39th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues isn’t exactly one of the “must see” sections of Manhattan. In fact, I would advise tourists “must skip”, especially these days. As if 39th street isn’t ugly enough to begin with, it’s now even more unappealing with cement mixers, sidewalk detours, and a giant, terrifying construction crane that dangles over all cabs and pedestrians who dare to venture into the vicinity. Yes, some new building is being constructed, and it will be a hideous monstrosity no doubt. Until the thing is finished, the noise is an almost unbearable din.
And yet I bravely take on 39th street at least three times a week, innocently walking with morning coffee in hand, wincing from the ear-splitting jackhammers, getting sprayed in the face with some mysterious liquid, and ignoring the catcalls from construction workers. Why do I endure such indignities? Because I am posing privately for my friend Janet Cook. And Janet’s studio is on, where else, 39th Street. The building is home to many artists’ studios, and I have bumped into a few other art models in the elevator and the hallways. The spaces are great, and Janet’s room is blessed with the coveted north light so desired by artists.
So high above the ruckus of the street, Janet and I are sealed away in our own private space, impervious to the city commotion and tumult down below. With our close friendship, laughs, gossip, coffee breaks, and shared commitment to creating art, Janet and I have a wonderful time together and enjoy a little spot of heaven on New York’s chaotic West Side. And that’s tough to do!
I took some pictures of Janet’s studio I thought I’d share.
If this painting looks vaguely familiar to some of my readers it’s because you’ve seen it before, in its preparatory stages. Here it is coming to life, still in progress:
From Janet’s fabric stash, these are my current backdrops. She uses the light to reflect the colors onto my figure when posing:
I see too many artists working with oil paints without gloves. Big mistake. Janet is smart and uses them every time. That shit is toxic and carcinogenic.
The Salmagundi Art Club has an upcoming exhibit celebrating 400 Years of New York City History. This is Janet’s submission, which honors the Brooklyn Bridge. It is stunning in person:
Artists can never have too much storage space and Janet’s got plenty. And that pole dancer in the back? That’s yours truly. Also a work in progress:
Something you’d only find in Janet’s studio – a string of butterflies on a chest of drawers. I love them 🙂
And now hold onto your seats, folks. It’s time for the creme de la creme of studio snapshots. In all their riveting glory, I present to you :drumroll: my cell phone, my planner, my coffee, and a vegan cookie!! Can you feel the excitement? 😆