Thursday, November 6, 2014

30 Years!

I modeled for a figure drawing class for the very first time on November 6, 1984. Last night, at an anatomy class at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art, I finished my first 30 years of modeling. Tomorrow night, at the Friday Night Lights and Shadows painters group at Brookhaven College, I will start my second 30 years on the model stand. It is a job I love. With all the busy-ness going on in life, doing an art class is one of the few chances for me to just simply be. And when, after a long pose that causes cramping, pain, or the loss of feeling in a foot or leg, I question why I keep at it, I only have to look at the amazing and beautiful works of art that are produced.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

About Modeling

It has been far too long since I added a blog post here, and for that, I apologize.  My full-time job has been taking more and more of my time, and the kids' activities even more.  Modeling jobs have seemed fewer and harder to come by with my current schedule, but I still take what I can get.

Two or three years ago, I was approached by a fellow model at the University of North Texas.  He wanted to produce a book for models detailing the profession and loaded with photos of sample poses.  I loved the idea and immediately signed on.  At first, the book was to be strictly for the models at UNT, but he also had ambitions for making it more widely available.

We did a photo shoot in one of the empty drawing studios at the university in mid-May, just after the spring semester had ended.  I did examples of short gesture poses and what would be longer ones while he snapped photos.  He had tried to get a rotating platform, but that idea had proven to be impractical.  Instead, I turned 45 degrees for each pose to get four different angles.  I did quite a few solo poses, poses with a female model, and poses with another male model.

For whatever reason, the university art department, which, according to this model/author/photographer, had at first seemed enthusiastic about the idea, soon seemed to lose interest in the project.  Still, this fellow model talked about producing a more widely available book.  Unfortunately, life intervened as it so often does, and he had to move a bit further away.  We still communicated sporadically via email, and he finally got a few spiral-bound copies of the book printed and sent to the models who had participated.

He had planned on retouching the photos to remove the backgrounds and put more highlight on the model and the poses, but he hadn't had time to do that yet.  The photos in the book I received were dark, grainy black and white images.

There were a total of seven models of various shapes and sizes photographed for the book, three males and four females.  I think I was, by quite a few years, the oldest model in the book.  When I look at my copy, I am struck by the pure beauty of the pure human form, the lines and shapes.  We are truly amazing creatures, and it sometimes makes me sad that society insists that we keep ourselves covered at virtually all times.

The book makes me proud of my almost 30 years as an art model, and it also makes me want to do my own book.  I envision a project that is part memoir, part how-to, and part photo-journal.  Rather than photos in an empty studio against a plain backdrop, I would love to illustrate it with color photos taken in an actual drawing class, with students and artists busy working.  Maybe one day...

Here's a sample page from the book I received from my former UNT colleague.  Out of respect for the other models who participated, I chose a page that featured only my solo poses.  Needless to say, the image is not quite safe for work.  Click on the image to see the full size version...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Modeling at Medical School

I got an interesting email from a professor at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.  They were conducting a special course called Topographical Anatomy: Art and its Applications for six second year students.  This professor wanted to know if I would be interested in modeling for any of six sessions.  The email then went on to describe each session along with a schedule.  There was only one evening class listed, and it was the very first session.  And that session was to take place the very next night.

I wrote back immediately and said I was very interested in that first class.  We booked it, and I showed up last night.  It was an amazing experience.  The class was held in a section of the anatomy lab.  Six easels were set up.  A local artist named Jan Friedman had been hired to help teach the students to draw proportionally.  There were also three members of the medical school faculty in the class.

The first part of the class was a two hour standing pose with the students drawing on standard drawing paper.  I don't think any of the six students had ever drawn from the figure before, and I usually like to do standing poses for people just starting out.  So even if I hadn't been asked to stand, I would have suggested it.  Here's a photo I took of part of that set up...

Once that pose ended, things got really interesting.

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."- Psalm 139:14 (ESV)  This verse came to mind as I lay on a table while the students worked.  Their job was to use body paint and draw the organs directly onto my body.  They then had to use an ultrasound and see if those drawings were in the right place.  It was amazing. I am happy to report that my gall bladder is very healthy with not a stone in sight. And my liver and kidneys all looked normal.

