figure drawing Tuesday with Seva
04/19/2012 § 1 Comment
When she first came in, I didn’t recognize Seva as a model I had drawn before because she was wearing this brunette June Cleaver wig. After half an hour, I realized what was going on. Seva actually has very long, voluminous black hair. I’m frankly amazed she could fit her real hair into the skull cap of that wig.
I have drawn Seva before, even one day earlier this year, but otherwise it’s been a few years. Locally, she’s a very popular model to have because she has a great understanding of the drape and line of the body. I’m certain it’s from her professional background in dance and stage acting. She also has a sincere interest in classical figurative art. So… you can suggest things like “strike a pose like a Manet painting,” and she knows what you mean.
I was the only soul beside the model this week. On one hand, it was a great opportunity to dictate to Seva the poses *I* wanted, for as long as I wanted. On the other hand, I got chatty. I never get chatty. I just find it difficult to be alone in a room with someone I’m not familiar with, not talking. So I distracted myself from real focus this week. We talked about arthritis, her dogs, choosing to have or not have children, the territorial aggressiveness of mockingbirds, living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, life as an entertainer or artist, and how people unfamiliar with the practice of life drawing can inadvertently make you feel very uncomfortable when they find out what you do for a living.
I asked for multiple sittings of the same pose. She decided to take the wig off. My intent was to try to draw with more detail using that water-soluble graphite pencil I was given. After two twenties, I gave up on this drawing. No amount of working would save it from the damage already inflicted. As always, I think I went too dark. Plus, now that I’m looking, her mouth is suspiciously absent. Maybe I really did do all the talking…
Then I went back to my familiar friends, compressed charcoal and willow charcoal. Also at this time, another person joined in very late to draw, so I clammed up.
Another reason why Seva is a popular model is because she’s known to wear headscarves and colorful clothes with draping fabric. Apparently she has quite a wig collection. I asked if she’s ever decided to just throw on a wig, dress as a particular fictional character, and then go out on the town and act the part just for fun. No. She didn’t think she had the nerve. Plus she thought she’d be recognized for sure. (If I had a wig collection, you can bet I’d be doing it. With a video camera. Just like Ray Johnson. Except he didn’t wear wigs, he just played himself. That’s kooky enough.)
In the last pose, Seva decided to wear a head scarf.