Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Warm Ups

Most, but not all, of the drawing sessions I do start with a series of short gesture poses.  Depending on the instructor or the session monitor, those gestures can range from ten seconds to two or three minutes.  These gestures serve as a warm up for the artists as it gets them used to seeing and drawing, moving their arms rapidly, making marks on their pages.  But it also serves as a warm up for me, the model.  I get to move quickly, taking poses that I couldn't hold for longer than two or three minutes, stretching my muscles and getting my blood flowing.  When doing anything shorter than three minutes, I always count the seconds in my head (unless the class is instructed and the teacher prefers to keep time), changing quickly from one pose to the next.

I have always been complimented on my gestures throughout my long modeling career, in my ability to come up with interesting and challenging poses.  I had never seen myself doing gestures though, only the quick sketches that have been the result of those poses.  I wanted to actually see (and critique) my poses, so, at a recent open drawing session, I took video of myself doing a series of one minute gestures.  Watching the video was surreal.  I was impressed that I was able to hold some of the poses so well, although I don't think I got the camera in the best angle to record those poses.  Of course, I was posing for the artists and not the camera.  One thing I did notice was that each pose was a little bit longer than a minute.  My counting to sixty was just a little bit slower than a regular clock.  Here is the video though, if anyone is interested.  Naturally, there is nudity in the video...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hand Model

The Texas Academy of Figurative Art just finished an 11 week Wednesday night anatomy course.  It was my honor to have been the model for all eleven sessions.  The course started with an overview of the body, then had sessions focusing on the head, the neck and shoulders, the upper and lower torso, the back, the upper and lower leg, the upper arm, the forearm, and the hand.  Last night's final session was on the structure of the hand.  Katy, an advanced student and the artist who produced the drawing that sits atop this and every blog entry here, took a few photographs of that last session.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cabin Fever

Today is Day Two of the big Dallas/Fort Worth ice storm.  It hit Thursday night.  I was told by my full time job to try to get to work.  I made a half-hearted effort Friday morning, but I ultimately decided to not risk the icy roads.  Worse than the icy roads are the other drivers.  So I have been in the house for over 48 hours now, minus a few minutes in the car Friday morning.  I really miss the warmth and the sun.  Our high temperature on Wednesday was 79 degrees.  I woke up at one point in the night last night and checked the weather app on my phone.  It said the current temperature was 15.

The novel is progressing, but I feel like I'm getting bogged down.  The entire manuscript is over 72,000 words now.  My November total was just over 60,000 words, and I've been writing a minimum of 1000 words per day since December started.  I'm pushing through.  It will be at least 90,000 words, I think, when the first draft is done.  Then the real work will start.

I have one more anatomy class at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art.  I then have a morning life drawing session at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center on December 17th and a Sunday session at the Dallas Creative Arts Center on January 19th.  After that, the spring semester will have started, and I'm hoping to pick up some modeling gigs at the University of Texas at Arlington.  It's just getting past this slow period that is the challenge.  If only the streets would thaw so I could get out...

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo Winner

I passed the 50,000 word mark for November on the 24th, and I validated that word count on the National Novel Writing Month website this morning.  I am officially a winner.  Of course, the novel is nowhere near complete.  I just got my two characters to the abortion protest that had been the original idea for the novel (besides having them meet each other when modeling for the same art class and being naked when they first see each other).

The writing has been going well, I think.  I didn't have a plot outline or anything, but I did have a rough idea in my head.  My characters have taken over, and things have been happening that I had never planned.  I guess that's a good thing.  Art modeling is a huge part of the story, and several scenes have taken place within the drawing classes of the University of North Texas.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


This was the Facebook status I posted this morning:

On November 6, 1984, 29 years ago today, I modeled for the Tuesday evening open figure drawing session at the University of Arkansas. I had never done anything like that before, and to say I was nervous would have been a gross understatement. I wasn't sure I would be able to go through with it even after I got into the room. But go through with it I did, and everything worked out. Now that I'm thinking about it, 29 years is the amount of time that Tom Landry coached the Dallas Cowboys.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Novel Update

I have passed the 10,000 word mark for November a full day ahead of the pace.  And as I said in the last post, I had 4000 words done before November started, so the manuscript is actually over 14,000 words now.  Here's an excerpt from the first draft of Chapter One (it very much revolves around art modeling, but it is fiction):