Here are some unedited pictures, some of which are NSFW, from that session (the drapery kept getting pushed down, but I think it was there more for the students' benefit than mine):

Friday, February 28, 2014

Trying to Be the Best

I love this job, and every booking I get, I try to do the best job possible.  I am always completely ready to go at the designated start time of each class.  For a credit course, I am rarely needed at the very beginning, but just being ready to drop the robe and start posing the second that class starts makes a difference in the eyes of the teachers and students.

I had a Drawing II class last night at UNT that I didn't want to end.  They were doing the perspective exercise I wrote about last year (, where I had to do three poses in a rectangle on the floor, and the students had to draw each pose in the same drawing.  The instructor, a young Asian woman who was thinking about my comfort, suggested that I do the three poses in a really comfortable chair with a very high back.  There were students all around the room, and no matter which way I posed, someone was going to see much more of the chair than me.  I grabbed a tall, flat stool and told the instructor that I would pose on it.  "They need to see me more than they need to see the chair," I said.  And, I figured, they can draw a chair any time.  Their time with a live model is limited and should be maximized.  The teacher thanked me, and I did the three poses with the stool.  I think the students appreciated this as well.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Modeling Paradoxes

I modeled for another Drawing II class at the University of North Texas last night.  I left my full time job at five, drove faster than the speed limit, hurried from my car to class and arrived almost out of breath but on time at 6:00. And after moving as fast as possible to get there on time, my job then is to be as motionless as possible for long stretches. It is sometimes difficult to wind down from the rush to get to class.  The whole process seems like such a paradox.

I started thinking about another paradox with modeling for figure drawing classes.  The feeling of being nude in front of a large class is amazingly liberating.  I couldn't adequately describe it to someone who's never done it.  The paradox is in confining myself to one pose for whatever length of time is prescribed.  I've sometimes thought that people who are claustrophobic couldn't be models. That urge to move can become almost overwhelming.  The human body was made for motion, and being completely motionless is so unnatural (even when it's done in one's natural, nude state).  Perhaps that's why I love the short one or two minute gesture poses that most classes start with.  I get to be free of clothing, and I get to move with some frequency.  And maybe that's also why I really dislike doing those long, clothed portrait sessions (although I sometimes love the resulting artworks); I'm not only confined to clothing but also to one pose.  But I do the portrait sessions because I'm a professional and they are a part of the job (and in doing them, I hope to get more figure bookings).  I wonder if any scientific studies have been done on the mental makeup of a person who has modeled for art classes for as long as I have.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I was in a drawing class at UNT tonight, in a nice, comfortable reclining position for the last pose of the night. I was perfectly still, as expected from someone with the decades of art modeling experience that I have. The instructor had a Ray Charles Pandora channel playing while the students drew, and the song "Night Time is the Right Time" came on. This scene from The Cosby Show played in my head, and I had the giggles for the entire song. I couldn't stop laughing until it was over.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Yesterday I modeled for a couple of classes at the University of Texas at Arlington.  During the short warm-up poses in one of these classes, the teacher said that she wanted the students to do two poses on the same sheet.  I usually try to listen to what the teacher wants, so I decided on doing two poses that could be put together in a composition.  For the first pose, I got into a catcher's crouch.  For the second, I stood in a batting stance.  Once the poses were done, I heard one of the students laughingly tell another that his catcher was not supposed to be in front of the batter.  Of course, at the time of the first pose, none of them had any idea what I would do for the second.  So if they had placed their catcher in the middle of the page, it would be difficult to get the batter in the correct position.

I think of baseball a lot when I do my gesture poses.  Throwing motions, runners leading off first base, fielders trying to make a catch on a ball over their head, and batting stances all make for good action poses.  If you watched the video of me doing several gesture poses on my Warm Ups post of December 18th, you know what I mean.  I am a baseball fan and a student of baseball history.  I play vintage base ball several times a year.

Now that the Super Bowl is over, I am more than ready for baseball season to get started.  Luckily, pitchers and catchers will start reporting to spring training very soon.  Not too long ago, I put together a compilation of my top ballpark memories, and I thought I would share it on this blog.  I edited it some, and it now reads like a top 25 list...

