Days in the Atelier

Greetings on a Sunday evening! I hope this blog post finds you well. My most substantial art modeling job of the summer has come to an end – five weeks posing for Robert Armetta’s figure drawing atelier at the Long Island Academy of Fine Art. It was a top-notch experience. These intensive classical drawing sessions never cease to amaze me. As the model who sees and hears all, I can’t help but be impressed by the focus and dedication that goes into that kind of painstaking practice. Gosh those people work hard. Almost as hard as the model 😉

The primary goal is to train the artist’s eye. Shapes and proportions provide the visual keys to representing the form, and the light reveals those forms. The human body is all forms, after all. Forms of muscle mass and underlying bone, creating relationships and contours, some of which are obvious, others more subtle. Artists in the classical tradition believe that drawing is the crucial foundation of painting, for it is through drawing that one’s ability to perceive forms – and mold those forms – is developed.

Robert and I set up a pose that would offer the class enough variations in forms without being too complicated. Then, with some perfectly angled lighting, we had a figure study that pleased the class very much. I found the pose fairly easy to hold. Maintaining my posture was the challenge, and I felt only minor lower back discomfort toward the end of each four hour session. Believe me, I’ve done much worse! Most of the class worked in charcoal, but some used graphite.

Three of the atelier students agreed, enthusiastically, to let me post their works here on Museworthy and I am happy to do so. The problem with drawings such as these is that the delicate qualities and detailed workmanship are less discernible on computer images than they are in real life. I’m sure you artists out there know how difficult pencil drawings are to photograph. They are best appreciated when viewed in person. But it worked out nicely that I have three images of the pose from three different perspectives.

This is Gerry’s drawing. She was working the closest to me, just a few feet away behind me and to the right. Very beautiful:

Smadar had a front view that presented a lot of foreshortening. She certainly handled it well. I love the light on the shoulder and collarbone:

And here is my friend Daniel’s piece. I really love the way he did the shadow shape on the stomach and front of the torso:

It was gratifying to pose for this atelier class and I hope I have the honor of doing it again. This week another group of artists awaits me – a figure painting workshop at the New York Academy of Art, taught by Maggie Rose. It will be my first time working with Maggie so I’m looking forward to that. Just one more week of art modeling duties and then . . .  can I say it? . . .

v a c a t i o n 🙂

3 thoughts on “Days in the Atelier

  1. Bill says:

    Excellent work — thank you (and the artists, as well). It’s always a treat to be able to work from a single pose from an extended period of time — many models only want to do short poses, and many artists will reflexively reach for the paints should any pose threaten to last longer than 20-30 minutes. They don’t know what they’re missing.

    There is a good short video on the subject by Robert Hughes:

    • artmodel says:


      That’s a great video, thanks for sharing!
      It’s interesting how the term “long pose” is relative to an artist’s individual approach. I know people who consider a 40 minute pose to be “long”. And I know others who can’t fathom creating a completed drawing in just four hours. To each his own I guess 🙂

      Thanks again for your comments!


  2. Bill says:

    Definitely. But the interesting point for me is that there seems to be an issue in scaling-up from a sketch to a finished drawing. If you think of literature, there are novelists who write 200-page novels, and other novelists who would never write anything less than 600 pages. But the real difference comes between writing a short story and writing a novel — even a short novel. That’s because a novel isn’t a long “short story” — it’s a different creature that necessitates a different approach.

    I’vr known a number of artists who, when trying to create a finished drawing, make a quick sketch and spend the rest of the posing time fussing with it. Then they say that the drawing is “overworked”. But I think that they just don’t know how to scale-up to an essentially different level.

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