               The first time I ever laid eyes on Lydia Nelson, she was as naked as Lady Godiva on her famous ride through Coventry.  Of course, I could also say that the first time Lydia ever laid eyes on me, I was as naked as Michelangelo’s David.  So in that, we were even.
                I had been modeling for the figure drawing classes at the university for almost a year when she stepped into my life.  Late in the semester most of the classes used two models in some sort of long pose.  I had already done one such class earlier that week, with a young waif of a girl named Kelsey.  I had known Kelsey before we shared a platform; she and I had met several times in the little changing room that was shared by all the models.  The University of North Texas had what was probably the largest art program in the state.  There were at least two classes using models at any one time during the day from Monday through Thursday.  So the models’ changing room was very busy whenever one set of classes, say the eight o’clock to ten-fifty period, ended and then next classes, like the eleven o’clock to one-fifty period, began.
                I show up early to every class, and that Thursday two o’clock class was no exception.  Two other models were in the changing room when I got there, getting dressed from the previous session.  One of them was Walter, who was a fixture in the art department.  He had been a model at UNT for at least twenty years, and was the only person on the model list older than I was.  The other model was a beautiful blonde student named Rochelle.  She was topless with a bra in her hand when I gave a courtesy knock and entered, her large breasts, with the colorless almost white nipples, seeming to defy gravity.
“Hey guys,” I said as I slipped into the room, being careful to make sure that the door didn’t swing too far open, not that Walter or Rochelle would have minded an audience that much after having just spent three hours in their birthday suits in front of a classroom full of people.
“How goes it?” I said in polite greeting.
I found a spot on the counter next to Rochelle’s stuff to set my bag, zipped it open, and rummaged around for my robe.
“Ready to go home and soak in a hot bath,” Rochelle said as she slipped into her bra and tried to fasten it in the back.
She continued to struggle as I pulled my shoes and socks off.  Finally, I stepped behind her.  “Here,” I said and fastened the bra for her.
“Thanks.  One long three hour pose,” she said, shaking her head.  “My left arm doesn’t want to bend like it used to.”
“How many breaks?” I asked.
“Just Three.”
“You are an iron woman,” Walter said.  He slung his backpack on and started for the door.  “Catch y’all later.”
Rochelle and I both said bye as Walter slipped out.  I looked at the schedule on the wall as I slipped out of my pants and saw “David Michaels & Lydia Nelson” under the 2 to 5 Room 324 column.
                “Do you know this Lydia I’m supposed to be modeling with?” I asked Rochelle.
                “Nope.  I saw her name on the schedule last week, but I’ve never met her.”
                “You should hang around,” I suggested.  “If she doesn’t show, you might get some extra hours.”  The thought of sharing a platform for three hours with a nude Rochelle was a very pleasant one.
                “I would if I wasn’t already tired as hell.  Besides, she must have showed up last week, or she wouldn’t have been on the schedule this time.”
                That was true.  The UNT model coordinator was very unforgiving of models who didn’t show up when they were scheduled.   Rochelle pulled her t-shirt on as I slipped mine off.
                “Good luck with ‘Lydia,’” Rochelle said.
                I was naked by then, shaking my robe out and trying to find my sleeve, which had been turned inside out after my last session.  Rochelle backed out the door, looking at me and winking as she went.
                “See ya,” I said, and then I was alone.

                I put my robe on and tied it closed.  My house slippers were still in my bag.  I pulled them out, dropped them on the floor, and put my bare feet into them.  I thought about staying in the changing room and waiting for Lydia, just so I could introduce myself before we had to spend three hours naked together.  I looked at the clock on the wall and saw that I had four minutes until the schedule start of class.  I started folding my clothes and setting them on the top of my modeling bag.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Novel November

This blog will probably be silent for the next month as I pour all of my writing energy into a novel.  I've always considered myself a writer even though I have gone long periods without writing any stories.  But even during those periods, I was writing something.  Writing a Facebook status is writing something.  And I've written two blogs over the past few years, a pro-life one and this one on art modeling.

I started the novel a little over a week ago, and I'm about 4,000 words into it.  I've taken the last couple of days off from writing to finish the book I've been reading (Stephen King's 11/22/63 which I highly recommend) and to prepare myself for the big National Novel Writing Month.  Technically, I should be starting from scratch on November 1st, but doing the 50,000 words in 30 days challenge was something that just hit me in the last couple of days.  So, if I do get 50,000 words by November 30th, my novel will be sitting at around 54,000 words.  And to be marketable, it needs to be around 70 to 80 thousand words.  And I very much want it to be marketable.  Being an author doesn't have to make me rich, but if it would just replace the income from my full time IT job and allow me more time to model, then I would be a very happy camper.

And by the way, the novel will center around two art models who first meet when they model for an art class together.  Their relationship develops when they participate in an unconventional and controversial anti-abortion protest.  So the novel will be a blending of my two blogs and will deal with such uncontroversial subjects as religion, sex, and politics.  It's something that I hope takes on a life of its own.  I'd much rather create my characters and let them determine where this thing goes rather than scripting the entire thing.  I'm hoping that writing that many words in that short of a time frame sparks that very thing.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Vacation Day

I took a vacation day from my full-time job this past Tuesday.  I don't get many since I'm still new.  I have five regular vacation days and one floating holiday for 2013, and Tuesday was my next-to-last available day.  And how did I spend that day?  I managed to get booked for a couple of classes at the University of North Texas.  Does it seem odd to take vacation days from one job so that I can go work at another?  If it were any other job, I would say yes, but modeling is, to me, not just any other job.  I love any opportunity to model that I can get.  I'm already looking at a date in November to take and go model again, using that last vacation day.

The classes I did were Drawing II classes, and we did the perspective exercise that I blogged about last spring.  This time though (and for the first time in my near 29 year modeling career), I managed to get video of myself modeling.

The casting agency that was doing the casting for Naked and Afraid contacted me about a new show they are doing.  I applied for it (without a clear understanding of what I would be doing if I were selected), and my application was advanced to the interview stage.  I did a phone interview which I had to video.  I then had to upload that video to the production company.  As part of that process, they wanted me to submit about thirty photographs of myself in my every day life.  They also wanted me to shoot and upload a "B-Roll," video of myself, doing what I do.  So I took video of myself sitting at my desk at work, going into the church, and holding a baby in the nursery.  I also found a video clip of myself playing vintage base ball that I uploaded with the others.  And on Tuesday, I took and uploaded video of myself modeling for a drawing class.

