Model to the Grindstone

Helloooooo!! Greetings friends. I trust you’ve all filed your taxes, completed spring cleaning, and renewed your car inspections since I lasted posted? Because I’ve done all of it! :lol:

Ok, I lied. I haven’t done any of those things. But they’re all in progress. I have a valid excuse for procrastinating, though, which is that I’ve been studio-bound working my heinie off at art modeling. Because it’s what I do. And I am a dreadful time-budgeter. The worst. Also, I had a a brief rant on Twitter the other day in which I vented some frustrations, but it’s passed now thank god. Behold the bitchfest here and here. My fellow art model Andrew heard my grievances loud and clear. Thanks friend.

For some visual proof of my daily grind, this is me posing on Long Island’s north shore. From the expression on my face it looks like I retained some residual “don’t mess with me, I’m a professional model” attitude from last week. Well, it had been a long day and Rob Silverman took this reference photo at the end of the session. It was very nice of him to send me the pic. Rob and I have known each other for years. He’s an excellent teacher. This was the agreed upon pose set-up for painting. They wanted nude with fabric and they got it. Throw in light, shadow, and color, and you’ve got the essentials of studio art. Satin, baby ;-)

IMGP5727_cl

Face Forward

Friends, I am feeling much, much better since the burglary I’m happy to report. All of you who assured me that my sense of security would return in due time? You were right. I wouldn’t say that I’m at 100% – or ever will be – but I’m currently at a good 75%. And I’ll take it! The jittery nerves, the thick knot of anxiety in my chest, the fear and vulnerability and sleepless nights have diminished significantly. So thanks again to all of you for your support and comfort, expressed through blog comments and emails. I really appreciate it :-)

This is a pencil drawing of me by Irene Vitale, which is lovely for its simplicity and loose lines.  Between the burglary (during which she was a great support) and two snowstorm cancellations of scheduled art classes, Irene and I have had a crazy couple of months! Finally, we made it to the Art League of Long Island for class, on a snow-free day, where she taught, I modeled, and all was well.

IMG_6188

Sloshing in the City

Who doesn’t enjoy a nice filthy slush puddle now and then? We New Yorkers are just loving it! It’s still only early February and I think it’s fair to say that this winter has been kicking our asses. But I try to look for the positives in most situations. They can be seen if we pay attention. One is the helpful, “looking out for each other” spirit that many people adopt during adversity. Someone slips and falls and folks are there right away to assist. An unspoken bond can be felt among city dwellers that we’re all in this together and once it’s over we can meet up on the Great Lawn in Central Park, bask in the  warmth of springtime and toss frisbees. In the meantime, let’s give each other a hand through this hardship. We can bitch about salt shortages and snow plows, or we can just buck up and deal with it as best we can.

Other positives include ice-encased tree branches and twigs and icicle formations, which are classically beautiful cold weather images. Also, the upper east side poodles and pomeranians in their little coats provide reasons to smile. Perhaps the most significant positive of winter in New York City is the indefatigable drive to keep everyday life going, business as usual … getting there, it’s all about getting there, slush puddles notwithstanding. Like the authentic New York City place that it is, Spring Studio keeps on going and doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase “snow day”. Instead, every day is a “drawing day”. And through the slippery subway platforms, overhead drippings, and transit delays, the faithful model shows up at the studio. She’s wet, cold, and disheveled, but she shows up :-)

Created at Spring Studio on Monday night, a drawing of me by Robert Sebastiano:

IMG_6178

A Maestro’s Requiem

If there was ever a Monday that needed to be salvaged with some music, today is the one. I feel totally exhausted from a long day of modeling at the National Academy, which was then compounded by an aggravating evening commute home. Tomorrow I get to do it all over again. So as I rest my weary body, tired feet, and get some red wine into me, I’m more than happy to post the first Music Monday of 2014.