1.  May 1, 1991 at Arlington Stadium.  Nolan Ryan, then 44 years old, took the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays and turned in the most amazing pitching performance I have ever seen.  He threw the Major League record seventh no-hitter of his amazing career, striking out 16 and walking only two.  The last four innings were just edge-of-your-seat suspense like I have never experienced before.  When he struck out Roberto Alomar to end the game, pure joy erupted at the old stadium.

2.  April 15, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Seeing a player hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, and home run in the same game) is about as rare as seeing a pitcher pitch a no-hitter.  Seeing a player get six hits in one nine-inning game is even rarer than that.  Seeing a player accomplish both feats at the same time was something that hadn’t been done by anyone in Major League Baseball in almost 110 years until Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler did it this night during the Rangers’ 19-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles.  And he actually did it in eight innings since the Rangers didn't bat in the bottom of the 9th.  Two singles, two doubles, a triple, and a home run.  I wrote a little mini-article about the experience my son and I had at the game that got printed in the June 2009 issue of the Rangers game program magazine...

3.  October 22, 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  2010 ALCS Game 6.  My son Seth and I went to our first ALCS game and got to see the Rangers beat the Yankees 6-1 to clinch the series win and celebrate the club’s first-ever American League pennant.  We stayed for the celebration and the trophy presentation and had just a magical night.  Former Ranger Alex Rodriguez struck out looking to end the game.

4.  October 27, 2011 at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO.  Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.  I didn’t know where to put this for the longest time.  It has been called the greatest baseball game ever played by more than one baseball expert, but for Seth and me, it was an agonizing defeat.  The Rangers were one strike away from winning the World Series in both the 9th and 10th innings, but lost two run leads in both innings.  Cardinals’ third baseman David Freese hit the game-tying two-run triple in the 9th and the winning home run in the 11th.  We had trouble sleeping that night after that.  And as agonizing as it was, it is still a game that I remember more than any other.  And since we had tickets for Game 7, our stay in St. Louis was extended.  As disappointing as it was, it was good father-son bonding time between Seth and me.

5. October 28, 2011 at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO.  Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.  This was the first Game 7 of a World Series in nine years, so getting to go to this was really special.  Our team lost, but the real disappointment had come the night before, in Game 6.  This Game 7 seemed anti-climactic after the incredible game that had occurred the night before.  Still, it was GAME 7.  I remember thinking as we waited for the gates to open that this was just too much importance put on one single baseball game.  Maybe that's why recent World Series haven't gone to a Game 7 very often.

6.  October 27, 2007 at Coors Field.  Game 3 of the 2007 World Series.  My National League team, the Colorado Rockies, went on an amazing run in which they won 21 out of 22 games.  This streak included sweeps in the NLDS and the NLCS, and the team found itself in its first World Series.  This was the first time that either of my favorite teams had ever made it to the Fall Classic, and I felt a strong urge to go to one of the games.  I had just started a new job, and I couldn’t take any time off work.  So, I grabbed Seth on a Friday after work and hit the road.  We spent that night in Amarillo and got into Denver the next day.  We went to Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night and saw the Red Sox take a 3-0 Series lead by beating the Rockies 10-5.  While the result was disappointing, nothing could beat the experience of going to our first World Series game.

7.  November 1, 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.  2010 was the first World Series appearance by my American League team, the Texas Rangers.  I managed to get on the website and snag tickets for Game 5.  Unfortunately, this turned out to be the final game of the 2010 season with the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series.  The game was a pitchers’ duel between Cliff Lee of the Rangers and Tim Lincecum of the Giants.  The score was 0-0 until the seventh inning, when eventual World Series MVP Edgar Renteria hit a three-run home run off Cliff Lee.  The final score was 3-1 after a solo shot by Nelson Cruz.

8.  April 26, 1995 at Coors Field.  The Rockies and Mets played the very first game ever played at the wonderful new Coors Field.  About five inches of snow had fallen earlier that day, and I was worried that the game might be postponed.  This concerned me a great deal since I didn't have tickets for the next day.  But the snow stopped, although the temperature only rose to about 39 degrees by game time.  The Rockies fell behind by one run in the top of the ninth, and then rallied to tie it in the bottom of the ninth.  They fell behind by one again in the 13th, but managed to tie the score again in the bottom of that inning.  The Mets scored another run in the top of the 14th.  Dante Bichette of the Rockies then hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Rockies an 11-9 victory in the new ballpark.

