Oh, My Aching Back!

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing well. Where have I been, you might be wondering? Just working hard, as usual. Too hard, perhaps? It’s possible. I treated myself to a massage a couple of days ago, and I use the word “treat” lightly. This was not one of those spa, lit candles, meditative, aromatherapy oils, relaxation massages (those are great), but a real MASSAGE. Felt I needed one since I’ve been experiencing muscle aches in some parts of my body and wanted to get the kinks out. Yoga is great, of course, but sometimes you need hand manipulation to target specifc trouble spots.

So a massage therapist named Doug gave me a massage on Friday afternoon and damn, it hurt! He said my muscles were really tight and tense and desperately required loosening. I told him I’m a full time art model, and he wasn’t surprised. He said he has clients who are art models and we all have the “same issues”: hip flexors, tension in the pelvic area, and the dreaded lower back. I knew it! Those torso twists may look great, but they are killers. He kneaded away at me vigorously . . . ouch! . . . ooh! . . . aah! . . . ack! . . . whoa, wait! . . . what the hell?? . . . mother#&@%$*#&!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAARGH!! OUCH! I am in messed up shape. Knots and balls and weird hard spots everywhere . . . all this from posing???
My poor overworked spine . . . I weep for thee . . .

Then Doug said something that broke my heart. He said that there was a lot of tightness in my hamstring . . . my HAMSTRING!!! Which I stretch every day, religiously. How could that be? I stretch that thing during jobs, on my breaks! It’s been witnessed by many. They can vouch for me, I swear. Doug pointed out that my quad was tight too, and the muscle that runs down the side of the thigh. I tell you guys, his assessment just got worse and worse every minute. It was depressing :sob:

My body is my livelihood, and although my health and fitness regimen looks decent on paper, I suppose when one factors in the reality of my profession – 40 or 50 hours a week of often strenuous art modeling- it actually isn’t good enough. I think I need to better discipline myself, as far as putting aside sufficient time for exercise. By that I mean, doing more than a quick 20 minutes of half-assed yoga when I get home from work, and not wimping out of a good run in the park just because it’s “too cold”. It’s time for me to step up, and bring the quality of my workouts into proportion with my profession. It really never occurred to me until I was lying out on that table with Doug’s knuckles pushing down into my vertebrae. O -U-C-H!!

On a positive note, Doug the sadist (just kidding), did tell me that my body is “strong”. Whew! That’s a relief. I don’t always feel it, but I do hope it shows outwardly to all the artists who depend on me, who are inspired by my movements in short poses and my stillness in long ones.

As a reminder of my “strength”, not to mention an ego boost, here’s an image of me posing strong, standing, supple, posture intact. It’s how I look through the artistic eyes of Fred Hatt- an invaluable contributor to Museworthy and, more importantly, my dear friend. I’m not decrepit and broken down just yet! Keep those canes and braces away from me, man. I have a lot more work to do.

This drawing was done during the Saturday morning sketch session at Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn:


3 thoughts on “Oh, My Aching Back!

  1. robert bent says:

    Hi-I like the drawing; colors and style are not unlike what I try to do. Must be great to live in the city where, apparently, there are many more opportunites to draw from the figure than I have living in the wilds of Western Massachusetts! I’d like to start my own drawing group but haven’t a clue on how to go about it.
    Keep those limbs limber!

  2. artmodel says:

    Hi Robert! Good to hear from you. Not surprised this drawing by Fred made an impression on you. His work has that effect on many people, and this one in particular is one of my personal favorites.

    Yes, we are pretty fortunate here in the Big Apple in that there are many opportunities for life drawing. Spring Studios, which I discuss often here on Museworthy, is perhaps the most popular. It offers life drawing morning, noon, and night seven days a week. Also, the Art Students League has open sketch sessions with a model five days a week. School of Visual Arts has a popular drawing session on Wednesday nights with two, and sometimes three models. Brooklyn is a surging artists haven, and there are drawing groups there as well. And there are many, many others throughout the city. Some artists hold private groups in their studios. They invite their artist friends, hire a model, and draw away!

    Sounds like you’re in a pretty remote area. But I’m willing to bet that if you took the initiative and got the word out, artists will flock. Do you have a space to meet? If so, you’re already one step there. You can try trusty old Craigslist in the “Artists” section. I myself have gotten some very good art modeling jobs off Craigslist. People turn to the Internet for almost everything these days. Also, if you have any colleges/universities in your area, you can post something there too. You might get art students, and some faculty members as well. Give it a shot, Robert.

    Thanks for commenting, as always. See you soon!


  3. robert bent says:

    Great ideas! Thanks. Actually I spoke with an artist friend this afternoon about getting a group togeher…maybe in my livingroom on Sundays! Got to get busy on Robsbrushwork, too.

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