A Model’s Many Faces

Much is made about creating a “likeness” of the model. I hear it all the time while posing for classes; instructors correcting students’ work to better resemble the model’s features such as the length of the nose, the depth of the eye sockets, etc. And I certainly understand all that. I would say, though, that students need not feel dismayed when they don’t perfectly replicate the model’s appearance if they succeed in capturing something else in her – her character, her spirit, her demeanor, her movement, her energy. All those intangible qualities which define true LIFE drawing. The model is, after all, more than a collection of bones and muscles. The model is an individual with personality and presence.

Many times I have seen a finished painting or drawing of me and thought that while it is not a flawless “copy” of me, it nonetheless “looks” like me, in some way. And I appreciate that very much, maybe even more than a carbon copy. It sounds like a cliche, but when the model’s essence is there, the artist has done well.

This charming charcoal sketch was done during a private drawing session at the home of reknowned art critic Leo Steinberg. I see myself in it. Ro, the artist, really captured my mood and countenance at that moment. Thanks for the picture, Ro!


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