Last week,  the classical music world lost a giant. Claudio Abbado, legendary conductor of La Scala, died at his home in Bologna, Italy at the age of 80. Coincidentally, today also happens to be Mozart’s birthday, so our video is of Abbado conducting Mozart’s “Requiem” with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Bavarian and Swedish Radio Choirs. It’s one of the finest renditions I’ve heard. Check out the link above for the maestro’s obituary in the NY Times. His achievements in music are tremendous. And I would add that another great thing  about the man is that his name was Claudio, because we all know that variations of the name “Claud” belong to the coolest people :cool:

Until next time, friends … your tired muse, Claudia.

Acknowledgment

The last few days have seen my 2014 planner become officially christened. It’s now broken in with my goofy scribblings, underlines, notes, cross-outs, times, names, all the personal hieroglyphics that make my mess of book my own hideous creation. “Port” means “portrait”, “anat” means “anatomy”, and why I won’t make the effort to finish off those words with just a few more letters I have no idea. Maybe I was a stenographer in a previous life. There are also a few racy doodles in the margins but we won’t get into that :lol:

Anyway, I’ve been joyfully fielding phone calls and emails bearing work for the spring semester. (“Spring” semester … doesn’t that sound nice in the midst of this winter cold blast? Ah yes.) And as I’m on the verge of starting the new sessions full blast, I am inspired to acknowledge the model coordinators and bookers who keep me working regularly thanks to their conscientiousness and professionalism. They call, they return calls, they honor both teachers’ requests and models’ availability, they straighten out mix-ups, give referrals, and do what they have to do to keep everyone happy. Our business functions best when model coordinators are on the ball. Last semester I was fortunate to have abundant work and wonderfully positive experiences thanks to the good work of those who book models here in NYC: Katie at the New York Academy of Art, Mark at FIT, Sergio at the National Academy, Minerva and Jordan at Spring Studio, Marilyn at the National Art League, Robert at the Long Island Academy of Fine Art, Randall at Figureworks Gallery, and all the individual artists who contact me for private sessions and groups. I work steadily because of these folks. To all of them, a heartfelt and sincere thank you. I’m ready to drop my robe, so let the spring term begin!

The Artist’s Studio, Jose Malhoa, 1894:

Malhoa-the-artist-s-studio-1894

The 2013 Museworthy Art Show

“Creativity takes courage”
Henri Matisse

.

In early October I invited the readers of this blog to participate in a second art show. Our first one took place in 2011. This year, artists were asked to create an original work based on one of four modeling photos of me taken by Fred Hatt. For six years I have been known as “the muse of Museworthy”. With this special blog event, that moniker which I hold dear takes on a truer meaning than ever before. One muse, eighteen artist submissions (myself among them) and a marvelous diversity of styles and interpretations. I want to express my sincere thanks to all those who contributed. It is truly my honor to serve as blogger and muse. From my heart to yours, enjoy this celebration of online community, creative expression, and joyful participation.

Claudia  xoxo

.

Todd Fife

pencil on paper

Bowling Green, Kentucky

claudia1B

.

David Rockwell

oil and acrylic on canvas

New York City

Claudia Painting Phase 4 102913

 .

William MacDonald

graphite

Quincy, Massachusetts

IMG_0081-001

.

Colin Buckett

pencil and oil pastel

Ottawa, Canada

DSC05043comp

.

Elaine Hajian

pastel on paper

New York City

MomPastel

.

Mark Wummer

pencil and watercolor on paper

Southeastern Pennsylvania

Museworthy

.

Bruce Williams

relief, plasticine clay

New York City

Claudia_Relief

.

Grier Horner

Apple Aperture

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Museworthy, bright

.

Rob Carroll

charcoal on paper

Swindon, UK

Claudia --- November '13

.

Derek James Tewey

oil, acrylic, mixed media

Brisbane, Australia

Claudia -Body and Soul

.

Christopher Hickey

linocut

Atlanta, Georgia

Muse-Linocut

.