Getting the video wasn't easy.  I did several one minute gesture poses for the class that I tried to shoot.  But in the resulting video, I was only visible from the shoulders up.  I changed the position of my borrowed iPhone (the production company specified iPhone because it would take 1080P high definition video) and went into a 20 minute pose.  The result was a fifteen minute video of myself being really still (when the entire B-Roll footage was supposed to have been about five minutes).  Of course, I couldn't break the pose to turn the video off, and I wasn't going to ask the teacher or one of the students to disrupt their class time to do it for me.  So the video ran until the iPhone ran out of space.

I did upload the entire fifteen minutes to the production company and told them they could edit it down however they wanted.  The beginning of the video should be usable since the instructor is in the shot giving instruction to her students as I got into the pose.  What I found really interesting was watching the video with the FF button pressed.  I could see my respiration and that my facial expression changed a bit as the pose went on.  But other than that, I stayed really still.  It was a simple standing pose, and there wasn't any swaying or fidgeting.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Modeling and Survival Practice

I've got multiple modeling gigs scheduled this week, which is a very good thing.  I was at the University of North Texas yesterday modeling for a couple of Drawing II classes.  For most students in those classes, yesterday was their very first experience in drawing a nude model.  There's nothing like being their first...

I'm less optimistic about my chances for getting on season two of Naked and Afraid.  I got an email from the producer I talked on the phone with, and she said that, at this point, they were not interviewing anyone else without "hard core" survival skills.  A little while later, I got a Facebook message from the production company (in answer to a message I had sent them last week) saying that I was under consideration.  I've got my family all set for a series of camping trips over the next year, where I will practice such things as staring a fire using multiple methods, trapping small game, fishing, eating roots and berries, etc. in the hopes that there is a season 3 of Naked and Afraid that I could try for.

I know a lot about survival, about finding water and purifying it if necessary, about finding food, building shelter, drying meat for preservation, and tanning a hide with the brain of the animal.  What I don't have is much actual experience doing such things.  I'm always working or modeling or fulfilling some family obligation.  My full time job provides very little paid time off, and I just can't afford to take a leave and go live off the land for any extended period of time.  That's what I hope to get out of this show, a leave paid for by the production company to practice my survival skills for three weeks.  I had hoped that the nudity, which doesn't bother me in the least, would keep their pool of applicants low enough to give me a chance of being chosen.

I have given some thought to how such an experience would change me.  How would I view modern society after living away from it for those three weeks?  How would I see myself after having to struggle for everything (water, food, and shelter) that we take for granted in this society?  How would others see me after seeing me in the wild on their television?  Would I still have that Baby Whisperer touch in the church nursery where I volunteer every week, or would some of that gentleness have left me from the Naked and Afraid experience?  Would I be able to come back to work and sit at my computer after living, really living, in the wild for three weeks?  Gosh, I would love the opportunity to find out all of those things.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Things that Make Me Say Wow

The Texas Academy of Figurative Art recently redesigned its website.  With that redesign came an updated student gallery.  All the pieces in that gallery are amazing, but I'm naturally partial to the three of them that feature me as the model.  One of those is the drawing from my long 42 hour pose earlier this year.  The artist is a young lady named Katy who also did the drawing at the top of my blog.  Her drawing of me in that long pose is one of the most amazing drawings of myself I have ever seen...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Agony of Da Feet

I posted last time about my application to the Discovery Channel primitive survival show Naked and Afraid.  I'm still hoping/waiting for a callback on that, but I decided that I needed to prepare myself just in case I, by some miracle, do get chosen.  So I started taking my evening walks barefooted to toughen the soles of my feet.  My first such barefooted walk was Saturday night.  I modeled for the Sunday open figure drawing lab at the Dallas Creative Arts Center the following day, and my feet killed me the entire three hours.  The gestures were difficult enough, but the first 30 minute pose was a standing one.  Normally, I love standing poses, but this one was a struggle with my sore feet.

My mistake, I think, was staying on the concrete sidewalk.  I went on another walk Monday night and varied my surfaces from concrete to green grass to bare dirt to brown, dead grass.  I also walked across the playground at the park which is composed of wood shavings.  That wood felt worse than anything.

I wrote a blog post last year called Getting My Head Examined about modeling for a portrait session.  Maybe I do need my head examined in another way for wanting to be on this Naked and Afraid show.  I first watched it in a hotel room in Austin.  I was going to testify before the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee the following day regarding the "fetal pain" bill, so I had a lot on my mind.  As soon as I saw the show, I immediately wanted to be on it.  That desire was so strong that I had to quit watching before the episode ended.  I figured my chances for getting on were very slim, so I put it out of my mind.  I didn't think about it again until I came across a casting call for season two when browsing Craig's List (looking for opportunities to model for art classes).

Now, I keep checking my phone and my email, hoping for that call to go to Los Angeles for the next step in the casting process.  Nothing so far.

My desire to be on this show can be attributed, I think, to many things.  Number one is my love of the nude human form, especially nudity that has nothing whatsoever to do with sex.  I also crave adventure.  That's why I am not content in just my day job and why I keep modeling.  I love to travel, and yet, I've never been outside of the United States.  I want a break from the daily grind of work and traffic.  And finally, I love the pureness of this idea.  I've said before in this blog that I feel pure when I model nude.  I play vintage base ball because of the pureness of the game under those 1860's rules: no gloves, no over-running first base on a ground ball without the risk of being tagged out, etc.  The challenge presented by Naked and Afraid is the challenge faced by our very distant ancestors; how to survive in a hostile world without any modern conveniences.  The survivalists on the show are purely human, as created by God, without any of the added things that make our lives more comfortable (or complacent).

