I regularly post my drawings of others here. This post is about other artist’s images of me. The rendering above is by Jean Marcellino, a master of the light and shadow technique using chalk, charcoal, graphite and sanguine. I think she really captured my expression.
Jean often comes to draw at the Monday morning session at Spring Studio, for which I serve as monitor. As one of the duties of that position, if our scheduled model is running late, I have to get up on the stand. When the artists are ready to draw, they’re ready to draw, and they’ll settle for me as a model if they have to. Here’s another Spring Studio tardy model substitute sketch of me, from Robin Kappy, an artist and psychotherapist:
I think any artist that works with models should experience the other side of the easel. When I decided fifteen years ago to pursue life drawing as a regular practice, I couldn’t really afford to pay for several sessions a week, so I arranged to be a backup model and was able to draw for free on condition of willingness to step in as a nude model as needed. I am sure some of the artists who had shown up because a beautiful girl or strapping adonis was on the model schedule were disappointed when they got me as the stand-in! But for me it was invaluable experience. I learned where the weight, tension, and energy is in action poses, so that later when I was drawing the same poses I could observe them with an inside understanding. I learned the suffering of the long pose – any pose held for a long time involves enduring pain, and the longer it goes on, the sooner the pain comes after each break. These experiences gave me a strong sense of empathy with the models. Not only does this influence me to treat models kindly, but I have come to believe it is a key to making the kind of connection with the subject that makes the drawings come alive.
Another Spring Studio regular, Karen Collidge, pursues her work with a barreling restless energy. She does both figurative and abstract expressionist work, and each type of work feeds the other. Karen has drawn and painted me on multiple occasions.
Here are three sketches Karen made the same day:
One of the pleasures of modeling for a drawing class is to walk around the room during the breaks and see oneself as seen by many people, who have radically different ways of perceiving and of expressing their perception. It’s especially striking at a place like Spring Studio, which attracts a wide range of artists who have been trained in different traditions and media, and many of whom have developed their own unique approach through many years of practice. If you had a bunch of photographers shooting the same model in the same poses and the same light, you wouldn’t see nearly the variety. Still, some photographers find ways to make their technological medium unique and personal. Stéphanie de Rougé photographed me in my studio using overlapping exposures with an all-plastic Holga camera, a technique described in this New York Times article (with slide show).
Stéphanie alternated shooting me and artwork and objects in my studio environment, letting the images combine on the film without ever knowing exactly how these juxtapositions would manifest until the negative was processed. I appreciate this approach, as I have a great respect for the creative power of randomness. The resulting pictures weave the artist and his work together.
Marcy Currier is an intuitive artist and healer I met at Brushwood Folklore Center. She was the model for Seer, the last image in my previous post Time and Line. Marcy does chakra portraits in colored pencil, based on her sense of the energy a person radiates from the different facets of their being. The different colors correspond to the spectral associations of the seven energy centers described in the yogic physiology of the energy body. Here the blue color represents creative expression, interpenetrating all other levels of my being. This is a completely different kind of observational drawing!