Fred Hatt

aquarelle crayon on paper

Brooklyn, NY

fredhatt-claudia-for-museworthy-art-show-2013

.

Dave Moran

pencil on paper

Ann Arbor, Michigan

image

.

 Peter Howard

acrylic on board

Surrey, England

claudia painting

.

Richard Rothman

Sketchbook Mobile

Rising Fawn, Georgia

Sketch76111232

.

Daniel Maidman

oil on canvas

Brooklyn, NY

MAIDMAN_Study-of-Claudia_24x18 large

.

Ed Ettlin

pencil, crayon, watercolor, white ink on brown paper

Lucerne, Switzerland

reclined_ed

.

Claudia Hajian

paper collage, mixed media, ink stamp

New York City

IMG_5960

Walk to the Rock

The expression “walk if off” has special meaning for art models. Most of us will tell you that the best and quickest way to recover from pose discomfort is not stretching or resting, but walking. To bring back circulation, alleviate muscle strain, and combat fatigue, nothing beats plain old walking. Today, after a morning modeling job at the Century Club, a private, exclusive club in midtown Manhattan, I needed a good walk to get my sore hip flexor back to normal. With the rest of the day off, I had plenty of time to take a leisurely stroll a few blocks north, cold weather be dammed. Bundled up in my scarf, hat, warm winter coat, with my modeling bag slung over my shoulder, the walk was – this avowed “summer person” admits – quite invigorating in both body and spirit.

After a stop for a delicious hot herbal tea, I made my way to Rockefeller Center, the polestar of NYC tourist attractions during the Christmas season. I took a few pictures to share. Here’s the big Rock Center tree with silver flags blowing in front:

IMG_5900

The golden Prometheus watches over the ice skaters:

IMG_5905

Toy soldier blowing his horn:

IMG_5906

Angels on the promenade:

IMG_5919

IMG_5928

I leave you all with these scenes of my twinkling, shimmering, frosty and festive holiday city. Meet you right back here on Sunday for the Museworthy Art Show :-)

Sketches, Update, and a Workshop

Greetings friends! Here at home on this Friday day off and I’m doing model preparation for a weekend-long portrait workshop taught by the esteemed Max Ginsburg. What is involved in preparing for a portrait workshop you ask? Not much really except for an exfoliating facial treatment and hair-trimming, all self-imposed I might add. I’ve got my scrub and scissors ready! Must look lovely for Max :-)

Now just a reminder that the deadline for Museworthy Art Show submissions – December 8th – is rapidly approaching. A few have sent their pieces already, but I know many of you are still in the planning/creating stage and have yet to submit. That’s fine of course. I trashed the first one I did and am starting anew. I’d also like to assure any readers out there who may still be ambivalent about participating that your contribution is absolutely, positively welcome! Please know that. This is an event for all of us to enjoy. So if you’re still hesitant for any reason, view the image choices again and go for it! I am your humble model at your service.

I’ll leave you all with some quick warm-up sketches of me created by the photographer behind those splendid Art Show selections, my good friend Fred Hatt. From a session at Figureworks Gallery, Fred does what he always does so well, which is capture in just a few loose lines the movement of my crouches, contortions, stretches, and twists – all the spontaneous gestures we models strike when we have to change poses on the minute.

fredhatt-2013-03-16-claudia-e-1

fredhatt-2013-03-16-claudia-aR-2

fredhatt-2013-03-16-claudia-bL-1

fredhatt-2013-03-16-claudia-gL-1

Midweek Mood Share

Well hello dah-lings! Shall I say Happy Hump Day? :lol: Autumn, and the “fall back” time change is upon us. Shorter days, cooler temperatures, leaves on the ground crunching under our feet, birds feasting on berries. Except for the shorter days part I usually enjoy this seasonal transition. Not so much this time around, as memories have come back to taunt me. Me and the man I loved would have been together over a year this month, that is if he hadn’t completely given up on us. Plans went unfulfilled, promises were not kept, and communication broke down. Even though we split up almost six months ago, a fresh wave of sadness and loneliness has come over me lately, and a surge of vivid reminiscences and special moments from the past have invaded my thoughts. And with those thoughts comes heartache. Just when it seemed like I had finally broken through to the healthy, confident “I’m over it” stage. Guess I’m not fully over it after all. Feelings of hurt and abandonment are hard to shake. Well, for me they are :-(

