Just about a week ago, I wrapped my fifth portrait drawing session (four times as a model and once as a participant) with a group of artists who draw and paint at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh, NC. I'm writing today to share a quick list of FIVE things I've learned over the last 18 months that would best prepare anyone to sit as a great LIVE model for portrait artists. It's a wonderful experience, so if you ever get the opportunity to... do it! I hope this will help.
1. Look Alive!
Come with your best face! Sitting for a total of almost three hours can be a little exhausting, especially if you have not practiced being still and holding a long pose. Keeping neutral (not too happy, and of course not sad) thoughts and eyes fixed on a focal point really helps to hold a relaxed face. You'll want to remain awake and aware, but without moving! If I had to describe what it may have felt like to be in Jordan Peele's "Sunken Place" from the movie Get Out, sitting as a live model would definitely not be far from it. Listening to a classical music radio station while seating motionless in a position you "can't" move out of for so long in front of a group made up mainly of retired white women made me think of that movie quite often. If you've seen the movie, you'll get the reference and if not... you have to watch it! Haha!
2. Be Prepared!
Find out the details. The session is normally broken up so that you have 5-minute breaks throughout to walk around and regroup. You're typically asked to come wearing bright colors and interesting fabrics and accessories [scarves and hats are encouraged]. Preparing in advance to factor in your travel time, locating the room, and settling in's vital. Make sure you are well prepared the night before to get enough rest and make it over to your modeling gig!
3. Arrive Early!
As a good friend of mine always likes to say, "To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and if you will be late... don't bother!" This is a good motto to have to help with being punctual, and punctuality is extremely vital when you are scheduled to sit in front of a group that will be studying YOU for three hours. Before you sit for them, there is most likely one person in the group that will seat you on the stage with appropriate lighting and a backdrop that complements the colors you are wearing and tones in your skin. Arriving early helps to ease that process and will better set you up for success.
4. Have a Good Attitude!
Show that you are glad to be there! Smile and interact with others during the breaks. The time will go by a lot faster once you immerse yourself in the experience. Be the best model you can be and let your observers do what they do. Sometimes the art doesn't come out looking exactly like you, but know that it's OK. Stay upbeat because that keeps the energy in the room high.
5. Enjoy the Process!
Check out the works as they transform from start to finish, and just be in the moment. The artist in me gets excited each time to see the early stages of the works and as the time goes on, I love seeing the final outcomes. I'd encourage any model to move through the room during breaks to check out the work (if the artists are comfortable with it) and enjoy the process!
Well, there you have it... five things to do to make your live portrait modeling experience as smooth as can be! Below are some images of drawings and paintings from several artists (I put their info in the captions) I've had the pleasure to encounter through these sessions. Modeling for figure drawing groups is on another level, and I don't have first-hand experience with that, but there is plenty of information on the world wide web for those with interest in that as well. I was recently asked to be a figure model, but there's no way I would want to model completely nude. I plan to sit in and take a couple of sessions before the year ends. Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions!
As Autumn's onset brings in lovely outdoor changes, I wanted to reflect on the fun art classes and a summer camp I was involved in over the summer. I had the wonderful opportunity to work in the art spaces of UNC-CH with middle school-students participating in Seeking The Self 2017, a summer camp hosted annually by nonprofit organizations, Hidden Voices and Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate (BRMA). The photos below are some highlights of my time there and the video following shows more about the camp. I'm thrilled to have participated and look forward to doing more work with Hidden Voices in the near future.
In addition to this past workshop, I dropped in on a few classes through NC Underground Dance over the last few months. The flyers below give more information on the classes and some snippets from them are in this second video as well. Enjoy!
On Valentine's Day, I was the artist for a studio class at Wine and Design Durham, my FIRST date night class as the instructor so far! It was lovely to see everybody coming to enjoy their night together by painting and in celebration of love. I also got the chance to teach a few classes at Wine and Design Chapel Hill, which I afterwards realized was the studio I first interviewed to teach at way back in January 2012 (interesting how that circled around). For your viewing pleasures, photos of the paintings and groups from the classes are in the gallery below; and if interested in signing up for a Wine and Design Durham session, you can now use my code "broderick5" to receive $5 off!
Outside of my recent Wine and Design classes, there was also another Canvas Creations this month. Some event photos can be seen in the slideshow below, and even more captures on Facebook. It was a great event!