I will be taking a crash course in survival techniques until one of two things happen: 1) I get confirmation that I am no longer being considered for the show, or 2) I leave for my three-week survival destination (a tropical island perhaps, or the Outback, or the Amazon, or the Congo, or some other exotic and challenging locale). One way or another, let the adventure begin.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Naked and Afraid

I came across a casting call for the Discovery Channel show Naked and Afraid last night, and I submitted an email to them. I've only watched the show once, but it was interesting. Two strangers of the opposite sex are put into the wild without anything (including clothing). They then have to survive for three weeks.

The casting call was looking for survivalists, and I have virtually no experience in that area. But I figured, why not submit anyway. I'm sure that they have more challenges in casting that show than most others. After I sent the email last night, I got on their Facebook page this morning and found an online form to fill out. About an hour or two later, I got an email from someone at the production company asking for a phone number and a good time to call. I answered, and she called about 20 minutes into the time window I gave her.

I gave her my life history, including my college degrees, my stint working for the New York Public Library, my current IT career, and my part time nude art modeling job and how it came to be the main topic of conversation with Regis when I was on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. She also asked about my church and how being a Southern Baptist conflicted (or not) with my being a nude model. She also asked about my political affiliation, and I told her about my run as the Libertarian Party candidate for State Representative in 2012. When she asked about my outdoor survival experience, I was honest and told her that I didn't have much. I did give her the pitch that the first half of the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away would have been boring if the main character had been a survival expert before he crashed near that island, that it was his struggle and discovery that made that movie compelling. When she asked me which environment I preferred among jungle, tropical island, desert, or swamp, I chose tropical island. I told her I chose that because rainfall is fairly regular in the tropics and that making some kind of container for rain collection would provide me and my companion a clean water supply for the three weeks. Swamps had a lot of water, I said, but a lot of it is stagnant. And finding water would be a struggle in a desert. She seemed pleased with that response, and she told me that most people chose the tropical island but don't really give a survival reason why...

I think it was a good conversation. She said she thought I was a good fit for the show (mainly because I was more than comfortable with the nudity involved) but that she had concerns about my survival skills. She said they would talk about it and get back to me next week. If I were selected as a final candidate, I would be flown out to Los Angeles for more interviews. I put my chances at getting into that final candidate status at about 10 percent because of that lack of survival experience, etc. But it would certainly be an adventure...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Impractical Jokers

I'm always a bit critical whenever popular media (TV shows, movies, etc.) tries to portray the job of a male art model.  The model in the movie Art School Confidential was depicted as nothing more than a creepy exhibitionist.  And as I recall, the TV show Ally McBeal featured a life drawing class in which one model substituted for another in the same pose and during the same drawing.  And the pose was one which a model would never have been able to hold for the length of time depicted in the episode.

Over the last year, I have become a fan of the TruTV show Impractical Jokers.  Four supposedly life-long friends compete in a series of challenges designed to embarrass each other in public.  The loser of each episode has to perform some kind of humiliating task at the end of each episode.  The show is hysterically funny, and there have been times that I have thought that I was going to hurt myself from laughing so hard.

Last night's loser was James Murray or Murr as he's called on the show, and his task was to model, nude, for a drawing class.  Of course, the other three had some surprises up their sleeves, like a rotating platform. The result was, as usual for this show, hilarious. Here's a clip of Murr's "punishment."  TruTV shows a lot of reruns, so I'm sure this episode will be on again...

The Impractical Jokers Facebook page even had some of the sketches done of Murr during his modeling experience...

Monday, August 19, 2013


Summer is always a really slow time for modeling, and this summer has seemed especially slow.  I've modeled twice since April 21st, and one of those was for a brand new drawing group's first attempt at a session.  I was scheduled to model last Tuesday night for a class at my local community arts center, but a few hours before the class was supposed to have started, I got a call saying that it had been cancelled due to a lack of registrations.  I was disappointed, both because I didn't get to model and because the lack of interest in drawing the human figure seems to be increasing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The same instructor will be trying another figure drawing class at that same arts center on September 24th, and I am, once again, the scheduled model.  If the arts center won't promote the class enough to get the minimum number of people to sign up, perhaps I should put a post in the Artists' section on Craig's List or something.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Itch

I was counting it up, and I've only modeled twice since April 21st.  It's the end of July, and the prospects for bookings over the next month don't look good.  When I don't get to model for a long time, I get anxious, and I go looking for places and groups to model for.  I found a place that does sketch nights kind of like the Kettle used to do, and I've offered to volunteer as a model for them.  We'll see what they say.

I don't know why I get so anxious.  Being a nude model is such a part of how I identify myself, so when I don't get to do it much, I feel unfulfilled somehow.  And I even hesitate to call myself a nude model any more.  I like to think of myself as a pure model, as in purely human without all the extra accouterments that society compels us to put on.

Maybe my IT job is too consuming, or maybe our recent move from one house to another has been taking up too much time and resources, or maybe it's just a combination of everything that is leaving me feeling frustrated.  I like to think of myself as atypical.  I don't want to be the typical IT guy, the typical Christian, the typical political activist, or the typical model.  Yet, when I confine myself to any of those titles to the exclusion of the others, typical is how I feel.