But sources of precious salvation are available to me, thank God. They are alive and well in the old reliables in my life; the people who love and care about me, and art. Modeling has been going great, which is awesome. And Mom and I are taking a little mother-daughter drive down to Brandywine, Pennsylvania on Friday. Both of us have wanted to visit the museum and take a tour of Andrew Wyeth’s studio. We finally found an opening in our schedules to go. After a hectic couple of months of working it will feel so nice to get out the city, if only for a brief time. I’m bringing my camera and will hopefully take some good pictures.

Before I leave you all, here’s a great example of the lifeline that art modeling provides during these periods when I hit roadblocks. A painting of me by the fabulous Mark Tennant. His other works of me appeared in this Museworthy post from February. I love this. Thank you, Mark :-)

485998_384411744989485_47804176_n-1

Be well, friends. I’ll see you when I get back from Brandywine. Hopefully I will have shaken off this moody muck by then.

Let’s Have An Art Show!

Here we go friends! I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the submission details for the Museworthy Art Show. After careful consideration I’ve finally decided on the image choices and the dates. Unlike the last Art Show, this year folks will create a brand new work for submission rather than sending a piece already made. Thus I’ve allowed for a little more time. Heck I need time to create mine! My modeling schedule is solidly full for October and much of November. So here are the specifics: The Art Show itself will be published on the blog on Sunday December 15th. It will remain as the top post for well over a week until Christmas, that way we can enjoy it for many days and I can have a little blogging break for the holidays. Submissions should be sent no later than December 8th if that’s okay with everyone.

I have set up a separate page of the image choices of yours truly, your faithful muse: three figure options and a portrait, plus a few words if anyone would like to do the calligram method as suggested by a reader. You can also find the page in the left sidebar under “Pages” for easy access. After you’ve selected and downloaded your image feel free to do with it what you will in your own applications – make light or color adjustments, etc. Whatever helps you create your piece. All media are acceptable! Paint, pencil, pen, watercolor, charcoal, mixed media, pastel, marker, crayon, you name it. And of course, all skill levels are welcome, in fact encouraged! This is an inspired joyous Museworthy celebration, not a contest :-)

Email your works to me at claudielh@aol.com. Make sure you put “Museworthy Art” in the subject line, and include your full name, location, medium, and link to your website/blog if you have one. If you have any questions or issues please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know. I want everyone to be satisfied. What’s most important is that we all have fun!

Happy 6th Birthday Museworthy!!

Babe Ruth’s years with the Red Sox. The Sound of Music‘s run on Broadway. Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. The time Michelangelo spent completing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My marriage. Those are just some of the things Museworthy has outlasted. Not bad, eh?

Friends, artists, fellow models and bloggers, and readers all around the globe, I’ve said it before on these birthday posts and I will gladly say it again; this blog is written by me but sustained by you. Always has been, always will be. I often wonder if my work as an artist’s model and my attendant experiences, ideas, discoveries, and exploits would hold the same sense of purpose without the existence of Museworthy. The answer is decidedly no. If I didn’t have Museworthy as an outlet for discussion and interaction, I’m fairly certain that my life would feel smaller and less meaningful. A 40-something model from New York City blogs every week about art, music, life in the city, various thoughts and expressions, and you good folks come by on a regular basis to read them, absorb them, contribute to them, offer kindness, and occasionally set me straight. What did I ever do to deserve such a fabulous crew of readers? A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you :-)

Our annual tradition brings us once again a photo by my dear friend Fred Hatt, one of the best people I know. Back lighting, soft rumpled fabric, me in a relaxed, mellow state after a tumultuous several months on the personal front. So here we are . .  after six years.

