One of the things I really love about art modeling is seeing the work that is produced by artists and art students. The longer I model, the more my admiration grows, especially after a session I had this past November. It was at the newly opened Art Institute in Fort Worth, and there was another model working that class as well, a lovely young woman who goes by the nickname of Barbados Pearl. It was a four hour class, and the instructor wanted the first hour to consist entirely of 30-second gesture poses. She had me on the platform for the first thirty minutes, and then Pearl would do the following half hour. Now, 60 gesture poses is a lot, and I start struggling about halfway through trying to think of poses I haven't already done. And since they are only 30 seconds each, I try to do very action-oriented poses. It can be quite strenuous, both physically and mentally.
After my 30 minutes had ended, I took a few minutes to catch my breath. Pearl was on the stand doing her 60 gestures, so I looked around the room for some paper and a pencil. I hadn't tried to draw since I had gone to a couple of open drawing sessions in 1984, back when I was still thinking about becoming a model myself. I found some old newsprint, but the only thing I could find to draw with was a ball-point pen. I quietly stood at an empty easel in my robe and attempted to draw a few of Pearl's poses. I thought that 27 years of listening to art professors talk about gesture, proportion, measuring, weight distribution, etc., etc. would help me. But no. My attempts at capturing Pearl were rather pathetic. At the time, I blamed it on the lack of pencil or charcoal. How could I capture any kind of value with just a ball-point pen? But it's more than that. I was just lost. I didn't know where to start. I tried measuring proportion with my thumbnail, but by the time I got even a single mark on the paper, Pearl was switching poses.
I gave up rather quickly, and after Pearl's 30 minutes, I walked around the room and looked at what the students had done. Some of them had done some amazing things with such short poses. That artists can see and then draw a representation of what they see just amazes me.
The rest of that class had Pearl and I posing in tandem in progressively longer poses, and I soon forgot my sad attempt at drawing. But every once in awhile, I still think that I might just buy a pad and some charcoal and go take one of the extended education life drawing courses offered around town. Of course, doing so might cost me a modeling gig or two, so I probably won't.