contemplation |ˌkäntəmˈplā sh ən|
the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time
• deep reflective thought

introspection |ˌintrəˈspek sh ən|
the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes

pensive |ˈpensiv|
engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought

ruminate |ˈroōməˌnāt|
verb [ intrans. ]
think deeply about something

deep and anxious consideration of one’s emotions and motives or of the correctness of a course of action.

Oooh, that last one is heavy. “Soul-searching”. “Deep and anxious consideration”. “Correctness of a course of action”. Yikes. That’s almost scary 😯

I have this beautiful pencil drawing of me by my friend Jean Marcellino, and am so moved by how well she captured my pensive pose at Spring Studio the other day. In my ridiculous effort to be cute with post titles, I considered many words that could appropriately describe the mood of this piece. And I still couldn’t decide. Guess I should have contemplated longer! Ha, ha, ha . . . HA . . HA!

While I am personally partial to the movement and challenges of short poses, I understand that a long pose carries its own advantages. For the artist it provides the opportunity to do a thorough examination of the subject and create a fully-realized finished drawing. For the model, it’s an opportunity for undisturbed introspection. An excursion through your own thoughts, issues, and life questions. We put ourselves “in the zone”. After all, we have to hold still, keep our gaze fixed, and stay focused. Enter the soul searching goblins. The pesky demons of insecurity and worry. The existential wave of your life that accosts you during your stillness. You are, essentially, trapped. Nowhere to run, and definitely nowhere to hide!

Ah, but the mind is not always so heavy during a long pose. There are times when I use the tranquility of a long pose to think about mundane things: errands, phone calls, reminders to fill my Metrocard or make a hair salon appointment, buy cranberry juice, and catch up on emails. Really boring stuff.

However this particular day at Spring Studio was a bona-fide heavy-duty contemplation day. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at Jean’s elegant and sensitive drawing and you can feel my ruminative state. As for the descriptive word? Well, Jean nailed it perfectly with her drawing title. She calls it Musing Muse. “Musing”! That’s the word. And here it is on Museworthy 🙂 Thanks Jean!


6 thoughts on “Wordplay

  1. Andrew says:

    Sometimes I think about mundane things during a long pose. Sometimes I’ll have some creative thoughts… sort of like having an “aha!” moment in the shower.

    If I’m feeling bored, I’ll find something to keep my mind busy – even something inane like counting floor tiles (something within my range of vision without moving my head) or counting the seconds until the the timer goes off. Sounds stupid, but it’s almost meditative, clearing my head of clutter.

    Occasionally, I think about how much I regret the pose I chose.

    • artmodel says:


      Ditto to everything you said. Fighting the boredom is a challenge, and I, too, have counted tiles, observed wall smears and markings, done the field of vision thing. The messier studios are good for that!

      Casual, intimate drawing groups will often play music, which is great for the models. I enjoy that and it really keeps the mind occupied in a pleasant way. But the serious classes and schools will never play music as you know. If only we could pose with our iPods!

      Thanks for your comments, Andrew!


  2. Great post and wonderful drawing, as always. Long poses – especially those that span multiple sessions over several weeks – are my least favorite. I’m just too inpatient – I’d much rather stick with 10 and 20 minute poses than long poses. I think about everything – sports, movies, politics, etc. For really difficult 20 minute poses I sometimes literally count out the 20 minutes in my head. That usually makes the pose seem longer though – probably not the best idea!

    • artmodel says:


      Those long “monster” poses are probably my least favorite too. The only thing I can say is that they do, at least, produce significant finished studies of the model which is exciting to see in the end. Getting there is the ordeal!

      That counting the minutes thing definitely makes the pose feel longer. Not good. I used to do that in my early modeling days but abandoned it quickly.

      Thanks for commenting!


  3. Jennifer says:

    Really enjoyed this post and the link to Fred Hatt’s blog (have finally stopped lurking and commented on his blog!). Fascinating to see the different approach of the artists to the same pose. It has also, I confess, made me stop to consider what art models think about during poses! Yes, I can certainly see now that those long poses must be a real challenge…

    • artmodel says:


      Glad you’re commenting on Fred’s blog! He goes into fascinating depth about creative processes and really draws his readers in with both words and amazing visual accompaniment.


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