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Archive for November, 2010

The artist and her model

Friday, November 19th, 2010

You know the dream where you show up somewhere naked and everyone else has clothes? I am part of a real version of that dream every week when I go to my figure drawing class and draw someone who my school pays to pose nude. I’ve taken several life drawing classes like it before, and inevitably as everyone gets set up, there’s always one person who sticks out.

This person is always the model.

It’s not just the fact that the model has no pencils to sharpen or easels to fidget with; the model is just different. I mean, how many of us would voluntarily choose to take off all of our clothes in front of a group of strangers who are poised to stare critically at us for several hours, committing their vision to paper for all to see? It certainly takes someone who marches to the beat of their own drum.

The last several models that have posed for my class have brought in props to make their poses more fun. One model brought in a Saudi headdress and decided to wear it as we all drew his portrait. (He also wanted to give us the play-by-play of his trip to Saudi Arabia when he obtained this outfit, but my teacher asked him to cut the story short so we could draw.) Another model brought in umbrellas, masks and lingerie. Drawing a person nude doesn’t seem weird to me anymore, but it does feel a little voyeuristic when they’re partially dressed.