I’m sure you’re all aware that one of my jobs is modelling for art classes and drawing groups. I’m also heavily involved in the running of an organisation called the Life Models’ Society – a collective of models who advocate for better pay and condition for life models.
The LMS has been around for thirty years, as of 2019. We, the LMS Committee, decided as part of the anniversary year we would run an art competition. The idea is to generate more work for our models; the full competition rules are here.
It’s open to anyone in Melbourne, but you have to have made the work this year and feature an LMS model as the subject.
This is a fantastic opportunity to promote art and life modelling in Melbourne. We will be hosting the accompanying exhibition at Gasworks Arts Park in Albert Park in December. It’s probably the biggest event I’ve ever organised – much bigger in scale, budget, etc. than the book launch I hosted earlier in the year.
I’m really relishing the challenge of managing the working group, and approaching sponsors, judges, artists and models to participate. It’s taking up a fair bit of my non-work time.
I’ve been working on a novel manuscript as well, and I’m now over 52k words into a book I didn’t write as part of NaNoWriMo. After all the input I’ve had from my writing groups over the years, I think this story is one of the most polished and interesting I’ve written and I haven’t even finished the first draft!
I look forward to seeing how the competition all works out, and for the skills I’m developing in the events management arena. I’ll keep you all informed on how this progresses.
I made it through the challenge of NaPoWriMo again for April 2019!
It is always a struggle to feel that my poems are any good when I do this challenge, I seem to churn out so much rubbish, but as with NaNoWriMo, the point is quantity over quality.
I will have to set aside some time to revise and review the poems I’ve written this month, although I did publish one poem here and one poem on a couple of Facebook groups for life modelling. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here it is:
The art studio
A room full of nude bodies
Holding perfectly still
The sound of one voice
And scratching on paper
The knowledge that in a few
Minutes we break to eat
Working to create great art
Together sharing our vulnerability
It was written on the last day of the challenge, close to midnight, after a full day of work at the day job, followed by a four hour life-model training session. I am not particularly good at drawing, but the act of performing as a model to be drawn has been something I’ve enjoyed for over five years.
The Life Models’ Society is having an art competition at the end of the year. I’m helping to organise it and we’re finalising details now but I may even submit a work to the competition. I’ve been thinking about something like a charcoal drawing, perhaps several figures all together, with my poems about life drawing printed on transparency over the top. I think it could look quite good – obviously dependent on the quality of the drawing(s) I manage to produce.
I spent a little less than a week over Easter with my beautiful friend Cathy and her family in New Zealand. It’s been difficult the last few years as a number of my close friends have moved away from Melbourne. It’s not the same as having them here, but knowing I can pop over and visit and have their love and warmth on tap 24 hours a day is a great comfort.
My next projects are going back to some of my incomplete prose manuscripts; I wrote 1500 words in one today despite my procrastination!
Thank you to all my friends, family and supporters – I wouldn’t be here without you, and I hope that I support you in return. Big love.
Last Sunday I spent the day with my friends Jonathan and Gabrielle in their lovely home in inner Melbourne. Jonathan is an artist whose work I really admire – he does water colour paintings. He works from reference photos mostly so his place has a studio setup that he can bring out for shoots. His work is very sensual and most of his work is of nudes.
Some of you may know that I have done some life modeling in the past, this is how Jonathan and I started out as friends; I posed for him a few times and we’ve been hanging out ever since. After I decided to start my artistic journey I have been spending a lot of time with him learning about his process, about sketching and about watercolour and about photography (and about keeping motivation for the craft in the face of ‘real life’).
Jonathan has a basic point and shoot camera which he uses to take reference photos so I decided to take my camera over to their place to do some shots with my camera. Partly for fun, partly for practice of my part, and partly so Jonathan could use the camera. Some of the shots were of me for Jonathan’s work, some were of he and Gabrielle for their portfolios – they both do life modeling as well – and some were just for fun.
They wanted some shots of their standard life modeling poses as well as some reproductions of classic works; we did the Birth of Venus*, Oedipus and the Sphinx, Achilles and Briseis, Herakles and Omphale as well as a number of very classical poses with various combinations of the three of us.
I would really love to post some of the shots here but I haven’t been able to get a reply from WordPress about whether photographic nudity is allowed, so I’m playing it safe and not posting any.**
Throughout the day Jonathan gave me some lighting and composition advice, but I found the most value in his tips on how to get the model to feel comfortable, relaxed, how to give the model direction without confusing them, how to place them without stressing them out or making it sound like they’re doing something weird/wrong. As a model I know that the most natural looking shot can be really awkward to pose for and it is important that if the shot doesn’t come out the way you see it in your head that you don’t let the model know. I also know from a couple of experiences with professional photographers that if you feel good and relaxed the shots come out much better; in my experience this is (almost) entirely down to how the photographer responds to and directs you.
By the end of the day we had to stop taking photo’s because my media card was full! I have a decent sized card but with the size of the images we had only managed to get 804 shots. I’ve downloaded a program called GIMP, which is a freeware program that has the same function as Photoshop, but I haven’t had much time to work out how to use it yet.
I think I will also try to do some sketches or paintings from some of these photos; I’ll keep you all posted about that. So now I have a whole bunch of raw material for art all I have to do I refine them into something I would want other people to see.
* Both Jonathan and Gabrielle have gorgeous, exceedingly long hair.
** If I hear that artful nudes are ok, I will put them up in a follow-up post.