9.  October 16, 2011 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.  2011 ALCS Game 6.  The Rangers won their second consecutive pennant by beating the Detroit Tigers 15-5.  It was like deja view all over again after seeing the first pennant win the previous year.  This year, there seemed to be more confetti, and the Ballpark had been improved in the previous off-season with a much larger High-Definition video scoreboard.

10.  April 5, 1993 at Shea Stadium.  The brand new expansion Colorado Rockies played the very first game of their existence on the road against the Mets.  I happened to be living in New York at the time, so I got to see this one.  Unfortunately, Dwight Gooden pitched a four hit shutout, but I have been a Rockies fan ever since, literally from day one.

11.  August 22, 1989 at Arlington Stadium.  Nolan Ryan struck out Rickey Henderson to become the first pitcher with 5000 career strikeouts.  He finished with 13 Ks for the game, but Oakland won 2-0 as Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley combined for a shutout of the Rangers.

12.  March 31, 1998 at Bankone Ballpark.  My Rockies were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks in the D-Backs’ very first game ever.  I flew out to Phoenix to see the Rox beat the new team 9-2.  This was also the very first game ever played at the Bankone Ballpark, and the pre-game festivities included a spectacular roof-opening ceremony.  This was the second time I had seen a new Major League team play in its very first game and the third time that I had been to the first game ever played in a new Major League ballpark.

13.  April 11, 1994 at The Ballpark in Arlington.  The Rangers finally got a wonderful new ballpark, and I was able to attend the first game ever played there.  And I managed to only pay six bucks for my ticket.  Needless to say, I didn't have the best seat in the house.  World-renowned pianist Van Cliburn and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra performed the finest rendition of the National Anthem that I have ever heard.  The Brewers wound up spoiling the Rangers' Opener, 5-4.

14.  May 1, 2007 at The Ballpark in Arlington.  The Rangers were playing the Yankees, which is always an event at the Ballpark.  The Yankees pitcher, Phil Hughes, took a no-hitter into the 7th, and I think he would have finished it if he hadn't pulled his hamstring.  He left the game, and the Yankees bullpen wound up giving up a run and a couple of hits, but the Yankees still won 10-1.  My four year old, Elijah, spent most of the game talking to a young couple sitting in the row in front of us (Elijah is not shy).  In the 9th inning, Derek Jeter hit a foul ball into our section, and the young man in front of us managed to get the ball. He took a look at it, turned around, and gave it to Elijah.  So my four year old got a Major League Baseball game ball even though I never have (after I don't know how many games attended).  I guess it pays to be outgoing...

15.  September 3, 2011 at Wrigley Field.  When I was in high school, I used to watch Cubs games on cable on WGN, and I always wanted to go to Wrigley Field and see Harry Caray sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch.  After over 30 years, I finally got to go to a game.  Unfortunately, Harry Caray has passed on, but the celebrity guest singing during the 7th inning for this game was Jon Lovitz.  The game had an hour and a half rain delay in the bottom of the 7th, so I got to explore the park without missing any of the game action.  When the game resumed, the Cubs led the Pirates 5-3.  That score held until there were two outs in the top of the 9th.  The Cubs needed just one more out, but former Cub Derrick Lee hit a grand slam to give the Pirates a 7-5 lead.  The Pirates closer, Joel Hanrahan, pitched a perfect 9th, and the Pirates won.

16.  September 8, 2007 at LaGrave Field, Fort Worth, TX.  The Fort Worth Cats were playing the Saint Paul Saints in Game 5 of the best-of-5 American Association Championship Series.  The game was tight until the 7th inning when the Cats scored 3 runs to take a 4-1 lead.  They wound up winning by that score, and the championship celebration was something to see.  My son Seth, who was 8 years old at the time, was with me, and we watched the trophy presentation, etc.

17.  October 3, 2004 at Minute Maid Park.  I took my son on a day trip down to Houston on the last day of the season since the Astros were playing my Rockies in an afternoon game.  The Astros won 5-3 and wound up clinching the National League Wildcard spot, the only time I have ever seen a team clinch a spot in the playoffs at home.  The celebration was something to see and even included confetti falling from the roof.

