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.