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 ;-)

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Raphael and the Body Electric

A few days ago I received an email from Sedef Piker, an art history and travel blogger, in which she generously invited me to take part in an online tribute the life and work of  Hasan Niyazi - a fellow art historian and blogger who left us far, far too soon. The “Day for Hasan” would coincide with the birthday of Raphael and consist of original blog postings written for the occasion. Honored that I was even asked to participate, I contemplated what my contribution should be and decided that I would respectfully leave the art historical discourses to the experts and the intimate recollections to those of course who knew Hasan personally. What I can offer instead is the point of view of an artist’s model toward the Renaissance master who so inspired Hasan’s passion.

My world is infused with figure drawing. Yes I have sat for countless portraits and oil paintings. But my years as a professional artist’s model have made clear one incontrovertible truth about the creation of art: drawing is the most vital and essential skill an artist can master. For it is from drawing the human form that all timeless art flows. Raphael’s magnificent paintings and frescoes exist because he was, above all else, a gifted master draftsman. Easily one of the best who ever lived. And when the rules of propriety constrained artists of Raphael’s day from working from nude female models – a taboo practice -Raphael did it anyway. Gotta love him for that.

Day in and day out, I see artists drawing my body, in chalk and charcoal, pen and graphite and conte crayon. Some do it with difficulty, others with facility, aspiring to capture the gestures, lines, volume, movement, and humanity of their life subject. If I could jump in a time machine and travel back to Rome in 1508, I’d bang on Raphael’s studio door and beg to pose for him. And based on accounts of Raphael’s irresistible charms I’d bring a bottle of red wine too ;-)

Hasan regularly expressed his admiration for my work as an artist’s model. He also enjoyed my blogging content which often includes art images with poetry. So for my friend Hasan who I miss very much on 3PipeProblem, Twitter, and warm, joyful notes in my email inbox, here are some Raphael drawings accompanied by excerpts from Walt Whitman’s “I Sing The Body Electric”, for a Museworthy virtual life drawing session:

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?

Raphael-KneelingWoman

The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.

The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not           ….hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.

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The sprawl and fulness of babes, the bosoms and heads of women, the folds of their
….dress, their style as we pass in the street, the contour of their shape downwards,
The swimmer naked in the swimming-bath, seen as he swims through the transparent ….green-shine, or lies with his face up and rolls silently to and fro in the heave of the water,

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The bending forward and backward of rowers in row-boats, the horseman in his
….saddle,
Girls, mothers, house-keepers, in all their performances,
The group of laborers seated at noon-time with their open dinner-kettles, and their
….wives waiting,
The female soothing a child, the farmer’s daughter in the garden or cow-yard,
The young fellow hoeing corn, the sleigh-driver driving his six horses through the
….crowd,
The wrestle of wrestlers, two apprentice-boys, quite grown, lusty, good-natured,
….native-born, out on the vacant lot at sun-down after work,
The coats and caps thrown down, the embrace of love and resistance,
The upper-hold and under-hold, the hair rumpled over and blinding the eyes;
The march of firemen in their own costumes, the play of masculine muscle through ….clean-setting trowsers and waist-straps,

Raphael_-_Young_Man_Carrying_an_Old_Man_on_His_Back,_c._1514_-_Google_Art_Project

The slow return from the fire, the pause when the bell strikes suddenly again, and the
….listening on the alert,
The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck and the counting;
Such-like I love—I loosen myself, pass freely, am at the mother’s breast with the little child,
Swim with the swimmers, wrestle with wrestlers, march in line with the firemen, and
….pause, listen, count.

Sanzio_-_Study_for_Two_Female_Figures;_Hebe_and_Proserpine

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in
….the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well.

