Just Pretend It's Tahiti
I have really been enjoying getting back to modeling in the east. Being re-introduced to the artistic communities I worked with was a great way to return to the area, and driving around seacoast New Hampshire and southern Maine is wonderful. It keeps me enthusiastic about all sorts of aspects of the artistic process, using modeling as a platform for observation.
One thing I've been enamored of lately how the artists set up the scene for the drawing group or classes I'm working with. My first job after returning was for a class taught by Pamela Dulong Williams, a really talented artist working out of Kittery. Usually the best part of working with her is seeing the paintings she hangs in her studio and listening to her teach. This time I found another draw. I walked into her studio and found a modeling stand draped in flora-printed green fabric, an orange parasol propped up on the right. There was also a small dog present, but as that doesn't have as much to do with art or modeling I'll try to move on. The spotlight was set up to shine through the parasol to give an warmer glow to my face while the winter light from the windows hit my legs. I was impressed with the thought that went into the look of the whole scene; the effort to vary the tones of my skin along with the tones of the fabric and background, and create a coherent scene.
Of course this isn't limited to working with Pamela Dulong. While setting a scene in the winter has a lot of limitations (heater placement and my addiction to the electric blanket) there's usually an attempt to bring some personality to the pose. One drawing group sat me on a fainting couch and managed to rustle up a crystal goblet so they could sketch a wine glass in my hand. I often try to bring something to the pose on my own, but it's great to have some inspiration.
What I really love about these attempts is the commitment to artistic expression and the evidence of real thought to how it relates to the rest of art. Even in the casual settings of drawing groups and classes connections to other artists are constantly considered. Pamela Dulong set her model stand to be reminiscent of Gaugin, which I tried to relate to in my body language. Members of another drawing group even requested specific symbolic pinky finger placement (which I managed to turn into the vulcan salute). It's another insight into the artistic process, one that I can directly relate to my own experience as a model. I wrote before about enjoying inserting artistic references in my poses and I find it interesting and inspiring to work with artists also looking toward that end.