I'm sure these feelings will pass once the fall semester gets started, as long as I'm able to book modeling gigs.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ground Zero

The job in Wyoming that I interviewed for didn't pan out.  I suspect that I was too expensive for them as I had to list the salaries from my last three jobs on the application.  It's just as well since my wife wasn't too keen on moving right now.  So I get to keep modeling in the Dallas/Fort Worth area whenever my schedule allows me to take bookings.

I took a vacation day yesterday and spent it in the Texas State Capitol building in Austin as it has become ground zero in the abortion debate.  Considering that the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision struck down a Texas statute, perhaps the Texas Capitol has always been a ground zero in that debate.  I was one of several hundred who testified at a hearing of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  I would probably be called a hardcore pro-lifer.  I believe that government exists to protect the right to life, liberty, and property of every person.  I believe that the definition of person must include every living organism that can be biologically classified as homo sapien.

That being said, I was very critical of the supposedly pro-life bill in question when I testified to the committee.  Each witness only had a maximum of two minutes to speak, so I had to give an extremely condensed version of the written testimony that I submitted.

All in all, it was an amazing day.  I feel very fortunate to live in a country where I can participate in the political process.

If anyone is interested, a copy of the written testimony I submitted to the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee can be found on my other blog here:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

To Lie or Not to Lie

I had a preliminary phone interview for a job in Wyoming last week.  The job is technology manager for a county public library system.  Since I have a Masters degree in library science, and I've worked in corporate IT for most of the past 15 years, the job would be perfect for me.

The interview consisted of ten or so rather standard questions.  One of the questions was, "What was your favorite job and why?"  I paused for a moment.  The people interviewing me had my resume, edited for just that position.  Nowhere on it did it say anything about my being a nude model.  But my favorite job?  The job I have loved and enjoyed the most out of all the various positions I've held?  It's not even close.  Modeling, and especially nude modeling for figure drawing, has been and will probably always be my favorite job.

I like to be honest with whomever I'm talking to, but I wasn't sure how the disclosure of my nude modeling would go over with the panelists conducting the interview.  I remember a telephone conversation I had in 2001 with an associate producer from the ABC gameshow "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."  I had already won a spot on the show by playing their phone game, and this AP was just conducting an interview for my biography card.  If I made it to the "hot seat" on the show, that card would go to host Regis Philbin so that he could pick something interesting to talk about on the air.  The AP asked me about my past jobs and which was my favorite, and I immediately told her about being a model for college drawing classes.  I remember her asking how I got into it, and I told her something like, "A cute girl in my college dorm told me she drew naked models in her art class, and I just immediately wanted to be one of those naked models."  The AP stammered for a little bit, and finally admitted that this was the first time she had ever been shocked doing a contestant interview.  She asked if I really wanted that included on my card, which might then be talked about in front of a national television audience of millions.  I thought for just a moment, and said yes.  Modeling was just a part of who I was, and I didn't want to hide it in what might become my fifteen minutes of fame.  And of course, it had already been determined that I was going on the show.  I wasn't risking anything in that phone conversation.

But this job interview was different.  I wanted to continue to be considered for the Wyoming job, even though it might mean a major upheaval in my life, and I was sure that dropping the bombshell that I am a part time nude model would kill that.  This job, if I got it, might even mean the end of my modeling career.  But I'm ready for a change of scenery.  And I'm sure that, eventually, I would find a class or a group of artists to model for.  So I lied.  I picked one of the jobs on the resume that they had in front of them.  I think my answer sounded good.  I hope so, at least.  But we'll see what happens...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hectic Schedule

I haven't posted much lately.  Of course, I haven't modeled much lately either.  The last gig I had was the Sunday drawing lab at the Dallas Creative Arts Center on April 21st.  My new job provides no paid time off during the first 90 days of employment.  I started on March 13th, so I will hit that 90 day mark this week.  After that, I will have one floating holiday and five vacation days to take until the end of the year.  I've already scheduled three days for a baseball road trip with my family the first week of August.  We plan on hitting the Louisville Slugger factory and museum, going to a Reds game in Cincinnati and a couple of Pirates-Rockies games in Pittsburgh.  I'm really looking forward to it since I need time away from everything here in Texas.

My older son's baseball schedule has kept us busy most weekends, and he usually has at least one week night practice a week.  My boss at my new job wants the IT staff to work at least 43 hours per week this summer.  My commute home from work can best be described as construction hell.  It seems as if every freeway in Tarrant County, Texas is under construction.  A new project just started on I-35W, just north of Loop 820.  Of course, none of the other projects (Loop 820, I-20 near the Hulen Mall, 183 in the mid-cities, 121 in Grapevine, I-30 near downtown Fort Worth, etc.) are even close to being finished.  My route home takes me through two of those construction projects.  If there happens to be a wreck  or a breakdown somewhere on the way, traffic is tied up for miles.  With all the concrete construction barriers, there is nowhere for cars to pull off.

I sit in traffic every day and think about leaving the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I have applied for two jobs in Wyoming and one in Colorado, and I'll probably apply for a few more.  Such a move might put the brakes on any modeling I might do, simply because of the lack of opportunity in a state like Wyoming.  But the slower pace, the much lower population density, the cooler summers, the beautiful mountain scenery, the proximity to ski resorts, all appeals to me.  I lived in Colorado for over a year in 1994-95, and I loved it.  It has been a dream of mine to get back to the Rocky Mountain region, and Wyoming sounds wonderful (the lack of a state income tax there helps).

