Playing Footsie

I woke up this morning with a footache. Is that a word? There’s headache and toothache and backache. I now officially coin the term “footache”. :adds “lexicographer” to resume: The all day, six-hour standing pose I did Friday at the New York Academy of Art Β is responsible for my footache. Yes, such pain and strain can last for Β 48 hours easily. A good reflexology treatment would be perfect right now. Reflexology is awesome! Foot massage heaven πŸ™‚

People assume that art models always have sore feet, but actually we don’t – UNLESS we do six hour standing poses, of course. But under normal circumstances, models divide their time among shorter standing poses, sitting, and reclining. Hence the pain is dispersed throughout the entire body. Much better! :saracastic:Β 

The feet are the ignored, forgotten workers during quick standing poses, and artists are too busy capturing the body’s gesture that they pay little attention to them, sketching them in only as vague, generic, boot-like shapes that require just a couple of pencil strokes. No detail, no character. How sad! Come on, guys, let’s give props to the feet – down below, overlooked, inconspicuous, too pedestrian to pay any mind (get it? Too “pedestrian”? Haha).

Think about how critical the feet really are in creating the overall look of a standing pose. Just lifting a heel changes the entire appearance of the leg. Placing full pressure down on a heel solidifies the body’s weight in that leg. Positioning a foot rotated outward, dancer-style, turns the leg beautifully to enhance inner and outer thigh muscles. And balance? I don’t even know where to start with balance. Yes, much of it comes from the core muscles, but the feet must also cooperate. It’s essential. With me, for example, my core is pretty strong but my ankles are small and rather weak. I’ve often felt stable in my abs but still lost my balance due to my wimpy feet.

To honor the art model’s unsung working feet, here are some pictures of me doing standing poses, taken by Fred in his studio. Just the FEET of standing poses. The old reliables. No hips, no torsos, no arms, no faces. Can you determine what’s happening above, out of sight? Hmm . . . mysterious. Consider the shadows, the weight shifts, etc. Our fun little Museworthy game πŸ™‚






11 thoughts on “Playing Footsie

  1. ColdSilverMoon says:

    So true, Claudia! I don’t know how many times I’ve come home from a long day modeling, feeling sore and tired in many places, only to sit down and take my shoes off and realize that my feet were the most in need of some TLC. And a bath. Wow, now that I think about it, our feet really get abused as models: they get extremely dirty from all the charcoal dust and general nastiness of an art studio floor, then they get stood on without moving for hours on end, and rarely to they get any real love from the artists (a notable exception being M. Bouguereau, of course ;).

    I modeled for Minerva at a Spring Street class in December, and the entire time she wanted me to do poses that featured my feet. It’s actually not easy to come up with an interesting pose that really shows them off – much less an entire class full of poses! Still, they were grateful to finally get some attention from the artists…

    • artmodel says:


      I think all art models should get complimentary reflexology/pedicures/foot baths, paid for by the artists who request long standing poses. That only seems right, doesn’t it? πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

      I’ve done many of Minerva’s special requests and they’re generally lots of fun. It’s a challenge to have to come up with poses that highlight a particular body part. But coming up with pose after pose showing off the feet is a tough one!

      Thanks for commenting.


      • ColdsilverMoon says:

        I could certainly use a pedicure…my feet aren’t the most attractive in the world – at least not as attractive as yours! I really think a full body massage would be even better after a full day of modeling. Our feet certainly could use some work, but I have plenty of aches and stiff joints after a 12 hour day of gestures…

  2. fred says:

    I sometimes ignore feet (and hands and faces) during the quick poses too – the time is too short to go into the details. But I love drawing feet, and the anatomy of feet is amazingly complex and beautiful. There is a cluster of blood vessels in the sole of the feet called the plantar venous plexus. Scientists have discovered that the act of walking rhythmically compresses these veins, which acts like a second heart to pump blood back up through the body. This is why standing is harder on the body than walking, and one of the reasons that simply walking has health benefits far beyond mild exercise.

    See some of my feet drawings at (third piece from bottom)


    • artmodel says:


      That was fascinating. I think I remember reading that once, why sustained periods of standing can be so painful. And I do a lot of walking for exercise and my feet never get sore from it. They want to move and are clearly designed for activity rather than inactivity.

      Thanks for the links! Amazing “footwork” πŸ˜‰


  3. Brian G says:


    I had sore feet the day after doing a long standing pose for the first time. And I decided that would be the last time. I now carry with me inside my modeling gym bag, besides robe, water, etc., a pair of Dr. Scholl’s shoe insoles. I can now stand for hours on a model stand with no discomfort. My heel, arch, and ball of my foot are all very comfortable. If you have small feet, just trim the insoles so they are not visible when you are standing flat. Problem solved. I’ve had mine for 2 years now and no longer get sore when doing long standing poses. Bored sometimes, when there is no music playing in the studio ( there’s a topic for you to discuss, the different types of music that gets played in art studios ), but never sore. Hope this helps.

    • artmodel says:


      That shouldn’t be necessary. Every art school must offer you a foam pad or cushion to stand on if they want you to do a standing pose. Some models decline, that’s their preference. But if you have trouble standing you have every right to request a soft standing surface.


  4. Ron says:

    Always knew you had a good soul, πŸ™‚

  5. CBrown says:

    Those are some nice pictures of your feet, Claudia!

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