Another painting of a young beautiful girl, too young to have experienced real life and undeserving to be immortalized. I read a statement like this by an artist who is beginning a series of real women, but how is a viewer to recognize a real woman in a painting?
When I was 20 years old I hired a model who was just 19. She put me to shame when I complained about struggling to survive as an artist. She had been providing for herself for seven years, having left home when her dad began to abuse her. A thousand miles from home, on her own, she completed high school and had a job. Modeling on the side provided her with extra money that she used to extend her education.
Most of the girls who work for me had other jobs - full time jobs. All were furthering their own education or helping a husband get an education. One 25-year-old was raising money for adult mentally handicap people to have a home of their own. She danced in a topless club to do this. Her feet were blistered, bruised and swollen from dancing. Another model was sending money home so her parents would not lose their home. These girls were earning their wrinkles and weathered look while they were young. Over the 50 years I've been working with young beautiful women I have heard some sad and some horrifying stories. All of them have become mothers and have raised some fine children.
Not all models have had hard lives but not all have had easy lives. Several have gone onto become lawyers, one a veterinarian, another a professor of America Literature.
I've always enjoyed working with young, energetic women. I feel I am helping a bit with the money I pay them and by letting them study while posing. I've made a decent living from my art thanks to these girls. I've furthered my own education listening to them tell me about what they are studying.
Very little of the tales told in my studio come through in my art, but if they do they enhance the quality I strive for and my own further studies of art. I am honored to have the opportunity to create my art from these real girls and feel obligated to do them justice on my canvases.
While each artist feels their art is more than simple picture making, only the viewer can raise it to the level we desire.