Sweetness and Light on 39th Street

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.

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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:

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From Janet’s fabric stash, these are my current backdrops. She uses the light to reflect the colors onto my figure when posing:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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Something you’d only find in Janet’s studio – a string of butterflies on a chest of drawers. I love them 🙂

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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? 😆

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8 thoughts on “Sweetness and Light on 39th Street

  1. lkwinter says:

    I can feel the excitement, yes!!! luv, luv this post, this insight into the world of the artist, so fascinating.

    I also like how you called the finished building a hideous monstrosity, why do I not have a problem picturing this?

    Read your Beth Israel post and wanted to climb through the computer in there and give you a huge gigantic enormously big hug.

    *cyber hug*

  2. swatch says:

    Thank you for this peep into your world with Janet. What a special life. Your last picture is at the top of my page now – and I feel the urge for a cappuccino.

  3. artmodel says:

    lkwinter,

    Wow, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post! I know you’re a big fan of my pictures, and I appreciate it.

    I was hoping you’d read that entry on my Red Room blog. It was tough to write – quite harrowing, actually. But I’ll take your warm, wonderful cyber hug, dear friend. It feels good, believe me.

    Thanks, Scott

    Claudia 🙂

  4. artmodel says:

    Swatch,

    Thank you so much, and welcome! Always great to have another artist here at Museworthy. Yes, there are many special qualities to my life and work, and I cherish all of them. Art modeling is responsible for most of it.

    Unfortunately, though, that cup was full of plain old, boring black coffee. Cappuccino next time, just for you.

    Thanks again for posting a comment!

    Claudia

  5. ColdSilverMoon says:

    Heh! I love artists’ studios. Thank you for those photos!

  6. Stephen says:

    Hi Claudia

    This is Swatch in his consultant life. I am taking a break from capturing a workshop document (which is OK but is not painting – thats for sure). I find this site of yours heartwarming – so – encouragements and thanks.

  7. artmodel says:

    ColdSilverMoon,

    You are very welcome! I love artists’ studios too. A unique atmosphere in which i feel right at home 🙂

    Claudia

  8. artmodel says:

    Stephen,

    Although I prefer the artist version of you as a Museworthy visitor, I welcome all your incarnations. Great to have you here!

    I should be thanking you for your kind words. I’ll take “heartwarming” any day 🙂 Lots of good stuff to come so keep stopping by.

    Thanks for your comments!

    Claudia

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