I don't know if any of these opportunities will come to fruition, but I keep dreaming...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The 42 Hour Pose

I've been planning this post for awhile, but my new full-time IT job has kept me too busy to sit down and write it.  The job is OK, and it is nice to be getting a full paycheck.  But I miss all the modeling gigs I got to do during the weekday hours after I was laid off.

One of those modeling gigs was a long pose at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art (TAFA).  And by long pose, I mean one lasting several weeks.  It was a standing pose with one foot up on a block, my back to most of the students.  My left arm was away from my torso holding a pole while my right arm hung at my side.  The pose was challenging, but I had enough breaks during the sessions to make it bearable.  The real challenge was getting back into the same position after each break.  The feet were easy since outlines were marked on the platform and on the block.  The turn of my head was a little tricky.  I marked the spot where my gaze was fixed with a little piece of blue tape, and I always moved my eyes back and forth whenever I resumed the pose, to make sure the edges of my peripheral vision were the same as before.  The left arm, the one holding the pole, was always the most difficult to get right.  A mark had been made on the floor for the bottom of the pole, but there was no way to mark either the top or the angle of the pole.  It was a best guess, with the students checking my position against their drawings.  At some point during that first session, I made a mark on the wall with blue tape, and started each resumption of the pose by putting the top of the pole on that mark before moving into position.  I tried to memorize that motion of moving the pole away from the wall and into the pose.  That seemed to work for the most part.

The sessions were every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, from 1:00 to 4:00, and they lasted seven weeks, 42 hours in all.  I held the pose 15 to 20 minutes at a time with 5 to 8 minute breaks in between.  So if my pose to break ratio was three to one, I was in the pose somewhere between 31 and 32 hours.

The work produced by Ron and his students during such a long pose was exquisite (as is most of the work produced at TAFA).  Some students worked on the same drawing the entire seven weeks while others moved about the room and did multiple drawings.  I did get a few shots just after the pose ended on the last day.

While I did get rather tired of that pose (and especially of looking at a spot on the wall, faced away from all of the artists), I do miss getting to model at TAFA so often.  I love the work that they do there, and I hope that, somehow, I get to do another long pose there in the not-too-distant future.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Fun of Modeling

**I'm going to include a few photos with this post.  The last one will be a full frontal, not-safe-for-work shot, so  if you'd rather not see it, don't scroll all the way down.**

I've had quite a few fun sessions this past week, which just makes my return to full-time IT work that much more difficult.  Last Wednesday (the day Van Cliburn died), I was the model for a project in which each member of the class participated in a single drawing.  They all took turns placing marks on the page, filling in whatever they thought the drawing needed at the time.  And the drawing was done on large paper attached to the wall.  The result was moved out into the hallway gallery, and I got a shot of it below.  It's not the most accurate drawing anatomically or proportionally, but the class had a great time doing it.  And I had fun watching them (until my back started hurting from the pose).

This week at the University of North Texas, the Drawing II classes have been working on a fun project.  The students have to draw from the model doing one of three things:  exaggeration (making one or more body parts larger than normal), dislocation (moving body parts around by changing perspective, etc.), or transfiguration (drawing the figure and incorporating some kind of animal into it).  To help with the transfiguration, several stuffed, toy, or model animals were scattered throughout the room.  Here's the setup of the room I was in earlier today:

The most impressive stuffed animal was, of course, the mountain lion.  Unfortunately, my pose was independent of everything else, so I didn't get to do one that looked like I was interacting with it.  The class did do some warm-up gestures before the long drawings, and I did do one two-minute pose bent over with my arm outstretched toward the raccoon, as if I were offering it food (probably not a good idea if it were a live raccoon).

Here are some shots of some of the drawings at the end of class...

And finally, I couldn't resist getting a picture of myself with the mountain lion.  One of the students graciously took this shot of me on my phone (NSFW):

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All Good Things...

With great relief and sadness, I report that I have accepted a new full-time IT position and that I will start my new job on March 13th.  I am relieved that our family income will now be restored to 2012 levels, meaning that we can continue paying the mortgage, car payment, etc.  I am sad because my availability to model will be drastically cut from what it has been these past two months.

Since the semester started in mid-January, I have had a wonderful time modeling fifteen to twenty hours per week at several different schools.  Instead of getting up and going to a job that I felt like I had to go to, I got to go to a job that I loved.  Every modeling gig I had, I went with the attitude that I was privileged to be there and that I was going to give those students or those artists the best session that any model could ever give.  I was having so much fun that I was beginning to look at home-based businesses and work-from-home opportunities just to keep my days open to model while still bringing in enough money to live on.  But alas, nothing I saw started out paying as much as a full time information technology position would, and I need the income now.  In the current economy, I feel fortunate to have gotten a new job after only two months off.

I did push my start date back a couple of weeks to accommodate all the model bookings I had.  Yesterday, I had to cancel my only long-range bookings (four dates in April at Mountain View College), and doing so nearly broke my heart.  I hate having to cancel any model booking.  Counting the two classes I did yesterday (at two different schools), I will have 19 hours of modeling this week.  I also have a Tuesday morning session at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center next week, the day before I start my new job.

I will still model evenings and weekends, but most of the soliciting I've done for the current semester has been for weekday classes.  I don't have much going on in the evenings this spring, so I may not get to model much for a little while after I start my new job.  But I will definitely keep modeling for whatever sessions I can get; I plan on doing it until I get so old and decrepit that I can no longer hold a pose...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Van Cliburn

I had a fun class at Mountain View College in Dallas this morning, but in the middle of it, I learned via news on my smartphone that local pianist and icon Van Cliburn had passed away.  He'd suffered with bone cancer for the past view months, so his passing was expected but still sad.

