when we are there) got up to model first, so the night would not be a total loss.
Jibes where thrown his way about stripping down, but the consensus was to leave the clothing on--please. Funny how that positive attitude to nudity shifts depending on context. Thereafter, in an ad hoc but completely efficient fashion, other artists volunteered and walked up. Men first--perhaps they were less self conscious than the women. I was actually quite pleased to draw them. I always feel I need more practice drawing men. The poses they used were casual, natural and commonplace--just the kind you want. I found the clothing, especially pants and running shoes a challenge. It's so easy to make a foot look like a foot when you draw big toes and little toes on the end. A running shoe, on the other hand, can look like an amorphous blob.
And then I walked up. Ulterior motive, my hand needed a break. Models need breaks so this usually isn't an issue, but since everyone was taking turns, we had a continuous roster of models and for some reason everyone chose a long (20-30min) pose. I said I'd do 4 five-minute poses but that didn't happen. I tried to make it interesting and sat on the bench, crossed my legs, leaned on one arm. I can do this for five minutes, I thought. And then the whispers began. They were good whispers, 'nice pose', 'look at the drapery' (I was wearing a billowing lime green shirt over a purple t), 'that would be great to paint'. That felt wonderful, I was considering a career change, I offered to hold the pose longer. I felt excited to be part of the creative process and whatever was happening on those big pieces of paper, I had something to do with it.
Alas, at the 14 minute mark, my elbow began shaking, and my dangling leg was all tingly, and I made the mistake of looking at the second hand of my watch and it seemed to be crawling through sludge...so much for a new source of income. I'd loved to say I hopped off the table, but I more or less hobbled and then spent 5 minutes stretching out stiffened limbs.
Image: graphite life drawing of a colleague on office paper, ink sketch done with a pentel pocket brush, the next morning while sitting in the car. Obviously, my brain had sufficiently remembered a pose enough to be able to invent something on it's own. The evening life drawing session was decidely useful.