Going to the Gallery

New art gallery shows open almost every week in this town. They’re everywhere, from midtown to Chelsea to Tribeca to SoHo to Brooklyn. Some of them are worth seeing, others not so much. But I am particularly excited for the show about to open next week at the Alex Adam Gallery in Harlem.

Just the show’s theme is something wonderfully different. It’s called “Artists and Monitors – Showcasing work of three of New York’s most extraordinary contemporary figurative artists, and the painters who are and have been privileged to be their assistants.” How great is that? As a model, I can tell you firsthand that art class monitors are invaluable to the teachers. Not only do they attend to practical details, like studio setups and pose timing, but they forge a special bond with the instructors, often developing a mentor/protege relationship. Monitors work incredibly hard both at keeping the class running smoothly and at perfecting their own art. They take on a lot of responsibility, and that’s why the premise of this Artists and Monitors show is a well-deserved recognition for these gifted assistants.

The three featured New York artists are Sharon Sprung, Mary Beth McKenzie, and Costa Vavagiakis. I have worked with all of them. I’m also honored to know and have posed for, almost all of the featured monitors. But it is Janet Cook, monitor for Sharon Sprung, talented artist, and very dear friend of mine, with whom I am closest and have worked for privately for well over a year. Janet has the soul of a surrealist, one of the many things I love about her. Her artistic vision is consistently ambitious, imaginative, and original. From a model’s standpoint, those qualities make her an inspiring – and challenging – artist to pose for. I’ve learned a lot from Janet, I hope she knows that. Working with her has been one of  the most rewarding of all my art modeling experiences.

Janet and I have collaborated on a few paintings and one of them, much to our delight, will be exhibited among the many terrific works in the upcoming Alex Adam Gallery show. Yay! And here it is. By Janet Cook, this is The Light on the Dark Side of Me. It’s 48″ x 48″, oil on panel, and the model is, of course, yours truly 🙂


15 thoughts on “Going to the Gallery

  1. swatch says:

    You are so good at capturing interesting detail about your world in a succinct way. Congratulations to you and Janet for this painting. It seems so appropriate. The swallows returned to our area a little while back. They are so focussed and busy as they built their nest and care for their chicks. For me, they always carry such joy. They were looking around the eves of our house, which was thrilling, but sadly seem to have decided not to nest here this year

    • artmodel says:


      Thank you, thank you, friend. I wish you, and everyone, could see this painting in person. Interesting that you mentioned the swallows. I didn’t know that Janet planned to add the birds to this piece. When I came to her studio and saw them on the painting, I just loved it! Brings such a charming element to the completed work. And it’s so Janet 🙂

      Great to read your comments!


  2. ColdSilverMoon says:

    Beautiful painting by Janet, and excellent pose, Claudia. I’ve modeled for all three of those artists as well at the Art Students League – Mary Beth McKenzie is one of my all-time favorite art teachers to pose for.

    Congrats to you and Janet on a superb work. You should be very proud – definitely museworthy!

    • artmodel says:


      Yes, I am proud. And humbled too. Janet did a wonderful job and it was terrific working with her.

      I also enjoy posing for Mary Beth’s classes. She has some of the most talented students in her class, and they love the models. Always treat us with respect, as I’m sure you know.

      Thanks for your comments.


  3. Stephanie says:

    Dear Claudia,

    I have been extraordinarily busy and haven’t been able to comment lately. However, I always keep up with your blog. I was delighted to read this post and I love the piece by Janet Cook. I wish I could see it in person. Even on the computer monitor, I feel like I am looking at you and could lay my hand on your back.

    Congrats to both of you. Beautiful collaboration.


    • artmodel says:


      Don’t be silly, girl! You are always here, communicating often through both words and/or spirit. I know you keep up with Museworthy 🙂

      I’m thrilled that you like Janet’s piece. I had a feeling you would. Thanks for your lovely compliments. Both Janet and I appreciate them tremendously!


  4. janet says:

    thank you all for your thoughtful comments…the show is being hung Monday but as we have so many artists participating, i am not sure if this piece is too big. i will know shortly

    • artmodel says:


      Like the saying goes, “Size Matters” 😆

      You tell those gallery people that if they bump this painting, your crazy model is going to come up there and raise hell!

      Talk to you soon,

  5. Jennifer says:

    Wish I could hop on a plane and see the exhibition! It’s a gorgeous painting. I’m intrigued by monitors, as I’ve not come across them here in life drawing classes – but I’m probably not going to the right classes! (as I don’t live in a big city)

    • artmodel says:


      I wish you could too! We’d have great fun. As for monitors, they are more common in painting classes, where setup is involved and the model’s pose is continuous for many sessions. A small life drawing class doesn’t require monitors as much.

      Thanks for commenting.


  6. In a Buddhist temple, in Kyoto, there’s an ancient folding screen, depicting a pastoral scene with golden flying birds. Some of the birds are missing. The legend is they were so very lifelike, they flew away. I think they’re checking other masterworks around the world today and, if they approve, a few stay.

    …but I didn’t plan to rhyme, Claudia, sometimes the language just works that way. 😉

    BTW, I had the pleasure of having tea there in the temple, with local friends and a Buddhist nun, while contemplating that original screen.

    Janet’s painting would best be contemplated, I think, with a snifter of fine brandy.

    • artmodel says:


      That’s a beautiful story about the Buddhist temple. Thanks for sharing it! I personally love birds as artistic motifs. I also love those screens. I’ve seen many with exquisite artwork.

      I think a brandy snifter would be a fine compliment to Janet’s painting, or a glass of wine 🙂

      Enjoyed your comments, Jim!


    • janet says:

      i love that idea. I may borrow that when i am asked what its about. I find it strangely fascinating

  7. Rog says:

    Yes, I need my sister in law to see this painting. It is one of the better figure painting compositions I have glimpsed [if you call the internet that] in recent times.

    Yes Jim, winter is coming…. get the brandy out. Finishing the Whiskey now [the fall drink].


    • artmodel says:


      Thanks so much! Composition is key, in my opinion. One of the most interesting elements of a painting. Degas provides brilliant evidence of that.

      You can handle whiskey, which makes you a lot better than me! I’ve never acquired a taste for it, although I’ve tried, believe me!


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