Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hanna Imperatrix

Some days just bring home how important the model is in figure work, and yesterday was one of them. Especially when one want to work not on the body as a design (i.e. a can of beans) but to visually understand and express the subject as a person. I think it's harder work for the model than the artist; the model after all has to take a relatively fleeting sensibility, form a pose around it, and then maintain it for a significant length of time - at least long enough for the slow work of the pastel.

But more difficult, I think, is that the model, when working like this, exposes much more than just their bits and pieces. We all have them and know what they look like, after all. But a great model is able to bring out her (or his) interior life, which few of us ever display openly, because it leaves us quite vulnerable. It's not unusual to find - at least in my generation - Prufrocks with an attitude that this is somehow immoral (or worse, those who doltishly snicker) - but apparently the feeling that this is indeed a brave act is more common among Hanna's friends. My vote is decidely with the younger crowd.

I stumbled across a Nietzsche quote the other day - that the basis of great art is gratitude. Now this isn't great art, but the same basis is there. Gratitude for all sorts of things - from being able to work with a great model to just being able to do this at all. And (of course) gratitude for those of you who have stopped by.

Anyway, enough words. The images from yesterday follow, they are all 24"x36", NuPastel on Kraft paper. They follow in the order in which they were done, pretty much in the way in which they were drawn. Fixes and formalization will come later. Which reminds me, re. the drawing method - I don't measure much (obviously) and I pick the colours somewhat intuitively. The idea is to try and keep it simple, to try and keep it free. And maybe with a little luck, come down where we ought to be.

Hanna started the session off a little tired and frazzled from another job, and settled into a relaxed, almost meditative pose.

Then something more languid and sensuous:

And finally, Hanna Imperatrix. I really wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of that glare.

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