A Muse for Maidman

The Maidman of the title is Daniel Maidman, and the muse is me! Yay! I blogged back in July that Daniel and I were about to start private work together, and I’m happy to report that it’s going splendidly!

I must clarify with regard to this post’s title, that Daniel has many muses among the art models of NYC. Not “many” like a hundred, but a select group of several models who particularly inspire him. Daniel “discovered” a few of us from the drawing sessions as Spring Studio. I am honored to be among Daniel’s chosen subjects which includes such popular, professional local artist’s models like Alley, Lillian, Luke, Cassandra, Rainbow, and Piera. They are the cream of the crop. And you can throw me in there too, I guess πŸ™‚ Β :gets all choked up . . . starts crying:

Daniel is about midway through his painting of me, so here’s where we’re at so far. From this photo you can easily see that Daniel does not do the common practice of blocking in his base colors from the outset. Instead, he works piecemeal, section by section, which is why I have a Venus de Milo thing going on! We did the left leg today, and soon my hair will be completely brown because a blond Armenian is just wrong πŸ˜†

I know Daniel is going to post a comment and share his thoughts on his progess and painting technique more at length, so take it away Daniel!

10 thoughts on “A Muse for Maidman

  1. Well! Can I just say that I am very proud to have a post all about me over here? I love your blog… I was thinking over what I like so much about it. Apart from the terrific writing, great stories, and really awesome paintings I either don’t know or haven’t thought enough about lately, I think what I like is that you are so forcefully taking possession of the process of art-making from the perspective of a model. It’s very much like my experience of working with models; I might provide a form, in the sense of a pose or an idea for a painting, but the model fills the form and specifies a meaning beyond what I did, or could, conceive. I think my paintings would be much smaller without the muses – and I am so glad to be able to work with you and have you animate the work…

    As far as technique goes, I’m self-taught, and I use incredibly thin paint. So I kind of have to build up to a finish in each section, because a lot of the effects I use involve blending wet-into-wet. I never use paint thick enough to conceal an existing layer underneath, so if I sketched something in crudely one week, and went back to it the next week, I’d have to live with the crudity, and I haven’t found a use for that in any painting yet. My technique drives my mother (also a painter) nuts, but she’ll live.

    About this painting in particular – I’m just really happy with how it’s going. I feel like your body flows from one curve to the next with harmony and unity, and I’m happy with how the rendering of each part has gone. I think you look really beautiful in it, and I’m glad I futzed around with the face until I got it to look (at least to me) not only like you, but like one of your expressions.

    The entire thing isn’t really going to make sense until the background is in – that raised hand will be the center from which a vine growing across a wall emerges. So there’s going to be a vaguely geometrical organic design in dark browns and greens on a white surface over the entire background. I think you’ll leap into focus as the core of the painting once that gets done.

    This serves as a good instance of what a model brings to a painting beyond the painter’s concept. The concept was some kind of a vague thing about life flowing from the model. It was designed around the goodwill, excitement, and generosity you always bring to your work. But if you think about the expression on the face, it’s skeptical. That was a surprise to me – you came up with that. I like it because it makes the idea double-sided. The Claudia in the painting is open to buying the concept, but she’s not quite sold on it yet. I think that’s neat.

    It also goes to something I try to do with all of my paintings of women. Working with the female nude, as I often do, I have had ample opportunity to agonize about objectification. I am always trying to find some way not to fall into a trap that diminishes the model, and also me. I think the “life force” idea in the painting is a kind of mild romanticization, and I think the partial antagonism toward it of your skeptical expression reasserts that maybe this is true, and maybe it isn’t, but you’ll decide, not me. So for me, that makes the figure more human and more self-possessed, and that’s one of the reasons I’m so pleased with how it’s going.

    Anyhow, I think I’ve babbled on enough – I hope this helps you and your readers out a bit in terms of understanding where I’m coming from with this painting. Thank you so much for posting it, and I can’t wait to work with you again next week!

    Big hugs,

    Dani

    • artmodel says:

      Daniel,

      Totally awesome, in-depth description, discussion, and background of your work-in-progress! A lot of that was actually new to me, which is a little embarrassing. Maybe because we spend to much of our work time together talking about Stanley Kubrick movies!

      But seriously, I was fascinated reading the part about my facial expression. I had no idea of your interpretation. Hmm, “skeptical”? The Claudia in the painting maybe, but not the flesh and blood one. She’s a true believer πŸ™‚

      Thanks for this Daniel! Great job!
      See you soon.

      Claudia

      • Claudia – I’m glad you enjoyed the comment! And yes, you are totally supportive in person, so maybe I’m not being faithful to you with the skeptical look! You do get that look once in a while, and I thought it was the right one for the painted Claudia – I hope you don’t mind!

  2. P.S. What’s wrong with a blonde Armenian? It might be hilarious!

  3. Shucky darn, I’ve blond Japanese friends. πŸ™‚

    Oh yea, Daniel done did great, really cool WIP!!

    Jim

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