Friday, October 9, 2009

Modeling for Art Students

Now that I am settled in our home in Santa Fe it is time to get back to painting and drawing. On Tuesday and Thursday Evenings current students and alumni of the Tony Ryder Studio, meet to draw. Because the cost of a model is beyond the budget of most, each participant signs up for one week of modeling. The rest of the time one gets to draw.

Last night, I went for the first time. The assigned model didn’t show. We waited fifteen minutes. Knowing that I had never modeled before and that I would be signing up to model for two sessions later on, I decided that I wanted to give it a try for a shortened session to see if I could handle it. I volunteered and immediately the five other artists began setting up. I climbed into the chair set up in the dramatically lit section of the studio and found a comfortable pose. As it was most likely that people would be doing just a portrait my big question was hair up in an informal bun or down. I decided “up.”

A fellow participant began the timer. I choose a spot to focus on knowing that would help keep my head at the same angle and began using meditation techniques of counting my breathing to help pass the time. As always at The Ryder School an intense quiet fills the room as artists focus on their work. It was an amazing feeling to be their model and know that sitting very still and focused was enabling them to create.

I thought I might have felt self-conscious, or that my ego would get in the way. Neither happened. Instead I simply felt a part of the creative process. After 20 minutes of sitting there is five minutes of break. During the break I could look at the progress being made by fellow artists. Each protratit was from a different angle. Each clearly captured my likeness and each had a quality unique to the artist. One of my favorites emphasized my eyes. The dramatic lighting gave a sculptured effect that I enjoyed seeing.

In all I did four sessions of twenty minutes. Time went by quickly, and the experience taught me new things about myself. I was not at all self-conscious. I felt totally a part of the creative process by simply being still. And I loved the results. It was tempting to ask if I might have a copy of what they had done. I knew better than to ask. The experience was not about me or a finished product. It was about helping to facilitate a practice drawing session for fellow arts.

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