Call Me the Breeze

13 Nov

I’m finally home after a year of almost non-stop traveling. In the past 13 months, I have been to Italy, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland and France, as well as Chicago (twice). We were supposed to go to Egypt, but the political situation there was too dangerous. Israel was surprisingly safe, but this was in September 2013. I wouldn’t feel at all the same about going there currently.

Each country was wonderful in its own way. As a true art lover, I tended to want to go to every museum I could find. Of course, the Vatican museum blew my mind – All the Ninja Turtles were represented: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello. I completely geeked out in the Sistine Chapel, but my bliss was harshed by the very serious-looking men in suits telling us to move along.

Surprisingly to some, I preferred the Musee D’Orsay to the Louvre in Paris, but please believe me when I say, I wouldn’t kick either of them out of my bed. After spending a day in Montmartre, where the Impressionists lived and worked, seeing their pictures in the D’Orsay just made my world a whole lot more colorful. I also recommend a book by Sue Roe called The Private Lives of the Impressionists. It’s a very well-researched look into their lives from the start of their careers onward. Find out who whined and manipulated money out of everyone he met! Who was ravaged by Syphilis? Who left his wife to die at home while cavorting with his mistress at her place? Intrigued? You should be!

If you are anywhere near Chicago, get to the Art Institute. From ancient to modern, they have amazing pieces. My first time there was in a blizzard – my first blizzard too! The snow fell nearly sideways and was too thick to see to drive. Everyone else was fully irritated, but I was like a kid at Christmas. Chicago rocks.

After all this inspiration, I will haul out my paints and see where they take me. Photos to follow!

All Apologies

14 Oct

Evidently, some hacker who needs to get a life and a real job found his / her way into my blog and sent spam to all of my subscribers. I’ve changed the password, and I hope that is the end of it. No, you cannot make money filling out surveys, and I haven’t made $754 in the last 6 minutes….

Statuesque

15 Sep

– On posing for Paul Cezanne…
Cezanne rushed foward: ‘You wretch! You have upset the pose! You should sit like an apple. Whoever saw an apple fidgeting?’ Motionless as that fruit may be, Cezanne was sometimes obliged to leave a study of apples unfinished. They had rotted.

— Ambroise Vollard

When artist’s models are asked to assume any pose for longer than a few minutes, it becomes uncomfortable, no matter if it’s the simplest of seated poses. For me, the absolute worst is when I take a pose for a long session – several hours with minimal breaks, and it turns out to be a terrible choice from the start and there’s nothing I can do about it. I usually choose my pose with only a bit of guidance from the artist or teacher. They may ask for a standing, seated, or reclining pose, but the placement of my body is pretty much up to me. If I’m in a group setting, I always try to present an interesting look from a 360 degree vantage point, since most of the time, the model stand is in the center of the room of artists, so everyone has a different viewpoint. If I’m seated on the stand, I’ll put a twist in my torso and maybe cross one leg over the other and put one hand on the floor behind me and place the other on my knee.

As I said before, no matter how comfortable a pose may look, it becomes difficult to maintain after 10 minutes, so I’ve devised ways to move while staying completely still. I will use whatever part of me is balancing the rest of me and lift about 1/8 of an inch to let blood flow and keep from having various bits and pieces falling asleep. I’ll rotate that 1/8 inch from pressure point to pressure point ever so slightly to help with discomfort while appearing to not move. There’s a very famous flute player named James Galway, who has mastered the art of breathing in while blowing out at the same time – he never has to stop playing the flute to catch his breath. Try it sometime – it seems impossible, but he can do it! I want to be the James Galway of the art modeling!

Student body

9 May

I am constantly amazed at what student artists are capable of. This is a recent charcoal drawing of me by a CSN student named Catelyn Lutz. She had about nine hours over a three-day period to complete her piece.

The instructor of this life drawing class is a personal favorite of mine. Anne Hoff is a tiny dynamo in who’s class I first removed my robe for the sake of student art. If you are lucky enough to find yourself under her tutelage, you will learn (and laugh) a lot. Anne will be the first to tell you that I’ve nicknamed her Napoleanne when she gets particularly bossy. This still life is enhanced by a cow skull that somehow wound up in her back yard, and the peacock feather stuffed down its boney snout is just how she rolls.

