Nora Byrne
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Words

Arts, Arabic, Adventures

Return Home: Part Two

But seriously, shouldn't someone be feeding me?
Watercolor by Kim Grant

The rest of my time modeling back in New Hampshire was equally as inspiring as my first night back. Though I managed to overbook myself to the point of illness (it was the modeling, not the going out drinking afterward, I'm sure), I managed to stay happy and extremely busy. I had never modeled in the deep summer before, and lying naked on couches with fans pointed toward me made me feel like a rich ancient greek man. I kept wondering where the grapes were.

At one of my modeling sessions I was given a book, on the meaning and importance of figure drawing. There were multiple chapters revolving around the importance of a model, which I found as gratifying as I did surprising. Art modeling is such a niche market it's often difficult to find people that know what it is ("you mean, naked?!"), much less people that appreciate it. This book frequently referenced the Bay Area Model's Guild, which I am considering auditioning for, and is basically the pinnacle of organized art modeling.

Lucian Freud, Benefits Supervisor Resting, 1994

I read the chapter completely focused on modeling in Popovers, at the same seat where I frantically studied for the GRE last winter. It was really fascinating seeing another's view on the modeling profession. Some of it really hit home, and some I found to be a little off the mark, or idealized. There were many references to the necessity of staying in good physical shape. This may wax hypocritical, as I find staying in shape to be a necessity, but I do this for my own mental and physical health, not for my job. Part of what has kept me from the fashion industry is the disgusting focus on this false idea of "beauty" they have constructed.

Bernini, Aneneas, Anchises
and Ascanius
,  1550

What I love about art modeling is that artists are interested in the figure as a reference as to how the human body works. I understand that this means that a muscular, shapely model is more likely to display the musculature and anatomy of the body, but bodies with a lot of fat, sagging skin and worn down posture can be equally as interesting.

This is what I appreciate about figure drawing; the acceptance of the human body as it is. The intent is the explore the body, celebrate how difficult it is to capture on paper, not to display an unattainable ideal. Bernini's Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius shows the necessity of understanding a variety of figures. I can't claim originality in this comparison, but you can see Aeneas' bulging muscles against his father's wrinkled skin and son's soft, chubby arms. The artist's immaculate, beautiful rendering of the skin and musculature of all different ages of man shows his versatility. I feel the need to be in shape when modeling because my confidence is so pivotal to my demeanor and the poses I choose. This shouldn't have to apply to every other model, and I can't imagine figure art would be anywhere near as interesting, varied and meaningful if it did.