Picture 6

With the exception of Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan, the Museworthy birthday music has been contributed by British men. We’ll keep that going this year with the Rolling Stones. From my favorite album of theirs, Exile on Main Street, this is “Happy”. With much love from a grateful blogger, enjoy . . . and rock and roll :-)


Sunday Miscellany

Helloooooo everyone!  I hope this blog post finds you all well. Sorry for disappearing since Tuesday. The week got a little busy. The main event was my Mom returning from her trip to France, and what a thoroughly marvelous time she had with the ladies! When my brother and I caught the first glimpse of her pulling her suitcase through the Air France arrival terminal, gleefully waving her hand at us and so beautiful in a white blouse and silver hoop earrings, it was obvious that the trip had done her a world of good. Mom was positively glowing. It’s great to have her back. So between Provence and Paris, what was the standout experience according to Mom? The Musee d’Orsay hands down. Just the Degas works in the collection were alone enough to enamor Mom with the museum, which is truly one of the best in the world. I haven’t been there in 20 years, but I remember well what an art lovers heaven the place is.

Mom also came home bearing gifts for loved ones and friends. She honored my request which was “any perfume from Guerlain, Chloe, or Chanel”, as I am a hopeless fragrance junkie. So she brought me a exquisite perfume from Guerlain. Yay Mom!

My brother and I went to see – or I should say hear – the “Soundings” exhibit at MoMA. Really fascinating. Installation art at it’s best in my opinion. It didn’t hurt that I was accompanied by a composer. Chris’ keen understanding of recording music and the nature of sound made the experience all the more illuminating for me.

In about two weeks time, I will post the images and particulars for the Museworthy Art Show. I’m thinking that the show itself will take place sometime in December, that way we all have plenty of time to create our works. Readers will have a choice of poses – a reclining, a sitting, a standing, and possibly a portrait. Stay tuned!

My beloved Mets are wrapping up a less-than-spectacular season. The team gave us some good moments but overall they sucked. The playoffs however should be exciting, as baseball playoffs usually are. How does a Pirates vs Red Sox World Series sound?

Lastly, I want to share some terribly sad news about a dear member of the Spring Studio community. Julia Foote, a wonderful artist and warm, lovely person, died on August 23rd in a car accident in Ephraim, Wisconsin. Julia taught a Wednesday morning class on the Nicolaides life drawing method. The news of her death was shocking and tragic to all of us who knew her. The one and only time I ever overslept and failed to show up for a modeling assignment was for Julia’s class. It was years ago, and I remember feeling completely mortified. Of course, Julia was not angry and assured me that it happens to everyone at least once. Since that awful screwup, I posed many times for Julia’s drawing sessions which were distinctly hers in spirit and style. For us models she was a absolute pleasure to work with. My oversleeping incident became a running joke between us, and we shared many a good-natured laugh about the whole thing. I will miss Julia very much. Rest in peace, friend.

It’s getting late, and I’m very much in need of a good night’s sleep. Some art until next time, this is Muse on Pegasus by Odilon Redon, 1900:

Redon-muse-on-pegasus

The Return

Aaannnnd . . . we’re back! It’s official. The fall 2013 school years have begun. Yay! Studios are open for business, students are ready to create, models are ready to pose, and instructors are ready to impart their brilliance and expertise ;-)

It felt great to walk into the New York Academy of Art for my first modeling booking there of the new term, John Jacobsmeyer’s printmaking class. The class created ink sketches of my nude figure which they would later make into prints. I’d love to see how they turned out. I may have to find those students and ask if I could take a gander at the final results, as I’m a huge printmaking fan.