The sincerest form

29 Nov

I am a versatile model, and I work in many different areas – fashion, print, spokes model, and art modeling. Without question, being an artist’s model is my biggest blessing and my harshest curse.

Very few of the people in my life know that I am an art model, which is a shame, because it is by far my most favorite aspect of my work. I am fascinated by art and artists, and being a live model lets me into the artistic process in a very intimate way. We’ve all had that dream where we’re naked in public. I actually put myself there on purpose. Not only am I naked in public, but every inch of me is being scrutinized… not just by anyone, but by someone trained to see exacting and excruciating detail.

Sadly, movies, TV, and general ignorance have altered public perception about the role and function of artist’s models. I laughed out loud watching an episode of Desperate Housewives where a oiled and tanned male model strode into an art class fully naked without any preamble from the instructor. Anyone who enrolls in a life drawing class expecting to have a “Dear Penthouse Forum” experience will be quite disappointed. Artists and instructors take great care to maintain strict professionalism during the entire process. Just think of me as a potted plant…

Recently, a college art class was asked to paint me while imitating the style of an old master. The instructor is one of my very favorites – Dennis Angel. Here are some pieces from those sessions:

 

Clickety clack, clickey clack….

12 Oct

…. go my fingernails on the keyboard / iPod / smartphone / tablet / notebook, etc, etc, etc.

Am I the only person out there who fondly recalls life before texting, tweets and status updates? Not that I’m completely opposed to our high-tech, online zooniverse, but sometimes it seems so…. removed. I skipped my high school reunion because it’s just easier to keep up on Facebook. Why bother making a phone call when I can just send a text, and when was the last time I held an actual book, magazine, newspaper or snapshot in my hands?

It sort of reminds me of armchair traveling only it’s armchair connecting. My birthday passed with e-cards and Facebook greetings. My only card came from my sweet mother who still lives by paper and a stamp, bless her. The romantic notion of keeping love letters tied with ribbon is a fleeting one. I’m getting married in a month and I’ve never received an actual love letter from my fiance, not one. I could print out pages of emails and texts he’s sent to me proclaiming undying love, but nothing he’s actually taken a pen to and written on. I’m no better – he’s never received a perfume-scented envelope containing my handwritten sweet nothings. Our scrapbook is filled with ink jet instead of ink pen words.

Taking the other side, I’m too lazy to keep up the old-fashioned way with everyone I know (get your minds out of the gutter… not THAT old-fashioned way!). I’m a rarity in that I despise talking on the phone, so texting was made for me, and I send thousands a month. I love email, and I read, reply to and “like” everyone’s status updates on Facebook. I’ve finally come around to LinkedIn, which I’d refused on principle for nearly a year. I wasn’t going to get into one more online network, by golly. Well, I caved over the summer and am haphazardly limping in to my LinkedIn page to see who’s doing what in the business world.

What thinkest thou, good people? Is resistance futile??? Are we all doomed to knowing each other only through some screen or another? I guess at the end of this post, I still feel a lot like I did at the beginning. Ambivalent.

 

 

Thinner

23 Aug

As a model, I have way too many clothes. My walk-in closet is bursting at the seams, and if my family didn’t like to visit all the time, I’d turn my spare bedroom into a closet. At last count, I own 34 tank tops in every conceivable color, 31 skirts, 17 pairs of jeans, and the beat goes on…

Every once in a while something really does change a person’s life, and when I was at Costco last Saturday (looking for a new pair of jeans) it happened to me when I noticed this box of hangers guaranteed to be the “solution to my closet makeover”.

Makeover? I love makeovers! I promptly purchased 4 boxes of 50 and took them home to my poor unhappy closet. Dubious but hopeful, I replaced my old plastic hangers with these skinny fuzz-covered beauties, and what a difference they made! My closet no longer looks like an episode of Hoarders, and I actually have about 2 feet of unused space on one of the bars.

How have I not heard of this miracle before now? This could save relationships! I remember having to draw a Sharpie line in the center of my college dorm closet to keep my roommate’s clothing from spilling onto my side. We were so hardcore about it that we actually measured it with a tape measure to make sure we each had the same amount. My poor fiance has to keep his wardrobe in the guest closet along with old pet beds, my winter clothes and boxes of Christmas decorations. Maybe I’ll be generous and let him move into my closet now that I have some extra space!

Oh, who am I kidding? I actually had to try to type that last bit without laughing…

Off to the mall! …and to Costco for more hangers.