Strangers Into Friends


The young ladies who pose for me never know what to expect when they first walk into the studio. Some are quite nervous while other are so laid back they fall asleep while posing. A few even set boundaries as how close I can come to them. Others tell me to arrange the folds in their skirts myself. 

I always begin with doing a nude. If they stay through a nude session and return I know they will work out for my larger pieces. Nothing worse than getting into a large piece and having the model quit. Many of the young ladies who work for me keep in touch after quitting the modeling game. They take steady jobs or head off to college. A few have joined the army for the education the service promises. One ended up driving a tanker truck during "Desert Storm". The other is in Afghanistan right now. She and I email and text each other. Some are even grandmothers now and I hear all about their grandchildren. 

To me, they are all good looking, some are just a bit more good looking than others. After one model's arrival a knock on the door followed. It was a guy searching for the "great looking babe who came into this building".  Another was followed up to the studio, not because of her looks, but because of the 1970's muscle car she drove over in. Models seem to drive old beat-up cars. I guess it is because most cannot afford a new car - or even a nice car.

They are always in need of money, it's how most became models. Working two jobs they find posing for me restful. I do a lot of paintings of girls relaxing, reading, napping or just laying about with other girls. After eight hours of waiting tables, getting paid to do homework or just nap sounds pretty good. It isn't always easy holding the same reclining pose for hours, I try not to over work them. Some, seeing the painting and the progress, put in a bit more for me, like taking poses that are near impossible to hold. These are poses I usually like for drawing and sketching. 

We trade stories while working. I hear about boyfriends and trouble they got into as kids and these lead to paintings I wind up doing. This is a bit of how I work and a reason why I love working from life.


Storms Are Cleansers

                                               "End to a Stormy Day" 

                                               "End to a Stormy Day" 

Took me a long time to learn how to use my other senses when creating art. Most artists listen to music while painting. I've turned to listening to movies, foreign movies are the best for me. The rhythm of the words without knowing the meaning is a form of music. Rap is that way, but I prefer not to know the message. I like Paolo Conte's grave voice and the music that accompanies him, but the mix of voices in a movie alone is the part of foreign films I like best. The voice of a heavy smoker mixed with that of a child conjures up my own story which is what I do with painting. The mix of brush strokes is part of my telling my story. I am, after all, a story teller. My words are brush stokes and language comes from my palette.          

I love stories with happy endings. Uplifting stories, so I use an uplifting palette. A dark painting on my easel usually means I am not in my happy place. Dark stormy skies in my paintings are usually accompanied by rays of sun light off in the distance, a stream of yellows leading me to hope, which is what I hope to find in all my art. Storms are cleansers. They wash away the dirt and dust from trees and fields revealing a rich array of colors.

Painting is my rain storm,  doing my dark stormy paintings cleanses my mind of whatever is bothering me, it's my way of working out of a dark place. That ray of light often grows into a bright sunlit landscape. With the rain comes a smell of freshness adding a richness to everything and that includes my painting. Here the reverse takes place - instead of being inspired to paint, the act of painting does the inspiring. I bring the smell of rain into mind and slowly my dark place is  illuminated. The day my mother died I worked my feelings out onto a canvas, the roses she so loved came to life on my canvas and I could smell them.

We need things to carry us through dark times I hope in some way my art lifts the veil of darkness from someone's eyes and gives them hope, or it simply brightens an already good day.