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.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the new job! Though I totally understand how at the same time you miss being able to model during the day.

    I usually find that the second or third time I come back into a pose, the soreness in my muscles helps "remind" me how my body was positioned. In fact, there have been a few times where I got back into pose, but it didn't feel quite right. So a student would say something like "I think your arm was out a bit further" and as I moved my arm, it immediately began to feel sore and stiff and I knew I was back in the correct position :)

    I find that if I do a long, standing pose over the course of an entire session, I need to have about 10 minutes of rest. There have been two occasions where my leg fell asleep on me (which you really can't tell when you're in a grueling pose) and when the timer went off and I went to get out of pose, I'd come crashing down because I couldn't feel my leg!

    I really like the art on display--looks like the group got some good drawings in. Hope you get to work with them again soon!