The Power of Gesture

I am still trying to figure out if I am simply a conscientious, dedicated art model who brings her work home with her, or just a narcissistic, 30-something female exhibitionist. Allow me to explain, dear readers.

Today is Sunday, and on Sundays I either take a cue from god and rest, or do housechores. I’ve decided to combine the two on this day. After hitting a impasse with the NY Times crossword puzzle (very frustrating this week!) and consuming a pot of ridiculously strong coffee, I decided to tackle the laundry/dusting/vacuuming trifecta. With the caffeine surging through my body I really had little choice. Needed to move around.

I lugged my vacuum cleaner upstairs to clean the carpet in my “yoga room”. In that room is a full-length mirror which comes in very handy when I want to check my alignment in warrior poses. While I was up there, I did some stretches. Then, while I was at it, I struck an art modeling pose I did last week, because I wanted to test it and see if it looked as good as I hoped. Then I did a couple more, and then began to invent new ones. I’ve been getting bored with my same old repertoire, and have this fear (irrational though it may be) that people will actually begin to notice that I’m repeating gesture poses. Does anyone really pay attention to this stuff? Or is it just me putting pressure on myself to always be creatively fresh when posing? Or (and this is the disturbing one) am I so consumed with vanity that I wil do gestures at home, in front of the mirror, on my day off, when no one is even watching???? Yikes. What’s wrong with me? Ok, don’t answer that.

The truth is that I, along with many other art models, really enjoy doing quick poses. Why? Well, they’re fun! It feels good to move around, bend, twist, stretch, reach, lean, raise your arms in the air and run your hands through your hair (wow, that rhymed!) Quick poses keep the art model warm in a cold studio. Quick poses also “warm up” the artists and get their drawing hands loose. Quick poses are entertaining to watch, unlike a long pose. And best of all, quick poses allow the model to express herself in a way a long pose does not. I love to look at artists’ pads and notebooks after we just completed 20 minutes of gestures. They are fabulous! It looks like a ballet, or a choreographed modern dance, or an emotional catharsis. And when you look at the entire grouping – a standing, a seated twist, a curled up, a walking lunge, a reaching, a dramatic intense backbend – you see the model telling a story. Her story. That day, at that moment, from the start of the timer button set for 20. The sketches have no detail, no facial features, no color. But they still depict, miraculously, the soul of the model. And that is really, really cool.

Fred Hatt was kind enough to send his gesture drawings of me from Figureworks Gallery last Saturday. We had a lot of fun that morning. Well, I know I did!

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One thought on “The Power of Gesture

  1. yes, Yes, YES!

    I hate to repeat gestures. I work hard at thinking about how my gestures and poses must look to the artists and try to make them interesting, complex, challenging or all three. I worry that I will run out of fresh ideas when I need to present a lot of gestures. I’ve done 15 30 second gestures and it was all consuming coming up with new ideas as I held each gesture. Talk about modeling being all consuming! With that kind of focus, the entire universe collapses to that small time and space within that studio. Everything else ceases to exist. Which is the greatest gift of all.

    Nothing is wrong with you. You are the consummate professional, diligently working to improve her trade craft. As should we all.

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