Ten Days on 8th Street

For artist participants, it’s an intense and challenging learning experience. For artist’s models, it’s an arduous but highly worthwhile gig. It’s the renowned Drawing Marathon hosted by Greenwich Village’s own New York Studio School, presided over by the school’s Dean, Graham Nickson. I was honored to be one of the six models – with Julie, Morgan, Marie, Erin, and Juliana – working in three different studios for ten days, doing long poses in group set-ups amid sounds of staple guns, paper cutting, rag smudging, and the occasional object falling to the ground. The marathon has dominated my work schedule for the past two weeks, and on Friday we concluded with a wonderful final day, replete equally with grimy, fatigued bodies and fortified spirits. Old acquaintances were renewed, new acquaintances were formed, and enough charcoal soot was produced that could bury a Buick. I took some photos to share with my readers.




In addition to drawing from the live models, Marathon artists also did transcriptions of old artworks, with each person creating a section and then assembling them all together. This is Pieter Bruegel’s The Blind Leading the Blind. The students did incredible work here:



And another transcription, from a 15th century engraving by Antonio del Pollaiuolo, a Florentine painter, sculptor, and goldsmith:


The mother of all modeling platforms. Big, padded, suitable for both art posing and break naps 😉




This exercise involved drawing the figure, and then drawing only the forms and space around the figure:




Artists can always learn something from the great Matisse, which is why a work of his provided material for one of the day’s lessons:


I really like this smaller drawing of me. The artist is Heejo Kim:




Warm and sincere thanks to all the artists for their kindness toward us models and their expressions of appreciation for what we do, to the class monitors who did a terrific job, to Graham Nickson for his graciousness and inspiration, to his outstanding assistants Sarah and Rachel, to my old Spring Studio pal Audrey who was among the marathoners and made me laugh every day, to all the models for rocking it like the pros they are, and, last but definitely not least, very special thanks to Roxy, who is beautiful inside and out, and whom I’ve been privileged to know for years on my art modeling odyssey.

Hope you all enjoyed this little photo essay from your NYC art model muse.
I’ll see you right back here on Saturday, September 24th, when we’re gonna do one of these celebrations again. Until then, have a fantastic week everyone!

16 thoughts on “Ten Days on 8th Street

  1. oh wow sounds tough. the drawings turned out beautiful

  2. therese beck l. says:

    thanks for sharing, it felt very inspiring.

  3. lindaganus says:

    I loved doing several NYSS marathons, both in the studio and in the landscape. Dean Nickson is the best, and the marathon experience counts among my life highlights. So happy and grateful to hear of your participation. Always top-notch instructors, models, fellow students and set-ups, as well as prodigious amounts of invaluable art history.

    • artmodel says:


      You wrote a wonderful, and accurate, description of the drawing marathon experience. Appreciate you sharing! It’s evident that the participants learn a great deal and come away with new techniques and enhanced observational skills.

      Also, I love your piece “Thunderhead” that’s on your blog. Stunning.

      Thanks for your comments!


  4. rmmauro01 says:

    Nice post. Looks like a immense amount of fun for both models & artists. The little one of you was pretty good. The group projects wer amazing, interesting and a great group project. You always come up with more inspiration for me. Keep it up! I look forward to your next one…

    • artmodel says:


      I was hoping you’d comment on this post, thank you! Glad to have provided a bit of inspiration, that’s what it’s all about 🙂
      I agree about the group projects, especially the Bruegel. When I saw it fully assembled and hung on the student gallery wall I thought, “I have to photograph that!”.

      Good to hear from you ..


  5. artmodelandrew says:

    At first glance skimming the images, I thought you are your fellow models posed for the old master replicas. Those would be challenging poses!

  6. Bill says:

    Thanks for sharing — sounds like you had a great time. Now here’s the deal: I’m going to guess the Blog birthday song, write the title on a piece of paper, fold the paper and seal it in an envelope, and put it on my refrigerator. I’ll let you know if I get it right. OK?

    • artmodel says:


      It’s a deal! And I totally trust you with the honor system 🙂
      Just so you know, there are right now two songs in contention. Good luck! And thanks for commenting.


  7. Dave says:

    Thanks for sharing those photos and drawings. I have modeled for a few one-day marathons but nothing like that. That sounds exhausting but also like a whole lot of fun. I’m envious!

    • artmodel says:


      It’s a “marathon” in the truest sense of the word! And it was fun. Also, as a model I can say this honestly, it’s just as taxing for the artists. More in fact, because they had to remain for evening critiques every day after modeling ended at 6:00. So they had longer hours than we did!

      Thanks for commenting, friend 🙂


  8. I’d almost consider moving to New York so that I could participate! Of course, I really should be invited before I start packing.

    While such events might happen in the Chicago area, I haven’t heard of one yet. I’m jealous!

    I suspect it is much like running a marathon for the models. But it would be a welcome exhaustion, I think.

    All the Best,


    • artmodel says:


      It is most certainly welcome exhaustion. A great gig, but they don’t call it a “marathon” for nothing! Need a couple of days of pure rest afterwards. We do enjoy an abundance of art modeling work here in NYC. I’m sure Chicago is the same. Inquire. Models have to be pro-active. Yours is a vibrant town and I’m sure new opportunities are there for the taking.

      Thanks for your comments!


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