Before wrapping this post up, I must share about working on my first (of many to come, I'm sure) baby's first birthday chalkboard and party goodies over the last few weeks. Those items have been added to the "...Letter Decor" custom products that can be purchased. I really enjoyed the transformation of this board, and the some photos taken throughout the process of starting to finishing touches are below as well.
I learned about the festival through Sherri Holmes of Triangle Friends of African American Arts (TFAAA) while mixing and mingling at the Triangle Art Works' 3rd Annual SMASH event. The main reason she specifically shared information about the festival with me was because it 1) wasn't very highly publicized, and 2) would be showing the premiere screening of Living Colors- the Durham Civil Rights History Mural Project Documentary. Last week, the filmmaker, Rodrigo Dorfman, announced that the documentary can now also be streamed online; so if interested, please watch it here on Vimeo!
Almost 20 long and short films were shown and I watched every last one of them (some from home and some [bolded on list] at Hayti)! These films included:
This past week, I got the opportunity to be a part of a project that brought together the works of a group of phenomenal businesswomen. A local baker, the one who actually did my aforementioned friend's wedding cake, saw the ceremony and reception signage, and then connected and hired me to do signs for her daughter's 7th birthday soon after. I also hand-lettered gift bag name tags and painted a few custom frames for her party. I'm so filled with joy to know the words I took the time to write last summer left such a grand impression that it led me to do more. If you're ready to make your own inspiring chalk signage, keep on reading (and/or feel free to contact me for your chalkboard signage needs)!
- Open back frame(s) (Goodwill or thrift store options work well)
- Foam board large enough to fit frame(s)
- Scissors, box cutter/razor, or any cutting utensil for resizing your board
- Ruler and/or yardstick
- Chalkboard spray paint (1, 2)*
- Spray paint (your choice in brand and/or color; I used this)
- Large, flat and covered area for workspace
- Chalk pen(s) (your choice in brand and/or color(s))**
- Water (in a cup or spray bottle for erasing unneeded marks)
- Cloth, napkin, Q-tips or anything of your choice for wipeaways
*For the chalkboard spray paint, I've tried both of these brands. You can find 1 in home reno' stores, i.e. Home Depot or Lowe's and 2 in local craft stores, i.e. Michaels or A.C. Moore.)
**I used a variety of chalk pens from the Craft Smart, Chalk Ink and Bistro brands. All great!
I used the following items, but they are not required to create your chalkboard sign; completely OPTIONAL.
- Hand-lettering book for ideas and type guidance
- Mini chalkboard stands
- Acrylic paint (your choice in brand and/or color)
Thanks so much for checking out this post and I hope it helps with whatever creative projects you might be working on! My step-by-step process is in the slideshow and photos from the party are in the gallery below. Until next time... peace!
In the Wine and Design studio, of course, I was also able to work with a number of people stopping in for paint parties and classes. I did my first out-of-studio party (On Wheels), assisted my first Pet Night, and even taught College Night (more like an open studio with various NC college mascot/signature building paintings going on) for the first time. The gallery of photos below include shots from all of those recent events. The month ahead shows no sign of slowing down, so until then... I'm just trying to keep my patience, improve my teaching and not lose the "fun" in it all. Thank you for reading; and enjoy all of the pictures!
Yesterday, as the nation celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the WonderTwins presented a full-day dance workshop called "Sauce, Slay and Service" that featured classes taught by professional choreographers and dancers. It wasn't just a day off, it was a day ON! Proceeds went to victims of Hurricane Matthew and we also brought nonperishable foods to the event to donate. What a wonderful day of service it was... full of terrific energy and talented movers. I told myself I wanted to make more time for attending dance classes this year and this was a great first class to start 2017 off with. The last time I took a class this challenging was in 2011, only months after I had moved down to Carolina, when Willdabeast was dancing with T-Pain during Chris Brown's F.A.M.E. Tour; and he and Tre Holloway taught at Studio RUSH in Charlotte, NC. It was my first advanced-level class, but I remember leaving feeling inspired by Will's words to me, "...KEEP DANCING!"
- Why not?
- I like to learn and share art techniques
- Blogging is a cool way of sharing/storytelling.
- I can share my art work, designs, and anything related.
- Art Walks...
- Museum visits...
- Conferences... etc.
About the Author
I go by C y... and I'm an artist and art lover making a major transformation from hobbyist to professional.
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