18.  April 8, 1991 at Arlington Stadium.  This was the first Opening Day I ever attended, and I was treated to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by President George Bush.  This is still the only time I've ever seen a sitting US President in person.  Watching the Secret Service operation was worth the price of admission (I was only in the four dollar seats, haha).  Even though Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers, the Milwaukee Brewers wound up winning the game.

19.  October 3, 1993 at Arlington Stadium.  This was the last game ever played at the old Arlington Stadium.  Even though it was a former minor league park and was lacking in a lot of areas, the place carried some great memories for me.  I still miss it sometimes.  This was also the last game ever played by George Brett of the Kansas City Royals.  He singled and scored in his very last at-bat.  And even though Nolan Ryan was hurt and didn't pitch, this was the last game in which he was on the active roster.

20.  April 6, 2012 at Minute Maid Park.  Opening Day is always special, especially when I can see the Rockies play.  Yes, the game is just one of 162, but the fact that it’s the first of those 162 and that it comes after a long winter without baseball, makes it a very special event.  I took both boys with me down to Houston for this one.  The Astros were moving to the American League in 2013, so this was their final Opening Day as an NL team.  The Rockies won 5-3, and Troy Tulowitzki hit a home run that bounced on the railroad tracks high above the left field stands and went completely out of the ballpark (the roof was open).

21. July 25, 1990 at Arlington Stadium.  Nolan Ryan had 299 career wins when he took the mound against the Yankees.  He didn’t have his best stuff, and the Rangers were trailing when he left.  But the Rangers came back and won the game in extra innings thanks to a walk-off home run by Rafael Palmiero.  The hoopla surrounding Nolan’s first attempt at 300 wins made this game very special.  He wound up getting that 300th win in his next start, way up in Milwaukee.

22.  August 24, 2012 at Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field.  This day was special because we all (Jen, Seth, Elijah, and myself) got to attend two baseball games in two different ballparks in one day.  We went to the 1:05 game at Wrigley Field and saw the Cubs come from behind to beat the Rockies.  After the game, we grabbed a bite to eat at the McDonald’s across the street from Wrigley Field and then caught the train and went straight to U.S. Cellular Field.  In that game, the White Sox blew a huge lead to the Mariners in the top of the ninth but then rallied to win the game in the bottom half of that inning.  An amazing day of baseball…

23.  October 2, 1998 at The Ballpark in Arlington.  The first postseason game I ever attended.  1998 Division Series Game 3.  The Rangers had the misfortune of playing a Yankee team that had won a record 114 games in the regular season.  Texas lost this game 4-0 and wound up only scoring 1 run in the entire series.

24.  September 14, 1978 at Arlington Stadium.  My first major league game. The Rangers and Angels played into the ninth inning with the Angels holding on to a 3-1 lead.  California then erupted for 13 runs in the top of the ninth, setting a major league record for most runs scored in a ninth inning.  That record still stands to this day.

25.  June 30, 1992 at Candlestick Park.  This was my first game away from Arlington Stadium and my first National League game.  I loved the fact that the pitchers had to bat!  John Smoltz started and won for the Atlanta Braves over the San Francisco Giants.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pins and Needles

I was modeling at the Dallas Creative Arts Center last week, and the last pose of the day was a 30 minute seated position.  As often happens in seated poses, more of my weight was on one side, this time on the right.  As a result, blood flow to my right leg was constricted.  By the end of the pose, I had lost feeling in my right foot.  The end of the pose was a relief, but I remained on the platform with my leg straightened and stretched out away from me.  The artists, who had been busy cleaning up and putting their things away, expressed concern that I seemed to be unable to get up.

"If I tried to stand up right now," I explained, "the blood would rush back into my foot too quickly, and it would feel like thousands of pins and needles sticking in the bottom of my foot.  Keeping my leg horizontal like this helps the blood flow back gradually, without that painful sensation."  And so I pass this tip on to the readers of this blog.  I stayed on the platform for another four or five minutes before I stood up, retrieved my robe, and started getting ready to leave.