Being An Artist's Model: John Stermer drawing Peggy At Five detail

On Being The Artist’s Model

Recent Self Portrait.

I rarely draw or paint my self portrait.  Perhaps this is because I’m not that great of a model!  That is, I wiggle too much.

During this past month’s “Strada Easel Challenge”*, I did a self portrait as part of my daily “drawing from life”.  Given my infrequent work at portraits and difficulty holding a pose, I was fairly pleased with the results.

On Being An Artist's Model: Self Portrait

Me As Five Year Old Artist Model.

Which reminds me of the time when I was about five years old and my Dad, artist John Stermer, drew my portrait.  At the time, Dad was doing portraits of his children; sort of a mini project.  Being the fourth in line, I’d seen my brother and two older sisters get their portrait drawn.  I was so excited when it was my turn.

And, this was when I received my first lesson on being a model.  First of all, I wanted to use the pose my Dad had used for my previous older sister.  I wanted to be like her.  So, I tucked my hands under my chin and persuaded my Dad that this was a good idea.  And, second of all, I thought that I could kept still.  But, not surprising, I didn’t.  I remember Dad asking me to be still, be quiet and to resume my pose.  Dad was infinitely patient and understanding. I am sure the session was under an hour.  And we took breaks. But the entire session seemed to take forever.

Oh, yes, Dad drew this series of portraits using everyday crayons.  I was so enchanted and amazed; my drawings with crayons never looked like that!  (Yes, there is a hint of me taking a photo of Dad’s drawing).

On Being An Artist's Model: Peggy At Five

Understanding The Model’s Situation.

Fast forward to recent times.  I have participated in live drawing classes and sessions as the artist, not the model.  It is critical that I, as the artist, understand what it takes for the model to assume a pose and keep it.   I have come to realize, that I inadvertently expect the model to hold the pose perfectly.  It’s not possible and it is the artist’s responsibility to adjust to the model; not vice versa.  And, as one who can not hold a pose, it’s my job to be understanding.

Self Portrait: Exercise In Learning About Drawing With A Model.

So, on the rare occasions that I do draw a self portrait, I spend some of the time re-learning how to be the model.  And, how to draw from a model.  Who knows, I always have intentions to do more; maybe one day I will.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my self portrait and the John Stermer portrait of me as a five year old child!

*PS.  I hope to discuss the “Strada Easel Challenge” in a future post.  In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at their website.

I participated two years ago and you can see the results on this lesson’s learned page.

 

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