Homestead

Did I lock the deadbolt? I think I did. I’m pretty sure I did. It’s 1:00 AM but I should get out of bed and check it just to be sure. And while I’m up I might as well check all the windows one more time, even though I checked them before I went to bed. I pushed the levers as far as I could push them but I should push them again with all my strength. Better safe than sorry, right? And I might as well look out the window and check the street one more time and make sure there are no suspicious cars in the neighborhood. All rightfully belong: Stacy’s Passat, Mary’s Honda CRV, Mike’s truck, Tony’s jeep. OK. Back to bed. But wait … what about that ill-fitting basement window that doesn’t always close completely? Better check it. Out of bed again, down the stairs, into the corner next to to the water heater. Checked. Secure. Back upstairs to bed. Go to sleep. I have modeling in the morning. But what is that tapping sound? thump … thump … thump … those are the heat pipes, and I know that full well because I’ve lived with those noises for 15 years. It’s the steam, not a prowler. NOT A PROWLER. Chill, girl, chill. It’s the pipes and you know it. Don’t freak out.

This is my house. MY HOUSE goddammit. Not the burglar’s house. Not the police’s house. MY house. My home. I have to stop this compulsive behavior. It would be so nice to have a big strong man here with me, but I don’t :-(

So this sucks, living this way in the wake of the burglary. My alarm system better arrive soon because I’m a ball of knots. I actually did a Google search for shotguns <–that’s how paranoid I’ve become. I’m an inch away from becoming a crazy lady in a bathrobe running out her front door yelling, “get off my property, punk, or you’ll be in a world of pain!”. And that’s so NOT who I am, good grief. But I will continue the mantra in my head: this is MY HOUSE. My sanctuary. My place of peace and privacy. I beg you, Queens burglars, leave me alone. You hit me once. No need to hit me again.

Moonlight Interior by Edward Hopper:

Hopper-moonlight-interior

I’m sorry, readers. I’m so sorry. I’m just unhappy and scared and lonely. I need a vacation … or just a day or two to feel carefree, or pampered, or, at this point, just a solid good night’s sleep.

I’ll be back in the next post in better spirits … I promise :-)

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:

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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:

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The 2013 Museworthy Art Show

“Creativity takes courage”
Henri Matisse

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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

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Todd Fife

pencil on paper

Bowling Green, Kentucky

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David Rockwell

oil and acrylic on canvas

New York City

Claudia Painting Phase 4 102913

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William MacDonald

graphite

Quincy, Massachusetts

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Colin Buckett

pencil and oil pastel

Ottawa, Canada

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Elaine Hajian

pastel on paper

New York City

MomPastel

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Mark Wummer

pencil and watercolor on paper

Southeastern Pennsylvania

Museworthy

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Bruce Williams

relief, plasticine clay

New York City

Claudia_Relief

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Grier Horner

Apple Aperture

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Museworthy, bright

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Rob Carroll

charcoal on paper

Swindon, UK

Claudia --- November '13

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Derek James Tewey

oil, acrylic, mixed media

Brisbane, Australia

Claudia -Body and Soul

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Christopher Hickey

linocut

Atlanta, Georgia

Muse-Linocut

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Fred Hatt

aquarelle crayon on paper

Brooklyn, NY

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Dave Moran

pencil on paper

Ann Arbor, Michigan

image

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 Peter Howard

acrylic on board

Surrey, England

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Richard Rothman

Sketchbook Mobile

Rising Fawn, Georgia

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Daniel Maidman

oil on canvas

Brooklyn, NY

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Ed Ettlin

pencil, crayon, watercolor, white ink on brown paper

Lucerne, Switzerland

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Claudia Hajian

paper collage, mixed media, ink stamp

New York City

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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.

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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 :-)

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

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 :-)


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:

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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.

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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!

