A few days ago I lay half-clothed on a couch, listening raptly to half-believable stories told by a man who used to rent out a Portugese castle he owned. While these were easily the most compelling stories I've heard while modeling, this situation wasn't altogether out of the ordinary. One of the things I love most about modeling is the ability to indulge in constant observation of human idiosyncrasies.
I hear about the politics of different art associations, updates on exhibitions in and around southern Maine, squirrel extermination anecdotes and information on the new Blondie album. I get a spectacular variety of opinions about music, art and a healthy dose of liberal politics. I had the chance to hear one woman describe her experience giving a Ted Talk on raising a transgender child (I can't find the video online, but when I do I will link it, because I heard it was amazing). I've learned to value the artistic community of the area not just for what they produce but for the time and effort they invest in the things that are important to them, from shows to gun protests.
I also highly value my exposure to lessons about the artistic process. Artists talk about what mediums fit them best, and I've seen artists who struggle with watercolor fill a brush with acrylic and instantly create something spectacular. I've learned everything I know about color during painting classes, and am constantly reminded of drawing best practices. Pamela DuLong Williams constantly reminds her students to "draw every day," describing her time sketching on napkins at McDonalds as a young mother, and I've begun to choose seats in coffee shops based on the view.
With Sarah's stubborn encouragement I've begun to actually practice the knowledge I'm gaining. I've found myself in a process of artistic development, but my access point the art world is very different from many. I find it suits my needs; I love my position as a dispassionate observer. I'm rarely expected to give my opinions, occasionally encouraged not to repeat what I've heard, in the off chance someone remembers that I can hear it. My relegation to a strictly observational role allows me to process and form developed opinions on what I hear. Depending on their appropriateness I can then provide a thought-out assessment of my perspective in this form (provided I have time to post, which has been a challenge lately). I get to pick and choose what advice to take without any pressure, because the advice was never given to me. It makes for a slow and self-driven formation of artistic tendencies. Since I'm in no hurry the experimentation I'm doing with different styles and mediums is more of an end than a means, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the journey.
Side note: This is the reason I've been bad at posting lately, if you're coming up to Portland check it for fun things to do!