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!

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