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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:

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Museworthy Art Show Redux

With all due respect to the other bloggers out there, this blog – sweet ol’ Museworthy – has the best readers. THE BEST. That’s a fact, Jack! ;-) It’s been too long since I acknowledged this, but you guys really and truly keep me going in the blogosphere. I owe you all a debt of gratitude, and I try to demonstrate it every week, with every post, with every word typed and every image uploaded. Each time I hit the “publish” button on a post draft I hope, in my heart, that you all take even a little something from my humble offering. In return, I receive much from my readers; smiles, laughs, thought-provoking insights, intelligent comments and conversation, emails, useful links, and even personal support during my moody, unraveled episodes. What did I do to deserve such a cool gang of followers? I’m so very grateful.

I’m sure many of you remember the Museworthy Art Show from 2011. It was a great success if you recall. I definitely enjoyed it! Since then I’ve been made aware of interest in a second Museworthy Art Show, something I should have done last fall. A reader emailed me recently with a splendid idea for another Art Show, but with an interesting twist. Todd Fife, a Museworthy reader from the great state of Kentucky, suggested that this time readers submit their artwork based on a life modeling photograph of me, the muse and blogarista! For a reference photo we would choose from two, maybe three, of the professional photos of me which have appeared on the blog over the years. Just a reminder; all the nude pictures of me which have been published on Museworthy since its inception have been taken by the only person who ever photographs me, and that is my dear friend Fred Hatt. So what do we think of this idea? My livelihood is devoted to serving as model for artists in studios and schools, so why not for my blog readers? If everyone likes this concept then I will figure out the specifics and set a submission date. Please share your thoughts in the comments! And like last time, I too will submit a piece, because one need not be an “artist” to participate in a Museworthy Art Show. All are welcome to take part!

This is me doing the chair thing, photographed by Fred Hatt:

Picture 3

By the way, since I was just singing the praises of my readers and their feedback, I’m wondering why no one has said a word about the new blog theme background. Does it totally suck? :lol: My mother doesn’t like it! I suspect it’s too girlie and silly. But “customization” can drive you absolutely mad. I was up until four in the morning testing different backgrounds. If pink circles and swirls aren’t working for you guys then I may have to experiment again and choose something else. Stay tuned!

Summer Shortfall

Slowest. Summer. Ever. Those three words just about sum up my modeling schedule for the next two months. Yes, summers are typically slow, but this year is easily the slowest ever in my experience. Such is the nature of freelance work that is seasonal in nature, and I’ve touched on this topic in previous posts. Some summer classes don’t get enough enrollment which leads to cancellations. And small private groups often suspend for the summer. So here I am; a model without a platform, a muse without a studio, a blogger without material. Cue the violins. Waaah! :cry:

Model in the studio, 1900, by photographer Heinrich Zille:

HeinrichZille1900

Just kidding about the violins, of course. Don’t cry for me Argentina and hold the Kleenex. I shall make the best of it. Besides, this situation is partially my own fault. A few weeks ago, when the time was ripe to reach out and pursue summer bookings (which requires more initiative than during the regular school year) I was distracted with personal problems. So I kind of dropped the ball.

But I do have some work written in my calendar. I also have a few books on my summer reading list, volunteer opportunities at the local children’s hospital, the summer festival of Sacred Music at St. Bart’s, and museum exhibits I”m dying to see, namely Edward Hopper drawings at the Whitney Museum. As long as the restless need to model doesn’t make me completely cuckoo, it should be an interesting and fulfilling summer of discovery, leisure and, well, sunbathing :-) And should my phone ring out of the blue with an offering for a modeling gig, I’ll take it!

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Navel-gazing

For the past couple of days I’ve resisted writing a blog post about the latest stunt at the Museum of Modern Art. The “performance piece” can be summed up thusly; Tilda Swinton sleeping in a box. You all know the actress Tilda Swinton? Well it’s her. Clothed. Sleeping in a box. At this point I should mention that the admission fee for MoMA is $25. The title of this piece is “The Maybe”, as in “maybe I can find something better to do with my time and money”.

If you’re curious to see images of Tilda sleeping in the box please click on the above link, or check out the ample coverage of this “event” in a Google News search, because I really don’t want to post them here on sweet old Museworthy. After all, this is an ART blog. <— burn!