Van Cliburn first came to prominence in 1958 when he did what was previously thought impossible:  he, an American, won the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.  I attended a concert on December 31, 1990 in which he played with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the experience of seeing him play his signature piece, Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, live is something that I will never forget.  I also attended the first official baseball game ever played at the Texas Rangers' Ballpark in Arlington in 1994, and Van Cliburn and the Fort Worth Symphony played the National Anthem before the game.  That remains the most amazing rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" that I've ever heard.

And some time in 1998, I was shopping for DVDs at a BestBuy close to my apartment.  When I turned to look at another rack, I was surprised to see Van Cliburn standing next to me.  I said, "Excuse me, but you look just like Van Cliburn."  He smiled, offered his hand, and said, "That's because I am Van Cliburn."  We had a nice little conversation, and I told him about the times I had seen him play.  He remembered that New Year's Eve concert very fondly.

Here's video of Van Cliburn playing the first ten minutes of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto, taken in Moscow during his return trip there in 1962.  I wish I could find video of the entire piece, but this will have to do.  Rest in Peace Van Cliburn.

ADDENDUM:  I know I posted this last week, but I have to add an addendum here.  I found a video of that National Anthem performance at the opening of the Ballpark in Arlington, attached to the article here:

Monday, February 25, 2013


It's Monday night, and I still haven't heard anything about the two job interviews I had last week.  I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing, even though I know I can't go on like this forever.  I feel like I'm having the time of my life, but I'm sacrificing financial security and peace of mind for that time.  I woke up this morning, knowing that I would get to model for an 8:00 to 11:00 class and an 11:00 to 2:00 class at the University of North Texas.  And then I thought about how wonderful it would be if I always had a job that I "got to" go to rather than "had to" go to.

Anyway, my two classes were both Drawing II classes at UNT, in the same room, and today they were doing an exercise on perspective.  There was a large rectangle on the floor, and the students were supposed to draw that rectangle, preferably from a corner.  I would then take three different poses in that rectangle, and the students would have to draw all three figures on the same drawing.  They would all be standing poses, so my eye level was supposed to be at the same height on the paper in all the poses.  Here's a picture of the room this morning, with the rectangle laid out with masking tape on the floor.

It's a little different feel being off the model stand and on the floor at the same level as the students.  I kind of like it, and I like doing the standing poses.  The only bad thing about the whole thing was winding up with charcoal all over my feet from the floor.  In fact, I gave up on my slippers early on, and just went barefoot the whole day.  My feet were a mess when it was all over.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Illness, Unemployment, and Job Interviews

I've had a wonderfully busy six weeks of modeling.  My long pose at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art is now in its fifth week, and the pieces that are being produced are looking fantastic.  I took this picture in the middle of week three...

I'm not crazy about a back pose since I have to spend all my time looking at the wall, but I do love the work that is being done by the artists.  I wound up catching the flu during the second week of this pose.  I felt fine for the Tuesday session, but by Wednesday night, my head was pounding with a fever of 101 degrees.  I didn't feel any better Thursday morning, and I had chills.  I didn't want to cancel the session since they couldn't very well hire a sub for this long pose.  I was bundled up at home and couldn't stop shivering, and I wondered how I could model nude and be able to hold a pose.  I had some 800mg Ibuprofen pills left from a bout with strep throat the previous year, and I took one of those.  My fever went down, and the chills stopped.  So, I went to TAFA to model.  Since I was facing the wall, I wasn't breathing toward anyone, and I made it a point to keep to myself during that session and not speak to any of the artists.  As far as I know, no one caught the flu from me.  I don't recommend modeling with such an illness, and I probably wouldn't have done it if I hadn't been in the middle of a continuing pose like this.  I have to say probably though since I like to maintain my reputation as a dependable model, one who is going to show up on time every time.

I've also modeled for multiple sessions at Mountain View College and the University of North Texas.  I did a Friday evening with some very talented teenagers from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.  My session a few weeks ago at Friday Night Lights and Shadows went well.  I was able to hold the Dying Slave pose for the entire three hours with regular breaks.  The more I model, the more I love modeling.  I wish there were only some way I could do it full time and make a real living at it.

I've been on unemployment since the start of January.  The salary at my old job was such that I am getting the maximum unemployment benefit, $440.00 per week.  The maximum allowed earnings on unemployment is 125% of that, or $550.  So, if I make $110 or less modeling in a week, I still get $440 dollars in unemployment compensation.  If I make $120 modeling, I get $430 in unemployment, and if I make $150 modeling in a week, I get $400 in unemployment.  And so on...

I've been talking to recruiters and sending out resumes regularly since before I was laid off, but I've not had any serious job prospects until this week.  I have an interview tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:00 before I go model at TAFA that afternoon.  Depending on how long the interview goes, I may have to show up at TAFA in a suit and tie before stripping down to nothing.  Talk about contrasts.  But I would take nude over a suit any day and for any class.  I also have an interview with another company the following day.  So things are looking up on the job front.  I hate to think of having to give up all this modeling availability, but my family and I need some financial stability and security, something only a full-time job will bring.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blogging for a Year

I took a look back at the blog and saw that today marks the one year anniversary of the first blog post.  Since then, I have made 36 entries, about one every week and a half or so.  Not too bad.

