Oil on Linen 16x12"
My good painting friend Sarah Kidner and I have been hiring models to come to our studio lately to prepare for two terrific workshops we will be taking this spring. (A 5 day figurative w.shop with Carolyn Anderson in April and a 10 day figurative/portrait intensive with Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon in June).
Mostly we have been doing one afternoon a week, but last week in a big push to get our chops down, we had a model in every day for 5 days. And just to add to the fun we invited some other friends to join in, which was huge entertainment value. Lotta whining going on, but we did get lots of work done, and we agreed that 5 days straight made for some clear progress - if not in skill, then at least in focus.
Here is what I find valuable in painting models from life:
- It demands you address your drawing weaknesses
- You can see amazing nuances that simply do not exist in photo reference
- There are a world of subtle color temperature shifts beckoning to suggest form
- It is divinely, completely captivating
- It is hands down the hardest thing you can do as an artist
- It DOES get easier with practice
If you're serious about developing your skill as an artist, I can think of no better way to tackle that goal. You don't need to hire professional models, any warm body that will sit still for you is an ideal subject. We pay our models $20 an hour and usually have them in for 3 hours at a time. We have found that putting a movie on the laptop for the model keeps them entertained for a sitting, and they just take breaks when they feel the need.