So without embarking on a rant-like objection to this kind of gimmickry into which the contemporary art scene has sunk, or going into a lengthy jeremiad about the cynicism and soullessness that has crept into the art world in general, I’ll just say that Tilda’s shtick bothers people if only because it embodies the worst kind of navel-gazing. Since it’s Tilda’s piece, she could have hired a model or any other interesting individual to take a nap in a box. But she decided to do it herself, which makes it very difficult to dispute the sheer self-regard that seems to lie at the root of this piece. And extreme self-regard, to me, is just an inherently boring and off-putting quality. That’s all I’m saying. Tilda can certainly do whatever she wants, and no one is being forced to attend her “performance”.

I may be a professional artist’s model but it’s doubtful anyone would pay to see me sleep in a box, although they have seen me sleep on the modeling platform at Spring Studio. Just a couple of times ;-) And I too engage in a lot of navel-gazing in my work, but in the literal sense. So allow me to share the art model’s version of navel-gazing, brought to us by two of my favorite artists who also happen to be very dear friends.

My torso by Daniel Maidman:

2012-07-30 Claudia 004

Me reclining, by Fred Hatt:

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Bones, Flesh, and Harmony

Those who participate in typical life drawing classes do not generally obsess about things like the latissimus dorsi (back muscle) or the anterior superior spine (bone in the pelvis). Artistic anatomy classes, which are required in most graduate art programs, involve intensive, meticulous study of the musculature and skeletal structure of the human body. The MFA students at the New York Academy of Art are fortunate to have a superb instructor like Robert Armetta, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with for some time now.

Posing for anatomy is a different experience for the model as well. While students make good use of classroom skeletons and écorché casts for bone and muscle observation, the model is there to exhibit, and sometimes actively demonstrate, those same bones, muscles, and connectors as they appear in a living, breathing life subject. We’re often asked by instructors to flex, twist, rotate, or create resistance so as to emphasize a particular muscle or bony landmark. For the long pose, students will draw on their paper the model as skeleton alongside the full figure. Teachers and students alike benefit greatly when their anatomy model is a seasoned professional, one who is comfortable being pointed at at close range, and who doesn’t cringe when the term “fatty tissue” is uttered during a demo. Fatty tissue???? NOOOOOO!!!!! Just kidding :lol:

Here I am in Robert’s class posing alongside my anatomy buddies - écorché cast on the far left for muscles, skeleton (who lost his head!) in the middle for bones, and the sum total of it all, yours truly, with bones, muscles, skin, a messy hair bun, the whole shebang:

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It was a marvelous experience posing for this class of first year students at the Academy. The focus and dedication they displayed was impressive, and I was honored to be their model over the past several weeks. They’re well on their way. Keep up the good work guys!

Lovely drawing from the class by Chusit Wijarnjoragij:

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Glory to the Figure

In case I wasn’t clear enough in my previous post about preferring figure modeling to portrait modeling, I have some images that might express it more effectively than any words. I had written about the frustration I sometimes feel when I’m confined to sitting in a chair, clothed, when my natural impulse is to pose with my entire body and demonstrate a wider range of movement. From shoulders to hips, from head to feet, from arms to legs, the human figure is ready, willing, and able to show off its “intelligent design”. We can twist and turn, rotate and swivel, extend and contract, balance and shift our weight around, and put on a glorious show that merges both our physicality and our humanity. Muscles allow us to move, bones hold us together, and the whole sublime package provides a timeless source of inspiration to artists throughout history.

Mark Tennant is one of those artists. Recently, I had the great pleasure of posing for him privately. Mark has drawn me many times at Spring Studio, and I have modeled for his class at the New York Academy of Art. Our private collaboration was a marvelous extension of our professional relationship. Mark was kind enough to send along these images of our session together. You can follow Mark’s progress on these and his other works on his Facebook page. Long live the figure!

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