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...