The pastel portrait workshop I posed for last weekend was a great experience for many reasons. It was my first ever modeling job at the Art League of Long Island. The people enrolled in the class were incredibly warm, enthusiastic, and congenial. And best of all, the instructor was my very dear friend Sam Goodsell. Sam and I first became acquainted at the Art Students League years ago when I was just a new, inexperienced model cutting my teeth and learning the ropes of the art modeling world. I no longer work at the ASL, but Sam and I have remained friends ever since.
Sam really gave the workshop his all. He did a portrait demo, discussed pastel products and materials at length, showed how he preps a board surface using gesso, acrylics, and ground pumice, and answered every question asked of him. Sam is such an easy guy to talk to. Down-to-earth, sweet, funny.
Here is Sam doing his demo of me. He spoke eloquently about creating values, which is his great strength as a pastelist. Sam’s beautiful tones are what most attracts people to his work. I overheard a student saying that the reason she signed up for a Sam Goodsell workshop was to learn “how to create those values”.
Judy Davidson captured a terrific likeness of me in this pastel piece. When I asked her if I could photograph it for my blog she not only said yes but offered me the actual drawing! How generous! I asked her, “Are you sure you don’t want it?”. Judy was adamant and told me – in fact ordered me! – to take it home. Really nice when artists do that 🙂 So I have this work in my possession. It is a marvelous addition to my cherished treasure trove of art that I have collected over the years which chronicles my modeling career:
Pastels themselves are beautiful to look at. The quality of the pigment is different from that of oil paint. More pure perhaps? Pastelists have a special relationship with color. Reverent and passionate. It’s like a love affair, and Sam embodies that love. On one of the breaks, he and I were looking at his pastels and I saw him brimming with fondness and adoration for certain sticks that were his favorites, the ones he couldn’t live without. “I love greens” he said, smiling. “God I love greens!”. (I like blues myself). I think if Sam’s place was on fire he would risk his life to collect his pastels and save them from the inferno. Not his clothes or his gadgets or his photos. His pastels.
Another portrait of me, this one by Suzanne Young. So different from Judy’s, but just as beautiful. Everyone in the workshop concentrated intensely, trying to develop the technique of creating tones and values. When the class was working it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
I posted more of my photos from the workshop on Flickr. Hope you enjoy them. And a final blogging note; please visit here on Saturday for a special Museworthy celebration. See you then!