I've been taking advantage of my free time to model a lot lately.  I'm currently two weeks into a multi-week long pose at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art.  Throughout my modeling career, I have loved doing the short pose sessions, ones that start with quick one to three minute gesture poses before moving on to twenty or thirty minute ones.  I've always been complimented on my gestures.  But lately, I've been wanting to be a part of something that will last and that might be seen in galleries, etc.  So I have volunteered for some long poses.  The one I'm doing at TAFA will last five or six weeks.

I also took on a challenging three-hour pose this past Friday night for a group of artists and painters, called Friday Night Lights and Shadows.  At my suggestion, I did a close approximation of Michelangelo's Dying Slave sculpture.  I did it not because I'm a masochist but because I truly wanted to see something special in the pieces that night.  Unfortunately, I spent all my break time recooperating my body and trying to stay loose, so I didn't see much of the art work produced.  But maybe I'll be surprised one day and see one on exhibit somewhere...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Health and Absurdity

I have a confession to make:  I hate going to the doctor.  I don't like to be poked or prodded or inspected.  That may seem strange coming from someone who routinely presents his nude body for study to entire classes of art students.  But modeling for art classes is easy compared to going to the doctor.  First of all, I get paid for modeling; I have to pay to have a doctor look at me.  Going to the doctor is also an admission of fragility or fallibility, something that is not easy for some of us guys to do.  And finally, there is that ultimate fear that the doctor might find something seriously wrong.

So, I usually put off going to the doctor unless I'm in really bad shape.  I go when I have a fever or when my throat is so raw that I can't speak.  Other than that, my wife has to make me go.  A little over a year ago, I was having issues with urination.  I was going more often than usual, and I was producing a rather weak stream.  I didn't think much of it at the time; in fact, I don't think I really noticed the issue until I was in a pose in a drawing class.  I got the feeling that I needed to pee, a feeling which only got stronger as the pose went on.  Once the teacher called a break, I quickly donned the robe and headed toward the men's room.  I got barely a trickle out once I got there.  "Really?" I thought.  I had felt about to bust for just this little amount?

I got back in another pose, and the feeling hit me again.  It was like that the entire class.  Once it was over, and once I was clothed and out in the textiled world, I went on about my business.  I didn't feel any different.  When I had to pee, I went to the restroom.  I chalked up my experience in that class to an off day.  Maybe I had a little virus or something that would quickly go away.

The next class I did was a double model session.  We were to do one pose for the entire three hours.  Rhia, the beautiful young female model sharing the platform with me, took a reclining pose.  I did a standing pose behind her.  It didn't take too long for that feeling of needing to pee to hit me.  At one point, I asked Jim, the instructor, for a break (something I never do) to make a run to the restroom.  Once again, I got barely a trickle, and the feeling of needing to pee wasn't even relieved.  I got back into pose, and spent the rest of the class with the mortal fear that I was going to pee on the reclining girl in front of me.  I went to the restroom at every break, but produced very little actual urine.  It was excruciating, but what could I do?  I finished the class, probably the most difficult class I've ever had to endure, and I am happy to report that Rhia never got peed on.

I went to the doctor the very next day.  She did a quick rectal exam and told me that I had a greatly enlarged prostate.  She had a blood test done, and as I waited for the results in the examining room, that big C word, cancer, never left my mind.  The doctor came back in and said that the tests were negative; that my prostate was just enlarged.  She gave me some pills to help shrink it back down, and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

So I can credit modeling with helping me stay aware of my body and of anything that feels wrong.  How long might I have gone on with my enlarged prostate if I hadn't been modeling?  And what if something had been more seriously wrong while I put off going to the doctor?  They say that early detection helps save lives, so modeling would have helped save mine.  I have always loved modeling for a variety of reasons, but my health had never been one of them until the prostate incident last year.  Now I have even more reasons to love it.

And in how many jobs can one find oneself in the absurd situtation of being in fear of peeing on someone while having to maintain the same position for an extended period of time?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


My full-time job came to an end on December 31 (the details of my lay-off can be found here).  I've kept busy with other things the past couple of weeks, but I am happy that the new semester is starting up.  I had two modeling gigs today, after almost a month without any.  The session this morning was at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, but only one artist showed up.  We had a dusting of sleet and snow overnight here in Fort Worth, and I surmise that the weather kept the other attendees away.  People around here don't know how to drive in winter weather, so it doesn't take much to bring things to a standstill.

The lady who did come to draw arrived twenty minutes late.  When she walked into the room, I was sitting on the model platform in my robe reading a copy of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham.  (I read a lot of Presidential biographies.)  She suggested that I continue reading while she drew.  I had never read while in a pose.  I did a couple of double-model classes a year or two ago at Texas Woman's University, and the other model on the platform with me would read her book during the longer poses.  I didn't say anything to anybody because I like to allow the instructor to be in charge of everything, but reading during a pose just seemed to be disrespectful to the students.  How could the artists draw that model's hands when she was regularly moving them to turn the pages of her book?  I guess I take the view that I'm not going to do my personal reading when I'm getting paid to model for a class.

But today, the only attendee at the morning session was insistent that I read while she drew, so I did.  I read about 70 pages during the two hours that she drew me.

The afternoon session was at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art.  I did a three hour long standing pose.  A lot of models don't like standing poses, but I don't mind them.  At least one of my feet usually goes to sleep during seated poses, but I don't have that problem when standing.  The students' drawings were, as usual at TAFA, outstanding.  I'll be at TAFA every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for the next few weeks, and I'm looking forward to seeing more amazing drawings of myself.