Few institutions undergo a transformation as dramatic from first week to end of the year quite like art schools. Summer cleanups are very thorough. New coats of paint brighten things up, supplies are stored neatly away, and everything is scrubbed spotless. When classes begin, the immaculate surroundings transform into smudges, splatters, and spills. Ink, clay, and oil paint start to appear on chairs, stools, and the floor, stacks of rolled up papers and unfinished canvases occupy every corner, fabrics are strewn about, and unidentified sharp objects stick out from various spots. So to models and students alike I say enjoy the tidiness while it lasts, which is about a week!

The New York Academy’s printmaking room, a great space, on day three of the new semester. Not yet sullied from the dirty work of making prints.

IMG_5731

Actually, the Academy is one of the least disorderly art schools I’ve seen. It’s a spacious facility with a conscientious staff and student body. The atmosphere is terrific. Great vibes. The Art Students League, on the other hand, is a cluttered mess . At least it was when I worked there years ago.

Did I mention how good it feels to be back at steady work? Yes, I believe I did. Off we go!

IMG_5733

Stand Up Guys

In academic art settings, models are often asked to do standing poses. Why? Because standing poses are considered “classical” and are well-suited to traditional study. While both male and female models are asked to do standing poses in such environments, the dreaded task of long pose standing seems to fall more heavily on male models. During art’s golden ages of the past, the academic male nude was the epitome of the idealized human form. Browse through galleries of  Renaissance art, Old Masters drawings, Greek and Roman sculpture, etc. and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Of course female models pose standing for academic work. I’ve done a ton of it. This one was memorable. But the standing male nude has been, and continues to be, the exemplar of formal life study. And my male counterparts answer the call with poise, resilience, and professionalism.

A wonderful back view of a strong, muscular model, Standing Male Nude by William Etty:

Etty-MaleNude

I hesitate to say that standing poses are “easier” for men, as I’m sure my model friends – male and female alike – would argue that there is nothing “easy” about a long, all-day standing pose. The discomfort we feel in those situations involves fatigue more than pain, although pain can be an issue as well. I’ve read that women’s muscles are actually slower to fatigue than men’s – that while men have more raw strength, women have greater endurance. I’m a tad skeptical of that, but perhaps it’s true. What I do know from my years of experience is that male models handle standing poses extremely well. If they feel discomfort they tend to keep it to themselves and soldier on. Also, let’s face basic facts about male vs female physiques. Men are stronger. They have stronger muscles and more muscle mass. That’s just the way it is. Testosterone, folks. Now we can quibble about the body varieties which exist among individuals of both genders. But broadly and generally speaking, these innate characteristics apply.

In life modeling, strength matters, especially for standing. Strong quads and hamstrings sure are helpful. Toss in some active gestures on top of the standing and you have quite a posing challenge. Let’s take a look at a few more examples of the fellas doing their thing.

It takes a great deal of physical strength – in the legs, torso, and back – to pull off a standing pose like the one in this drawing by Prud’hon. It’s a good example of the kind of thing asked more often of male models than female models:

Prud'hon-male-nude-grasping-his-wrists

A beautiful contrapposto pose that projects both strength and elegance, Male Torso by Ingres, year 1800. The pole is a common prop in in art studios and a favorite in academic settings. I consider it best utilized by male models. Personally I never use the pole unless I’m asked. I see it as a guy thing.

Ingres_studyofamalenude

The pole again, assisting this male model in creating a great action pose which enhances the musculature, twist, and movement of the figure. Standing Male Nude, 1898, by British artist Harold Knight:

(c) John Croft; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

All art models everywhere should bow down in respect to the guy posing in this work, Study of a Man by Theodore Gericault, 1812. What you see here is pure torture. Just looking at it is giving me muscle spasms!

Gericault-study-of-a-man

On this holiday weekend I hope my male model peers relax and sprawl out on chaise lounges, the beach, in jacuzzis and whatnot. You deserve it. The new art school semesters are upon us, and you know what that will bring. Get your standing legs ready boys ;-)

The Age of Bronze, Auguste Rodin:

Rodin